• Friday, January 30, 2015

Business

BB treads cautious path

BB treads cautious path

The central bank will continue to follow its restrained monetary policy in the second half of the fiscal year in a bid to contain inflation and move to a higher growth path amid the prevailing political unrest. Bangladesh Bank cited three reasons: the annual average CPI inflation is still above the targeted ceiling, core...

No strong links between pay hike and inflation: BB

Bangladesh Bank got mixed results while analysing the impact of pay scales on inflation, according to the new monetary policy statement...

Garment exports to new markets on the rise

Garment exports to new markets on the rise

Garment exports to new destinations are increasing substantially though shipments to...

Samsung to bring smartphone with own operating system

South Korean mobile giant Samsung is set to premiere its Tizen operating system in the country next month by way of...

EPZ investments edge up 12pc

Investments in the eight export processing zones or EPZs went up 12.17 percent year-on-year in the first half of the current fiscal year, getting a boost from new industrial units. Over $213 million was invested in the EPZs in July-December, compared to $190.23 million in the same period last year, data from Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority shows. The companies in operation exported goods worth $2.9 billion between July and December, against $2.59 billion in the same period last year, according...

Central bank to recognise good borrowers

Bangladesh Bank plans to frame a policy to provide incentives to good borrowers, as there has been an allegation that the central bank stands by only defaulters. "I have instructed the concerned department to prepare a rebate policy to provide facilities and incentives to borrowers who have repaid their loans in time," Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said yesterday. The response from the regulator came at the launch of the Monetary Policy Statement for the second half of the current fiscal...

Developing world needs better roads to curb hunger: study

Billion-dollar investments in basic transport and electricity in developing nations are among the best ways to curb hunger by 2030 since a quarter of all food is now wasted after harvest, according to a report issued on Thursday. A total of $239 billion invested over the next 15 years, in road and railway connections to connect farms to markets and in electricity supplies to improve cold storage, would yield benefits of $3.1 trillion by safeguarding food, it said. Mark Rosegrant, lead...

Facebook beats forecasts with strong profit gains

Facebook said Wednesday that profit soared on the wings of mobile ad revenue but stressed it is more concerned with investing in the future than making quick cash. While earnings figures surpassed market forecasts, Facebook executives strived to temper expectations, while stressing they plan to continue aggressively investing to achieve long-range goals. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg described 2014 as a year of heavy investments, with "big bets" placed on mobile communication and next-generation computing with multibillion-dollar buys of WhatsApp and the...

Nokia profits buoyed by growth in North America

Finnish telecom equipment group Nokia reported a sharp rise in annual net profit Thursday, boosted by a substantial one-off tax-related gain and strong North America sales in the fourth quarter. The group's net profit in 2014 soared fivefold to 1.16 billion euros ($1.31 billion) compared to the previous year, due in part to a tax gain worth 1.4 billion euros from its businesses in Germany and Finland. Operating profit was slashed by a third to 170 million euros while sales were...

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Philippines confident of faster growth after 2014 rebound

Philippine officials voiced confidence the country had escaped a "boom-bust cycle" as they predicted on Thursday that economic growth would accelerate in 2015, after expansion last year beat international expectations. The economy grew 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, new figures showed, offsetting weaker growth in the previous nine months to boost full-year gross domestic product (GDP) expansion to 6.1 percent, exceeding forecasts from major international institutions. The rebound puts the country on a high-growth trajectory not seen in...

After Vodafone, India changes tax rules to boost investment

India's decision to drop a tax dispute with Vodafone Group Plc is likely to mean relief for Royal Dutch Shell PLC and others caught in similar, protracted battles, as the government tries to attract much-needed foreign investment. India's image as an investment destination has been tarnished by a reputation for red tape, unpredictable rules and a tax office long seen as over zealous in its pursuit of foreign firms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, seeking to reboot a slowing economy,...

Japan's top steelmaker cuts full-year profit forecast

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal said Thursday its nine-month net profit dropped 20.3 percent as it slashed its full-year profit forecast, citing the impact of plunging oil prices on a Brazilian unit. The Tokyo-based company, one of the world's biggest steelmakers, said its earnings for the April to December period came in at 153.6 billion yen ($1.3 billion), while sales rose 3.6 percent to 4.18 trillion yen. Nippon Steel blamed part of the profit slump on a 68.6 billion yen extraordinary...

China's challenge: Moving from copier to innovator

China's challenge: Moving from copier to innovator

When Brent Hoberman, the founder of online interior design and furniture store Mydeco.com, visited China one man in particular was keen to meet him, offering to meet any time of day or night. When they got together, the man explained that in 2007 he too had wanted to launch some kind of web business...

Asian airlines slash fuel surcharges but fares likely to rise

Asian airlines are slashing fuel surcharges as oil prices hover at six-year lows, but passengers hoping for cheaper tickets will be disappointed as carriers are likely to bump up fares to maintain margins. Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd became the latest airline to eliminate the surcharge on Tuesday, but at the same time said it was raising base fares as oil was not cheap enough to offset the impact of competition on international routes. Aviation experts say other airlines are likely to...

Uber steers anti-taxi idea to become global phenomenon

Uber steers anti-taxi idea to become global phenomenon

Unlike many American startups, Uber was not founded in someone's garage, but was conceived instead on a cold night in Paris, when two tech entrepreneurs could not find a taxi. Uber chief Travis Kalanick and co-founder Garrett Camp were attending the technology conference Le Web in late 2008, where they were brainstorming ideas for...

IMF begins work on 'Plan B' as US blocks reforms

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it would begin working on alternatives to its stalled, five-year-old reform program after passing another year without the required ratification by the US government. In a proposal mapped out by the IMF executive board, the global crisis lender will take six months to see what can be salvaged from the 2010 reforms, originally backed by Washington, the IMF's largest shareholder, but now blocked in the US Congress. The IMF did not say what the so-called...

Samsung posts first annual profit decline in 3yrs

Samsung Electronics posted its first drop in annual net profit in three years Thursday and saw resurgent arch-rival Apple barge in on its pole position as the world's top smartphone maker. The South Korean firm, whose key mobile phone operations have struggled in the face of intense competition from cut-price Chinese rivals, also warned that it expected 2015's "business environment... to be as challenging as 2014." The tech giant said Thursday it recorded a net profit of 23.4 trillion won ($21.45...

Nearly 100 trade probes against China in 2014

China's trade partners launched nearly 100 investigations into its exports last year, Beijing said Thursday, blaming rising protectionism due to a lacklustre global recovery and the country's growing economic clout. The Asian powerhouse was targeted by 22 countries and regions with 97 trade probes, including 61 anti-dumping cases and 14 anti-subsidy investigations, commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said. "To a certain extent, the intense trade friction is a by-product of China becoming the world's biggest trading country in goods and second-largest...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Shell announces profit fall on sliding oil prices

Shell announces profit fall on sliding oil prices

Energy group Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday announced an eight-percent drop in annual net profits owing to a slump in global oil prices and said it would accelerate spending cuts. Profit after tax dropped to $15.05 billion (13.3 billion euros) in 2014 compared with the Anglo-Dutch company's performance one year earlier, dragged down by...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Political turmoil biggest risk to stockmarket

Political turmoil biggest risk to stockmarket

Political instability will be the biggest risk to the economy and the capital market this year, a recent survey found. Half of the respondents in the survey, conducted by LankaBangla Securities between December 29 last year and January 10 this year, identified political turmoil as the biggest risk factor for the capital market as...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Beximco Pharma secures $51.6m from German bank

Beximco Pharmaceuticals will borrow about $51.6 million from Frankfurt-based BHF-Bank Aktiengesellshaft to expand its production. The local drug maker, a unit of business conglomerate Beximco Group, struck a loan deal with the German bank, according to a posting on the Dhaka Stock Exchange website yesterday. Beximco Pharma has also received approval from the Board of Investment of Bangladesh to raise the fund, which will be utilised to partially finance a new plant and machinery purchase. The loan will come at an interest...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Poultry operators plan to raise investment

Poultry operators plan to raise investment

Poultry industry operators are aiming to double their investment by 2020 from the existing Tk 25,000 crore to raise protein consumption in the country and explore global opportunities. The boost in investment will take the sector's total employment, both direct and indirect, to one crore from the present 70 lakh, entrepreneurs said. “We have huge...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Real estate suffers for political strife

The ongoing political turbulence has emerged as the latest setback for the real estate sector, which is already bearing the brunt of high interest rates. “The nonstop blockade has affected our sector significantly as we cannot transport raw materials to construction sites,” said Md Wahiduzzaman, general secretary of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh. As a result, most realtors are keeping construction work on hold, he said. “Yet, the workers' wages have to be paid regardless of work being...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Credit growth target for private sector may remain unchanged

Bangladesh Bank is likely to keep the private sector's credit growth target unchanged in the new monetary policy, which will be announced today, because of continued political unrest that began on January 5. The BB had set the credit growth target at 14 percent for the private sector in December 2014; it is 15.5 percent till June 2015. However, the private sector credit had grown 12.67 percent in November 2014 compared to the same month in the previous year. “In such...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Bangladesh can expand trade through Hong Kong: trade analyst

Many garment, leather and footwear factories in China want to relocate production units to Bangladesh to utilise duty-free entry benefits allowed to exports. The companies want to manufacture in Bangladesh and re-export the finished products to the world through Hong Kong, said Dannie Chiu, regional director for Southeast Asia and India of Hong Kong Trade Development Council or HKTDC. Chiu highlighted Hong Kong as a sourcing and distribution hub in Asia.  “We are here to create opportunities, provide information and help match...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Akhoni and MasterCard launch Valentine's Day campaign

Akhoni.com and MasterCard have jointly launched a special programme to mark Valentine's Day with their customers. This is the second year of 'love is in the air' campaign and it promises a thrilling helicopter ride over Dhaka for the winning couple, organisers said in a statement. Anyone who makes Tk 500 or more worth of purchases via Akhoni.com can share a special wish for their beloved through video or message to the site's Facebook page, to enter the programme, until February...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Goldberg unveils new mobile brand

Goldberg unveils new mobile brand

Goldberg, a new mobile brand, has brought four feature phones and three smartphones to the Bangladesh market as part of its first collection.   The phones will be available in 51 districts from mid-February, it said in a statement yesterday. Also, the company will set up 20 customer care centres and make available a wider...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Singapore Airlines' new general manager for Bangladesh

Singapore Airlines' new general manager for Bangladesh

Lam Yang San has been appointed general manager of Singapore Airlines in Bangladesh, the airline said in a statement yesterday. He takes over from Nelson Low, who has been serving since November 2012. San worked as manager for Southern Germany, Austria and Central Eastern Europe operations of the airline, it said. He has been with Singapore Airlines since October 2002 and has held various positions in information technology and airport operations.

Published Date: January 29, 2015
EU investment plan could create 2.1m jobs: UN

An ambitious European investment plan could create 2.1 million jobs by 2018 if properly implemented, the ILO said Wednesday. Crafted by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, the 351 billion euro ($387 billion) plan is based on 21 billion euros in seed money from the EU budget and the bloc's European Investment Bank (EIB). Juncker expects this will trigger massive private investment over three years to take the plan to the total figure. But the Geneva-based International Labour Organization warned that the plan...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
India to sell 10pc Coal India stake

India will sell up to 10 percent of state-controlled Coal India on Friday in a deal that could raise close to $4 billion as part of a government push to sell off assets. Delhi, which owns nearly 90 percent of Coal India, will sell over 315 million shares, with an option to auction another 315.8 million, according to a stock exchange filing. "The sale shall take place on a separate window of the Stock Exchanges and shall commence on January 30,...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Apple's profit largest in corporate history

Apple's profit largest in corporate history

Apple Inc quarterly results smashed Wall Street expectations with record sales of big-screen iPhones in the holiday shopping season and a 70 percent rise in China sales, powering the company to the largest profit in corporate history. The company sold 74.5 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter ended Dec 27, while many analysts...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
China's yuan now world's 5th payments currency: SWIFT

China's yuan has become the world's fifth most widely used payments currency, with the value of cross-border deals settled in it more than doubling in 2014, data from transactions organisation SWIFT showed Wednesday. The data comes as China looks to make the yuan used more internationally in line with its standing as the world's second-largest economy, while at the same time keeping its value tightly controlled. The yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), overtook the Canadian dollar and the Australian...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Singapore eases monetary policy in surprise move

Singapore eases monetary policy in surprise move

Singapore on Wednesday became the latest country to ease monetary policy in a surprise move as plunging oil prices hit inflation and the central bank looks to boost the tepid economy. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state's central bank, said it would slow the appreciation of the local dollar against a basket...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Regulator blasts Alibaba for illegal business on its websites

Regulator blasts Alibaba for illegal business on its websites

A China regulator has accused Alibaba Group Holding Ltd of failing to clean up what it called illegal business deals on the e-commerce titan's platforms, in an unusually strong government criticism of one of the country's biggest private firms. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), in a report published on its website...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
German consumer confidence hits 13-year high

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest since late 2001, as rising optimism over the economy and income expectations persuade German shoppers to open their wallets, a poll found on Wednesday. "Consumers are noticeably more confident as they enter the new year and the consumer climate is continuing to improve," market research company GfK said in a statement. "Economic and income expectations, as well as the propensity to spend have all increased tangibly." Looking ahead to next month, GfK's headline household...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Yahoo announces tax-free spinoff of Alibaba stake

Yahoo announces tax-free spinoff of Alibaba stake

Yahoo is spinning off its stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, splitting off the valuable holdings in a move that sidesteps taxes. The strategy laid out on Tuesday aims to deliver more cash for shareholders than an outright sale of the $40-billion stake, avoiding a hefty tax bill, and to help Yahoo's efforts to...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Greece names hardline anti-bailout finance minister

Greece names hardline anti-bailout finance minister

Greece named hardline leftwing economist Yanis Varoufakis as finance minister Tuesday, handing him the pivotal task of renegotiating the debt-stricken nation's bailout with international creditors after it voted overwhelmingly to reject years of austerity politics. The appointment of Varoufakis to the potentially explosive role is seen as a signal that the new anti-austerity Syriza-led...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Oil prices down ahead of Fed meet outcome

Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday as dealers await the outcome of a US Federal Reserve meeting and the release of a US supply report expected to show a surge in crude stockpiles, analysts said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery fell 70 cents to $45.53 while Brent for March eased 60 cents to $49.00 in afternoon trade. The Fed is expected to release a post-meeting statement later Wednesday following the first gathering this year of its policy-making Federal...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Australian core inflation eases interest rate cut pressure

A pick-up in core consumer prices in Australia has reduced the likelihood of a near-term interest rate cut, even as official statistics showed Wednesday that plunging oil prices slowed inflation in the last three months of 2014. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2 percent from the previous quarter and 1.7 percent through the year to December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That compares with 0.5 percent and 2.3 percent in the previous three months. However core inflation, which strips...

Published Date: January 29, 2015
Jobless rate hits record in France

Unemployment in France hit a new record in December, with official statistics published Tuesday showing 3.496 million people claiming jobless benefits. The figures showed a rise of 8,100 people on the jobless queue compared with the previous month, a rise of 0.2 percent on the month. Overall in 2014, there were 189,100 more people out of work than in the previous year. President Francois Hollande has pledged not to seek re-election in 2017 if he fails to bring down stubbornly high unemployment. France's...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Realtors' woes compounded by blockade

Realtors' woes compounded by blockade

The real estate sector has incurred losses of around Tk 792 crore over the last 22 days due to the non-stop blockade, which has knocked the sector's supply chain. “Our sector is passing through a very difficult time as we are unable to bring in raw materials,” said Liakat Ali Bhuiyan, vice-president of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh. As a result, most realtors are keeping construction work on hold. “Yet, the workers wages have to be paid regardless of work being done or not.” On average, the daily overhead cost of a real estate company is around Tk 3 lakh, meaning the blockade is causing losses of Tk 36...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
GP may be left out of first round of airwave auction

GP may be left out of first round of airwave auction

Grameenphone may not be able to take part in the upcoming auction of 1,800 megahertz spectrum band on April 30. Operators who have spectrum less than 20 MHz in the GSM bands -- 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz -- that provide voice services are eligible to participate in the auction, according to a guideline. Grameenphone...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Plastic fair kicks off amid high hopes

Plastic fair kicks off amid high hopes

All roads led to Dhaka for the top plastic, packaging and printing goods and equipment makers from home and abroad yesterday, when a four-day grand fair kicked off. More than 260 manufacturers from 16 countries including Bangladesh set up shops at the 10th Dhaka International Plastic, Packaging, and Printing Industrial Fair, organised by Bangladesh...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Beacon Pharma to invest Tk 290cr for expansion

Beacon Pharma to invest Tk 290cr for expansion

Beacon Pharmaceuticals, a leading medicine exporter, will invest Tk 160 crore to set up a new unit to expand the production of anti-cancer drugs. The company is putting in an additional Tk 130 crore to start two new units -- oral liquid and cephalosporin (antibiotics). The oral-liquid unit will begin production in July and the...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Safe food act to be effective from Feb 1

The government is going to start implementing the Safe Food Act 2013 from the beginning of next month to fight adulteration and protect public health. Last week, the public administration ministry issued notices to appoint three members out of the five-member Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA). A member-secretary has also been appointed. "We expect to appoint a chairman of the authority by tomorrow (today) and we will implement the law from February 1," Food Minister Md Qamrul Islam told The Daily...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
New IPO subscription system gets green light

Investors will be able to apply for primary shares through stockbrokers and merchant banks instead of commercial banks from April under a new IPO subscription system. The new system, which has been approved by the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday at a meeting, will cut down the processing time to less than one month from the existing two months and above. As per the new subscription mechanism, to participate in an initial public offering an investor will have to give...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Obama pledges $4b to India in loans, investments

US President Barack Obama ended a landmark day in India on Monday with a pledge of $4 billion in investments and loans, seeking to release what he called the "untapped potential" of a business and strategic partnership between the world's largest democracies. Earlier in the day, at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Obama was the first US president to attend India's annual Republic Day parade, a show of military might that has been associated with Cold War anti-Americanism. It...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Dhaka Women Chamber elects president

Naaz Farhana Ahmed has been elected president of Dhaka Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the chamber said in a statement yesterday. The chamber's election was recently held at its office in Purana Paltan, Dhaka. Seventeen members of the chamber's executive board were also elected, according to the statement. 

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Turkey forecasts inflation at 45-year low

Turkey's central bank said Tuesday that inflation could sink to its lowest in 45 years, pushed down by falling oil prices and the country's tight monetary policy. Central bank governor Erdem Basci said at a press conference that the inflation rate was forecast to end this year at 5.5 percent, within a range of 4.1 percent and 6.9 percent. That compares with a previous forecast of 6.1 percent and is sharply down from the rate of 8.7 percent for 2014. Basci also...

Published Date: January 28, 2015
Maruti profit up 18pc, misses estimates

India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd posted a smaller-than-expected rise in profit for the third quarter, hit by one-off items including a jump in advertising costs, a higher tax rate and lower income from investments. Maruti, which sells nearly one in two cars in India, reported a quarterly net profit of 8.02 billion rupees ($130.53 million), up 18 percent. Analysts on average expected the company to make a profit of 9.06 billion rupees. Analysts attributed the miss largely to higher...