Inflation dips to 12-year low
Average inflation in the just-concluded financial year (FY) recorded a 12- year low at 5.92%, official data showed, leaving this major macroeconomic indicator in a comfortable zone. The year-on-year average inflation in the FY2003-04 was the lowest at 5.83%, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) officials said. The 12-month average inflation in the previous FY2015 was 6.41%, the BBS data showed. The bureau officials said the year-on-year inflation rate of the last FY2016 declined to 5.92% as the prices of essential items at home and fuel oils and some other commodities in external markets were maintaining a cool trend. However, the rate of point-to-point inflation last month, June, increased to 5.53% following the rise in prices of some food items on the local market on the occasion of holy month of Ramadan, according to the BBS data, released Tuesday. The rate of inflation on point-to-point basis was 5.45% in the previous month of May and a year ago in June (of the previous FY2014) it was recorded at 6.25%.
Exports cross USD 34.0 billion in FY16
Bangladesh earned over USD 34.0 billion from exports in the fiscal year 2015-16 which just ended, registering around 10.0% growth from the previous year. The figure also exceeded export target set for the year by USD 743 million, according to provisional data prepared by the Export Promotion Bureau. Exporters and analysts attributed the robust growth to political calmness during the year, improvement of workers’ safety standards in factories and policy support by government. The data showed the country earned a total of USD34.2 billion in last fiscal year, a figure that is 9.7% higher than USD31.2 billion of the previous year. The target was set at USD33.5bn for FY2015-16. According to monthly data, the export sector fetched USD3.58bn in June that marked the end of the financial year. The growth was around 17.0% from June 2015. The earning in June 2016 is also 9.1% higher than the target of USD3.38 billion set for the month. Officials said the government may target to earn USD37 billion from exports in the current fiscal year
Private sector credit growth in SCBs rise abnormally
The year-on-year private sector credit growth in state-owned commercial banks, struggling with defaulted loans, increased abnormally to 16% in May from 6.4% in July of the just concluded fiscal year 2015-16 as they continued to maintain an aggressive lending. According to Bangladesh Bank officials and an economist, an increased trend in defaulted loan of the five SCBs — Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali and BASIC – in the recent months also played a role in increase in their private sector credit growth. The credit growth of the five banks would have decreased if they were able to recover their non-performing loans. The banks attach their classified loans with their outstanding loans. According to the latest BB data, the year-on-year private sector credit growth in the SCBs rose almost every month in the FY16. Credit flow of the SCBs to the private sector stood at BDT 1, 271.7 billion in May 2016 against BDT 1,112.6 billion in July of 2015, the BB data showed. Against the backdrop, the central bank is now conducting a study on the SCBs to detect why their credit growth sharply rose in the first 11 months of FY16, a BB official said. The year-on-year private sector credit growth, however, slightly increased in the PCBs during the first 11 months as they registered a growth of 17.9% in May, 17.7% in April, 17.3% in March, 17% in February, 16.8% in January, 16.1% in December, 16% in November, 15.4% in October, 15.3% in September, 16% in August and 16.3% in July of the FY16.
Majedur Rahman joins DSE as MD
K. A. M. Majedur Rahman, the former managing director of the Premier Bank, Tuesday joined the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) as its managing director, officials said. Earlier on June 19, the DSE board of directors approved the appointment of Mr. Majedur as the managing director and sent the matter to the securities regulator Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) seeking its approval in this regard on June 27. On June 29, the securities regulator approved the appointment of DSE’s new managing director at a BSEC commission meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. M Khairul Hossain. Mr. Majedur is a professional banker, who had worked both local and foreign commercial banks in his 33 years banking career, said a DSE statement. Prior to joining as DSE managing director, Majedur Rahman was a consultant at Ecurrency Mint Incorporation, an America-based financial consultancy firm, said the press release on Tuesday. Mr Majedur completed his graduation and post-graduation degrees from the University of Dhaka in the department of International Relations.
Japan moves to start process of Japanese Economic Zone development
Japan has taken a move to start the process of development of proposed Japanese Economic Zone (JEZ) soon, officials said. As part of the move, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) sent a letter to the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) on June 26 last to begin the process of development of the zone, they added. The JICA requested the BEZA to announce a notice on its website, seeking expression of interest (EoI) for development of the zone. The donor also sent a format in this regard, they also said. The BEZA under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would announce a notice, seeking EoI from potential developers of Japan to develop the JEZ, a senior official of the BEZA said. The BEZA has been working relentlessly for last two years to establish the zone that will be set up on a government-to-government (G2G) basis and as per the Bangladesh Economic Zones Act 2010, he added.
Foreign RMG buyers cancelling Bangladesh visit
A number of foreign buyers of Bangladesh garments, in addition to officials of Japanese giant Uniqlo, have cancelled their scheduled business meeting in Bangladesh and asked exporters to fly to a third country to negotiate orders following the Gulshan attack. Exporters said that till now buyers are yet to show any intention to shift or cut export orders from Bangladesh due to terrorist attack at Gulshan on July 1 that killed 17 foreigners including apparel buyers, but they expressed worry over the situation and wanted to know what measures have been taken to ensure security of foreign buyers. ‘Some buyers of Europe and the United States, who often visit Bangladesh, requested us to arrange visa to visit their countries for business meetings. They are not unwilling to place orders in our factories but feeling scared to fly to Bangladesh due to Gulshan attack,’ Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh, told New Age. He said that a number of global sourcing agents are not willing to fly to Bangladesh and exporters would have to fly to third countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai which would increase cost of doing business.
Rod prices decline as public, private demand slumps
Prices of mild steel rod (MS rod), a construction essential, has declined by 3.0% to 14.0% in the last one month despite hike in import duties on raw materials. Industry-insiders said lower demand from the public and private sectors has caused the decline. They said the recent price slump also happened in line with the global price trend. Market-insiders said local mills are trying to prevent import, which caused the decline. MS rod (60 Grade) eased, now selling at BDT 45,000-BDT 46,000 per ton from BDT 52,000-BDT 54,500 a month back. Rods of 40-grade prices declined to BDT 43,000- BDT 44,500 from BDT 45,500 to BDT 46,000 earlier, according to the traders. Md Ariful Hasan Maxim, proprietor of Sarker Traders at Saidpur, Nilphamari, told the FE that rods’ prices witnessed BDT 2,000-8,000 decline at per ton in a month. He said the demand for construction materials at the village level has plunged in the last one year. However, the government imposed 20 per cent regulatory duty and 15 per cent VAT on billet (secondary raw material of rods) import in the new budget. According to the Bangladesh Auto Re-Rolling and Steel Mills Association (BARSMA), import cost of billet rose to nearly BDT 12,000 per ton from BDT 7,500.
Jute goods exporters get tax benefits
The government has given tax benefits to jute goods exporters to support the industry that has been facing sluggish demand abroad. From this fiscal year, jute goods manufacturers will pay 10% corporate tax on their export earnings until fiscal 2019-20, down from 15% previously. Exporters will also enjoy 0.6% source tax on their export proceeds, as they did last year, until June 30, 2019, according to two separate orders by the National Board of Revenue. The move comes at a time when the jute industry has been suffering sluggish demand for sacks, bags and yarn, owing mainly to the prolonged crisis in the Middle East, a major destination of locally grown and processed natural fibre. “It will be a relief for jute goods exporters,” said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue. The jute sector, which involves about 40 lakh farmers and about 2 lakh workers, processes 50 lakh bales of raw jute out of the average local production of 75 lakh bales a year. About 90% of the jute goods are shipped abroad.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$46.52||(0.28)||(0.60%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$48.10||(0.37)||(0.76%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||18,347.67||+120.74||+0.66%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.33*|
|GBP 1||BDT 102.35*|
|EUR 1||BDT 86.79*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.