Govt shows GDP grew by record 7.86pc in FY18, experts doubt
Bangladesh’s gross domestic product growth hit record 7.86 per cent, beating the provisional estimation by 0.21 percentage points, in the past fiscal year of 2017-2018, according to the final calculation done by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. BBS in its provisional estimate in April said that economic growth of the country would be 7.65 per cent in FY18 against the government’s target of 7.4 per cent for the fiscal year. According to BBS, all the three sectors — agriculture, industry and services — grew faster than the provisional estimation. Agricultural sector finally grew by 4.19 per cent while industry grew by 12.06 per cent and services by 6.39 per cent. BBS’s initial growth projection was 3.06 per cent, 11.99 per cent and 6.33 per cent for agriculture, industry and services respectively. The contribution of agriculture, industry and services sectors stood at 13.82 per cent, 30.17 per cent and 56 per cent respectively in the year. The new per capita income reached $1,751 or Tk. 1,43,789 in the year, one dollar less than the provisional estimation. The figure was $ 1,610 in FY17. The size of the country’s GDP stood at $274.11 billion in the year.
Diversifying Bangladesh’s export basket
For long, Bangladesh was depending on only one product – readymade garment or RMG for its export to other countries. Roughly, 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s $ 33 billion export comes from this item, the others like jute goods, leather and pharmaceutical items account for the rest of the value. We had been hearing of the needs of export diversification from the policymakers and business leaders for long, but the truth is it is yet to happen. The country would have remained a desperately poor country had its 60 million or so people have not been working outside the country. Known as the Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), they are sending home $ 15 billion per annum. What Bangladesh is depending on to meet its foreign exchange needs is the remittances from the NRBs amounting to $ 15 billion p.a. and the export value amounting to $ 33 billion. Bangladesh availed of in term of its RMG export was offered by the European Union first, later on, by other advanced economies like the USA, Canada and Japan. These doors of export were opened through trade talks under the sponsorship of the WTO, but unfortunately those doors meant for making global trade free are now shut. Bangladesh in export value and the number of export items it is sending out to other countries. Agro products like vegetables, potato, tomato, dry fruits have prospects for export. But maintaining strict quality in these products is important while trying to send them abroad. There is a rising demand for organic agro products aboard and Bangladesh should try to send such products while trying to diversify the export basket.
IsDB invites Bangladesh to subscribe to Islamic bonds
Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has invited Bangladesh to subscribe to its second edition of Sukuk (Islamic bonds), officials said. The bond is scheduled to be floated this month. Under its US$ 25 billion medium-term note (MTN) programme, IsDB issues the bond to meet its funding requirements. IsDB president Dr Bandar M H Hajjar in a recent letter to Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir wrote that successful issuance of this year’s Sukuk will not only raise cost-effective funding for IsDB, but will also benefit all member countries in terms of lower pricing for all IsDB-sponsored development projects in their countries. The last time in March this year, the IsDB issued a $1.25 billion, 5-year fixed rate Sukuk. The Sukuk was priced at par at 3.10 per cent, to be payable on semi-annual basis. Bangladesh imports a major portion of petroleum products with IsDB’s loan provided by its trade finance arm– International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). According to an IsDB release, Bangladesh is the largest beneficiary of financing with the bank’s total financing for the country to date over $21.7 billion.
Loans for farmers to be cheaper
The central bank has moved to slash the lending rate on farm loans by one percentage point to 8 percent as most banks have cut the rates of their major loan products. In July, majority of the banks announced that they cut interest rate on term loans, working capital and trade financing to 9 percent from the previous range of 11 to 13 percent. The decision of the Bangladesh Association of Banks, a forum of the directors of private lenders, to bring down the interest rates on lending and deposit to 9 percent and 6 percent respectively will help the central bank revise the farm lending rate. Besides, weighted average interest rate on lending ranged between 9.30 percent and 9.96 percent throughout the last fiscal year, creating leeway to reduce the rate on agriculture loans. Farm loan disbursement rose 1.88 percent year-on-year to Tk 21,393 crore in 2017-18, according to data from the BB. As per the central bank’s policy, banks have to set aside at least 2 percent of their total loans for the agriculture sector.
Top 10 traded companies clinch 40pc transaction
Top ten traded companies captured 40 per cent turnover of the major bourse on Tuesday while Khulna Power Company topped the chart for third day in a row. Market insiders said the investors continued to show their buying appetite on Khulna Power’s shares amid higher dividend expectation. In the last one month, its share price jumped 91 per cent or Tk 61.60 each to close at Tk 129.30 on Tuesday. It was also the highest closing price since listing of the company with the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) in 2010. The power generation company’s share traded between Tk 53 and Tk 131.90 each in the last one year. Khulna Power, which was listed on the DSE in 2010, disbursed 55 per cent cash dividend in 2017. In 2016, it paid 75 per cent cash dividend. The company’s earnings per share (EPS) stood at Tk 1.21 for January-March 2018 as against Tk 1.40 for January-March 2017. In nine months for EPS was Tk 3.93 for July 2017-March 2018 as against Tk 3.91 for July 2016-March 2017. The company’s paid-up capital is Tk 3.61 billion, authorised capital is Tk 7.0 billion and the total number of securities is 361.28 million. Paramount Textile featured a turnover of Tk 150 million. The company’s share price rose 3.72 per cent to close at Tk 66.90 each. Nahee Aluminum Composite Panel was also included in the top 10 turnover chart with shares of Tk 145 million changing hands. The company’s share price closed at Tk 78.60 each, remaining unchanged over the previous day.
BD mobile industry fifth largest in Asia Pacific
The mobile industry in Bangladesh has become the fifth largest in the Asia Pacific, with 85 million unique subscribers and 145 million connections as of 2017. The telecommunications has boomed over the last decade, revealed a global report on the sector recently. The GSMA released the study report styled ‘Spectrum Pricing in Developing Countries’. Mobile operators play a crucial role in supporting ‘Digital Bangladesh and Vision 2021′ initiatives and achieving sustainable development goals, he added. In 2015, the mobile ecosystem generated 6.2 per cent of GDP [gross domestic product], amounting to around $13 billion of economic value added. With the February 2018 spectrum auction, policymakers made important steps towards introducing 4G/LTE services in support of Digital Bangladesh. The reserve prices of $30 million per MHz in 900 and 1800 MHz bands and $27 million per MHz in 2100 MHz band were extremely high, reads the study. Even when compared to the average for developing countries in the region, ARPU in Bangladesh was, on average, 56 per cent lower over the period studied. High reserve prices discourage participation and create the risk that spectrum will go unsold. Unused spectrum provides no value to consumers or the greater economy
Project for trade promotion gets extension
Project for trade promotion gets extension. Under the project, the government has imparted training to government officials, members of think-tanks and trade bodies and university teachers so that they could help promote the country’s trade. So far, they have achieved 34 per cent of the target during the project. Under the project, he said, government officials, representatives of trade bodies, university teachers and think-tank members will receive training on 41 issues. Of them, 10 issues are related to e-commerce. A total of 430 people have received training on 17 trade-related issues to date. The commerce ministry official said the MoC will complete a terms of reference (study) within the next one month where it will maintain a database with updated trade-related information. Besides, it will recommend ways to address the issues related to non-tariff barriers facing the exporters.
Technology transfer triggering contentious trade issues
The escalating trade war between China and the United States is hurting both the countries, posing threat to global slowdown. Is it about just steel and soybean? Why should a great economy like the USA bother too much about such trifling issues? Or, is it about technology transfer posing threat to trade supremacy? In a recent opinion article, Wharton dean Geoffrey Garrett stated, “recent trade skirmishes between China and the United States are less about steel and soybeans and more about which country will be the leader in global innovation in the 21st century.” It’s less steel, soybeans and solar panels, but more about electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence. China appears to be a very real challenge to American and its ally’s global dominance in the innovation economy.
420,872 tonnes of Aus production likely in Sylhet division
The total yield of Aus crop has been estimated to be 420,872 tonnes of rice in Sylhet division this season, an official informed this afternoon as harvest of the crop ended last week. It includes 138,397 tonnes from the 55,385 hectares of land in Sylhet, 127,516 tonnes from the 48,185 hectares in Moulvibazar, 120,579 tonnes from the 46,604 hectares in Habiganj and the rest 34,380 tonnes from 13,490 hectares in Sunamganj district, the official added. However, crops on another 6,416 hectares of lands were damaged during the season due to excess rains and flash floods at the beginning of the cropping season. The farmers had cultivated 170,077 hectares, about 97 per cent of the targeted 174,824 hectares. The DAE in the last year had to revise the division’s target from its initial area of 133,028 hectares to 176,919. However, the total Aus paddy cultivated area stood at 170, 782 hectares that season. It includes 9,000 bighas in each of Sylhet, Moulvibazar and Habiganj districts and 3,000 bighas in Sunamganj district. The total amount includes, Tk 159,75000 for each of Sylhet, Moulvibazar and Habiganj districts while Tk 4792,500 is for Sunamganj district. from districts the per hectare yield stood at 2.94 tonens of rice from the hybrid while it was 2.6 tonnes from high yielding varieties and 1.31 tonnes from the local varieties this season.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX|| 5472.60157 || ↓10.42||↓0.47%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 69.85||↑0.00||↑0.00%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 78.98||↓0.05||↓0.06%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.8715|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.2910|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.8864|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1530|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.