London, Oct 21 (AP/UNB) — The vast majority of British firms are poised to implement their Brexit contingency plans by Christmas if there isn't greater clarity over the country's exit from the European Union, a leading business lobby group warned Sunday.
The Confederation of British Industry said these could include cutting jobs, adjusting supply chains outside the U.K., stockpiling goods, and relocating production and services overseas.
The warning comes amid growing fears that Britain may crash out of the EU in March without a deal on the future relationship. That could see tariffs placed on British exports, border checks reinstalled, and restrictions imposed travelers and workers — a potentially toxic combination for businesses.
"The situation is now urgent," said Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI's director general. "The speed of negotiations is being outpaced by the reality firms are facing on the ground."
Discussions between the two sides have hit an impasse largely over how to maintain an open border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
A summit of EU leaders last week failed to yield a breakthrough and another gathering in November was cancelled. December is now the next scheduled summit, leaving the Brexit process tight ahead of Britain's official departure date. Even if a deal is forged, there are doubts over British Prime Minister Theresa May' ability to secure the necessary majority in Parliament given bitter divisions on the topic.
"Unless a Withdrawal Agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans," said Fairbairn. "Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved."
Fairbairn's warning was based on a survey of 236 member firms tilted toward small and medium-sized companies with up to 500 employees, undertaken from Sept. 19 to Oct. 8. The survey found that 82 percent of firms will have started to implement contingency plans by December if the Brexit process isn't any clearer.
The CBI also said that 80 percent of firms say Brexit has already had a negative impact on their investment decisions, more than double the 36 percent recorded a year ago. The survey found that 66 percent of businesses said Brexit has had an impact on the attractiveness of the U.K. as a place to invest, while 24 percent said there had been no impact.
Some big companies are becoming increasingly vexed by the impasse in the Brexit talks. Last week, ahead of the summit in Brussels, pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca and carmaker Ford issued statements raising doubts about their investments in Britain.
"Uncertainty is draining investment from the U.K.," said Fairbairn.
Beijing, Oct 19 (AP/UNB) — China's economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter, adding to challenges for its communist leaders as they fight a tariff battle with Washington.
The world's second-largest economy expanded by 6.5 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in September, government data showed Friday. That was down from 6.7 percent for the quarter ending in July and 6.8 percent for the year's first three months.
Forecasters expected China's economy to cool after Beijing tightened credit controls last year to rein in a debt boom. But the slowdown has been more abrupt than expected, prompting Chinese leaders to reverse course and encourage banks to lend.
"China's slowdown is a little sharper than expected, but basically fits our narrative for the economy," said Bill Adams of PNC Financial Services Group in a report.
Beijing's debt controls and "trade uncertainties" are "taking a bite out of economic momentum," Adams said.
China's leaders express confidence their $12 trillion-a-year economy can survive the conflict with U.S. President Donald Trump. But export industries have begun to suffer from American tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on Chinese goods.
Economic performance was "stable overall," but "we must also see the number of external challenges has increased significantly," said a government spokesman, Mao Shengyong.
"Downward pressure has increased," Mao said at a news conference.
Retail spending, factory output and investment in factories and other fixed assets weakened.
Retail sales rose 9.1 percent over a year earlier in the first nine months of the year, down 0.1 percent from the first half, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Growth in factory output decelerated to 6.4 percent for the first nine months of 2018, down 0.3 percentage points from the first half. Investment rose 5.4 percent in the first three quarters, down 0.6 percentage points from the first half.
Beijing has rejected U.S. pressure to scale back industrial development plans Washington says are based on stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology. American officials worry they might threaten U.S. industrial leadership.
The conflict with Washington has prompted communist leaders to step up the pace of a marathon effort to encourage self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment.
Beijing has cut tariffs, promised to lift curbs on foreign ownership in the Chinese auto industry and taken other steps to rev up growth. But leaders reject pressure to scrap plans such as "Made in China 2025," which calls for state-led creation of Chinese champions in robotics and other technologies.
Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain those plans violate Beijing's market-opening commitments.
Beijing has responded to previous downturns by flooding the state-dominated economy with credit, but that has swelled debt. The ruling Communist Party has told banks to step up lending, especially to private entrepreneurs who generate China's new jobs and wealth, but has avoided a full-scale stimulus. Forecasters say it will take the measures some time to work their way through the economy.
There are signs government support is "starting to gain traction," but "more easing will still be needed in order to stabilize growth," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a report.
"We doubt the latest pick-up in infrastructure spending will be enough to prevent the economy from cooling further in the coming quarters," said Evans-Pritchard.
Washington has raised tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods and Trump says he might extend penalties to almost all imports from China. Beijing responded with its own tariff hikes on $110 billion of American imports but is running out of goods for retaliation due to their lopsided trade balance.
Forecasters say if threatened tariff hikes by both sides are fully carried out, that could cut China's 2019 growth by up to 0.3 percentage points.
September exports to the United States rose 13 percent despite the tariff hikes, down slightly from August's 13.4 percent. The country's politically volatile trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion.
Chinese exporters of lower-value goods such as clothes say American orders fell off starting in April as trade tensions worsened. But makers of factory equipment, medical technology and other high-value goods express confidence they can keep their market share.
Trade accounts for a smaller share of the economy than it did a decade ago but still supports millions of jobs.
On Thursday, the Commerce Ministry promised official help for companies that have suffered due to the American import controls.
"In general, the impact is limited," said a ministry spokesman, Gao Feng. "Governments at all levels will also take active measures to help enterprises and employees cope with possible difficulties."
Dhaka, Oct 18 (UNB)- The 617th Executive Committee Meeting of the Board of Directors of Al-Arafah Islami Bank Limited was held at the Board Room of the Bank on its Purana Paltan head office in the city on Thursday.
Md. Enayet Ullah, chairman of the Committee, presided over the meeting where overall business performance of the bank was reviewed and it also took various investment related decisions, said a press release.
Members of the Committee Nazmul Ahsan Khaled, Md. Harun-Ar-Rashid Khan, Engr. Kh. Mesbahuddin Ahmed, Ahamedul Hoque, A.N.M. Yahia, Managing Director and CEO Farman R Chowdhury, Deputy Managing Directors-- Md. Fazlul Karim, Muhammad Mahmoodul Haque, S. M. Jaffar, Mohammed Zubair Wafa, Executive Vice President and Company Secretary Md. Mahmudur Rahman and other executives were present in the meeting.
Tokyo, Oct 18 (AP/UNB) — Japan recorded a trade surplus for September of 139.6 billion yen ($1.2 billion), but exports fell 1.2 percent from the previous year, marking the first decline since 2016, after several natural disasters.
Trailing exports are also reflecting uncertainties over trade tensions set off by President Donald Trump's policies. Declining U.S.-China trade generally hurts the export-dependent Japanese economy.
September imports rose 7 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Ministry of Finance.
During the month, a major earthquake hit the northernmost island of Hokkaido, causing fatal landslides and widespread blackouts, while a typhoon struck the western Kansai area and temporarily shut down a major airport.
Those events followed deadly flooding in southwestern Japan and a quake in Osaka earlier this year.
The last time Japan's exports fell on-year was in November 2016, when they slipped 0.4 percent, data show.
For the six months through September, the first fiscal half, exports grew 5.2 percent, while imports rose 10 percent.
The Trump administration has plans to pursue trade agreements with the European Union and Britain, as well as with Japan. The administration recently reached a deal with Canada and Mexico to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB)- A school banking conference has been held at Bagerhat Zila Parishad auditorium under auspices of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) as part of Bangladesh Bank's financial inclusion program.
On this occasion, a procession led by Ashim Kumar Majumder, General Manager of Bangladesh Bank, Khulna Office, also the chief guest of the conference and Abu Reza Md. Yeahia, Deputy Managing Director of IBBL paraded the town.
Md. Maksudur Rahman, Senior Vice President and Head of Khulna Zone, IBBL, Mahatab Uddin, Officer In-charge of Bagerhat Model Police Station and Rabiul Islam, Assistant Inspector of District Education Officer, Bagerhat attended the conference as special guests.
A H M Rafiqul Islam, Joint Director and Mohammed Atiqul Alam, Deputy Director of Bangladesh Bank conducted session on financial education and school banking activities.
Md. Nazrul Islam, Deputy General Manager of Krishi Bank, Md. Mahmud Uddin, Assistant General Manager of Sonali Bank, Manosh Kumar Pal, Assistant General Manager of Agrani Bank addressed welcome speech.
Md. Sadeque Ali, Head of Bagerhat Branch of IBBL, managers & representatives of all scheduled banks in Bagerhat were present on the occasion.
Students, teachers and guardians from different schools and colleges of Bagerhat attended the conference.