How Has Bangladesh Left Pakistan Behind in Per Capita Income?

A headline in the Economist magazine's recent issue screams: "Bangladesh's GDP per person is now higher than Pakistan's". Let's examine this development to understand its causes.

Per Capita GDP:

The Economist article explains its headline as follows: "Last month revealed a remarkable turnaround. Bangladesh’s GDP per person is now higher than Pakistan’s. Converted into dollars at market exchange rates, it was $1,538 in the past fiscal year (which ended on June 30th). Pakistan’s was about $1,470....Strange as it may sound, Bangladesh jumped ahead because of an advance in Pakistan. On August 25th Pakistan released the results of its census, updating earlier population estimates. They showed that the country has 207.8m people, more than 9m more than previously thought. It may now have the fifth biggest population in the world, surpassing Brazil’s. But the new count also lopped 4-5% off Pakistan’s GDP per person, the arithmetic consequence of revealing so many more people."

Savings Rate in Pakistan Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Pakistan Growth By Decades. Source: National Trade and Transport Facility

Economic Growth Trends:

One can quibble with the Economist on details of its report but the fact remains that Bangladesh's economy has been growing significantly faster than Pakistan's for about a decade. To understand why, it's important to look into savings and investments, population growth trends and security situation in the two countries. Let's examine each in a little more detail.

Investment as Percentage of GDP Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Savings and Investment:


There's a strong relationship between investment levels and gross domestic product. The more a country saves and invests, the higher its economic growth.  A State Bank of Pakistan report explains it as below:

"National savings (in Pakistan) as percent of GDP were around 10 percent during 1960s, which increased to above 15percent in 2000s, but declined afterward. Pakistan’s saving rate also compares unfavorably with that in neighboring countries: last five years average saving rate in India was 31.9 percent, Bangladesh 29.7 percent, and Sri Lanka 24.5 percent..... Similarly, domestic savings (measured as national savings less net factor income from abroad) also declined from about 15 percent of GDP in 2000s, to less than 9 percent in recent years. Domestic savings are imperative for sustainable growth, because inflow of income from abroad (remittances and other factor income) is uncertain due to cyclical movements in world economies, exchange rates, and external shocks".

Net Foreign Direct Investment Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Population Trends:

The total fertility rate (TFR) in Bangladesh has declined faster in Bangladesh than in Pakistan in the last few decades. Currently, Bangladesh is at 2.17 children per woman while Pakistan is at 2.62 children per woman.

As a result of reduced birth rates and more female labor participation rates, a larger percentage of Bangladeshi population is in the work force than Pakistan's. There are now more wage earners and fewer dependents in each Bangladeshi household. This demographic trend has helped boost Bangladesh's per capita income faster than Pakistan's.

Rising working age population and growing workforce participation of both men and women in Pakistan will significantly boost domestic savings and investment. Increased foreign direct investment such as Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor over the next several decades will help fill the gap between the national savings rate and investments required to reach 7% annual GDP growth to create over 2 million jobs a year.

Security Issues:

Pakistan has paid a heavy price for its proximity to and involvement in "war on terror" in Afghanistan. It has cost Pakistan dearly in terms of loss of thousands of precious lives and lower investments due to investors' security concerns. Recent operations by Pakistan Army have helped turn the tide against terrorists, bringing more hope and greater confidence in Pakistan's future. Rising FDI in CPEC-related projects in the last couple of years are an indication of this confidence.

Future:

Pakistan is now experiencing the demographic dividend that Bangladesh has seen in the last few decades in terms of more of its population earning and fewer dependents. Pakistan's labor force is growing at 3.6% a year, much faster than its population growth rate of 2.34%. This should help boost Pakistan's per capita and its domestic savings rate.

At the same time, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects are bringing more foreign direct investment, thereby speeding up the economic growth in the country. Pakistan's GDP growth is accelerating from less than 5% two years ago to 6% forecast for fiscal 2017-18.  In its latest economic growth projections, Kennedy School's Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University expects Pakistan's annual GDP growth to average 5.97% over the next 8 years, ranking it as the world's 6th fastest growing economy. It is within the realm of possibility that economic growth in Pakistan could exceed 7% in the next couple of years.

Summary:

Pakistan has fallen behind Bangladesh and India in per capita income as its growth rates have slipped in recent years mainly due to declining savings and investment rates and security issues.  Demographic trends and improved security situation now favor Pakistan's future growth as its workforce grows and household sizes shrink.

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Belt and Road: Xi’s initiative finds momentum and meaning in south Asia By: Elliot Wilson Published on: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 BRI may be hard to define, but it is already working wonders in parts of a region crying out for good infrastructure. Global and regional lenders are happy to go along for the ride.

https://www.euromoney.com/article/b14r677vlmysyt/belt-and-road-xis-initiative-finds-momentum-and-meaning-in-south-asia


The genius of China’s sprawling attempts to rework globalization in its own image is that, for now at least, it defies any attempt at clarity. Ask any two people to define the Belt and Road Initiative and you receive utterly different answers. Nawaz Sharif, former premier of Pakistan, a country that stands to benefit handsomely from the initiative, has described the BRI as a “game-changer” for his homeland. Matthew Oxenford, a research associate at Chatham House’s global economy and finance team in London, sees it as Beijing’s “flagship branding exercise”. He draws comparisons between the BRI’s nation-building efforts and the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era US agency that put jobless men to work building much-needed roads and public buildings. This lack of clarity is often more help than hindrance. “Even if no one understands what BRI is, which they don’t, everyone does understand infrastructure,” notes Fraser Howie, author of ‘Privatizing China’. “Belt and Road allows you to justify pretty much any infrastructure development in any country along its route. BRI is a magic word that explains any project to investors, bankers, or multilaterals.”

Nayana Mawilmada, head of investments at Megapolis, a scheme to rebuild Sri Lanka’s western provinces, says: “Even when a project isn’t tacitly part of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is part of the pitch process. Just saying that something is Belt and Road-related opens up new conduits of financial resources.”

Take the example of south Asia, which is the only part of the world in which the ‘belt’ and the ‘road’ interconnect, and which has benefited more from the initiative than any other region. China’s push into the subcontinent began back in 1962, when a border dispute drove a wedge between it and India. Beijing turned to Pakistan, which became a willing buyer of Chinese-made military equipment, and more recently a direct-aid recipient: in April, the Chinese government gave Islamabad $1 billion in loans to stave off a currency crisis. China’s presence in Pakistan accelerated from 2009. First, it built and secured control over a new industrial port and naval facility in Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. This granted Beijing unfettered access to the Indian Ocean, with its busy shipping lanes, but also its lack, as the historian Robert Kaplan noted in his book ‘Monsoon’, of entrenched superpowers. From there, China pushed north, building infrastructure as it went. A 2,280-acre free-trade area sprang up in Gwadar, controlled by China Overseas Port Holding. Beijing is building new power plants, coalmines, hydroelectric dams, nuclear reactors and a highway linking Karachi on the Indian Ocean with western China via the Karakoram Pass. New pipelines built, funded and, importantly, controlled by mainland institutions, will convey Middle Eastern crude oil overland to China and send liquefied natural gas in the other direction, easing Pakistan’s constant energy and power shortages.
Riaz Haq said…
Bangladesh is indeed doing well but its economy is a one-trick pony. Bangladesh is heavily dependent on ready-made garment manufacturing (RMG) exports for economic growth. "Many low-income countries, including Bangladesh, Venezuela, and Angola have failed to diversify their knowhow and face low growth prospects. Others like India, Turkey, and the Philippines have successfully added productive capabilities to enter new sectors and will drive growth over the coming decade,” said Sebastian Bustos, a lead CID researcher in trade and economic complexity methods." http://atlas.cid.harvard.edu/rankings/growth-projections/
Riaz Haq said…
Bangladesh now a $409b economy: GDP size up, growth down as new base year takes effect

Rejaul Karim Byron
Tue Nov 2, 2021 12:00 AM Last update on: Tue Nov 2, 2021 11:36 AM


https://www.thedailystar.net/business/economy/news/gdp-size-growth-down-new-base-year-takes-effect-2211826

In constant prices, it stood at Tk 27,939 billion in FY21 as per the new base year, up from Tk 12,072 billion as per the old base year, according to a document of the BBS.

In terms of dollars, the GDP size stood at $409 billion in the last fiscal year if Tk 85 per USD exchange rate is taken into account. Per capita income rose to $2,554 in FY21 as per the new calculation, which was $2,227 as per the old one.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Prof Shamsul Alam, state minister for planning, said the adoption of the new base year should have been done earlier.


Although economic growth has fallen as per the new base year, it has painted the real picture of the economy.

"The size of our economy is huge, and the new base year will reflect it," he said, adding that a real scenario would allow the government to make more informed policy decisions.

Zahid Hussain, a former chief economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, also welcomed the new base year.

He said timely revisions to data on GDP and its components determine the accuracy of national account estimates and their comparability across countries.

With the finalisation of the new series, Bangladesh will be ahead of all other Saarc countries in terms of the recency of the national account's base year.

Only the Maldives (2014) and India (2011-12) come close, while Pakistan (2005-06) and Sri Lanka (2010) are well behind.

"Improved data sources increase the coverage of economic activities as new weights for growing industries reflect their contributions to the economy more accurately," said Hussain.

The last revision was done in 2013.

The size of the agriculture, industry and services sectors has expanded as per the new base year.

The new base year uses data on about 144 crops while computing the contribution of the agriculture sector to the GDP, which was 124 crops in the previous base year.

The gross value addition by the agriculture sector rose to Tk 4,061 billion in current prices in the last fiscal year, up from Tk 3,846 billion in the old estimate, the BBS document showed.

The industrial sector saw the addition of the data on the outputs of Ashuganj Power Station Company, North-West Power Generation Company, Rural Power Company, cold storage for food preservation, Rajshahi Wasa, and the ship-breaking industry.

In the new base year, the gross value addition of the sector stood at Tk 11,362 billion in FY21 while it was Tk 8,944 billion as per the old base year.

The BBS also carried out surveys to cover the contribution of various new services.

The data about growing ride-sharing services, privately run motor vehicles, national flag carrier Biman, private carriers US-Bangla and Novoair, private helicopter services, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, motion pictures, cinema halls, new banks, mobile financial services, agent banking, and private healthcare services were included.

The sector's value addition increased to Tk 18,098 billion in FY21 compared to Tk 16,144 billion from the old base year.

In a positive development, the investment-GDP ratio rose to 30.76 per cent in the last fiscal year compared to 29.92 per cent in the old base year of 2005-06.

A BBS official said the new base year would be used while calculating the GDP and other figures from now on.
Riaz Haq said…
Bangladesh rebased GDP now official in national accounting


https://unb.com.bd/category/Bangladesh/rebased-gdp-now-official-in-national-accounting/82864

The planning minister said the net of various products as GDP has expanded under the new base year. As a result, per capita income has increased. At the same time, GDP growth has increased.

The average per capita income has risen to $2,554 from $2,226 previously.


Agriculture sector: About 20 new crops have been added to the crop sub-sector with all the data included in this sector for GDP calculation. New crops include dragon fruit, strawberry, capsicum, latkan, kachushak, sharufa, malta etc. Cattle and poultry production data, new survey data in the forest sector and other up-to-date information have been included. As a result value addition from the agriculture sector increased in the GDP by 14.80 per cent.


Industrial Sector: Earlier, all the data included in this sector for calculating GDP included updated data from New Manufacturing Industry Survey (SMI) and construction sector survey, data from household waste collection. Overall current prices of value addition in the industrial sector have increased by 36.1 per cent.

Services sector: New survey of transport sector, Uber, Pathao, data of new private helicopter companies, new survey of real estate sector, data of mobile banks, agent banks, information of non-profit organizations of government and education and health sector have all been included. Overall, the size of value addition in the services sector showed growth by 14.3 percent in the sector.



Riaz Haq said…
Bangladesh rebased GDP now official in national accounting


https://unb.com.bd/category/Bangladesh/rebased-gdp-now-official-in-national-accounting/82864

The planning minister said the net of various products as GDP has expanded under the new base year. As a result, per capita income has increased. At the same time, GDP growth has increased.

The average per capita income has risen to $2,554 from $2,226 previously.


Agriculture sector: About 20 new crops have been added to the crop sub-sector with all the data included in this sector for GDP calculation. New crops include dragon fruit, strawberry, capsicum, latkan, kachushak, sharufa, malta etc. Cattle and poultry production data, new survey data in the forest sector and other up-to-date information have been included. As a result value addition from the agriculture sector increased in the GDP by 14.80 per cent.


Industrial Sector: Earlier, all the data included in this sector for calculating GDP included updated data from New Manufacturing Industry Survey (SMI) and construction sector survey, data from household waste collection. Overall current prices of value addition in the industrial sector have increased by 36.1 per cent.

Services sector: New survey of transport sector, Uber, Pathao, data of new private helicopter companies, new survey of real estate sector, data of mobile banks, agent banks, information of non-profit organizations of government and education and health sector have all been included. Overall, the size of value addition in the services sector showed growth by 14.3 percent in the sector.
Riaz Haq said…
Is #Bangladesh heading toward a #SriLanka-like #economic crisis? #Imports surging to reach $85 billion this year, #exports $50 billion. $35 billion trade deficit, leaving $10 billion current account deficit after #remittances. #energy #food #inflation https://www.dw.com/en/is-bangladesh-heading-toward-a-sri-lanka-like-crisis/a-61838597

Like Colombo, Dhaka has also taken on massive foreign loans to embark on what critics call "white elephant" projects. The economic turmoil in Sri Lanka should serve as a cautionary tale, say experts.

Sri Lanka has been mired in economic turmoil over the past few months, with the country battling severe shortages of essential items and running out of petrol, medicines and foreign reserves amid an acute balance of payments crisis.

The resulting public fury targeting the government triggered mass street protests and political upheaval, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet, and the appointment of a new prime minister.

Many in Bangladesh fear that their country could face a similar situation, given the rising trade deficit and foreign debt burden.

Bangladesh imported goods worth $61.52 billion (€58.48 billion) in the first nine months of the 2021-2022 fiscal year, a rise of 43.9% compared to the same period last year.

Exports, however, rose at a slower pace of 32.9% while remittances from Bangladeshis living abroad — a key source of foreign exchange — dropped about 20% in the first four months of 2022 from the year before, to $7 billion.

'Foreign reserves will go down to a dangerous level'
Muinul Islam, a Bangladeshi economist and former professor at Chittagong University, fears that the trade deficit could grow in the coming years as imports are increasing at a faster pace than exports.

"Our imports are set to reach $85 billion by this year, while exports won't be more than $50 billion. And, the trade deficit of $35 billion can't be bridged by remittances alone," Islam told DW, adding: "We will have to live with around a $10 billion shortfall this year."

The expert also pointed out that Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves have fallen from $48 billion to $42 billion over the past eight months. He is worried that they may drop further in the coming months, likely down another $4 billion.

"If the trend of more imports against exports continues and we fail to minimize the gap with the remittances, our foreign reserves will go down to a dangerous level in the next three to four years," he stressed, underlining that this would lead to a significant devaluation of the nation's currency against the US dollar.

Massive loans for 'white elephant' projects?
Bangladesh, like Sri Lanka, has also taken on foreign loans in recent years to fund what critics call "white elephant" projects, which are expensive but totally unprofitable.

These "unnecessary projects" could cause trouble when the time comes to repay the debts, Islam said.

"We have taken a loan of $12 billion from Russia for a nuclear power plant which has a production capacity of just 2,400 megawatts. We can repay the debt in 20 years but the installments will be $565 million per year from 2025," he pointed out. "It's the worst kind of a white elephant project."

In total, the country will likely have to repay $4 billion per year from 2024, as installments for foreign loans, Islam estimated.

"I fear Bangladesh won't be able to repay those loans at that time because of the shortage of income from the mega projects," he stressed.
Riaz Haq said…
Shoaib Daniyal
@ShoaibDaniyal
"Hasina’s internal problems are linked to external dependencies. Politically reliant on New Delhi, she is finding it increasingly difficult to manage the ramifications of India’s turn towards Hindu nationalism..." -
@PaliwalAvi

https://twitter.com/ShoaibDaniyal/status/1547304109115469824?s=20&t=0MnwGRI9dEba8r3tmp7i8Q

The ground under Sheikh Hasina’s feet is shifting

With elections in 2023 and debt repayment schedules kicking off in 2024, it seems only a matter of time for the veneer of stability to lose its sheen. The risk of dislocation of this so-called house of cards has only been rising in recent years.


Bangladesh’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momen arrived in India last month to fight political fires. But he found himself dealing with massive floods that hit Sylhet and Assam. Nature has its ways to convey that not all is well in India’s near-east. Far from the glitz about Bangladesh’s economic success, on display during the recent inauguration of the Padma Bridge, clampdown on Islamists, and shrewd management of big power rivalries, is a parallel potent reality of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s authoritarianism, heightened polarisation, and economic distress. As an Indian official mentioned to me, and a Bangladeshi official echoed, Hasina “has built a house of cards”.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/the-ground-under-sheikh-hasina-s-feet-is-shifting-101657725078715.html
Riaz Haq said…
The ground under Sheikh Hasina’s feet is shifting

By Avinash Paliwal

https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/the-ground-under-sheikh-hasina-s-feet-is-shifting-101657725078715.html

Bangladesh's foreign minister
AK Abdul Momen arrived in
India last month to fight polit-
ical fires. But he found himself
dealing with massive floods
that hit Sylhet and Assam.
Nature has its ways to convey
that not all is well in India's
near-east. Far from the glitz
about Bangladesh's economic
success, on display during the
recent inauguration of the
Padma Bridge, clampdown on
Islamists, and shrewd man-
agement of big power rivalries,
is a parallel potent reality of
Prime Minister Sheikh Has-
ina's authoritarianism,
heightened polarisation, and
economic distress. As an
Indian official mentioned to
me, and a Bangladeshi official
echoed. Hasina "has built a
house of cards"
The economic, social, and
political ground under Has-
ina's feet is shifting in real
time. It is slow enough to be
dismissed as non-urgent, but
sure enough to become press-
ing, if not dealt with urgently.
With general elections due in
2023, and external debt repay-
ment schedules kicking in
from 2024, it is a matter of
time for the veneer of (forced)
stability to lose its sheen. The
risk of dislocation, if not col-
lapse, of this so-called house
of cards has increased in
recent years, and it could
undermine whatever is left of
India's connectivity aspira-
tions in its near east.
Domestically, the Hasina gov-
ernment has exacerbated two
contradictions in a tradition-
ally polarised polity. One, she
is in power, but with little to
no electoral legitimacy. The
Awami League's (AL) manipu-
lation of the 2014 and 20118
elections (a practice not just
reserved for national elections
and against opponents),
unceasing harassment of its
key opponent, the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP), gag-
ging of media, social media
monitoring using advanced
digital surveillance, and a
forced tilt towards the conser-
vative Islamic Right as a bal-
ancing move after targeting
these formations using force,
has created wide pockets of
intense frustration.
Unlike her father, Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman, who created
a one-party State, but failed to
contain a famine in 1974, Has-
ina has placed her bets on eco-
nomic development. The argu-
ment runs that good economic
performance coupled with lib
eral use of force will make a
one-party State under Has-
ina's leadership sustainable.
But this is where the second
contradiction kicks in.
Bangladesh's external debt to
Gross Domestic Product ratio
has increased to 21.8%, import
spending has shot up by nearly
44%, forex reserves of $42
billion are falling and can
cover about five months'
worth of imports, and the rev-
enue from readymade gar-
ments export and remittances
is not keeping pace with the
fast rising costs to the
exchequer.


Couple this with the global
inflation created by the Rus-
sia-ukraine war and United
Statesled sanctions, and it
becomes clear why Momen is
asking India to remove anti-
dumping duties on Banglade-
shi jute exports. Further com-
plicating this situation is
Dhaka's propensity to accept
external loans for infrastruc-
tural projects at highly inflated
costs, making repayment dif-
ficult. One of the cases in point
is the 2015 Rooppur Nuclear
Power Plant deal with Russia
for which Dhaka is to repay
$13.5 billion. India paid $3 bil-
lion for a similar plant in
Kudankulam.
Why does Dhaka accept such
deals? Because external fin-
ance fuels (limited) infra-
structural growth, chronic
corruption, and keeps the
political illusion of economic
development alive. To be clear
and fair, Bangladesh's eco-
nomic journey has been more
than commendable. But to
expect an economic miracle,
which is bound to dwindle due
to internal or external shocks,
to sustain a corrupt system
pretending to be a democracy
is a tall ask. Herein, Hasina has
ensured that neither the
Islamists nor the BNP
which enjovs public sympathy,
even if it may not get a fair
election - pose a serious
challenge to her.
Riaz Haq said…
The ground under Sheikh Hasina’s feet is shifting

By Avinash Paliwal

https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/the-ground-under-sheikh-hasina-s-feet-is-shifting-101657725078715.html

But her real challenge doesn't
come from known opponents.
It comes from opaque factions
within a securitised State (and
the party) that has made so
much illicit profit that being
out of power is not an option
for them. This leaves Hasina
with an unenviable dilemma.
Either she allows free elections
and risks being ousted or
manipulates them and invites
international opprobrium that
could unleash mass protests
and violence. Bereft of a clear
succession plan, both these
scenarios could tempt oppor-
tunistic adversaries to force a
regime change, of which there
is an unfortunately rich his-
tory in Bangladesh.
Hasina's internal problems are
linked to external dependen-
cies. Politically reliant on New
Delhi, she is finding it increas-
ingly difficult to manage the
ramifications of India's turn
towards Hindu nationalism
that misuses migration from
Bangladesh and the Rohingya
crisis for domestic electoral
gain. Similarly, accepting of
Chinese finance that may not
translate into political sup-
port, Dhaka is struggling to
keep targeted US sanctions
against the Rapid Action Bat-
talion, an anticrime and anti-
terrorism unit of the
Bangladesh Police, for serious
human rights violations, at
bay. Dhaka's replacement of
its ambassador in Washington
DC after a visit by a team of AL
parliamentarians from the
standing committee on foreign
affairs will make little differ-
ence in how the US deals with
Bangladesh.
Add to this, an uptick in
demand for repatriating
Rohingya migrants - some of
whom have been silently
resettled in the Chittagong Hill
Tracts to the locals' displeas-
ure - to Myanmar, including
within Bangladesh's military
establishment, and the situ-
ation becomes even more
volatile. Hasina requires a
political off-ramp to prevent a
foreseeable crisis that can turn
violent. The last thing the sub-
continent needs is turmoil in
Bangladesh
Riaz Haq said…
Since mid-2021, global commodity prices, especially of oil, have begun to rise. This was intensified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March. As a consequence, Bangladesh, as a major energy importer, is facing a number of challenges. Its foreign currency reserves are declining and the value of its currency, the taka, is weakening. Electricity load shedding has worsened, adding to the woes of citizens.

https://scroll.in/article/1031735/how-global-economic-instability-is-hurting-bangladesh-until-recently-an-asian-tiger-in-the-making

As a result, the cost of imports in Bangladesh has increased significantly even as earnings from exports have increased only moderately.

In the financial year 2022, the expenditure on imports increased by 36%, compared to 20% the previous financial year. The high import cost is due in part to the increased demand for imported goods and in part to the higher import prices on the global market.

As a result, the terms of trade have gone against Bangladesh. During 2021-’22, the import-price index increased by 5.06%, while the export-price index increased by 3.23%. This has hurt the current account balance.

In the financial year 2022, the current account balance reported a deficit of $18.70 billion compared to the previous year’s deficit of $4.58 billion.

The current account deficit in Bangladesh is generally met by remittances from abroad, which have also decreased significantly in the financial year 2022. Remittances fell by 14% in the financial year 2022, following a 36% increase in the financial year 2021. This has affected the balance of payments, foreign currency reserves, and weakened the taka against the US dollar.

Despite adjusting the exchange rate to match the market demand, the Bangladesh Bank continued to sell dollars from reserves to keep the taka stable. As a result, reserves declined further.

Foreign currency reserves fell to $39.77 billion on July 14 from $46.39 billion the previous year. Though the country has received relatively large remittances from expatriates in July due to Eid, the taka’s value against the dollar is deteriorating.

Foreign exchange reserves are not only critical for maintaining the exchange rate of domestic currency but also contribute significantly to increased capital investment and long-term economic growth.

To keep the taka’s value stable, the Bangladesh government and Bangladesh Bank have taken measures to reduce imports and increase the flow of dollars. The government has discouraged the import of luxury items. The depreciation of the taka compelled the government to seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund. Only a year ago, Bangladesh had supported Sri Lanka with $250 million.

The weakening of the Taka against the dollar not only makes imports more expensive, but also raises the domestic prices of imported goods and other non-imported goods due to the substitution effect – which is when the sales of a product decline due to an increase in its price which prompts consumers to switch to cheaper alternatives. This worsens inflation.

Inflation at 9-year-high
For the past few years, inflation in Bangladesh had been under control but it began to increase in 2021 and has now risen to 7.56% according to official accounts, though the actual rate is thought to be much higher. The prices of rice, wheat, edible oil and other essential commodities are increasing and the inflation rate has climbed to a nine-year-high.

Several studies indicate that low-income citizens are struggling to cope with the high prices of essential commodities and compromising on their food and nutrition.

The government recently hiked urea fertiliser and fuel oil prices without implementing measures to improve the management of the energy sector and reduce inefficiency and system loss.
Riaz Haq said…
BD to become a trillion dollar economy: BCG

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/bangladesh-seen-on-track-to-be-a-1-trillion-economy-by-2040-bcg-report-122112500526_1.html

Bangladesh is on course to become a $1 trillion economy by 2040, driven by consumer optimism, innovation in emerging economic sectors and a young engaged workforce, according to Boston Consulting Group.

With average annual growth of 6.4% between 2016 and 2021, the South Asian nation has outpaced peers such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, BCG wrote in a report released on Friday.

Bangladesh’s domestic consumer market is set to become the ninth-largest in the world. And a rapidly expanding middle and affluent class is projected to rise substantially between 2020 and 2025, the report said, with a robust gig economy propping up a workforce where the median age is just 28.

“The country could have easily been overshadowed by its neighbor to the northeast -- China -- or its continental cousin to the west -- India -- but in this region of economic powerhouses, Bangladesh stands tall,” BCG wrote.

Bangladesh progressed from a low-income to lower-middle-income country in 2015. Though that’s five years later than India, Bangladesh’s GDP per capita is already higher than its neighbor. The nation aims to become an upper-middle-income country by 2031.

Some challenges remain. Recent issues with liquidity, as well as foreign exchange and inflationary pressures, may slow growth in the short term, according to BCG. But Bangladesh has taken measures to position its $416 billion economy for a lucrative few decades, so long as it maintains an average growth rate of about 5%.

In a BCG survey analysis, 57% of respondents “continue to believe the next generation would have better lives than themselves, especially as the country transitions to a skill-based economy.”

“Though the economy faces some near-term volatility, we are confident that this highly resilient economy will continue to demonstrate robust growth in the long term,” the report said.

Riaz Haq said…
Dependency ratio is the ratio of children (under 15) and retirees (65 and above)) to working age (15-64 years) people in a population. Countries with high dependency ratios tend to perform poorly relative to countries with low dependency ratios in terms of economic growth.

A recent NY Times article by Lauren Leatherby titled "How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World" uses charts and graphics to show how the world economic landscape will change during the rest of the century.

It shows that Pakistan will join the top 10 countries with highest share of working age population and lowest dependency ratios.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/07/16/world/world-demographics.html

Pakistan will join top 10 countries in working age population in 2050

Bangladesh is already in the top 10 working age population countries today.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/07/16/world/world-demographics.html


Countries are categorized as having large working-age populations if people between the ages of 15 and 64, an age group commonly used by demographers, make up at least 65 percent of the total population.

Countries where at least a quarter of the population is under age 15 and where less than 65 percent of the population is working age are categorized as having a large young population. Countries are categorized as having a large old population if those age 65 and older make up more than a quarter of the population.

Unless noted otherwise, graphics include all countries with a population of at least 50,000 people.

The world’s demographics have already been transformed. Europe is shrinking. China is shrinking, with India, a much younger country, overtaking it this year as the world’s most populous nation.

But what we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

The projections are reliable, and stark: By 2050, people age 65 and older will make up nearly 40 percent of the population in some parts of East Asia and Europe. That’s almost twice the share of older adults in Florida, America’s retirement capital. Extraordinary numbers of retirees will be dependent on a shrinking number of working-age people to support them.

In all of recorded history, no country has ever been as old as these nations are expected to get.

As a result, experts predict, things many wealthier countries take for granted — like pensions, retirement ages and strict immigration policies — will need overhauls to be sustainable. And today’s wealthier countries will almost inevitably make up a smaller share of global G.D.P., economists say.

This is a sea change for Europe, the United States, China and other top economies, which have had some of the most working-age people in the world, adjusted for their populations. Their large work forces have helped to drive their economic growth.

Those countries are already aging off the list. Soon, the best-balanced work forces will mostly be in South and Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, according to U.N. projections. The shift could reshape economic growth and geopolitical power balances, experts say.

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