9 months ago

The Bangladesh Today (13-02-2018)


ECONOMY & BUSINESS TUESDAy, THE BANGLADESHTODAY FEBRUARy 13, 2018 10 83rd meeting of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Standard Bank Limited held on 12 February 2018. Chairman of the committee S. S. Nizamuddin Ahmed presided over the meeting. The meeting was attended by the members of the committee Kamal Mostafa Chowdhury, Kazi Sanaul Hoq, Md. Nazmus Salehin, Managing Director & CEO of the Bank Mamun-Ur- Rashid, Additional Managing Director Md. Tariqul Azam and Deputy Managing Director Md. Motaleb Hossain. Photo: Courtesy Investment in renminbi part of long-term strategy: German central bank The Bundesbank's decision to hold some currency reserves in Chinese yuan is part of a long-term strategy, and the investment will be effected as long as the preparations have been completed, the German central bank told Xinhua in a recent interview. "The Executive Board's decision to invest in Chinese renminbi going forward was taken in the summer of 2017," the Bundesbank said in an email to Xinhua. "Once the requisite organisational and technical preparations have been completed, the investment in renminbi will be effected," it added. The central bank also stated that the decision to include the yuan is part of a long-term strategy and reflects the increased importance of the Chinese currency in the global financial system. As of January 2018, the Bundesbank's foreign exchange reserves were about 31.2 billion euros, of which nearly 80 percent were securities assets, and at the moment the reserves are invested not only in U.S. dollar and yen, but also in Australian dollar since 2012, according to the German central bank. As most central banks' reserves are held in dollars, any shift into other currencies, such as the yuan, will come at the expense of the greenback. "The reason to use dollar reserves to invest in yuan was mainly motivated by the fact the CNY is primarily quoted against the U.S. dollar, which simplifies the process of convertibility and minimizes the transaction costs to build the small CNY portfolio," the European Central Bank told Xinhua. Last June, the ECB announced that it had exchanged 500 million euros worth of U.S. dollar reserves into yuan securities. The HSH Nordbank AG analyst Marius Schad believed that the IMF's decision to include the Yuan within its basket of reserve currencies in 2015 triggered this reshuffling of forex reserves. The world's central banks seriously take the IMF basket into account when allocating their reserves. Major shifts by the IMF will be accompanied by portfolio changes in time. "Unsurprisingly, both the ECB's and Bundesbank's decision have been primarily affected by the IMF recognition," Marius told Xinhua, "But this is not the whole story. The inclusion of the Yuan by major central banks reflects both China's leading role within the world economy and the Yuan's rising role within the world's currency system." However,he said that the shift towards yuan assets has to be seen as more symbolic than an economic necessity. Presently, only about 1 percent of the ECB's forex reserves are held in yuan, according the data from the ECB. Many experts believe that the Belt and Road Initiative will boost a more widespread use of the yuan in the countries which China invested in and traded with. The role of a reserve currency is significant with respect to funding, financing and investing, said the analyst. He also suggested more supportive policies including equity market linkages such as the Shanghai Hong Kong Stock Connect to further encourage yuan's internationalization. He concluded that the more the yuan would be used in international finance and trade, the more likely it would become a reserve currency. Asian markets mostly rise but warnings of fresh volatility Asian markets mostly rose on Monday as buyers cautiously returned after last week's global rout, with confidence boosted by a rally on Wall Street but analysts warning of further volatility. After a stellar 2017 and a January that saw record and multi-year highs around the world, traders are scurrying to the hills this month as a strong economic outlookparticularly in the UShealthy corporate earnings and rising inflation have sent borrowing costs surging. Equity markets, for years buoyed by post-crisis stimulus, have spiralled into the red as traders fret that the era of cheap cash is at an end. But Monday got off to a calm start. Hong Kong, which sank more than nine percent last week, was up 0.7 percent in the afternoon while Shanghai closed up 0.8 percent and Singapore rose 0.6 percent. Seoul gained 0.9 percent, with traders cheered by signs of a thaw in relations between North and South Korea during the Winter Olympics after Kim Jong Un-whose sister attended the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang-invited the South's President Moon Jae-in for a summit in Pyongyang. Taipei added 0.5 percent and Bangkok 0.3 percent but Sydney eased 0.3 percent and Manila dipped 0.5 percent. Tokyo was closed for a public holiday. The gains came after a late rally on Wall Street helped all three main indexes end on a positive note Friday, though still well down over the week. However, there are expectations that profittaking will lead to further losses, with Brian Culpepper at James Investment Research warning: "Stocks are extremely expensive." Eyes are now on the release this week of US inflation figures, which market-watchers say will be key to future movements. "With powerful US economic signals and interest rates most certainly to rise quicker than expected, last week's tumult could be little more than the start of the equity rollercoaster," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA. "Given all this ruckus started with an uptick in the wage growth component from this month's (US jobs report) release, this week's US inflation data will be a monster of a print." While the week got off to a positive start, energy firms took another hiding after further recent falls in the price of oil due to rising US production and the spillover from the equity market rout. Both main contracts were up Monday but they are more than 10 percent down from their highs in January. Innes added that oil prices could take another hit soon after the head of Russian energy giant Gazprom Neft said last week that producers could adjust their commitments under a Moscow-OPEC output cap deal as soon as next quarter. "Crude oil prices experienced a disastrous week as US production fears materialised on incremental supply and stockpiles," said Avtar Sandhu, an analyst at Phillip Securities Singapore. "Prices will face a tough time as US shale producers look set to take advantage of higher margins." On currency markets, the dollar suffered further selling against the safehaven yen, while the euro and the pound held their gains against the greenback on expectations of higher borrowing costs in Europe and Britain. Heinken cheers rising profits in 2017 Dutch brewing giant Heineken said Monday that profits jumped by a quarter in 2017, thanks to higher sales of its premium brand beer across nearly all regions. Heineken said in a statement that its net profit rose by 25.6 percent to 1.93 billion euros ($2.4 billion) last year on a 5.3-percent increase in sales to 21.9 billion euros. "We delivered strong results in 2017 with all the regions contributing to organic growth in volume, revenue and operating profit," Heineken's chief executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said. "The Heineken brand performed very well and Heineken 0.0 (non-alcoholic beer) was launched in 16 countries," he said in a statement. Sales of its premium brand were up 4.5 percent, "one of the brand's strongest performances in recent years with positive volume performance across all regions apart from Asia Pacific," the Amsterdambased group said. Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd has appointed Md. Shamsuzzaman and Mohammed Monirul Moula as Additional Managing Directors of the bank, a press release said. Md. Shamsuzzaman, AMD of the bank has been heading the bank's Operations Wing. Earlier he served the bank as Deputy Managing Director. M. Shamsuzzaman started his Banking career as a Probationary Officer in 1984 and served in its branches, zones and Head Office in different capacities. He obtained his post-graduation from Chittagong University. He had assignment as Chief Anti-Money Laundering 15 months after note ban, RBI still processing returned notes The RBI has said that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, returned to banks when the government demonetised high value currency 15 months ago, are still being "processed for their arithmetical accuracy and genuineness". This is being done in an "expedited manner", the central bank said. "Specific bank notes are being processed for their arithmetical accuracy and genuineness and the reconciliation for the same is ongoing. This information can, therefore, be shared on completion of the process and reconciliation," the RBI said in reply to an RTI application filed by a PTI correspondent. To a query on the number of demonetised notes, it said, "...subject to future corrections if any, arising in the course of verification process, the estimated value of specified bank notes received as on June 30, 2017 is Rs 15.28 trillion (lakh crore)". Asked to provide the details of the deadline for finishing the counting of demonetised notes, the RBI said "specified bank notes are being processed in an expedited manner". As on date, 59 sophisticated Currency Compliance Officer (CAMLCO). He worked as Bank's first remittance promoter in Bahrian during 1995-1997. He travelled KSA, Bahrain, Malaysia & Thailand to attend different International conference on Islamic Finance and banking. He has written many books related to Islamic Banking & finance including Anti Money Laundering and combating financing terrorism. Mohammed Monirul Moula, AMD of the bank has been heading the Verification and Processing (CVPS) machines are in operation in RBI for the purpose, it said. The reply did not specify the location of the machines. "Besides, eight CVPS machines available with commercial banks are also being used. In addition to this, seven more CVPS machines on lease basis have been installed at RBI regional offices," the RTI reply said. The government had on November 8, 2016 banned the use of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and allowed the holders of these currency bills to deposit them with banks or use them at certain notified utilities. In its annual report for 2016-17 released on August 30 last year, the RBI said Rs 15.28 lakh crore, or 99 per cent of the demonetised notes, had returned to the banking system. The central bank said in the report, for the year ended June 30, 2017, that only Rs 16,050 crore of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in old high denomination notes had not returned. As on November 8, 2016, there were 1,716.5 crore pieces of Rs 500 and 685.8 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, totalling Rs 15.44 lakh crore, it had said. IBBL appointed two Additional Managing Directors bank's Corporate Investment Wing. Earlier he served the bank as Deputy Managing Director and Head of Retail Investment Wing. He joined Islami Bank in 1986 as a Probationary Officer and served in its branches, zones and Head Office in different capacities. He obtained Masters Degree with Honors in Economics from Chittagong University. He visited different countries including Bahrain, Malaysia, Thailand, Itali and Sri Lanka for attending Training and Seminar on banking. He is a Diplomaed Associate of the Institute of Bakers, Bangladesh. Md. Touhidul Alam Khan, Deputy Managing Director & Chief Business Officer of Prime Bank inaugurated a Coastal Vessel "M. V. Chaklader-6" as chief guest at sadarghat, Dhaka recently. The Coastal Vessel "M. V. Chaklader-6" of Chaklader Shipping Lines Ltd. (CSL), a concern of MEP Group financed by Prime Bank. Shamsul Alam Chaklader - Chairman and Dr. Jahangir Alam Chaklader - Managing Director of MEP group along with other senior officials of both the organizations were also present on the occasion. Photo: Courtesy Beijing invests 78 bln USD in transport in past 5 yrs Beijing invested 492.2 billion yuan (77.9 billion U.S. dollars) in transport over the past five years, local authorities said Sunday. The investment represented a 44-percent increase from the 340 billion yuan in the fiveyear period to 2016 as the city sought to ease traffic jams and improve transport networks connecting neighboring regions, said the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport. Seventy-five percent of the money was spent on public transport, and authorities attracted 57.8 billion yuan of investment through publicprivate partnership and buildoperate-transfer modes, it said. With 22 subway lines in operation, the total length of rail transit in the Chinese capital had increased to 608 km by the end of 2017 from 442 km five years ago. Meanwhile, the total length of expressways had increased to 1,017 km from 922 km while that of arterial roads had increased to 1,365 km from 1,226 km. As the authorities seek to integrate Beijing with its neighbors Tianjin and Hebei, they have been building more high-speed railways and highways in the region. Touting 'transformation', French PM seeks investment in Dubai France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised lower taxes and a businessfriendly France at a global summit in Dubai on Sunday, seeking investment from the oilrich Gulf region. "France is undergoing great transformation," Philippe said, addressing a thousand-strong audience at Dubai's World Government Summit. Philippe pledged a "favourable framework for business and investment" and a drop in corporate taxes in France. The annual summit, often dubbed the Davos of the Middle East, brings together a cosmopolitan lineup of business and political figures-with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as this year's guest of honour. The French premier sought to contrast the policies of President Emmanuel Macron with the isolationist trends of other Western nations, including Britain leaving the European Union and US President Donald Trump's election. On Saturday, the French premier met the heads of the two largest sovereign funds in the United Arab Emirates, as well as Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. "What I felt was their continued interest in what we were doing and prospects available in France," he said. With sovereign funds worth more than $800 billion, but only a fraction of thataround $3 billion-invested in France, Paris is working to capture a larger share of UAE petrodollars. Philippe on Sunday oversaw the signing in Dubai of a $16 billion purchase by Emirates Airlines of the Airbus A380 superjumbo commercial airliner-a lifeline for the company. "We must make our country more attractive to foreign investors, and there is work to be done," he told members of the French community in the United Arab Emirates late Saturday, speaking on board a French warship docked in Dubai. The UAE hosts three French military bases. It has also become a major contributor to the French-backed coalition fighting jihadists in Africa's Sahel region, pledging $30 million in December. Iraq seeks $88.2 b for reconstruction: minister Iraq needs $88.2 billion to rebuild after three years of war against the Islamic State group, Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said Monday at an international conference on the country's reconstruction in Kuwait. The estimate was based on an assessment study by Iraqi and international experts, the minister told the opening session of the three-day conference. Qusai Abdelfattah, director general at the planning ministry, said $22 billion of those funds were needed immediately and the rest for the medium term.

MISCELLANEOUS 11 tUEsDAY, FEbrUArY 13, 2018 Energy riches fuel bitcoin craze for speculation-shy Iceland Iceland is expected to use more energy "mining" bitcoins and other virtual currencies this year than it uses to power its homes, reports Reuters. With massive amounts of electricity needed to run the computers that create bitcoins, large virtual currency companies have established a base in the North Atlantic island nation blessed with an abundance of renewable energy. The new industry's relatively sudden growth prompted lawmaker Smari McCarthy of Iceland's Pirate Party to suggest taxing the profits of bitcoin mines. The initiative is likely to be well received by Icelanders, who are skeptical of speculative financial ventures after the country's catastrophic 2008 banking crash. The energy demand has developed because of the soaring cost of producing and collecting virtual currencies. Computers are used to make the complex calculations that verify a running ledger of all the transactions in virtual currencies around the world. In return, the miners claim a fraction of a coin not yet in circulation. In the case of bitcoin, a total of 21 million can be mined, leaving about 4.2 million left to create. As more bitcoin enter circulation, more powerful computers are needed to keep up with the calculations - and that means more energy. The serene coastal town of Keflavik on Iceland's desolate southern peninsula has over the past months boomed as an international hub for mining bitcoins and other virtual currencies. Local fishermen, chatting over steaming cups of coffee at the harbor gas station, are puzzled by the phenomenon, which has spawned oversize construction sites on the outskirts of town. Among the main attractions of setting up bitcoin mines at the edge of the Arctic Circle is the natural cooling for computer servers and the competitive prices for Iceland's abundance of renewable energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power plants. Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, a business development manager at the energy company Hitaveita Sudurnesja, said he expected Iceland's virtual currency mining to double its energy consumption to about 100 megawatts this year. That is more than households use on the island nation of 340,000, according to Iceland's National Energy Authority. At the largest of three bitcoin "farms" currently operating within Keflavik - called "Mjolnir" after the hammer of Thor, the Norse god of thunder - high metal fences surround 50 meterlong (164 foot) warehouse buildings stacked with computer rigs. The data centers here are specially designed to utilize the constant wind on the bare peninsula. Walls are only partial on each side, allowing a draft of cold air to cool down the equipment. Genesis Mining, founded in Germany, moved to Iceland in 2014 when the price of bitcoin fluctuated from $350 to $1000. Today, one bitcoin is valued at about $8,000, according to tracking site Coindesk, after peaking at almost $19,500 in December. The currency took a hit in January when China announced it would move to wipe out its bitcoin mining industry, following concerns of excessive electricity consumption. The last time Iceland was an international hub for finance, the venture ended with a giant bank crash, making the country one of the symbols of the 2008 global financial crisis. UK official warns Oxfam to hand over all info on sex case Sex predators are targeting aid organizations because of the chaotic environments in which they work, Britain's top development official warned Sunday as she threatened to pull public funding from Oxfam unless it came clean about a sexual misconduct scandal in Haiti, reports Reuters. Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt excoriated the leadership of Oxfam for its handling of allegations that some of the anti-poverty charity's staff in Haiti used prostitutes, including Haitians who might have been minors at the time. Oxfam demonstrated a "failure of leadership" when it failed to fully inform authorities and because it didn't prevent the alleged perpetrators from going to work for other charities, she said. Mordaunt made clear that all aid agencies must show "moral leadership" in tackling sex abuse or risk losing their taxpayer funding. "What is so disturbing about Oxfam is that when this was reported to them, they completely failed to do the right thing," Mordaunt told the BBC on Sunday. "That's what we need to focus on, and that's what ultimately will stop predatory individuals from being able to take advantage of vulnerable people." Oxfam announced seven measures Sunday designed to strengthen its handling of sexual abuse allegations. The package includes improving the vetting of employees, creating an external complaint line for whistleblowers and working with other charities to overcome the "legal difficulties" that kept them from sharing information on sexual misconduct cases. The Times of London reported last week that seven former Oxfam staff members who worked in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country were the subject of misconduct allegations that included the use of prostitutes and downloading pornography. Oxfam's investigation into the charges was hampered by a "determination to keep it out of the public eye," the Times said. The newspaper's sister publication, the Sunday Times, said the problem goes beyond Oxfam. More than 120 people working for British charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year, the newspaper reported, though it did not specify the exact dates or the source of the information. Oxfam had 87 cases, the largest number of any charity, but the Times also mentioned Save the Children, the British Red Cross and Christian Aid. In response, Save the Children said it investigated 31 cases of sexual harassment last year, which resulted in 16 people being fired and 10 being referred to police or other authorities. None of the cases involved children and all of them occurred abroad, the charity said. The British Red Cross said it hasn't dismissed staff members working overseas for sexual abuse, harassment or pedophilia in at least the past five years. There were a "small number" of sexual harassment cases last year in the U.K., and the Red Cross said that "appropriate was taken" in all cases, though it did not specify what the actions were. Christian Aid said it investigated two sexual misconduct cases in the last 12 months, resulting in the dismissal of one worker and less severe disciplinary action in the other. Oxfam has said it dismissed four people and allowed three others to resign after an internal 2011 investigation revealed that sexual misconduct, bullying, intimidation and a failure to protect staff hampered the charity's Haiti operation. Allegations that staff members had sex with minors were "not proven," it said. The charity said it reported the findings to Britain's charity regulator and to major donors, including the Department for International Development, the department Mordaunt heads. The department gave Oxfam 31.7 million pounds ($43.8 million) last year. Mordaunt took issue with the notion that her department had been fully informed, saying the charity didn't disclose that the Haiti case involved sexual misconduct. Oxfam also incorrectly told the government that no aid beneficiaries were harmed, she said. When asked by BBC interviewer Andrew Marr whether the statement about no harm coming to Haitians was "a lie," Mordaunt replied: "Well, quite. She said she would meet Oxfam leaders Monday to discuss the case. "If they do not hand over all the information they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities,... then I cannot work with them anymore as an aid delivery partner," Mordaunt said. GD-232/18 (8 x 4) Dbœq‡bi MYZš¿ †kL nvwmbvi g~jgš¿ GD-234/18 (8 x 4) GD-237/18 (10 x 4)

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