Bangladesh has the potential to increase trade with the European Union (EU) countries, Charles Whiteley, ambassador and head of the Delegation of the EU to the country, said Thursday. He paid a courtesy call on Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin in Dhaka Thursday. They discussed trade and investment between Bangladesh and EU countries. Read: FBCCI signs MoU with Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jasim hoped for enhanced cooperation between FBCCI and different trade bodies of the EU region. Bernd Spanier, deputy head of mission, FBCCI Vice-President Salahuddin Alamgir; directors Syed Sadat Almas Kabir, Nadia Binte Amin, and Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque were present at the meeting.
Indian tycoon Gautam Adani’s wealth increased after stocks gained for two weeks in a row and outpaced Wall Street shares. As a result, he now occupies the third position on Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List, surpassing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once more. NDTV reported that Gautam Adani’s wealth increased by $314 million on Monday (October 31, 2022), bringing it to $131.9 billion – making him the third richest person in the world according to Forbes, after Bernard Arnault of Louis Vuitton, who maintains the second slot with a net worth of $156.5 billion. After Amazon predicted dismal holiday sales last Thursday (October 27, 2022), sending shares of the largest retailer in the world tumbling in after-hours trade, the Forbes list also showed a dramatic decline in Jeff Bezos' fortune. Read more: Forbes Highest-paid Footballers 2022: Mbappe overtakes Messi, Ronaldo Although Adani surpassed Jeff Bezos, whose net worth was $126.9 billion, the rankings on the Forbes list have been fluctuating recently, echoing the turmoil in the larger global stock markets, with gains and losses. Gautam Adani, Bernard Arnault, and Jeff Bezos have had readings similar to a musical chairs game for the second, third, and fourth richest spots in recent weeks, but Elon Musk has kept far ahead and is the world’s richest, with a net worth of $223.8 billion. The NDTV reports adds that Gautam Adani’s company would spend more than $150 billion in sectors including renewable energy, data centres, airports, and healthcare as it strives to join the exclusive club of corporations with $1 trillion valuation. Read more: 3 Bangladeshi companies on Forbes list
The US giant Chevron is likely to start its two drilling works in April next year to explore more gas in its extended area in the Bibiyana gas field. It was learnt from sources that Chevron is in process of mobilising their workforce and equipment to start the drilling in Bibiyana’s flanked area. A rig was contracted to conduct the drilling work at well Nos-27 and 28, which are located in the flanked area. “The rig is now in Dubai on the way to Bangladesh”, said a source, adding that getting a rig available is very costly in recent days when many energy companies are engaging in gas exploration in their desperate efforts to find oil and gas in the global energy crisis in the wake of Russia-Ukraine war. Sources said completion of drilling may take two to three months. “But finding new gas may take more than two years”, said a source. On October 2, Chevron Bangladesh signed several agreements with the Energy and Mineral Resources Division and also with the state-owned Petrobangla to drill more wells at the expanded Bibiyana gas field. The deals are Supplemental Agreement to the Block 12 Production Sharing Contract for Bibiyana Flank Area Extension, amendment of Jalalabad Gas and Condensate Purchase and Sales Agreement and Amendment of Moulvibazar Condensate Purchase and Sales Agreement for Blocks 13 and 14. Energy and Mineral Resources Division Deputy Secretary Morsheda Ferdous, Petrobangla Secretary (Senior General Manager) Ruchira Islam, and Chevron, Bangladesh President Eric M Walker signed the agreements. At the function Petrobangla Chairman Nazmul Ahsan said the main objective of Chevron's Bibiyana Flank Area Extension is to drill new wells there. So far, Chevron has dug 26 wells at the Bibiyana gas field. It will begin drilling the BY-27 development well in 2023 in the extended area, he said. The multinational energy corporation also plans to drill the BY-28 infield well later, Nazmul said, adding that a significant amount of gas is expected to flow from the field. Chevron is now producing around 1481.3 million cubic feet of gas per day from three gas fields – Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulvibazar – about 60 percent of the country's total gas production. It has also been producing more than 80 percent of the total condensate production. The government approved Chevron's proposal to allow it to add a 60-square-kilometre "flank" area outside its existing contract zone in the north of the Bibiyana gas field. The approval came last month when the US oil giant celebrated its 25 years of operations in Bangladesh. The newly extended area will be drilled under the same production sharing contract (PSC) now applicable for the three gas fields, said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division officials.
Apple managed to boost both its sales and profit during a summertime quarter that depressed the fortunes of most other major tech companies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the iPhone maker will be immune to a potential recession. Even though Apple fared reasonably well, the July-September results released Thursday signaled that the world’s most valuable company is facing some of the same economic headwinds that hammered the profits of Microsoft and the corporate parents of both Google and Facebook. Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter revenue rose 8% from the same time last year to $90.1 billion. That was an improvement from the scant 2% uptick in revenue during its April-June quarter when supply problems caused by pandemic-related factory shutdowns dinged its sales. The Cupertino, California, company’s profit for the most recent quarter totaled $20.72 billion, or $1.29 per share, up by less than 1% from the same time last year. Both the revenue and earnings per share were slightly above analyst estimates. But on the downside, sales of Apple’s most popular product, the iPhone, and another big moneymaker, and the services division, were both lower than analysts had been anticipating — a sign consumers may be cutting back amid the highest inflation in 40 years. Apple is facing “increasingly difficult economic conditions,” CEO Tim Cook acknowledged during a Thursday conference call with analysts. “A lot of people in a lot of places are struggling.” Those challenges are one of the reasons Apple expects its revenue growth to decelerate during the current October-December period, even though this year’s quarter will include one more week than last year’s, Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri warned during conference call. The strong U.S. dollar, which has lowered Apple’s reported sales internationally, is also contributing to the anticipated slowdown. Investors initially reacted negatively after Maestri’s made that forecast, driving down Apple’s shares by about 3% in extended trading, but seemed to be feeling more optimistic about the company’s prospects by the time management concluded the conference call. Apple’s shares were up by more than 1% late Thursday. Mirroring other once high-flying stocks in tech, Apple’s stock still has dropped almost 20% so far in 2022. The iPhone — still Apple’s marquee product 15 years after its debut – accounted for most of its success during the past quarter, even though the company didn’t sell quite as many of the devices as analysts had hoped. Boosted by the release of four new models in late September, iPhones sales climbed 10% from the same time last year to $42.63 billion. But industry analysts are starting to fret over how much longer consumers will splurge on new phones as they feel the pinch of the past year’s stubbornly high inflation rates. If those financial pressures persist, it could cause more households to curtail their spending during the holiday shopping season, especially on the kind of pricey gadgets that are Apple’s cornerstone. That’s one of the primary reasons the research firm International Data Corp. is now expecting worldwide smartphone shipments this year to fall 6.5% from 2021, a downward revision of three full percentage points — translating into about 150 million fewer devices being sold — from an earlier forecast made in May. Apple won’t suffer as much as the makers of phones running on Google’s Android operating system, IDC predicted, but it still will result in a significant slowdown. IDC projects iPhone shipments will edge up by less 0.5%, with the average selling price of the device hovering around $950. Through the first nine months of this year, iPhone sales are up 6% from last year. “We knew Apple’s iPhone business was slowing down, but we’re also starting to see that trickle into their services segment which will be one cause for concern,” said Investing.com analyst Jesse Cohen. Maestri told analysts that weaker sales of advertising and gaming were the biggest drag on the services division during the most recent quarter.
The shrinking value of the currencies of most developing economies is driving up food and fuel prices in ways that could deepen the food and energy crises that many of them already face, the World Bank said in its latest report. Released Thursday, the ‘Commodity Markets Outlook’ report says that the prices of most commodities have declined from their recent peaks amid concerns of an impending global recession. From the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February this year through the end of last month, the price of Brent crude oil in U.S. dollars fell nearly six per cent. “Yet, because of currency depreciations, almost 60 per cent of oil-importing emerging-market and developing economies saw an increase in domestic-currency oil prices during this period. Nearly 90 per cent of these economies also saw a larger increase in wheat prices in local-currency terms compared to the rise in US dollars,” reads the report. “Although many commodity prices have retreated from their peaks, they are still high compared to their average level over the past five years,” said Pablo Saavedra, the World Bank’s Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions. Read more:Unprecedented shocks exacerbating challenges, dampening growth in South Asia: World Bank “A further spike in world food prices could prolong the challenges of food insecurity across developing countries. An array of policies is needed to foster supply, facilitate distribution, and support real incomes.” Elevated prices of energy commodities that serve as inputs to agricultural production have been driving up food prices. During the first three quarters of 2022, food-price inflation in South Asia averaged more than 20 per cent. Food price inflation in other regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, averaged between 12 and 15 per cent. East Asia and the Pacific has been the only region with low food-price inflation, partly because of broadly stable prices of rice, the region’s key staple. Since the war in Ukraine, energy prices have been quite volatile but are now expected to decline. After surging by about 60 per cent this year, energy prices are projected to decline 11 per cent in next year. Despite this moderation, energy prices next year will still be 75 per cent above their average over the past five years, according to the report. Besides, the price of Brent crude oil is expected to average $92 a barrel in 2023—well above the five-year average of $60 a barrel. Both natural gas and coal prices are projected to ease in 2023 from record highs in 2022, it added. However, by 2024, Australian coal and the US natural-gas prices are still expected to be double their average over the past five years, while European natural gas prices could be nearly four times higher. Coal production is projected to significantly increase as several major exporters boost output, putting climate-change goals at risk. Pablo Saavedra said the combination of elevated commodity prices and persistent currency depreciations translates into higher inflation in many countries. Read more: Without reforms, Bangladesh’s GDP could fall below 4% by 2035: World Bank study “A further spike in world food prices could prolong the challenges of food insecurity across developing countries. An array of policies is needed to foster supply, facilitate distribution, and support real incomes.” Besides, agricultural prices are expected to decline 5 per cent next year. Wheat prices in the third quarter of 2022 fell nearly 20 per cent but remain 24 per cent higher than a year ago. The decline in agricultural prices in 2023 reflects a better-than-projected global wheat crop, stable supplies in the rice market, and the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine. “The forecast of a decline in agricultural prices is subject to an array of risks,” said John Baffes, senior economist in the World Bank’s Prospects Group. A sharper slowdown in global growth also presents a key risk, especially for crude oil and metals prices. Metal prices are projected to decline 15 per cent in 2023, largely because of weaker global growth and concerns about a slowdown in China. The report examines the drivers of aluminum and copper prices and explores implications for emerging market and developing economies that export these commodities.
Global tech giant Huawei has called for accelerating the progress in network deployment, consumer services and industry applications to fully unlock the value of 5G networks and enrich users' experience of 5G. James Chen, president of the Global Sales Dept of Huawei Carrier BG, made this remark while delivering a keynote at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum, which began in Bangkok on Tuesday. Chen said, "We've seen fast progress in 5G. To fully unlock the value of 5G, we need to accelerate deployment, and make the most of every band, every hertz, and every watt. Together, we can take 5G from a leading brand and leading technology, to a leading experience and a leading business. And we can make 5G a commercial success." Chen described how 5G is driving industry development in many aspects. Compared with 4G, 5G networks are 10-times faster, delivering speeds greater than 1 Gbps. 5G users also consume two times more data than 4G users – more than 20 GB per month – and that amount is expected to keep growing. This creates huge opportunities for carriers in three areas: user experience, the Internet of Things (IoT), and industrial digitalization. Read: Huawei ICT Incubator announces top 6 startups from Bangladesh It means user experience can generate more revenue than ever before, as carriers shift away from traffic-based business models. This can be achieved by offering 5G packages priced based on other factors like speed, latency, and uplink experience. The IoT is also a booming market with a rapid growth in both consumer and industrial IoT services, which is expected to create 100 billion IoT connections. As for industrial digitalization, 5G provides high-quality connections, and services like private lines and networks that are helping carriers expand into the B2B market. With 5G, carriers can diversify their portfolios beyond connectivity, and identify new sources of revenue. Despite these opportunities, 5G rollout is still inconsistent across different countries. Right now, 5G coverage is only available for 29% of the global population – much lower than 4G, which covers 92%. According to Chen, to fully unlock the value of 5G and make it a commercial success, it is necessary to accelerate 5G network deployment, and make the most of "every band, every hertz, and every watt." The spectrum will have to be better utilized. All spectrum bands can be used for 5G, but different bands produce optimal performance in different scenarios. Besides, building on the 10x energy efficiency of 5G over 4G, ongoing innovation will need to be made at three separate layers – equipment, sites, and networks – to enable every watt to carry more bits, and help build 5G networks with optimal performance and energy efficiency. Artificial Intelligence will also need to be applied in 5G networks to make the most of limited network resources, Chen added. At the end of his speech, Chen said, "5G is changing the mobile landscape, but this is just the beginning. Huawei will continue to innovate in technologies to maximize the value of each band, hertz, and watt, help global customers build 5G networks with the best experience, optimal energy efficiency, and highest efficiency, and continuously create value for customers." The Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2022 is hosted by Huawei, together with its industry partners GSMA and GTI. This annual forum gathers mobile network carriers, vertical industry leaders, and ecosystem partners from around the world to discuss how to make 5G a commercial success and other hot topics like green development, intelligence, and 5G evolution. The 13th Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2022 began in Bangkok, Thailand today. Huawei is the host of the two-day event with 5G in focus. It may be mentioned that in December 2021, state telecoms regulator BTRC launched the initial 5G network in Bangladesh in collaboration with state-owned mobile operator Teletalk. But the initial coverage remains extremely limited, extending only to the Prime Minister's Office, Parliament, Secretariat, Bangabandhu Museum on Dhanmondi 32, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's birth place Tungipara in Gopalganj, and the National Martyrs' Memorial in Savar. The country however has big ambitions with 5G and its expanded capabilities in the near future, as coverage expands. Till now, it has partnered with Huawei in bringing 5G to Bangladesh.
The US$4.5 billion loan Bangladesh is seeking from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is unlikely to arrive before January next year, according to officials familiar with the negotiations. An IMF team is due to arrive in Dhaka on Wednesday to start formal talks on the terms of the loan Bangladesh has sought under the Washington-based lender’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST), which helps member countries ensure sustainable growth. With Bangladesh almost certain to get the loan for its budget support speculations are rife on when the disbursement will start. Dr Ahsan H. Mansur, the executive director of the private research institute Policy Research Institute (PRI) and a former official of IMF told UNB on Tuesday, "IF the government accepts the IMF’s conditions, then it is possible to get the first installment of the loan at the beginning of next year." But if the government shows more sincerity in fulfilling the conditions, then there is a chance to get the first installment by the end of this year, he said. “The IMF delegation is coming to Bangladesh. This time, they will discuss the terms of lending. How soon the loan will be available depends on the team’s report,” he added. Bangladesh Bank officials working on IMF loan say the deal is expected to be finalized by December and it may be presented at the IMF's board meeting in January. In this regard, Bangladesh Bank Chief Economist Habibur Rahman said, "The IMF delegation’s report will be submitted to the IMF board. Then the loan will be available.” However, it is difficult to say when the first installment of the loan will be available, he said.
The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will bring a new revolution in e-commerce business, according to T Koshi, chief executive officer of ONDC India. "ONDC is not a new platform, it is a network or a system through which all the stakeholders in digital commerce communicate with each other through a common protocol. The biggest benefit from this approach or network will be small or micro online merchants," he added. One of the main objectives of setting up the ONDC network is to ensure that large domestic and foreign online platforms do not monopolise the e-commerce sector and deprive small entrepreneurs, Koshi said. He was speaking at the discussion session "ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) – New Future of Digital Commerce" Saturday in Dhaka. BASIS President Russell T Ahmed said the private sector should work with the government to implement this new network in Bangladesh. "BASIS is ready to provide all kinds of technical assistance to all, including the Ministry of Commerce and Bangladesh Bank."
Over 1,500 entrepreneurs from home and abroad joined Walton Hi-Tech Industries' "Meet the Partners," a conference of electronics businessmen, at a Cox's Bazar hotel recently. Important discussions on electronics business strategies in the wake of the ongoing post-Covid global economic crisis were held at the conference, according to a media statement. Walton's board of directors and senior executives provided guidance to distributors regarding the electronics product business in the changing circumstances. Walton Hi-Tech Vice-Chairman SM Shamsul Alam, Director SM Ashraful Alam and Managing Director and CEO Golam Murshed inaugurated the conference Thursday. Walton Senior Executive Director and film actor Amin Khan hosted the programme. The best distributors of different zones were awarded at the conference.
AGC obtains first environmental product declaration for architectural glass products in Asia-Pacific region
AGC Inc. (hereinafter "AGC"), headquartered in Tokyo, has announced th acquisition of its first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for float glass manufactured at its two Asian plants, PT Asahimas Flat Glass Tbk (*1) (headquartered in Indonesia) and AGC Flat Glass (Thailand) Plc. (headquartered in Thailand). This is the first EPD attained by the AGC Group for the architectural glass manufactured in the Asia-Pacific region (*2). The EPD obtained by AGC discloses the environmental impact of the production stage for architectural glass, and it benefits owners, architects, specifiers, and building professionals by enabling to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with building materials. The EPD is a type III environmental declaration which is compliant with the ISO 14025 standard and verified by the Sustainable Management Promotion Organization's (SuMPO) Japan EPD Program. The environmental declaration alsomeets the requirements of the government's building regulations, as well as contributing to earning points for obtaining green building scheme certifications, since green building rating systems (*3) award credits for building projects that use EPD-certified materials. The AGC Group will utilize this EPD to contribute to green purchasing and procurement in the construction industry in Asia. The company will also widen its EPD coverage to high-performance glass products, such as coated glass, double glazing units and decorative glass manufactured at Asian plants. The AGC Group has set the "promotion of sustainability management" as one of the priority issues in its medium-term management plan "AGC plus-2023," and has set a target of achieving net zero GHG emissions from its business activities by 2050. The AGC Group will continue to contribute to the realization of a sustainable global environment by reducing GHG emissions and supplying products and technologies that contribute to energy conservation and energy creation. Notes: (*1) PT Asahimas Flat Glass Tbk is part of the global AGC group. Asahimas Flat Glass was established as a joint venture in 1973 between Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. (now AGC Inc.) and PT Rodamas (Indonesian distributor of glass and related customer goods). (*2) AGC Glass Asia Pacific leads the sales and marketing activities of architectural, interior, automotive, industrial and smart glass products for the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of the Architectural Glass Asia Pacific Company, AGC Inc., headquartered in Japan, and its regional headquarters in Singapore was established in 2013. For more information about AGC Glass Asia Pacific's sustainability initiatives, visit https://agc-glassasia.com (*3) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system by U.S. Green Building Council and Green Mark Certification Scheme by Singapore Building and Construction Authority are examples of green building rating systems. Source: AGC Inc.