Bangladesh Bank (BB) creates USD 240m fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has created a USD 240 million refinancing fund for providing loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at low interest. Asian Development Bank (ADB) will contribute USD 200 million while the government will provide the rest USD 40 million to the fund. Under the refinance scheme, banks and financial institutions (FIs) can provide maximum 90% of the total project cost and borrower will have to bear the rest of the cost. The highest tenure of a mid-term loan will be three years, for a long-term loan will be five years and the maximum limit is BDT 30 million for an individual borrower with Dhaka and Chittagong metropolitan areas being excluded from such loans. The central bank will take four% interest from the banks and FIs. But BB has directed the banks to give loans to male borrowers based on market rate of interest. From the fund, 15% will be reserved for women entrepreneurs and the highest interest rate for them will be 10%
Farm lending rises 17.67pc
Lending to the agriculture sector rose 17.67 percent year-on-year to Tk 6,204.76 crore in the first four months of 2017-18 thanks to banks’ keenness to channel more funds to farms, official figures showed. In July-October, eight state-owned commercial and specialised banks — Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali, BASIC, BDBL, Bangladesh Krishi, and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank — together lent Tk 2,383 crore in agriculture loans. The amount is 24.85 percent of their combined annual farm loan lending target of Tk 9,590 crore. Private and foreign banks together provided Tk 3,821 crore in agriculture loans during the period. The sum is more than a third of their total yearly agriculture lending goal. Bangladesh Bank officials said banks sitting on surplus liquidity have showed increased interest in disbursing agriculture credit amid a sluggish trend in the industrial sector credit growth. Loans going to industries registered 13.51 percent growth in 2016-17 compared to 20.77 percent in the previous year, according to data from the BB. The tepid growth came despite a sharp decline in interest rates on lending. In fact, the growth of the industrial loan disbursement fell to a five-year low in the last fiscal year.
Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL)’s seven new directors revealed
Social Islami Bank Ltd yesterday sent the names of the seven new directors it appointed to replace those who resigned on Monday to the Bangladesh Bank for approval. The four other shareholder directors are: Arshadul Alam, representative of Leader Business Enterprise; Mohammad Anisur Rahman, representative of Lion Securities and Investment; Ali Hasan Md Mahmud Ribon, representative of Dynamic Ventures; and Md Jahangir Hossain, representative of Reliable Entrepreneurs while the new two independent directors are AJM Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.
HSBC honours export heroes
HSBC Bangladesh has recognised five local exporters for their leadership in brightening the country’s image and contributing to the nation’s sustainable growth. The winners of the ‘7th HSBC Export Excellence Awards’ are: Square Fashions, Tarasima Apparels, Envoy Textiles, Seamark (BD), and Classical Handmade Products Bangladesh. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed handed over the trophies to the companies’ owners at a ceremony held at the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden Hotel in the capital on Friday. Square Fashions, an enterprise of Square Group, won the ‘Exporter of the Year’ trophy in the readymade garment company category for annual export turnover of more than $100 million. The company, which began production in 2001, ships to 25 globally acclaimed brands and 75 countries. Tapan Chowdhury, managing director of Square Group, received the award. Tarasima Apparels won the award in the readymade garment category for annual export turnover of up to $100 million.
Investment-GDP ratio hits 30pc on public investment
The share of investment in gross domestic product, for the first time, exceeded 30 per cent benchmark in the last fiscal year 2016-2017, mainly riding on rising public investment. The growth of private investment, the main driver of the economy, in the GDP remained meager in the year. Experts and economists expressed doubts over the quality of the increased share of investment in GDP in the year as the rise occurred mainly based on public investment while private investmentgrowth remained almost stagnant. According to the final GDP data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, overall investment-GDP ratio rose by 0.86 percentage points to 30.51 per cent in FY 2017 from that of 29.65 per cent a year ago. The share of public investment in GDP increased by 0.75 percentage points and stood at 7.41 per cent in the year which was 6.66 per cent in FY 2016. On the other hand, the share of private investment rose by merely 0.11 percentage points to 23.10 per cent from 22.99 per cent, the data released on Thursday showed. Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal revealed the details of the GDP at a press conference held at National Economic Council auditorium at Agargaon in Dhaka.
Exports up 7.0pc in July-October
Country’s export earnings grew by 7.03 per cent to US$11.50 billion during first four months of the current fiscal year (FY 2017 18), according to official data released Thursday. The earnings were $10.79 billion in the same period (July-October) last FY. In October 2017, the exports grew by 6.42 per cent to $2.84 billion, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed. The overall exports in the first four months slightly (0.74 per cent) fell short of the period’s target. In October, however, the exports were 6.28 per cent higher than the month’s strategic target. Readymade garment shipments fetched $9.43 billion, marking 6.99 per cent growth during the period as compared to $8.82 billion in the same period of last FY. The woven items registered 3.85 per cent growth in earnings to $4.45 billion than that of $4.28 billion in the same period of FY 2016-17. The earnings from knitwear export during the period grew by 9.95 per cent to $4.98 billion from $4.53 billion in the corresponding period of last FY. Jute and jute goods exports rose by 16.46 per cent to $345.01 million from $296.26 million in the same period of FY17. The earnings from agriculture products grew by 20.22 per cent during the period while home textiles by 20.37 per cent.
Inflation falls to 6.04pc in Oct
Inflation came down slightly to 6.04 percent in October riding on the decline in food prices, official figures showed. Last month, general inflation decreased 8 basis points from September’s 6.12 percent, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), which released the data yesterday. Food inflation fell 25 basis points to 7.62 percent last month after reaching a 38-month high of 7.87 percent in September. Prices of all varieties of rice, a key determinant of overall inflation as it accounts for 23 percent of the commodity basket in the consumer price index, went down. In recent months, rice prices rose to record highs, reflecting the dwindling supplies following flood-induced losses to the main boro crop coupled with reduced production and imports in 2016. About 20 lakh tonnes of boro crop were damaged this year, according to the food ministry. In September, coarse rice price in Dhaka city was Tk 52.54 a kg in contrast to Tk 34.62 a year earlier. Similarly, price of fine rice in September was Tk 62.46 to Tk 66.30, which was Tk 53.90 to Tk 55 a year earlier.Rice prices dropped about Tk 2 a kg for all varieties of the staple in October.
Local companies, MNCs see moderate rise in foreign shareholders’ stake
The quantity of stakes held by foreign shareholders in some listed local and multinational companies rose moderately during December 31, 2016 to October 31, 2017. IDLC Finance, Olympic Industries, Square Pharmaceuticals, British American Tobacco Bangladesh Company (BATBC), ACME Laboratories, City Bank, BRAC Bank, Delta Brac Housing Finance Corporation and Beximco Pharmaceuticals witnessed rise of foreign stakes during the period.
Women’s overseas jobs rebound in October
More than 100,000 Bangladeshi women workers have secured overseas jobs in the last 10 months to October, the government has said. Of the total, two-thirds of the women were recruited by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), where they were employed mainly in the housekeeping sector, according to the data of the state-run Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET). Sector-insiders said although the outflow of women workers dropped slightly after May, it picked up from the last month. They expressed the hope that the upward trend in recruitment will continue over the remaining part of the year. The BMET statistics showed that in the January-October period, around 100,136 women workers went overseas with employment. Of them, some 66,773 workers went to Saudi Arabia, up from 57,604 in 2016. Jordan has become the second-largest recipient country of Bangladeshi female workers recruiting 17,400 (17.4%) female migrants, followed by Oman 7,879, Qatar 2,775, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2,712 in the last 10 months.
Budget financing biggest challenge, says CPD
Financing the 2015-16 fiscal budget will be its biggest challenge, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said today placing doubts on whether the revenue target can be met. The think-tank expressed this in its reaction on the BDT 2950 billion budget, the biggest ever in history, placed at the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. The mega budget aims 7% growth and targets over BDT 2008 billion in revenue – 84% of which will be provided by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in the form of VAT, income tax, import duty and others. The think tank believes that sufficient initiatives have not been taken in the budget to boost private investment in the country which has remained sluggish over the past two years.
BTRC draft policy sets 4G speed at 20 Mbps
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has drafted a set of standards for quality of service for the mobile network operators, asking them to ensure minimum 20 Mbps (megabyte per second) downlink speed once 4G service is launched in the country. Although the BTRC is yet to issue licenses to the mobile network operators for 4G, the fourth generation of broadband mobile network technology, the telecom regulator drafted the standards which would be mandatory for the MNOs. The draft standards, titled 4G/LTE Quality of Service (QoS) Parameters for Cellular Mobile Telecom Operators, said that the operators, which would be awarded 4G licenses, must have to ensure 20 Mbps download speed for data throughput. Besides, the mobile phone operators would have to maintain 5 Mbps uplink speed for data throughput. Once the standards for 4G service are finalised, mobile phone operators will have to follow the standards in running the service in entire 4G service area and sub-service area as well. The BTRC will check the speed through drive test on random basis for any zone/area/sub-service area/node. In case of any complaint regarding the QoS issues, the commission may conduct audit or drive test by itself or by any other agency assigned by the commission.
Grameen Phone (GP) responds to ‘tax evasion’ reports
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Grameenphone (GP), Michael Foley, in a statement on Thursday said the company is committed to comply with the final resolution of court, although it has difference of opinions regarding the tax claim worth BDT 20.15 billion lying stuck regarding the pending cases. •. The statement said the company kept ‘relevant’ provisions in its books in full compliance with all international and local accounting standards. The amounts in the cases highlighted by the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under Value Added Tax (VAT) Wing of National Board of Revenue (NBR) represent in aggregate 6.7% of GP’s total contribution to the government of Bangladesh over the last five years, the statement also said. GP sent the statement in response to the Thursday’s media reports on tax evasion allegations against the company in an internal letter from LTU-VAT to Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC). In the letter, the revenue board has raised a claim of unpaid VAT and irregular tax exemptions amounting to BDT 20.15 billion.
Prospects of medicines exports to Iraq getting dimmed
Exports of pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh to Iraq are getting delayed due to a lack of progress in talks despite interests shown by the Arab country. Earlier, the Iraqi ministry of health had expressed its interests to import pharmaceuticals and hire medical professionals from Bangladesh to rebuild its shattered medical sector. The Bangladesh embassy in Baghdad, in a letter to the ministry of foreign affairs on February 28, 2017, cited the Iraqi government’s interests to import pharmaceuticals and enhance cooperation with the country’s health sector.
Vegetables shipment slumps on high prices
The export of vegetables has marked a sharp fall in the wake of spiralling prices of the agricultural produce on the local market, said market-insiders. The export volume slumped by 37 per cent to $9.0 million in the September-October period of the current fiscal year (FY ’18), compared with $13 million in the same period of the last year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). However, the total export of vegetables in the first four months (July-October) of FY ’18 reached $26.8 million. In the local market, the prices of vegetables ranged between Tk 60 (pointed gourd) to Tk 200 (coriander leaf) ($ 0.74 to $2.43) a kg, compared to the price range from Tk 40 to Tk 120 in the corresponding period of last year, according to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM). The DAM data showed that vegetables prices hit the record high in October following two spells of flooding. “Shipments of vegetables to Europe have marked a gradual decline in the last few months as high prices of vegetables in the domestic market have discouraged traders from exporting the produce,” said Shariful Islam Sourav, proprietor of Sohan Enterprise.
Fringe sectors have huge prospects
The local light engineering parts makers can supply 40 of the 900 components needed for assembling a motorcycle, meaning the sector has ample growth opportunities. The demand for the remaining spare parts for the growing sector is met through imports, said Ashraf Ibn Noor, vice-president of Bangladesh Engineering Industries Owners’ Association. On the other hand, the local light engineering sector can supply 70 percent of the spare parts to the local and export-oriented bicycle industry as the sector has grown a lot over the years, he said. Currently, Bangladesh mainly needs to import chains and gears for assembling the bicycles meant for domestic and export purposes. Four or five bicycle exporters use the local spare parts to shorten the lead-time. Similarly, if the government provides proper policy, the local manufacturers can also supply the power tillers, which are imported to meet the demand.
‘E-commerce will boost national economic growth’
There are 50,000 people actively engaged in e-commerce with projections of 1,000,000 people being employed in the sector over the next 10 years. E-commerce sector brings enormous opportunities to the business sector as it makes 24/7 business possible. It makes the economic activities more dynamic. It is a fast growing sector; the annual turnover from this sector was Tk1,000 crore in 2016. Around 50,000 people are currently employed in e-commerce services in Bangladesh. This sector has huge potential that the government must tap into. E-commerce industry will boost the country’s economic growth, but for that it must be recognised as a sector that can contribute to the national economy. Besides the government, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and other such organisations have to consider this sector profitable and include it in their business policies.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||6,282.09||↑ 46.38||↑ 0.74%|
|DJIA||23,358.24||↓ 100.12||↓ 0.43%|
|FTSE100||7,380.68||↓ 6.26||↓ 0.08%|
|Nikkei 225||22,396.80||↑ 45.68||↑ 0.20%|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$56.55||↑ 1.41||↑ 2.56%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$62.72||↑ 1.36||↑ 2.22%|
|Gold Spot*||1,292.41||↑ 13.83||↑ 1.08%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 81.06|
|GBP 1||BDT 107.11|
|EUR 1||BDT 95.57|
|INR 1||BDT 1.25|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.