Export of agro-products rises 27pc
The country’s export earnings from processed agro-products crossed US$635 million in fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, thanks to the growing global demand. The amount was around 27 per cent higher than that of $500 million in FY ’17. It has registered a 502 per cent rise in the last six years, the available data showed. Quality products, cheap labour, competitiveness, government’s policy support and cash incentives have helped promote this emerging sector. Sector insiders said a modern testing lab, better utility services and building farmers’ awareness are central to the $1.0 billion export target by 2021. Major exportables are juice, drinks, puffed rice, snacks, spices, chanachur, biscuit, pickle, frozen vegetables, vermicelli, potato flakes/starch, jam-jelly, candy, mustard oil and flattened rice. Pran Group, IBCO Food Industries, Eurasia Food Processing (BD), Square Consumer Products, Raj-Kamal Corporation, Bonoful & Co, Azmi Foods and Aline Food Products are the leading exporters. Bengal Meat Processing Industries, Bikrampur Consumer Products and Prome Agro Food Products are also among the 150 companies exporting foods abroad. Pran contributes more than 60-70 per cent of the total processed food exports. It earned $330 million in last fiscal. In early years, especially before 2000, agro-food export was limited and earnings too. It was nearly $21.56 million in FY 2001-2002. The sector earned $240.40 million in FY ’16 and $224.20 million in FY ’15. The figures were $153.50 million and $101.49 million in FY ’14 and FY ’13 respectively. Currently, local manufacturers export to 144 destinations, including the United States, the United Kingdom and India.
US-China trade war starts to bite Asian countries
The US-China tariff slugfest has for month’s triggered warnings that it could impact global economic growth, and recent data indicates the trade tension is indeed beginning to bite. China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures factory activity, came in at 50.2 in October, down from 50.8 the previous month, the latest sign of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy amid the trade war and a domestic debt problem. Taiwan saw its steepest falls in production and new business in just over three years, purchasing activity by companies fell for the first time since May 2016, and firms anticipate lower factory output in the next 12 months. South Korea’s PMI slipped to 51.0 in October from 51.3 in September, while a separate Korean business sentiment index for manufacturing sank to its lowest level in two years. The International Monetary Fund warned at its annual meeting last month that the trade friction and other threats would hobble the world economy, lowering its growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019. Vietnam, in particular, looks to gain as foreign manufacturers relocate out of China to escape the trade war crossfire and what many say is an increasingly unfair playing field for foreign companies in China.
World Congress of Accountants kicks off today in Sydney
A major international 4-day accounting conference begins in Sydney today (Monday) that will bring together more than 6,000 delegates from over 130 countries to hear world-class speakers and leaders from the finance and business community. The World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) is a momentous event for the global accountancy profession, a chance to engage with visionaries and leaders and bring own expertise to the fore on the world stage. A group of finance and accounting professionals, CEOs and other delegates from professional accounting body like Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) among, others are participating in the high-profile congress. The first way of artificial intelligence will shift the shape of accounting is that it will automate all the manual and repeatable tasks. After AI has taken over those jobs, it will then find interesting patterns and correlations in the data that accountants look at every day and give them new insights and possibly creative ways of doing their work.
Low-cost loans empower women
Lower interest rates have a direct impact on women empowerment and ensure their active participation in the financial sector. Midas Financing Ltd (MFL), one of the top non-bank financial institutions in the country, organised an event to acknowledge achievements of women entrepreneurs and encourage them. Women entrepreneurs at the grassroots who achieved remarkable success shared their stories and the support they received from the MFL in their journey. The MFL has distributed SME loans among 887 women entrepreneurs, who accounted for 20 percent of the total amount disbursed. Besides, there are a huge number of women who availed other loan products and expanded their business successfully. Apart from providing financial services and benefits, the MFL has extended support in the form of training programmes, investment plans, management guidance and marketing strategies.
Teletalk to inject Tk 5,554cr to boost network
Teletalk is set to go on a massive investment haul to expand its network and upgrade its existing infrastructure with the view to getting it up to speed with its nimble-footed competitors. The operator is now dealing with five separate projects involving Tk 5,554.24 crore to establish 6,800 new towers with a mixture of 2G, 3G and 4G capability and upgrade 5,494 of its existing towers to 3G and 4G, according to a document of the parliamentary standing committee. As of September, Teletalk has 39.45 lakh active SIMs, yielding the operator a 2.53 percent market share. Teletalk’s revenue in fiscal 2016-17 shrank about 28 percent year-on-year to Tk 710 crore — the lowest in three years. LG U+ has offered Teletalk a commercial loan of $1.2 billion for infrastructure development and improvement of the core network, according to the document of the parliamentary standing committee. One of its conditions is that Teletalk will have to take steps to ensure 4G coverage in 98 percent of Bangladesh’s geographical area with 11,275 towers. The government has also given a loan of Tk 675 crore to establish and upgrade about 1,700 towers for 2G/3G network of the country’s smallest operator. Teletalk has also sought a Tk 3,282.15 crore fund from the government to build 4,000 towers for 3G and 4G network expansion. It would give us a boost if the government approves the project. Plans have already been taken to develop solar power run towers with an Indian credit of Tk 425.52 crore in areas where there is no electricity. Above all, the state-run company will get another Tk 184.57 crore from the social obligation fund—created with 1 percent of the gross revenue of all the telecom operators but Teletalk—for network expansion in haor areas.
PepsiCo sees massive potential in Bangladesh
The soft drinks industry has tremendous potential in Bangladesh, which is a home to a big pool of young population and has posted healthy economic growth in the last 10 years. The industry normally grows along with the economy, which is evident from annual per capita consumption of soft drinks in developed countries: it is 450 bottles in Germany, 550 in the US and 600 in Mexico but only 17 in Bangladesh. Bangladesh also lags behind its peers in Saarc — India 25 bottles, Vietnam 45 and Sri Lanka 40. The CSD manufacturers in Bangladesh are burdened with a whopping 43.75 percent value-added tax and supplementary duty, which is much lower in other Saarc nations. Such taxes hover around 35.3 percent in India, 29.2 percent in Sri Lanka, 24.2 percent in Nepal and 30 percent in Bhutan. The government should lower the existing 25 percent VAT on the CSD, which was 15 percent four to five years ago. In the last six years, the CSD manufacturers have invested around Tk 4,000 crore in the industry. The sector has grown at 7-8 percent annually in the last five years whereas Transcom Beverages has grown more than 18 times since its inception in 2000. The list of our products include Pepsi, 7 Up, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Slice, Pepsi Diet, Pepsi Black, 7 Up Lite and Aquafina. PepsiCo now occupies over 50 percent market share in the carbonated soft drinks category thanks mainly to the champion brand 7 Up. Transcom Beverages has so far invested close to $180 million in the industry, said Chowdhury, who is one of the global recipients of the PepsiCo President’s Ring of Honor award for his performance in 2010. It won the award as the highest taxpayer company in fiscal 2014-15 and 2016-17 in the food and allied category and achieved “AAA” credit rating from 2012 to 2017.
LankaBangla Finance signs deal with Praava Health
LankaBangla Finance Ltd (LBFL) recently signed a MOU with Praava Health for its customer privilege, according to a statement. Under the MOU, LBFL Card member will enjoy up to 15 per cent discount or EMI facility up to 12 months at zero per cent interest under ezypay scheme from Praava Health.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 62.69||↓0.45||↓0.71%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 72.43||↓0.40||↓0.55%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,231.95||↓0.94||↓0.08%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.8500|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.8876|
|EUR 1||BDT 94.4465|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1511|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.