Gold prices slip



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
photo: Barta24.com

photo: Barta24.com

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Dhaka: Bangladesh Jewelers Association (BAJWS) has fixed the new price of gold by reducing the price of gold by Tk. 1166. The new gold price will be effective from Wednesday (December 15).

This information has been given in a notification of Bajws on Monday (December 14) night. Bangladesh Jewelers Association last increased the price of gold by Tk. 2,333 per bhori on November 13.

It said that the price of gold in the international market is somewhat lower amid the emergence of new variants of Corona and various complex equations of the world economy. The price of hardened gold is also declining in the domestic bullion market. Therefore, considering the overall situation, according to the decision of the Bangladesh Jewelers Association, the price of gold in the market of Bangladesh has been reduced by Tk. 1166 per bhori from December 15.

According to the new price, the price of the best quality 22 carat bhari (11.64 bhoris) gold has been Tk. 73013. Price of 21 carat gold Tk. 69984, 18 carat heavy gold 61 thousand 238 rupees. And the price of gold has decreased by 50 thousand 914 rupees per traditional method.

At present, the price of the best quality 22 carat (11.64 bhoris) gold is Tk. 74,300 rupees. The price of 21 carat weight is Tk. 71,150, 18 carat is Tk. 62,402 rupees and the price of traditional gold is 52,080 per bhori.

Although the price of gold has come down, the previous price of silver has remained the same. The price of 22 carat silver has been fixed at Tk. 10516. The price of 21 carat silver has been fixed at Tk. 1,435, 18 carat silver at Tk. 1,225 and traditional method of silver at Tk. 933.

BB dismisses news of scrapping Tk 1000 red notes as rumour



News Desk, Barta24.com  
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has brushed aside as simply a rumour the news that the Tk 1,000 bank red note or any other note has been scrapped.

"Bangladesh Bank has not declared red note of Taka 1000 or any other note as obsolete. Accordingly, the public is being requested not to be taken into account of such rumours or misleading information," as per a BB press release issued today.

;

Where will $ stop?



News desk, Barta24.com
ছবি: সংগৃহীত

ছবি: সংগৃহীত

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The rising rate of the US dollar against the local currency has placed a huge burden on local importers and triggered a spillover effect on the local market over the last several months.

The Bangladeshi Taka devalued further against the greenback on Wednesday in the wake of dollar shortage in the banking sector.

The interbank exchange rate hit Tk 86.20 per dollar for the first time on the day, up from Tk 86 on the previous day, according to the data from the central bank. The exchange rate increased after a couple of months.

Importers also accused some banks of ‘manipulating’ a dollar crisis and imposing a high rate in case of opening letters of credit for import.

They said the Bangladesh Bank should look into the matter as commercial banks should not charge dollar rates exorbitantly against L/C opening.

The interbank exchange rate of the US dollar started rising since July last year due mainly to the sharp rise of import payment when the exchange rate of the American greenback was Tk 84.80.

A high official of a Chattogram-based industrial group told The Business Post that banks are imposing Tk 89 per dollar in case of opening letter of credit despite the interbank exchange rate being Tk 86.20 per dollar.

“As a result, we have been suffering much to pay import bills.”

“What is the Bangladesh Bank doing now to cool the market,” he posed a question, saying the regulator should intervene in the foreign exchange market by releasing the US dollar from the reserves, or else it would be prejudicial to industrialisation.

Mohammad Mustafa Haider, Group Director of TK Group of Industries, recently told The Business Post that the price of consumer goods would increase further in the local market as the import cost had risen drastically due to the hike of US dollar rate.

He said now most banks are imposing a high rate in case of opening a Letter of Credit (LC) by taking the advantage of an ongoing dollar crisis.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president MdJashimUddin attributed the price hike of industrial raw materials and essential commodities to the rise in import cost as the dollar rate has appreciated against Taka.

“The high import cost is creating pressure on importers; the central bank should pump US dollar into the market from the reserves, which will help cool the situation,” opined the chamber leader.

“We are continually injecting US dollar into the market. But, how much more can it be drawn from the reserves?” Bangladesh Bank Chief Economist HabiburRahman posed the question.

The banking regulator sold more than $ 3.73 billion to the country’s banks as of March 23, this fiscal year, as per the data.

Foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 44 billion on March 15, down from $ 46 billion on February 28 this year due to the US dollar selling spree of the central bank.

The BB chief economist said there was no other way without devaluing the local currency.

“However, we are also concerned about the current state of the foreign exchange market,” he argued.

Asked about the mercenary role of the country’s banks when it comes to letter of credit (L/C) opening, the central bank economist said the BB cannot interrupt on banks on rates against dollar.

“We simply cannot intervene in banks’ L/C rate in an open market,” HabiburRahman said.

Many banks are charging even more than Tk90 against each dollar, more Tk 4 than the BB-set exchange rate.

The mercenary attitudes of banks have left industrialists and importers in a dire situation stoking price hike for both essential food items and industrial raw materials.

An industrialist, however, said the BB’s stance on free-market, or open market is nothing but a vague term, as the central bank’s dictated deposit and lending rates do not go with its stated position.

“Open market formula should not apply only for exchange rate. The BB should fix the dollar rate against Taka to be complied by the country’s all commercial banks,” an aggrieved industrialist told The Business Post.

Why do banks face US dollar shortage?

Economists and bankers said the increasing trend in import payment due to the price hike in the global market, declining trend of remittance and the end of deferral support on payments for imports are the key reasons behind the dollar shortage.

The inflow of remittance to Bangladesh has fallen further this February despite increased incentives from the government, and experts blamed the return of “hundi” system – an illegal method of cross-border transaction – for this decline.

Bangladeshi expatriates sent $ 1.5 billion in February 2022, a 16 per cent drop when compared year on year.

February’s figure is 12.22 per cent lower than that in the previous month when remittance inflow stood at $ 1.7 billion, as per the latest data from the central bank.

Agrani Bank Managing Director and CEO Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam told that import payments have gone up sharply as the country’s business and the economy started to revive from the pandemic fallout.

Asked why banks are charging more than the interbank exchange rate, Agrani Bank Managing Director said that the public sector banks are not imposing higher rate than the declared buying/ selling rates. But, a number of private commercial banks are imposing higher dollar rates on importers than the BB declared rate, he blamed.

The US dollar was traded at more than Tk90 against each US dollar in the kerb market on Wednesday.

The BB purchased $7.93 billion from local banks in the last fiscal year.

During the July-January period of this fiscal, import payments rose by 46.23 per cent to $ 46.67 billion. However, ZahidHussain, former lead economist of the World Bank, Dhaka office, said the import payment is rising sharply due to price hikes in the global market.

“Not only Bangladesh, but all the import-dependent countries are also facing pressure due to such price hike. The Russia-Ukraine war also impacted the price of commodities in the global market,” added the noted economist.

Zahid observed that the high import payment and price hike in the global market hit the general people hard.

Courtesy: The Business Post

;

Government directs closure of KSRM shipyard



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

The Ministry of Industries has ordered the temporary closure of Kabir Steel Limited's (KSRM) shipyard in Chattogram's Sitakunda.

The ministry issued the directive after repeated allegations of worker deaths.

In addition to the closure of the shipyard, a five-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident.

The information was given in a letter signed by Sohela Nasreen, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Industries, on Monday (February 14).

On the night of February 1, Ariful Islam Sujan, 27, a worker at KSRM's shipyard, died. According to the preliminary inquest report, Arif died while working on the ship. But the company was trying to prove that the worker had died of a heart attack to avoid this responsibility. Immediately after this incident, the Ministry of Industry moved seriously to deal the matter.

The ministry has directed the suspension in the case of hiring unskilled workers, not ensuring safety of workers and frequent deaths of workers in accidents.

A letter from the industry ministry said a worker was killed at KSRM's shipbreaking yard on February 1. As a result, negative perceptions are being created about the ship recycling industry at home and abroad. In this case, the shipyard of Kabir Steel Limited will be temporarily closed till further notice.

The Ministry of Industries has also sought an explanation from Kabir Steel Limited within the next seven working days regarding the deaths of workers.

The investigation committee will submit the report within seven working days after investigating the cause of the accident and determining the responsibility.

Earlier, in March 2020, the Ministry of Industries had banned the import of ships due to lack of adequate security, unskilled workers and repeated accidents at the Khwaja Yard owned by the KSRM Group.

The death of a worker at KSRM's shipyard is imminent. .However, the ministry thinks that the incident of deaths of workers at KSRM's shipyard on February 1 has had a negative impact on Bangladesh's ship recycling industry at home and abroad. That is why this directive has been issued.

;

‘Investment would increase more provided taxes are reduced’



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

  • Font increase
  • Font Decrease

Rizwan Rahman, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), said traders would not be able to meet the next challenge if the tax rate was not reduced.

"Tax rates in neighboring countries are lower than in our country," he said. Economic zones are being created in the country. However, due to high tax rates, foreign investment is declining. If the tax rate is reduced, foreign investment will increase further.

He made the remarks at a program titled "Meet the Press 2022" at the DCCI auditorium in the capital on Sunday (February 6).

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said the cost of doing business after LDC graduation by 2026 would be costly. If the tax rate is as high as it is now, the traders will suffer. After LDC graduation, local companies will lose about 6-7 billion if they cannot compete in business.

He said the current corporate tax rate is 20 per cent in Vietnam, 20 per cent in Cambodia, 29 per cent in Pakistan, 24 per cent in Sri Lanka and 20 per cent in Thailand. There is an average corporate tax rate of 30 percent in Bangladesh. We need to further reduce this rate. It's not just the tax rate that needs to be reduced. We need to increase our income, increase production. GDP must increase.

The DCCI president said, "I am not talking about reducing the rate in one day." Then the development of the country will be hampered. It should be reduced little by little every year. Now it is 30 percent. Next year it should be 27.5 percent and then it should be brought down to 25.5 percent.

Calling on the government to formulate an export diversification strategy involving all stakeholders, Rizwan Rahman said, "We export 1 percent of our products to Africa and 3 percent to Middle Eastern countries." We are exporting about 18 percent to distant America. Why we are not able to increase the export of goods to the neighboring countries. It needs to be researched.

"We need to work on skills development," he said. Emphasis is placed on research. That is a good thing, but if we do not focus on science research, we should increase research on economics and then the economic growth of the country will be more.

Referring to the maritime economy as very promising for Bangladesh, he said, "It contributes 3.1 percent to our GDP." In order to utilize this potential properly, an effective vision has to be formulated.

DCCI Vice President Arman Haque and Vice President Monowar Hossain were present on the occasion.

;