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The Bangladesh Today (15-02-2018)

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

ECONOMY & BUSINESS THURSDAY, THE BANGLADESHTODAY FEBRUARY 15, 2018 10 Stars Conduct Cleanup Drive in FDC Vows taken to raise a clean nation on Valentine's Day He who loves himself, loves his country as well. Popular film stars took an oath to raise a 'Porichchonno Bangladesh' along with individual cleanliness as well. On 14th February Valentine's Day the stars made this commitment while participating in a cleanup drive in and around BFDC organized by the Bangladesh CholochitroShilpiSamiti. Dhaka North City Corporation and 'Dettol Channel I Porichchonno Bangladesh powered by Harpic' campaign assisted in the program. They also took part in a rally around FDC grounds, a press release said. The campaign was participated by Dhaka North City Corporation Panel Mayor Osman Gani, Former BGMEA President and reputed businessman Atikul Islam, BFDC Managing Director Amir Hossain, Bangladesh CholochitroShilpiSamiti President and reputed Actor MishaSawdagar, Bangladesh CholochitroShilpiSamiti General Secretary and actor Zayed Khan, Actors Riaz, Ferdous, Rubel, Actress Rojina, Nuton, Poppy, Keya, Odhora Khan, DNCC Chief Waste Management Officer Commodore Razzak, Marketing Director of Reckitt Benckiser and spokesperson of 'Dettol Channel I Porichchonno Bangladesh powered by Harpic' Syed Tanzim Rezwan. Senior officials of City Corporation and Reckitt Benckiser with actors old and new also took part in the program. US IPO for Baidu video unit as Q4 net income flattens Chinese search engine giant Baidu will spin off its Netflixlike video arm iQiyi and list it in the US market, the company said in a statement that revealed its net profit grew only one percent during the fourth quarter. The company said it has submitted a draft registration to the US securities regulator, the SEC, for a proposed initial public offering of iQiyi, without giving further details. The news sent Baidu's shares up more than seven percent in afterhours trading on NASDAQ. Baidu "expects to remain iQiyi's controlling shareholder" after the offering, the statement said. Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday that the online video streaming unit is valued at $15 billion. iQiyi is the leading mobile video provider in China with 463 million monthly active mobile users, closely followed by Tencent's video site and Alibaba's Youku Tudou, according to QuestMobile, a Beijingbased data research firm. Last year iQiyi reached a content licensing agreement with Netflix, whose shows include "Black Mirror" and "Stranger Things". New Street Research analyst Kirk Boodry told Bloomberg that the IPO will be able to fund Baidu's content costs for the video unit. China warns Trump trade sanctions threaten global economy US trade sanctions will hit the world economy, Beijing warned Wednesday, after President Donald Trump threatened to impose fresh tariffs on imports from China. Trump said he was "considering all options," including tariffs and quotas, after he accused China of decimating the American steel and aluminium industries. Washington has already imposed a range of tariffs on Chinese-made goods, sparking fears of a tit-for-tat trade war between the world's top two economies as China also threatens to take action. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that "any sign of unilateralism or protectionism will ... worsen global trade issues and will hurt the recovering momentum of the world economy". He added that with the sheer volume of trade and integration between the US and Chinese economies, some friction was natural. However, "China always regards the US as an important cooperation partner in trade and economy, and we hope we will continue to open our respective markets wider", Geng said. The Trump administration has two months to decide whether to take action on Chinese aluminium, steel and intellectual property practices. China produces around half of the world's steel but stands accused of "dumping" cheap steel on global markets to gain market share. The two countries have already begun trading sanctions in what China's commerce ministry warned could become a "vicious circle". On Monday Beijing announced it had taken aim at imports from the US of styrene, a key chemical in the manufacture of styrofoam. Last week it launched an antidumping investigation into sorghum imports from the US, worth almost $1 billion last year. The measures come a month after the Trump administration slapped new tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels and washing machines, the most recent in a series of trade cases that have rattled Beijing. Singapore economy grows 3.6 pct in 2017, moderate outlook for 2018 Singapore economy grew 3.6 percent in 2017, faster than the 2.4-percent growth in 2016, thanks to robust expansion of the manufacturing sector, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Wednesday. The figure was slightly higher than the advance GDP estimates of 3.5 percent made by the MTI in early January, recording the strongest performance since 2014's 3.9-percent growth. According to the Economic Survey of Singapore 2017 published by the MTI on Wednesday, for the whole year, Singapore's manufacturing sector expanded 10.1 percent, accelerating from the 3.7-percent growth in 2016. Growth was largely driven by the electronics and precision engineering clusters, even as the biomedical manufacturing, transport engineering and general manufacturing clusters contracted. Meanwhile, the construction sector shrank by 8.4 percent, a reversal of the 1.9-percent growth in 2016, while the services producing industries grew by 2.8 percent, higher than the 1.4-percent growth in 2016. The main drivers of Singapore's economic growth in 2017 were manufacturing, finance and insurance, and wholesale and retail trade, with their contribution to the growth hitting 1.8 percentage point, 0.6 percentage point and 0.4 percentage point, respectively. Standard Bank Limited recently signed a participatory agreement with Bangladesh Bank to disburse funds to attract Foreign Investment under the JICA assisted "Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project". Governor of Bangladesh Bank Fazle Kabir was present as Chief Guest while Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governors Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan and Ahmed Jamal, Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Office Takatoshi Nishikata were present as special guests. SBL Managing Director Mamun-Ur-Rashid and Banglsadesh Bank General Manager Md. Rezaul Islam signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. Photo: Courtesy European stock markets rebound at open Europe's main stock markets rebounded at the start of trading on Wednesday, with traders digesting news of solid German economic growth as they awaited key US inflation figures. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.7 percent to 7,220.78 points compared with the close on Tuesday. In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.8 percent to 12,294.85 points and the Paris CAC 40 won 0.6 percent to 5,137.57 -- after falling by similar amounts the previous session. Germany, Europe's largest economy, expanded 0.6 percent between October and December, official data showed Wednesday, highlighting the country's economic strength as politicians struggle to form a government. Investors were meanwhile awaiting US inflation numbers for clues on the pace of interest rate rises in the world's biggest economy. Global stock markets have tumbled in recent weeks, wiping out previous strong gains, largely on concerns that high US inflation will force the Federal Reserve to tighten the cost of borrowing faster than anticipated this year. Potholes appear in Romania’s stellar economic growth path Coming top of the class doesn't always mean escaping a telling off: Romania may have posted Europe's strongest growth figures on Wednesday, but analysts are worried the star pupil is heading for a fall. The 7 percent surge in growth last year should, on the face of it, be good news for Romania, which had among the lowest average income figures when it joined the European Union in 2007. But the jump in household consumption that drove the growth was due primarily to tax cuts and wage hikes, rather than investment into infrastructure needed for long-term expansion. "Economic growth is not always synonymous with development", said Cristian Paun, associate professor of international finance at the Bucharest University of Economic Sciences. "The Romanian economy has grown by getting itself into debt, without building a single kilometre of new motorways," he noted. The European Commission has also sounded the alarm bell. Its latest report says that in 2017 "the main driver of growth was private consumption, supported by indirect tax cuts and wage hikes". Public investment however, "fell sharply for the second consecutive year". The nation of 20 million is in dire need of putting long-term money into transport to support greater trade with its EU partners. The country has barely 550 km (340 miles) of motorway and the rail network is deteriorating, with trains running at an average speed of just 44 km/h, as opposed to 78 km/h in 1990. "Not a penny was spent in 2017 to buy rolling stock while only a short distance of rails were modernised," said Viorel Istrate, a leader of a railway workers' union. "The situation is even more dramatic in 2018, with the budgets cut further," he said. As for the road network, Social Democrat Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has pledged to build 350 kilometres of new motorways by 2020. But Doina and her husband Matei, both keen hikers frustrated by the huge traffic jams they encounter on the road linking Bucharest with the holiday resorts of the Carpathian Mountains, don't believe the latest promises. "It's been ten years since they promised 50 kilometres between (the central towns of) Comarnic and Brasov and it's never got off the ground," said Doina, a 39-year-old doctor. " 'Risk of overheating' - And then there is, as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development puts it, "a risk of overheating, with inflation picking up in 2017 and even more expected in 2018". Inflation hit 4.3 percent in January, its highest level in four years. Retired engineer Amalia Ionescu said prices have shot up at the market: eggs by 43 percent, butter by 22 percent and fruit by 11 percent. Meanwhile employers complain that the wage hikes that have stimulated the boom have not been matched by an increase in productivity, with a consequent fall in their competitiveness. "The government was wrong to think that local production would keep pace with demand," said Paun. Instead Romanians have consumed more imports, leading to the trade deficit jumping by a third in 2017 to more than 13 billion euros ($16 billion). Economist Liam Carson at Londonbased Capital Economics said most of central and eastern Europe is expected to see a gradual slowing of growth. "However, the Romanian economy is likely to experience a much sharper slowdown," he said in a note to clients. Capital Economics expects Romania's growth rate to fall to around 3.5 percent in 2018. "That's weaker than most analysts currently anticipate," he noted. Romanians haven't forgotten how the 2007-08 boom ended: a deep recession where many had their wages cut by a quarter, with the country forced to go to the IMF and the EU for help. Paun said Romania's repeated cycles of boom and bust show that its integration into the EU has failed to bring durable benefits for its citizens. "If we look at economic growth over the past 25 years we see a lot of volatility: periods of sustained expansion followed by equally spectacular slumps," he said. Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited organized a voluntary blood donation program on the occasion of Shaheed Day and International Mother Language Day. Arastoo Khan, Chairman of the bank inaugurated the program as chief guest on 14 February 2018 Wednesday at Islami Bank Tower. Abu Reza Md. Yeahia, Deputy Managing Director of the bank conducted the program while Md. Mahbub ul Alam, Managing Director & CEO addressed in the inaugural ceremony. Md. Shamsuzzaman and Mohammed Monirul Moula, Additional Managing Directors of the bank, Dr. Moniruzzaman, Coordinator of Quantum Foundation and Deputy Managing Directors of the bank were present on the occasion. Top executives and employees of the bank's Head Office, Zone Offices, Corporate and other Branches of Dhaka participated the program. The program was conducted in cooperation with Quantum Foundation. Photo: Courtesy Iran arrests currency traders as rial collapses Iranian police arrested around 100 money changers on Wednesday as it scrambled to contain the decline of the rial, which has lost a quarter of its value in six months. A video by state broadcaster IRINN showed dozens of currency hawkers, who normally ply their trade across the road from the British embassy in central Tehran, being rounded up by police. Iran's currency has collapsed from 38,400 rials to the dollar in July to a record low of 48,400 on Wednesday. Tehran's chief of police, General Hossein Rahimi, told local media that 10 exchange offices had also been shut. Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, which lifted many international sanctions, had raised hopes that the currency would regain its lost value. On the day it was announced, many celebrating Tehranis waved dollar bills alongside 10,000 rial notes-a sign of their hope that it would return to the level it had last enjoyed prior to the tightening of US-led sanctions in 2012. Instead, the currency has continued to plummet, particularly after the arrival in office of US President Donald Trump, whose threats to tear up the nuclear deal have scared off many foreign investors and prevented international banks from re-engaging with Iran. But blame is also being placed closer to home. "It's the government which is partly responsible for the rise in the dollar," a currency trader told AFP, asking not to be named. He said the government itself was selling dollars at 48,800 rials on Tuesday-part of its struggle to repatriate dollars it earns from selling oil and gas abroad. The other big driver was the decision by the central bank to lower interest rates in September. Iran's banks have offered sky-high rates in recent years-often over 20 percent-as they compete for deposits against many individuals and businesses who prefer to keep their money in dollars or real estate. With many banks looking shaky, Iran's central bank decreed they could no long offer rates above 15 percent-a move which traders say pushed many back towards the dollar. Saudi Arabia seeks to further reduce oil stockpiles Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it will further trim oil production and exports next month to reduce excess stockpiles that have weighed on crude prices, as concerns mount over US oversupply. Saudi Aramco's crude output in March will be 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) below its February level while exports will be kept below seven million bpd, the energy ministry said. "Saudi Arabia remains focused on working down excess oil inventories," a ministry spokesman said. "Market volatility is a common concern for producers and consumers, and the kingdom is committed to mitigating this volatility and moderating its negative impacts." Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, last month called for extending cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers beyond 2018, after a deal to throttle output succeeded in shoring up prices.

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