Important Business News Extracts – January 19 2017
Bangladesh Bank tightens monitoring banks’ stock investment amid market boom
Bangladesh Bank has asked for stock market transaction data of banks and their subsidiaries on a weekly basis, instead of fortnightly, while stock regulator has become ‘worried’ amid the relentless boom in the capital market in last few weeks, said officials of the central bank and Dhaka bourse. The central bank on Tuesday ‘verbally’ asked the banks to provide their stock exposure data, including their brokerage arms and merchant banks, on a weekly basis in the wake of huge rise in turnover and share prices on Dhaka and Chittagong bourses. The managing directors of all banks were asked to submit the transaction data every Thursday and monitor ‘closely’ the transactions and disbursement of margin loans by their subsidiaries. The turnover of Dhaka Stock Exchange, which was hovering around BDT 4.0 billion-BDT 8.0 billion in November shot up to BDT 20.0 billion on Tuesday, the highest since 2010, before the massive market crash. The key general index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, DSEX, has increased 970 points from October 30, 2016 to Tuesday, including a 417 points rise in the recent seven-day bull-run, making government’s high official, including high officials of the capital market regulatory body worried regarding the market situation.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide USD 200.0 million loan for SMEs
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide Bangladesh with USD 200.0 million in loan to facilitate medium and long-term credit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially in the country’s rural areas. An agreement to this effect was signed between the ADB and the government of Bangladesh at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) in the city on Wednesday. ERD secretary (In-charge) Kazi Shofiqul Azam and ADB Country Director in Bangladesh Kazuhiko Higuchi signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides, said an ADB statement. The Second Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Project primarily focuses on small firms outside the metropolitan areas of Dhaka and Chittagong, the ADB release said, adding at least 15.0% of the assistance will be provided to women entrepreneurs. Priority will be on women engaged in subsistence trade and retail activities, who typically have limited access to finance, it added. The project includes USD 2.0 million in technical assistance from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to help establish incubation facilities with the aim to promote entrepreneurship, according to the ADB. This assistance will also help develop SME clusters that will boost access to long-term financing, and strengthen backward and forward linkages with the formal sector, particularly the export-driven industries. The Bank and Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance is the executing agency of the project, while the Bangladesh Bank and the SME Foundation are the implementing agencies, said the ADB press statement.
Bangladesh outperforms India, Pakistan in inclusive growth
Bangladesh has been ranked ahead of its neighbors India and Pakistan in a global index of inclusive development. The World Economic Forum released a report Monday ranking Bangladesh 36th out of 79 developing economies, India 60th and Pakistan 52nd. China, the world’s second largest economy after the US, is ranked 15th in the WEF report titled “Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017.” The report described Bangladesh “slowly advancing” economy where India has been marked same but Pakistan as “stable.” The report said Bangladesh has improved per capita GDP and reduced public debt over the last five years. Better access to finance from banks and equity market than the most other countries at the same level indicated the country’s strength in the latest report. But at the same time the report revealed that the country’s wealth inequality has also increased as well as the business development is held back by red tape and rampant corruption. The inequality is perpetuated by the low enrolment rates at primary level, poor education quality C.38 and 3.56 respectively. From 2011 to 2015, Bangladesh grew 0.77% in development, Nepal 7.1%, India 2.5%, but Pakistan decreased by 0.03%. The USA is 23rdamong 30 countries with IDI score 4.44.
Bangladesh’s export earnings will cross 600 million US dollar ($ 60 billion) in five years. The commerce minister said this while addressing as the chief guest opening ceremony of three international trade shows on RMG sourcing in Dhaka on Wednesday. “Bangladesh’s export earnings would go beyond US $ 60 billion in 2021,” Tofail Ahmed said. “Export earning was $ 14 billion when the Awami League assumed office this time and it reached $ 34.2 billion in the last fiscal year . . . if the trend is continued, the earning would exceed $ 60 billion in 2021,” he added. The three exhibitions – the 16th edition of GARMENTECH Bangladesh, the 8th edition of International Yarn & Fabrics Sourcing Fair, the 8th edition of GAP Expo – are being held simultaneously at International Convention City Bashundhara.
The government gropes in a ‘dilemma’ over a promised fuel-price cut, as two ministers appeared in two minds Wednesday. “We are yet to finalise the price adjustment of oil,” said Finance Minister AMA Muhith. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) Nasrul Hamid, however, left no ambivalence in ruling out the possibility of price adjustment for now. He said the government has no plan right now to cut domestic oil prices as oil prices are now showing an uptrend on the global market. As per a previous government plan the domestic oil price was set to witness a cut in the current month of January in keeping with a long-drawn global slump. Besides, the state minister said to underpin the change of mind, the World Bank has predicted that the upturn in the international oil prices would continue at least for the next one year. “We had sent proposal for reducing domestic oil prices when the prices in international market were lower,” he said.
Olympic to invest BDT 706.0 million for business expansion
Olympic Industries Wednesday said it has decided to invest BDT 706.0 million for importing manufacturing lines, machineries and construction work materials. “The company will import a noodles manufacturing line, complete with ancillary and packaging machinery from Japan at an estimated cost of BDT 187.0 million. This line will have an estimated annual capacity of 9,000 metric tons,” said an official disclosure posted on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website Wednesday. Olympic, the country’s one of the leading consumer goods manufacturers, will also import a snacks manufacturing line, complete with ancillary and packaging machinery from India and China at an estimated cost of BDT 77.0 million. This line will have an estimated annual capacity of 3,700 metric tons, said the disclosure. It will also import a carton manufacturing line, complete with corrugation and printing machinery from China at an estimated cost of BDT 120.0 million. This line will have an estimated annual capacity of 66.0 million cartons and will ensure uniformity in the quality of cartons and reduce the company’s dependence on external suppliers, it said. The company will also import a tunnel oven along with ancillary machines from India and China at an estimated cost of BDT 72.0 million. This machinery will increase the company’s estimated annual capacity of bakery products by 1,800 metric tons, the disclosure said.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs approved on Wednesday building of the second liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and import of the fuel from Qatar. These will be done under two separate projects as part of the government’s moves to ensure speedy energy supply. Summit Corporation will build the second LNG floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) at Maheskhali in Cox’s Bazar on build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis. The floating terminal will have the daily capacity of 500 mmcf. Summit will operate it for 15 years, and then handover to the government. Meanwhile, the cabinet committee on public purchase in its meeting on the day approved a total of seven projects. These include construction of 8.0 kilometer approach roads (four-lane) and structure under Third Karnaphuli Bridge Construction Project at a cost of over BDT 2.70 billion, re-excavation of river Titas in Brahmanbaria involving over BDT 1.2 billion, and construction of nine-storied Sheikh Sayera Khatun Medical College and Hospital and Nursing Institute at a cost of BDT 1.6 billion.
Bangladesh mobile industry can produce USD 17.0 billion in GDP by 2020: GSMA
Bangladesh’s mobile industry can generate economic value worth USD 17.0 billion in the country’s GDP by 2020, up from USD 13.0 billion in 2015, given that the right policies are in place, according to a report by GSMA, the global trade body of mobile phone operators. At the same time, the sector will generate employment for 850,000 people, up from 780,000 in 2015, an increase which will be powered by direct employment creation in the industry, the GSMA report says. According to the report titled ‘Economic Impact: Bangladesh Mobile Industry’, the bulk of this increased economic value will come from increased productivity, the value of which will rise from USD 7.6 billion in 2015 to USD 10.2 billion in 2020. In addition, around USD 5.0 billion economic value will come through direct impact of the industry, created by the value added by the ecosystem including wages, taxes and business surplus. In 2015, mobile technologies and services generated 6.2% of GDP in Bangladesh, a contribution that amounted to around USD 13.0 billion of economic value, the research highlighted. The mobile industry also generated more than 760,000 jobs and made a significant contribution to public funding of more than USD 2.0 billion in 2015, it added. According to the latest figure of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission, there are more than 120.0 million mobile phone subscribers in the country. The total number of handset owners, on the other hand, stands at 70.0 million, while the total number of cell-phones is around 115.0 million.
Coca-Cola yesterday opened a bottling plant in Bhaluka, the US beverage maker’s first factory in Bangladesh, as part of its $74 million investment plan for the country. Finance Minister AMA Muhith, flanked by Mashiur Rahman, prime minister’s economic affairs adviser; Marcia Bernicat, US ambassador to Bangladesh; and John Murphy, president of the Asia Pacific Group of the Coca-Cola Company, inaugurated the plant. International Beverages Private Ltd, a division of Coca-Cola and the largest bottling partner of the US company in Bangladesh, built the plant. This is the largest foreign direct investment in the fast-moving consumer goods segment in Bangladesh in 20 years, according to a statement from Coca-Cola. The investment includes $60 million for the new plant and the rest for infrastructure and marketing initiatives. The new facility represents the company’s continued commitment to long-term business development as well as sustainable development of local societies in Bangladesh, Coca-Cola said. The plant will initially run two lines to produce Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Kinley water.
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