Singapore, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — European and Asian markets are mixed after the International Monetary Fund lowered its outlook for the world economy, citing the impact of rising interest rates and trade tensions.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX lost 0.1 percent to 11,930.66 while the CAC 40 in France added 0.1 percent 5,306.00 on Tuesday. Britain's FTSE 100 was less than 0.1 percent higher at 7,235.58. Wall Street was set for a pessimistic open. Dow futures lost 0.2 percent to 26,481.00. The broader S&P 500 futures shed 0.3 percent to 2,885.50.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent to 23,469.39. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.1 percent to 26,172.91. The Shanghai Composite index recovered its losses by 0.2 percent to 2,721.01, after tumbling 3.7 percent on Monday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gave up 1.0 percent to 6,041.10. Stocks rose in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia but fell in Singapore. Markets in South Korea were closed for a national holiday.
IMF DOWNGRADE: The International Monetary Fund has revised its outlook for the global economy, citing rising interest rates and growing tensions over trade. It said the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017 but down from the 3.9 percent it was forecasting for 2018 in July. The report comes on the eve of the Oct. 12-14 meetings in Bali, Indonesia, of the IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank. IMF believes that the Chinese economy will grow by 6.6 percent this year as previously forecasted. But the fund lowered China's economic outlook for 2019 to 6.2 percent, which would be the country's slowest growth since 1990.
U.S.-CHINA TALKS: On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington had a "fundamental disagreement" and "great concerns" about Chinese actions, before a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and another senior official in Beijing on Monday. Pompeo said that he was looking forward to discussions, but his polite, edgy tone shone a spotlight on deteriorating U.S.-China relations. The Trump administration has confronted China on its technology policies and territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the countries have raised tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods.
ANALYST'S TAKE: The IMF report "should in no way surprise" as the fund's managing director Christine Lagarde warned that trade disputes were weighing on global growth last week, said Chris Weston of Pepperstone Group Limited. "However, this is the first time any recognized body has been prepared to officially recognize the trade tensions and mark down their forecasts and that is a message in itself," he added.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 40 cents to $74.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 0.1 percent to settle at $74.29 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 62 cents to $84.53 per barrel. It dropped 0.3 percent to $83.91 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.18 yen from 113.21 yen on Monday. The euro fell to $1.1475 from $1.1489.
Washington, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — The International Monetary Fund is downgrading its outlook for the world economy, citing rising interest rates and growing tensions over trade.
The IMF said Monday that the global economy will grow 3.7 percent this year, the same as in 2017 but down from the 3.9 percent it was forecasting for 2018 in July. It slashed its outlook for the 19 countries that use the euro currency and for Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The report comes on the eve of the Oct. 12-14 meetings in Bali, Indonesia, of the IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.
The IMF expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.9 percent this year, the fastest pace since 2005 and unchanged from the July forecast. But it predicts that U.S. growth will slow to 2.5 percent next year as the effect of recent tax cuts wears off and as President Donald Trump's trade war with China takes a toll.
The Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, has raised short-term U.S. rates three times this year as the American economy gains strength more than nine years after the end of the Great Recession.
The fund kept its forecast for growth in the Chinese economy unchanged at 6.6 percent this year. Citing the impact of U.S. taxes on Chinese imports, however, the IMF shaved the outlook for China next year to 6.2 percent, which would be the country's slowest growth since 1990.
The United States and China — the world's two biggest economies — are sparring over Beijing's aggressive effort to challenge American technological dominance. Washington charges that China uses predatory tactics, including outright cybertheft and forcing foreign companies to hand of trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
The outlook for world trade overall also darkened: The fund expects global trade to grow 4.2 percent this year, down from 5.2 percent in 2017 and from the 4.8 percent it expected in July.
Dhaka, Oct 8 (UNB) - International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) President Mahbubur Rahman has said non-performing loans (NPL) are impacting capital adequacy of the banking sector.
He noted that the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of banks, as of June, stood at 10 percent, down from 10.11 percent a quarter earlier.
The ICCB leader said capital adequacy is the primary indicator of the banks’ financial fitness and stability. “Banks are required to keep at least 11.81% capital adequacy ratio (CAR) which determines the adequacy of banks’ capital keeping in their risk exposures.”
Rahman was addressing at the closing ceremony of ICC workshop on Importance of Compliance in Trade Finance at a city hotel on Sunday, said a press release on Monday.
NPL is one of the issues that is impacting capital adequacy of the industry specially the eight state-owned commercial and specialized banks.
For decades, state-owned banks have been the prime leader to the large corporate borrowers particularly in the industrial sector of the economy, mentioned Rahman.
Since 2009, the government has injected Tk 14,505 crore into the state owned banks but they are yet to show any sign of strengthening their capital base.
On top of this of the total loan banking sector loan amounted to Tk 7,527.30 billion, of which Tk 803.07 billion or 10.67 per cent was bad debt.
And if restructured or rescheduled loans were included, NPL in the banking sector goes up to 17 percent of total outstanding loans, he added.
Rahman observed that until now, only limited action has been taken to penalise defaulters, improve risk management and strengthen bank management.
To tackle the sector's deep-rooted problems of corruption and poor risk practices further efforts needed. Bangladesh Bank must ensure following of regulatory measures by the commercial banks, he urged.
ICC Bangladesh Banking Commission Chairman & CEO, Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC) Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali said the non-compliance in trade financing risk is having an impact in Bangladesh’s overall risk rating.
In fact, in Bangladesh it raises the cost of accessing trade finance product in International Market.
Therefore training like this must increase the efficiency of the concerned bank officials, he added.
Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, Supernumerary Professor, BIBM & Former Managing Director, Pubali Bank Ltd thanked ICC Bangladesh for continuously arranging workshops for the bankers both at home and abroad.
Such programme allows the bankers to interact with their colleagues and learn from the experienced speakers on various issues related to banking operations, in particular international trade finance.
He opined that all the banks including the Bangladesh Bank should have appropriate yearly allocations for training their officials so that they can attend such workshop/training of international standard.
He said risk management and compliance are more important in the financial industry than ever before. For us, they are also part of building genuine relationships with our customers.
ICC Bangladesh Secretary General Ataur Rahman also spoke on the occasion. Sudhakar Sanjeevi, Senior Officer, Internal Control Department, Rakbank, UAE conducted the workshop.
A total of 103 participants attended the workshop from 30 banks.
San Francisco, Oct 7 (AP/UNB) — California voters are right to think they already weighed in on how big cages should be for egg-laying hens.
In 2008, voters ushered in Proposition 2, which sought to free egg-laying hens from tiny cages. It didn't outlaw cages but barred California farmers from keeping hens — as well as calves raised for veal and breeding pigs — in pens so small they virtually couldn't move.
Since then, supermarket shelves have filled with cage-free egg varieties. Corporations like McDonald's, Costco and Taco Bell have committed to using cage-free products.
But a decade later, voters are being asked to revisit the issue with Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative.
The Humane Society of the United States, the issue's primary proponent, says the measure is needed to update California standards and to apply those standards to out-of-state farmers selling their products in California. The earlier initiative simply stated the three types of animals must be able to turn around freely, stand up and fully extend their limbs — but set no specifics.
A "yes" vote for Proposition 12 would create new minimum size requirements for confinement pens for all three animals and require that all egg-laying hens be cage-free by 2022.
It would also ban the sales from other states not meeting California's standards.
The Humane Society calls the measure a "commonsense reform" that strengthens a decade-old animal cruelty law and gives farmers a phase-in time to shift to more humane practices.
"Most of the eggs sold in California come from birds confined in cages where it's hard for them to even move. They have to eat, sleep, defecate and lay eggs in the same small space every day for their entire life," said Josh Balk, vice president at the Humane Society of the United States. "Proposition 12 ensures that the pork sold in California, the veal sold in California and the eggs sold in the state come from (animals) not confined in cages."
Specifically, the measure would require, starting in 2020, a calf confined for production to have at least 43 square feet (4 square meters) of floor space to roam in, while each pig would have to be given 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) of floor space starting in 2022.
Egg-laying hens, starting in 2020, must be given 1 square foot (0.1 square meter) of floor space each, and have to be cage-free by 2022, according to Proposition 12.
According to findings of the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, the measure would likely result in an increase in prices for eggs, pork and veal partly because farmers would have to remodel or build new housing for animals.
"Changes in housing systems, which come with significant costs that increase food prices, should be driven by consumer purchasing decisions, not the agenda of any activist group," Jim Monroe, National Pork Producers Council spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times.
The Association of California Egg Farmers also opposes the measure, saying the expedited timeline could lead to supply disruptions, price spikes and a shortage of eggs for sale.
The Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that if approved, the measure could cost the state as much as $10 million a year to enforce, and millions of dollars more per year in lost tax revenues from farm businesses that choose to stop or reduce production because of higher costs.
Other opponents of Proposition 12 say it doesn't go far enough to stop animal cruelty.
Bradley Miller, a spokesman for Californians against Cruelty, Cages and Fraud, which is leading a "No on Proposition 12" campaign, says the measure is misleading because the phase-in period implicitly makes cages legal until at least 2022.
"We're opposed to legalizing cages in our state," said Miller, who is also president of the Humane Farming Association. "These are ever-changing, never-arriving deadlines."
London, Oct 6 (AP/UNB) — The chances of Britain and the European Union striking a Brexit deal on their divorce are rising, one of the bloc's leaders said, amid reports the two sides are moving closer on the fraught issue of the Irish border.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told three Austrian newspapers in comments published Saturday that "the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days."
Negotiations faltered after the EU said last month that British Prime Minister Theresa May's proposal for post-Brexit economic relations was unacceptable.
The two sides spent days trading bad-tempered barbs, with EU leaders demanding an apology after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt compared the bloc to the Soviet Union.
But officials have been meeting behind the scenes before a key summit in Brussels on Oct. 17 and 18. EU leaders say there needs to be major progress at the meeting for there to be a deal before Britain leaves the bloc on March 29.
The main obstacle is ensuring there are no customs posts or border checks along the frontier between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. Both sides say the border must be kept open, but haven't agreed on how that can be accomplished.
The Irish border impasse has heightened fears that the U.K. could find itself crashing out of the bloc without a deal. The U.K. government has acknowledged that could leave planes grounded and trucks backed up at British ports.
Juncker said a "no-deal" Brexit would be bad for both Britain and the EU.
"Our will is unbroken to reach agreement with the British government," he said.