Remittance floating uphill
Remittance continued its upward trend last month, with migrant workers sending home 3 per cent more than they did a year earlier, in what can be viewed as the perfect foil to the sliding exports, the other source of foreign exchange for the government. Export earnings fell 5.84 per cent year-on-year to $19.3 billion in the first six months of the fiscal year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. In January, expatriate Bangladeshis sent home $1.63 billion to take the total thus far in the fiscal year to $11.04 billion. The seven-month receipts are up 21.43 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. If the trend continues, remittance will hit a benchmark of $20 billion come the end of the fiscal year, said senior bank officials. The government’s move to provide a 2 per cent cash subsidy for remitters from fiscal 2019-20 was the main reason for the spike. On February 2, the inter-bank exchange rate stood at Tk 84.90, up 1.10 per cent from a year earlier, according to data from the central bank. Depositors will not get much benefit from the 6 per cent interest rate given the inflation and service charge imposed by lenders. Banks located in many foreign countries do not give any interest to depositors; rather, savers have to pay to lenders against their deposited amount
Marico Bangladesh staying ahead of the curve
Parachute Coconut Oil: one product by which Indian fast-moving consumer goods brand is almost synonymous with. So much that almost 70 per cent of Marico Bangladesh’s revenue came from this product alone. The problem with such heavy dependency on one product is that it leaves the company vulnerable to the vagaries of consumers. If one fine day they decide they had enough with the product, they will simply jump ship, leaving the company in a delicate situation. Marico Bangladesh, perhaps, is sensing such a situation, which is why it shelled out Tk 30 crore to roll out a male grooming product line by the moniker of Studio X in order to diversify its product base. The line, which was launched last week, currently consists of shampoo, face wash and hair gel, all made in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s male grooming market is now worth Tk 100 crore but it has the potential to grow further. Marico Bangladesh’s foray into the male grooming arena though excited the stock market: its share price advanced 2.51 per cent over the course of the week to close at Tk 1,713 yesterday. FMCG industry insiders said male grooming is on the rise globally and the movement will catch on Bangladesh due to multiple factors: a growing economy, a young population, the desire to look their best and aspiration to latch on to global trends. The company’s revenue growth was 12.2 per cent and profit growth 23.2 per cent in its last financial year, which ended in March 2019. Marico Bangladesh provided 600 per cent cash dividend to shareholders. Marico’s earnings per share was Tk 67.88 in the first three quarters of the current financial year, up from Tk 49.39 a year earlier. The company announced 300 per cent interim cash dividend too.
Donors commit $4.25b in this year’s BDF
Three foreign donors made commitments of $4.25 billion of new funds in Bangladesh Development Forum this year, in what was a first for the ten-year-old biennial gathering. They came up with the funds in honour of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The two-day event, which was organised by the Economic Relations Division at the capital’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, wrapped up on January 30. At a meeting, Javier Manzanares, deputy executive director of Green Climate Fund (GCF), expressed a willingness to extend $1.2 billion to Bangladesh for a period of four years. Set up in 2010 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, GCF is the world’s largest dedicated fund helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their ability to respond to climate change. GCF launched its initial resource mobilisation in 2014, and rapidly gathered pledges amounting to $10.3 billion mainly from developed countries. The Washington-based multilateral lender is already running three projects worth $240 million for the Rohingyas. The Japanese governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance has already identified four of the six projects where it wants the funds to be used.
New promise for stocks
State-run companies will soon be brought into the stock market, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday, in yet another promise from the government that has remained unmet over decades. Though Titas Gas is already listed on the two bourses, it would offload more shares because the government owns 75 per cent stake in the company. The government’s promises to bring more state-run firms to the stock market date back to at least 2010 when the finance ministry had selected 26 companies and instructed them to offload shares in the next six months. DSEX, the benchmark index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, was hovering around the 5,000-mark in September last year but sank to 4,036 points on January 14 this year. Turnover, another important indicator to gauge the strength of the bourses, plunged to Tk 250 crore from Tk 1,000 crore during the period.
Flower farming gifts rosy economic life to many
Many people have built their fortunes through flower farming as it’s more profitable than many other cash crops in Rajshahi region including its vast Barind tract. The flower farming has started bringing a new dimension in the process of crop diversification in the region as various government and non-government entities concerned are working to this end. This year, he cultivated flower on one bigha of land by spending Tk 20,000 and his sale proceeds is expected to be more than Tk 0.15 million (Tk 1.5 lakh). He added that he will cultivate other kinds of flowers side by side gladiolus on more lands in the coming years. Shafiqul Islam, another flower grower of Bijoynagar, earned profit of Tk 20,000 from five decimals of land.
US launches agro trade programme for BD
The USA has announced an agricultural trade programme for Bangladesh to increase access to American agricultural products for the local importers. The Export Credit Guarantee Programme provides credit guarantees to encourage financing to purchase US agricultural products in Bangladesh. This programme offers $ 5.0 billion in credit guarantees worldwide each year to support commercial export sales of US agricultural goods to markets, like Bangladesh, that have sufficient financial strength. Bangladesh is one of approximately 130 countries eligible for the credit guarantee programme. Participating local banks can access US dollar financing for up to 12 months from US banks at potentially lower interest rates.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||4,481.51042||↑ 11.85||↑ 0.27 %|
|↓ 603.41||↓ 2.09 %|
|FTSE100||7,286.01||↓ 95.95||↓ 1.30 %|
|Nikkei 225||22,981.99||↓ 223.19||↓ 0.96 %|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 51.44||↓ 0.12||↓ 0.23 %|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 56.22||↓ 0.40||↓ 0.71 %|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,581.05||↓ 8.11||↓ 0.51 %|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.1786|
|GBP 1||BDT 109.801|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.2467|
|INR 1||BDT 1.15932|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<