Inside Economy

Japan unveils new sanctions on Russians, bans refinery equipment exports

Publish: 11:38 AM, 08 Mar, 2022


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Japan has frozen the assets of an additional 32 Russian and Belarusian officials and oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday.

The newly added sanctions target 20 Russians including deputy chiefs of staff for President Vladamir Putin's administration, deputy chairmen of the state parliament, the head of the Chechen Republic and executives of companies with close ties to the government such as Volga Group, Transneft and Wagner.

It also includes 12 Belarusian government officials and business people, as well as 12 organisations in Russia and Belarus.

Payment and capital transactions with those on the list must require government permits from now on, the ministry said in a statement.

Japan is also banning exports of Russia-bound oil refinery equipment and Belarus-bound general-purpose items that could be used by its military, the ministry said.

It will ban exports to the Belarusian defense ministry, armed forces and police organisations, and a Minsk-based company JSC Integral.


Japan   Sanctions on Russia  


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Inside Economy

Japan inflation ticks up in May to 2.5%

Publish: 02:25 AM, 23 Jun, 2024


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The pace of Japanese inflation accelerated in May partly due to higher energy bills, government data showed Friday, as analysts speculate on the timing of the Bank of Japan's next rate hike.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) -- which excludes volatile fresh food prices -- rose 2.5 percent year-on-year, compared with the 2.2 percent logged in April by the internal affairs ministry.

The ministry said that "energy, including electricity and gas bills, contributed" to the acceleration, which was slightly lower than market expectations of 2.6 percent.

While the United States and other major economies have battled sky-high inflation in recent years, price rises in Japan have been less extreme.

The Bank of Japan is targeting sustainable, demand-driven inflation of two percent. While the CPI has been above this target since April 2022, the central bank has warned it was due to unstable factors such as the war in Ukraine.

Recently, however, the BoJ has taken cautious steps away from its long-standing ultra-loose monetary policies.

The BoJ said last week it would trim its vast hoard of government bonds, having raised interest rates for the first time since 2007 in March.

"With inflation remaining somewhat sticky... a further rate hike in July or September is likely", although "the timetable for that may remain unclear", Katsutoshi Inadome, senior strategist at SuMi TRUST, said earlier this month.

Excluding fresh food and energy, Japanese prices rose 2.1 percent in May, against market expectations of 2.2 percent and following a 2.4 percent rise in April, Friday's data showed.

Data released earlier this month showed that Japan's household spending rose in April for the first time in 14 months, with wage growth at the fastest pace in three decades.

Wage growth is a key factor for the BoJ's policy decisions, as it seeks a "virtuous cycle between wages and prices".


(Source: BSS)



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Inside Economy

Ekushey Boi Mela sees rising visitor numbers but mixed sales

Publish: 10:55 AM, 08 Feb, 2024


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As the Ekushey Boi Mela (Book Fair) 2024 crossed its seventh day yesterday, publishers and book sellers are hopeful for increased sales and public engagement, despite not yet reaching their anticipated sales targets.


The Dhaka Metro Rail has infused the fair with a new vibrancy, making it more accessible for visitors from distant areas like Uttara, Mirpur, and Motijheel. Ovi Islam, from Farmgate, shared his positive experience of using the metro rail to bypass traffic jams, despite the initial long wait for tickets.


Although some visitors, like Ovi who visited the fair three times without purchasing books, contribute to the growing foot traffic, the overall sales have yet to see a significant boost.


Another group of visitors from Uttara noted the ease of accessing the fair this year, thanks to the metro rail, which has offered a way to avoid the infamous Dhaka traffic congestion.


Book sellers expressed mixed feelings about the fair's progress. While visitor numbers are on the rise, actual book purchases remain lower than expected. Nur Hossen Sarkar from Anupam Prokashoni observed that many attendees are more interested in browsing than buying. Similarly, Mohammad Jabed from Mowla Brothers noted a slight decrease in sales compared to the initial days but remains hopeful for an uptick in activity.


Some exhibitors have faced challenges with their stall placements, leading to visibility and accessibility issues. Sumon Saj from Nongor Publication voiced concerns about being allocated a less favorable location and has reported the issue to Bangla Academy without seeing significant action.


Some publishers also expressed dissatisfaction about the overall arrangement and environment. These issues suggest that while the metro rail has made the fair more accessible, improvements are still needed in its organization and visitor experience.


With the fair still underway, publishers and sellers are optimistic about a surge in sales and visitor numbers, especially with the upcoming weekend.

-UNB


Ekushey Boi Mela  


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Inside Economy

Shahjalal Islami Bank in great trouble with loan to Dhaly Construction

Publish: 12:13 PM, 11 Jun, 2023


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Private sector’s Shahjalal Islami Bank is in trouble with realisation of the loan from Dhaly Construction and grant of new loan of Tk 408 crore to the company. The loan was disbursed without adequate collateral and verifying the financial status of the customer.

According to the report of Bangladesh Bank, the then managing director and board of directors, along with the officers of the relevant departments of the bank's branch and head office, cannot avoid the responsibility of this irregularity, said a report of the Bangladesh Bank.

It is known that Dhaly Construction took a loan of Tk 129 crore in 2013 from Trust Bank's Dilkusha branch in the capital. At the end of 2015, the loan amount increased to Tk 156 crores.

In November 2015, Dhaly Construction applied to Shahjalal Islami Bank to acquire the Trust Bank loan. Dhanmondi branch of Shahjalal Islami Bank acquired Dhaly Construction Limited's loan of Tk 118 crore from Trust Bank in December of that year.

In December, Shahjalal Islami Bank disbursed an additional Tk 188 crore funded and Tk 70 crore unfunded loan to Dhaly Construction Limited. In August 2017, Shahjalal Islami Bank gave another loan of Tk 115 crore. Of this, 85 crores are funded and 30 crores are non-funded. But Shahjalal Islami Bank could not tell Bangladesh Bank how much money has been loaned and against which assets.

According to the report, Shahjalal Islami Bank gave the loan forcefully to Dhaly Construction due to the failure of various companies to pay their debts. As a result, at the end of April this year, the amount of loan disbursed by Shahjalal Islami Bank to Dhaly Construction stood at Tk 408 crore. Out of this, 350 crore are funded and 58 crore non-funded.

Shahjalal Islami Bank was unable to collect the money despite repeated efforts. Dhaly Construction has mortgaged 721 acres of land and a building measuring 37,000 square feet as security against the loan.

In this regard, a deputy managing director of Shahjalal Islami Bank, on condition of anonymity, told the media that “Dhaly Construction is in a good position among the country's construction companies. We have business relationship with them since 2015. The company is facing big challenges due to the epidemic. Although we are hopeful of recovering the loan, it will take more time to get the money back.”

Regarding cashing the bill of Dhaly Construction through another bank instead of Shahjalal Bank, the Deputy Managing Director said that Dhaly Construction did this due to the need for cash. They thought that if they deposit the bill in the bank, the money will be deducted to pay off the loan.

However, when asked about the violation of the bank's board of directors policy in disbursing loans, he refused to make any comment.

Dhaly Construction chairman Rafique Uddin told the media that “Our company has implemented large road and construction projects including several university buildings in the country. We have been facing challenge since Covid pandemic as some our projects had to be stopped. Moreover, the abnormally high prices of construction materials also increased the project cost."

When asked about repayment of loan from Shahjalal Islami Bank, he said that new projects will be taken up and the loan will be repaid. The business relationship with the bank will also continue.

Dhaly Construction Advisor MM Mizanur Rahman told the media that there were some errors in the documents. It will be resolved quickly. He said, the bank can collect the debt by selling the company's assets. Apart from this, the company is involved in several construction projects. If the work of these projects is completed, the loan can be paid.

According to the central bank report, it was directed by the Board to take security equal to the investment while disbursing the loan. But, only Tk 90 crore of collateral (land and building) was taken against the funded loan of Tk 188 crore. The board was not informed of the investment with less security.

According to the report, Shahjalal Bank could not provide any information to the central bank's inspection team about the amount of money invested against specific work orders and the number of bills received in respect of those work orders.

The report said that the board of the directors of the bank advised taking a legal opinion before approving funded loans of Tk 188 crore and non-funded loans of Tk 70 crore and mortgaging 721 khata land. But the bank did not take into consideration the legal opinion while giving the loan. As no collateral is taken for new loans, the bank's investment becomes risky.



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Inside Economy

Price fall in large-cap drives stocks further down

Publish: 06:21 PM, 17 Oct, 2022


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Country's both the bourses, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) today plunged further due to mainly price fall in large-cap securities.

DSEX, the benchmark index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), slid 65 points, or 1.01 per cent, at 6,413 at the end of the day. The DS30, the index that consists of blue-chip companies, went down 0.93 per cent to 2,277, while the DSES, the Shariah-complaint index, plummeted 0.80 per cent to 1,406.

Turnover at the DSE dropped 3 per cent to Taka 1,297 crore which was Taka 1,343 crore on the previous day.

At the DSE, 26 stocks advanced, 153 declined and 182 did not show any price movement.

Bangladesh Monospool Paper Manufacturing topped the gainers' with an 8.64 per cent rise. Fine Foods, Rahima Food Corporation, Eastern Cables, and Eastern Lubricants also advanced over 5 per cent.

Apex Foods suffered the highest correction, sliding almost 13 per cent. Far East Knitting, BDCOM Online, Navana CNG, and Apex Spinning declined more than 9 per cent.

The CASPI, the all-share price index of the Chattogram Stock Exchange, decreased 164 points, or 0.86 per cent to end at 18,895.

Of the issues on the port city bourse, 34 advanced, 104 declined, and 80 remained unchanged.

- BSS



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Inside Economy

ECNEC approves 6 projects with Tk 7,018cr

Publish: 02:11 PM, 11 Oct, 2022


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The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today approved six projects with Tk 7,018 crore.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday (October 11).

The premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence here while ministers, state ministers, planning commission members and secretaries concerned were connected to it from the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

After the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan gave details in the press conference.

thousand 362 crore 63 lakh will come from the government funding, Tk 2 thousand 386 crore 48 lakh from foreign funding and Tk 269 crore 62 lakh from the organization's own funding. 



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