Friday, July 30

Business

Business

Strict Covid restrictions spark panic buying of rice in Bangladesh

Rice export prices from top Asian hubs fell this week as Vietnamese and Thai traders tried to compete with relatively low Indian offers, while a virus-led lockdown in Bangladesh boosted domestic rates. Amid a record spike in coronavirus cases this week, the Bangladeshi government tightened lockdown measures, prompting panic buying of the staple. The country's state grains buyer has issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 tonnes of rice by railway. In India, rates of 5 per cent broken parboiled variety fell to $367-$371 per tonne, their lowest since November 2020, versus last week's $369-$373. "Rupee is allowing us to lower prices. Local rice prices have also been going down due to government's decision to release stocks," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the sou...
Business

Jashore’s weaving industry on the verge of extinction

For years the rhythmic sound of handlooms woke up the residents of Manirampur. Not now. The weavers in this western region are losing the battle to keep the craft alive. They are facing extinction. Manirapmpur upazila in Jashore has been a popular hub for handloom industry. About 80,000 handloom workers live in 78 villages of its 249 villages. Many of the workers are from Bharatpur, Paralo and Muzgunni villages. Villagers here have been used to the sounds of Pitloom and Khatkhati (traditional loom equipment). But these are now falling silent. Abdur Rauf of Paralo village had once 60 to 70 Pitlooms and Khatkhatis in his house. Now he owns only 22 pitlooms. Abdullah, who lives next door, depends on weaving for livelihood but wants to leave this profession as well. Pe...
Business

Small enterprises in big trouble

A small-scale venture Jute Mart and Craft in Bangladesh manufactures and sells jute produces in local market. Before the coronavirus hit the country, the company had 10-12 workers at its Banasree factory. After March of 2020, 95 per cent of its work-orders were cancelled. And there was no fresh work-order coming. Proprietor of the business Khaleda Sultana did not receive positive response after applying for funds from the government-announced stimulus package. To survive in the business, Khaleda shortened the production capacity and shifted the factory to Mohanagar Project area. And to cut production costs, the pool of permanent employees shrunk into two with 20-25 contractual workers. However, the good news is that Jute Mart and Craft has been receiving fresh work orders gradually....
Business

Vietnam posts healthy Q2 growth but virus poses challenges

Vietnam shook off a fresh outbreak of virus infections and containment measures to record strong economic growth in the second quarter, data showed on Tuesday, though there were warnings that the road ahead remained bumpy. The country has long been among the best performing economies in Asia and was one of the few in the world to expand last year after success in containing the worst of the virus. And the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported it expanded 6.61 per cent in April-June, slightly below forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey but a big improvement on the previous three months' 4.65 per cent. For the first half of the year, it grew 5.64 per cent, in line with government expectations. Though the figure is considered high, the GSO said "the Covid-19 pandemic boom in so...
Business

Covid claims 133 bankers’ lives

A total of 133 bank officials have died of Coronavirus infection in Bangladesh till May while 25,399 others were infected with the virus in 15 months. Number of dead and infected bank officials has increased in June. The banks are giving up to Tk 5 million as compensation to the family members of the covid victims. Family of workers will get Tk 2.5 million while trainee assistant officers to lower rank officers get Tk 3.75 million. Bangladesh Bank asked authorities of banks to provide transport facilities for the bankers but most of the private banks do not comply with the direction. Branches of banks do not maintain social distancing rules leaving officials and workers at the risk of being infected. According to Bangladesh Bank statistics, the number of total bank officials a...
Business

Stocks maintain gaining streak

Country’s both the bourses, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) on Tuesday witnessed an upward trend like earlier as investors continued their buying spree on large-cap issues amid optimism. DSEX, the prime index of the DSE, went up by 15.85 points or 0.26 per cent to settle at 6,042.50. The DSE 30 Index, comprising blue chips, and the DSE Shariah Index (DSES) also gained 9.18 points to finish at 2,185.83 and 3.58 points closing at 1,298.39. Turnover, a crucial indicator of the market, stood at Tk 11,480.89 million on the country’s premier bourse which was Tk 13,284.95 million. Gainers took a modest lead over the losers, as out of 373 issues traded, 175 closed green, 166 in the red and 32 remained unchanged on the DSE trading floor. Beximco topped th...
Business, Culture

Kentucky joins bandwagon of states offering cash bonuses to rejoin workforce

Kentucky is the latest state to offer hefty return-to-work cash incentives, as the economy begins to bounce back from the COVID-19 shock. Gov. Andy Beshear announced earlier this week a plan to pay up to 15,000 Kentuckians on unemployment insurance a $1,500 bonus for rejoining the workforce by the end of July. The program will be funded by some $22.5 million left over from the March 2020 CARES Act, according to a statement from the governor's office. In order to qualify, applicants must be a Kentucky resident, be employed by a business in the state between June 24 and July 2021, and have an active unemployment insurance claim as of June 23. Employers must complete an online verification form that the employee has worked 120 hours in the four weeks following being hired....
Business

Turkey’s Erdogan takes first step in ‘crazy’ canal project

ISTANBUL -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday took the first step in the construction of a ship canal skirting Istanbul that the government says will ease marine traffic in the Bosporus Strait. “Today we are opening a new page in the history of Turkey’s development,” Erdogan said in a bridge ground-breaking ceremony in Sazlidere, west of Istanbul. “We see Canal Istanbul as a project to save the future of Istanbul … to ensure the safety of life and property of Istanbul’s Bosporus and the citizens around it.” The idea of a canal linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea — dubbed his “crazy project” by Erdogan — was first suggested in 2011 and revived three years ago. The government says the 45-kilometer (28-mile) canal will relieve pressure on the Bosporus, o...
IMF secures sufficient pledges to provide comprehensive debt relief to Sudan
Business

IMF secures sufficient pledges to provide comprehensive debt relief to Sudan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday it has secured sufficient financing pledges to allow it to provide comprehensive debt relief to Sudan, clearing a final hurdle towards wider relief on external debt of at least $50 billion. More than 100 IMF member countries have pledged to provide more than $1.415 billion in financing which will enable the clearance of Sudan's arrears to the IMF, the IMF said in a statement. Sudan is emerging from decades of economic sanctions and isolation under ousted former president Omar al-Bashir. It had built up huge arrears on its debt, but has made rapid progress towards having much of it forgiven under the IMF and World Bank's Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) scheme, which would reopen access to badly needed cheap international ...
Business

US new home sales tumble to one-year low as prices soar

Sales of new US single-family homes fell to a one-year low in May as the median price of newly built houses soared amid expensive raw materials, including framing lumber. The second straight monthly decline in sales reported by the Commerce Department on Wednesday was the latest indication that the tailwind from the Covid-19 pandemic could be subsiding. Single-family housing benefited from a migration from cities as millions of Americans sought more spacious accommodations for home offices and schooling during the pandemic. "New home sales along with existing home sales suggest home buying activity is past its peak," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York. "We don't know what is going to happen when the stay-at-home economy shifts to going back to the office." ...