Domestic demand to drive economy: WB
Aided by domestic demand, the World Bank (WB) has said Bangladesh economy will expand at a rate of 7.0 per cent during the current fiscal year. The projection is lower than the official target of 7.8 per cent set for the current fiscal. The government said the country achieved 7.86 per cent gross domestic product growth during fiscal year 2018. The 7.0 per cent, 7.2 per cent, 7.6 per cent GDP growth is not a big factor, but the issue is the quality and sustainable development of a country. In the 90s, Bangladesh’s GDP-debt ratio was about 31.4 per cent which now at comfortable 12-13 per cent rate. But the government’s higher borrowing like trade financing for the mega projects are creating vulnerability gradually. Padma Bridge investing nearly Tk 40,000 crore (Tk 400 billion). It may cross Tk 50,000 crore (Tk 500 billion) at the final stage. The government should calculate the economic rate of return from its huge investment. By prioritizing more efficient plants, Bangladesh can reduce idled gas capacity by 8.0 per cent and electricity shortages by 15 per cent a year, the report said, adding the government needs to focus on smarter pricing of electricity through a cost-based pricing mechanism, better load management, and increased efficiency in electricity generation. Better load management alone could save $1.65 billion annually in fuel cost. Bangladesh can also benefit from boosting regional trade and strengthening the cross-border electricity transmission network.
Remittance inflow rises 32pc in Sept
The expatriate Bangladeshis have sent home over $1.13 billion in September, an increase of about 32 per cent from the same period a year earlier, reports bdnews24.com. In the first three months (July-September) of the current fiscal year, expatriates remitted over $3.86 billion, which is 13.73 per cent higher than the remittance sent in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, according to latest data released by the Bangladesh Bank. A rise in global oil prices, the stronger dollar against Taka and the central bank’s steps to encourage expatriates to remit funds through legal channels are the reasons for the higher remittance inflow. The remittance growth has also boosted foreign currency reserves that were $32.12 billion.
Fair price for garment export
Isn’t it paradoxical that while global garment retailers insist on transforming garment factories into green production units at substantial costs, there is yet no sign of even a marginal hike in the prices? Since the incidents of Tazreen fire in November 2012 and Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013 that shook the entire garment industry with potential threats for the future, the country’s readymade garment factories have undergone large-scale renovation works to ensure safety of the workers. The two representative agencies of international buyers – the EU-based Accord and North America-based Alliance, along with local inspection agencies, have successfully accomplished the task of factory remediation in respect of about 80 per cent of the 5000 garment factories-mostly located in Dhaka and Chottogram. The factories received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). A LEED-certified factory ensures 25-30 per cent less water and energy consumption, and fewer industrial accidents, like fire. Reports say that around 70 garment factories have received LEED certification from USGBC. Another 280 factories are in the process of getting LEED certification. Among all the exporting countries taken together, Indonesia’s position is next to Bangladesh with 50 LEED certified garment factories. The owners’ argument that raising workers’ wage is contingent on fair price of their products can not be sensibly dismissed as a dull excuse.
Stocks post marginal gains after bumpy ride
Market insiders said a section of investors sold shares from power, financial institutions and telecom sectors while some took position on banking, textile and cement issues. Meanwhile, listed companies with low capitalisation continued to dominate the gainers’ chart though they had no price sensitive information (PSI). Pacific Denims was the day’s highest gainer with 10 per cent increase, followed by Dragon Sweater with 9.89 per cent, Fine Foods 9.82 per cent, VFS Thread 9.70 per cent and Metro Spinning 8.86 per cent. The market showed upward trend during the first hour of trading reaching as high as 5,394 points, but started falling afterwards. However, last minutes buying spree helped the index to close slightly higher. At the end of the session, DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), went up by 11.02 points or 0.20 per cent to settle at 5,380 over the previous day. The power sector saw the highest loss of 0.91 per cent, followed by financial institutions with 0.69 per cent, telecommunication 0.17 per cent, pharmaceuticals 0.13 per cent and engineering 0.11 per cent. A total number of 119,619 trades were executed in the day’s trading session with trading volume of 124.28 million securities. The market capitalisation of the DSE stood at Tk 3,872 billion on the day which was Tk 3,873 billion in the previous session.
Motorbike sales zoom up
Motorbike sales have seen a significant rise in the country over the past several years as the import-based industry gets a boost from the government’s policy support. According to trade insiders, about 0.25 million motorbikes were sold annually before 2015. The figure has now almost doubled to 0.44 million. Following a ‘tax review’ in fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, the industry witnessed a significant growth in sales as the prices of two-wheelers came down. Presently, the sales growth rate is now 11 per cent. The demand for motorbikes may rise to 0.5 to 0.6 million by FY 2020-21. Uttara Motors has a 45 per cent market share in the country. According to the BRTA, the number of motorcycles registered only in Dhaka increased to 4,69,888 in April 2018 from 2,10,081 in 2010. In 2017, around 75,251 motorcycles were registered with the BRTA. Introduction of ride-sharing services in the country has caused the demand for two-wheelers to rise manifold, businesses and BRTA officials pointed out. Currently, there are 1.4 million registered motorbikes in the country.
Mirsarai Economic Zone to have technology centre
The government is going to set up a technology centre in the Mirsarai Economic Zone to facilitate export diversification, create skilled workforce and support technical development. The technology centre (TC) will be established on an area of 10 acres of land in the Economic Zone (EZ) and it will be operated through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode in cooperation with the stakeholders concerned. The stakeholders will be provided with required technical cooperation and services through the technology centre. Now 80 to 85 per cent of the country’s export earnings come from the readymade garment sector, followed by pharmaceutical industry, jute and jute products, leather and leather goods, bicycle, ceramics and sanitary ware.
FBCCI for reducing land registration fee
Leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) have called for reducing the registration fee for lands and apartments. They also called for changing the provision of paying registration fee in every selling and buying, and stressed upgrading the land-keeping system. The issues were discussed at a meeting of the FBCCI Standing Committee relating to the Ministry of Land at its conference centre in the city on Tuesday. The FBCCI leaders also stressed the need for solving the water-logging issues and recovering the city canals, and sought steps to strengthen the activities of Detailed Area Plan (DAP). It also urged the authorities concerned to upgrade the Land Development Act.
Solar firm secures $1.66m from global investors
A local solar energy firm, SOLshare, has secured $1.66 million from three global investors as it seeks to widen people’s access to clean energy. The three investors are: Singapore-based IIX Growth Fund, Silicon Valley-based innogy New Ventures LLC, and Portuguese utility firm EDP. The funds will be used to increase access to clean energy for more than 19,000 rural households and 14,000 micro-entrepreneurs, and address climate change by avoiding more than 2,200 tonnes of carbon emissions by 2021. SOLshare is making affordable clean energy and offers the world’s first peer-to-peer solar electricity trading platform for off-grid households in Bangladesh. The aim is to create efficient and dynamic local energy markets that empower households and encourage solar entrepreneurship – starting in Bangladesh, followed by India before the end of this year, and eventually on a global scale. Bangladesh has five million solar home systems installed – more than any other country in the world. However, more than half of Bangladesh’s population has no or only poor access to electricity, and demand has reached nearly double the country’s generating capacity, said the statement. The country also faces significant unmet energy needs as its power generation is dependent on limited energy sources—imported fossil fuel and natural gas. Furthermore, grid extension is not always feasible and in some cases technically challenging.
SIBL signs deal with REB
Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) signed a corporate deal with Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB) for collecting electricity bills of REB through SIBL agent banking outlets at the office of REB recently, according to a statement. Md. Sirajul Hoque, Deputy Managing Director of SIBL and Md. Hossain Patwary, Director (Finance) of REB signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. Md. Zia Uddin and Prashenjit Kumar Ghos, Deputy Directors of REB and M.A. Mottaleb, SVP and Head of Branches Control & General Banking Division of SIBL were also present in the programme.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX|| 5,369.91286 || ↑11.02|| ↑0.21%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 75.24|| ↑0.01||↑0.01%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 84.86||↑0.06||↑0.07%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,207.64||↑4.32||↑0.36%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 84.2000|
|GBP 1||BDT 109.4011|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.5204|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1487|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.