China eked out 2.3% economic growth in 2020, likely becoming the only major economy to expand as shops and factories reopened relatively early from a shutdown to fight the coronavirus while the United States, Japan and Europe struggled with disease flare-ups.
Growth in the three months ending in December rose to 6.5% over a year earlier, up from the previous quarter’s 4.9% and stronger than many forecasters expected, official data showed Monday.
In early 2020, activity contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter as the ruling Communist Party took the then-unprecedented step of shutting down most of its economy to fight the virus. The following quarter, China became the first major country to grow again with a 3.2% expansion after the party declared victory over the virus in March and allowed factories, shops and offices to reopen.
Exports were boosted by demand for Chinese-made masks and other medical goods.
The growing momentum “reflected improving private consumption expenditure as well as buoyant net exports,” said Rajiv Biswas of IHS Markit in a report. He said China is likely to be the only major economy to grow in 2020 while developed countries and most major emerging markets were in recession.
The economy “recovered steadily” and “living standards were ensured forcefully,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. It said the ruling party’s development goals were “accomplished better than expectation” but gave no details.
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2020 was China’s weakest growth in decades and below 1990's 3.9% following the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement, which led to China's international isolation.
Despite growth for the year, "it is too early to conclude that this is a full recovery,” Iris Pang of ING said in a report. “External demand has not yet fully recovered. This is a big hurdle.”
Exporters and high-tech manufacturers face uncertainty about how President-elect Joseph Biden will handle conflicts with Beijing over trade, technology and security. His predecessor, Donald Trump, hurt exporters by hiking tariffs on Chinese goods and manufacturers including telecom equipment giant Huawei and imposing curbs on access to U.S. components and technology.
“We expect the newly elected U.S. government will continue most of the current policies on China, at least for the first quarter,” Pang said.
The International Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters expect economic growth to rise further this year to above 8%.
Exports rose 3.6% last year despite the tariff war with Washington. Exporters took market share from foreign competitors that still faced anti-virus restrictions.
Retail spending contracted by 3.9% over 2019 but gained 4.6% in December over a year earlier as demand revived. Consumer spending recovered to above the previous year’s levels in the quarter ending in September.
Online sales of consumer goods rose 14.8% as millions of families who were ordered to stay home shifted to buying groceries and clothing online.
Factory output rose 2.8% over 2019. Activity accelerated toward the end of the year. Production rose 7.3 in December.
China has re-imposed travel controls in some areas after a spate of cases this month but most of the country is unaffected.
Authorities have called on the public to avoid travel and large gatherings during next month's Lunar New Year holiday, when millions of people usually visit their hometowns. That might dent spending on travel, gifts and restaurants.
Other activity might increase, however, if farms, factories and traders keep operating instead of closing for up to two weeks for the holiday, Chaoping Zhu of JP Morgan Asset Management said in a report.
“Unusually high growth rates in this quarter are likely to be seen,” said Zhu.
Khulna zone of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) held view exchange meeting with its clients at Tiger Garden International Hotel in Khulna on 14 January.
Mohammed Monirul Moula, Managing Director and CEO of the Bank addressed the meeting as the chief guest while Md Mahbub ul Alam, former Managing Director and CEO of the Bank was present as the guest of honor.
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Muhammad Qaisar Ali & Md Omar Faruk Khan, Additional Managing Directors and Md Anowar Hossain, Managing Director of Dubai Bangladesh Cement Mills Ltd addressed the meeting as the special guests.
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Abu Reza Md Yeahia, JQM Habibullah, FCS and Md Mosharraf Hossain, Deputy Managing Directors, Md Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan and Miftah Uddin, Executive Vice Presidents of the Bank were also present there among others.
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Md Abdus Salam, Head of Khulna zone presided over the programme.
The unique shopping-fest will be active from January 17—23 on the Daraz’s mobile application and website.
Dabur, Esquire Electronics, Focallure, Nestle, Puma, and Ribana are the Campaign Co-Sponsors for the DarazMall Festival, said a press release.
Motorola, Wild Stone, Germnil, and Dettol Bodywash are also facilitating Daraz as the Brand Partners. Payment Partners for the festival are City Bank and South East Bank.
Vouchers; Flash Sales; Deals under BDT 499, BDT 999 and BDT 1999; Review and Win; Celebrity Live Giveaways; Brand Free Shipping are the key attractions of the DarazMall Fest.
Brand lovers of the country can utilize this special opportunity to grab their desired top-brand products in their original quality at a much lower price range with the exciting offers and prizes, it said.
Attractive and useful products from various categories such as computers, mobile phones and home appliances as well as fashion, health & beauty and daily accessories will be available at the festival.
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It is to be mentioned that DarazMall is the premium channel of Daraz from where customers get to purchase world-famous brand products with complete authenticity assured. Daraz holds a collection of 100% genuine accessories and maintains a 14-Days Return Policy for the customers’ convenience.
To provide an easy shopping facility, Daraz is also offering various types of bank discounts and cash back facility with their payment partners. City Bank customers can avail 10% discount up to BDT 500 per user for a single transaction in the DarazMall Fest. 10% Cashback up to BDT 500 applies for each Prepaid and Credit Card user of SouthEast Bank for a single transaction.
Daraz Mall Team Lead Monica Kabir said, “Customers often face difficulty validating the authenticity of the products due to lack of credibility of the sellers. But in our e-commerce landscape, Alibaba’s long-established commitment and Daraz’s credibility gives the brand lovers in Bangladesh a chance to grab their desired items from DarazMall without worrying if they are handed over a defective product or a replica. DarazMall Festival has been immensely successful for us in the past, and we are confident regarding the ongoing one as well.”
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Daraz is the leading online marketplace in South Asia, empowering tens of thousands of sellers to connect with millions of customers. Daraz provides immediate and easy access to 10 million products in more than 100+ categories and delivers more than 2 million packages every month to all corners of its countries.Daraz is a mall, a marketplace and a community for its customers. It is also a university for entrepreneurs, and every month it educates more than 5,000 new sellers on e-commerce operations. To overcome the logistics challenge in its markets, Daraz has built its own logistics company specifically designed for e-commerce operations - Daraz Express (known as DEX) - to raise the standards for the industry. Daraz is also helping existing and new logistics providers digitize.In 2018, Daraz was acquired by Alibaba Group, and is proud to carry its part of the mission to 'make it easy to do business anywhere in the era of the digital economy'. As part of the Alibaba ecosystem, Daraz is leveraging Alibaba’s global leadership and experience in technology, online commerce, mobile payments and logistics to drive growth in its markets.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Saturday stressed the need for exploring new markets for Bangladesh’s RMG sector to overcome the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Bangladesh has to look for new markets including in the neighbouring countries for its diversified products including RMG that will help the country to recover the crisis. The garment sector overcame the effects of the first wave of the COVID-19 to some extent but we’ve started to feel the impact following the 2nd wave,” the minister at a virtual dialogue.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the dialogue on “Recovery of the Apparels Sectors from the COVID-19 Crisis: Is a Value Chain based Solution Possible?” in partnership with Southern Voice and Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) was the study partner.
Tipu Munshi said the government is ready to assist further the RGM sector to offset the losses. “We have to see the interest of all people including manufacturers, workers and buyer.”
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Harry Verweij, Dutch Ambassador to Bangladesh said their government urged companies not to cancel order of Bangladesh’s RMG products.
“Many companies also followed the government’s directives and purchased Bangladesh’s products amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Our government also took many positive initiatives as well,” he said.
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Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow of CPD, moderated the session while its Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem read out the keynote presentation.
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Nagad, the fastest growing digital financial service of the country, and another mobile financial service provider bKash will disburse government’s allowances under various social safety net programmes among 76.13 lakh beneficiaries out of a total of 88.50 lakh.
In order to pay out the allowances, the government carried out demos in eight unions under eight divisions towards the end of last year.
Based on the demos, the government has decided to give out 75 per cent of the allowances through Nagad.
The beneficiaries who will receive the payment through the network of Nagad come from 40 districts.
In a reflection of the government's trust in Nagad, the MFS operator is being entrusted with distributing three-fourths of the allowances put aside for the poor.
The beneficiaries will not have to spend any additional money to cash out the funds from the government.
The government will pay Tk 7 in cash-out charge to Nagad for every Tk 1,000 withdrawal. Nagad will bear the rest.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday officially inaugurated the disbursement of 75 percent of the government’s allowances through Nagad, the digital financial service of Bangladesh’s Postal Department.
The program was presided over by the Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed MP, while state minister Md. Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru was present as special guest.
Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus moderated the event and secretary of the Social Welfare ministry Mohammad Jainul Bari deliver the welcome speech in the inaugural event.
The government of Bangladesh distributes thousands of crores of taka among the poor and the destitute under the social safety programmes every year.
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Under the government to person (G-to-P) method, the government has already disbursed the funds among 12.37 lakh beneficiaries in 77 upazilas under 21 districts through agent banking.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar termed the disbursement of the allowances of the social safety net programmes through the mobile financial services, especially Nagad as a prominent example of the digitalization of the financial industry, said a media release.
“Nagad is proof of the deep trust and confidence that the government services have created. Nagad is technologically so efficient that it can deliver all of the government's financial services to the people. I want to thank Nagad for making the government self-sufficient in at least one area," he said.
Nagad Managing Director Tanvir A. Mishuk said, “For us, this is a historic moment. We have always designed all of our services, keeping in mind the country and the people of the country. As a result, we have earned the love of the government and the people in a very short time. We believe that the day is not far off when Nagad will digitalize the whole government allowance distribution system, and the people will also get what they are entitled to receive without any hassles."
Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed MP said, “We noticed during the demos on the disbursement of allowances under the social safety net programmes that Nagad’s technology is state-of-the-art and the sphere of its service is wide. Hopefully, the government’s allowances will reach the right persons within the shortest possible time under this process.”
The government will distribute the allowances under four programmes in the current fiscal year.
The government has set aside Tk 5,885.64 crore in the budget for the four programmes. Under the schemes, Tk 2,940 crore has been allocated for 49 lakh elderlies eligible for old-age allowances.
The allocation for 2.50 lakh widows and destitute women stands at Tk 1,230 crore.
Tk 1,620 crore has been allocated for 18 lakh insolvent people with disabilities. Besides, the government will pay Tk 95.64 crore to 1 lakh physically challenged students as stipends. In total, the government will distribute Tk 5,885.64 crore among 88.50 lakh beneficiaries.
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