Bangladesh

In-depth country-focused analysis on Bangladesh's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is slowly emerging on the investment radar as a frontier market. It is expected to benefit from rising foreign investment, especially from India. In addition, the nascent domestic shipbuilding industry could emerge as a new growth driver. Bangladesh’s large youthful population and competitive labour cost structure make it a prime investment destination for businesses with labour-intensive operations, such as agriculture and manufacturing.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments in Bangladesh, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on five of Bangladesh’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our expert research teams. We aim to keep you one step ahead, so you can do business with confidence in Bangladesh.

Country Risk

Bangladesh Country Risk

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Core Views

  • Bangladesh's real GDP growth will likely remain stable at 6.5% in FY2015/16 (July-June) before picking up slightly to 6.7% in FY2016/17, aided by an accommodative monetary policy, expansionary fiscal policy, and the return of a stable political climate. In particular, the government's ongoing focus on public investment into supporting infrastructures should help to attract more investment and boost productivity in the manufacturing sector, thus allowing Bangladesh to retain its dominant position in the global garment industry.

  • Bangladesh's small budget surplus of 0.1% of GDP between July and October 2015 will likely flip into a deficit over the coming months as the government accelerates its capital and development expenditure to support growth in the economy. As such, we maintain our forecast for Bangladesh's budget balance as a...

Bangladesh Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Bangladesh Operational Risk

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BMI View: Bangladesh's large youth population and competitive labour cost structure are two key factors that make it a prime investment destination for businesses with labour-intensive operations such as agriculture and manufacturing. However, the country's overall attractiveness is weighed down by an underdeveloped transport sector and insecure operating environment, as well as severe barriers to trade and investment, notably a complicated fiscal regime, high levels of corruption and excessive red tape, which often lead to delays and unplanned expenses. Taking these factors into consideration, Bangladesh receives a score of 39.3 out of 100 in BMI's Operational Risk Index, ranking 26th out of 35 countries in the Asia region, between Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands.

Substantial Risks Present Despite Some Labour Market Advantages
...

Bangladesh Crime & Security

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BMI View: Investors in Bangladesh face considerable security risks from a range of sources. The threat of political unrest escalating to violent protest remains high and domestic terrorism is an ongoing concern, particularly with recent attacks against foreigners. While interstate relationships between Bangladesh and its neighbours are improving, the country remains vulnerable to regional tensions relating to contested border areas and the activities of international terrorist groups. At the same time Bangladesh experiences a high rate of crime and businesses face significant additional costs to ensure the security of staff and property, as well as to combat the growing rate of cybercrime and financial crime. Due to these considerations, Bangladesh has an overall score of 30.2 out of 100 for Crime and Security Risk, placing the country an uncompetitive 30th out of 35 states in...

Bangladesh Labour Market

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BMI View: Low levels of education and literacy are the key contributors to the country's relatively poor performance in Labour Market Risk Pillar of the BMI Labour Market Risk Index. Furthermore low tertiary education enrolment; and heavy unionisation, particularly in the ready-made garment industry further add to costs and limit investment to those requiring low skilled workers. Bangladesh's Labour Market presents a moderate risks for investors in regional terms, with a score of 45.3, placing it 17th out of 29 countries in the Asia region, and positioning it between Philippines and Samoa, and behind India in 12 thplace regionally.

Availability of Labour poses the greatest risk to investors in Bangladesh, with low urbanisation, high underemployment and low levels of education. Despite massive investment in the country's educational infrastructure in the form of...

Bangladesh Logistics

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BMI View: The logistics network in Bangladesh presents investors with some substantial risks. The road and rail network is underdeveloped and air transport options are limited. These risks are exacerbated by excessive trade procedures which further increase the time and cost of trading goods to and from Bangladesh. Businesses also face interruptions to supplies of key utilities, particularly electricity and potable water. With pressure on the country's infrastructure growing, these risks will likely become more pronounced creating additional risks. As a result, Bangladesh has a score of just 41.5 out of 100 for Logistics Risk which places the country 21st in the Asia region and 131st out of 201 states on a global basis.

As Bangladesh's large economy is poised for stronger growth, its...

Bangladesh Trade & Investment

BMI View:

BMI View: Despite stable economic growth over two decades, Bangladesh has seen a rise in political instability as a result of a number of factors, including inter-party and ethno-religious tensions, which has negatively affected investment. Furthermore, the country suffers from high levels of corruption and weak enforcement of legislation, which combine to create an inhospitable investment environment. On the other hand, the financial market is relatively well-developed, and with international donor assistance Bangladesh has made great strides in poverty reduction in recent years. Bangladesh presents a high risk for Trade and Investment, sitting fourth place from the bottom of 29 Asian countries with a score of 25.8. It is positioned between Nepal and Laos, and seven places behind India.

The area with the lowest risk to...

Bangladesh Industry Coverage (8)

Agribusiness

Bangladesh Agribusiness

BMI View:

BMI View: We hold a cautious outlook towards the Bangladesh agriculture sector over the short term. The limited amount of arable land available for acreage expansion, as well as poor safety standards, will constrain growth over our forecast period. Structural problems still plague the industry, in particular the logistical challenges of food transportation within the country. Over the long term, we believe there is much more room for growth and improvement in sub-sectors such as grains and livestock. That said, as the agricultural sector in Bangladesh employs close to 70% of the working population but...

Autos

Bangladesh Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: We believe that the combination of a growing economy, falling interest rates and positive news on infrastructure development will enable further growth for Bangladeshi new vehicle sales in 2016.

Passenger Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Sales
(2014-2020)
f = BMI forecast. Source: Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, BMI

Key Views

  • For 2016, we expect 11.5% sales growth for the auto sector...

Commercial Banking

Bangladesh Commercial Banking

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Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

Infrastructure

Bangladesh Infrastructure

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BMI View: Our forecast for sustained real growth for Bangladesh's construction sector over the coming decade is underpinned by significant greenfield infrastructure projects, economic growth and strong foreign investor interest. However, the sector's expansion will be tempered by a still-challenging business environment, a lack of implementation capacity as well as potential political and social instability.

Latest Updates And Structural Trends

  • The construction industry in Bangladesh registered real growth of 8.7% in 2015, reaching a total value of USD15.1bn. We forecast the growth rate to accelerate to 9.5% in 2016 on account of strong economic growth and rising investor interest. We anticipate the industry to sustain a similar pace of expansion over the coming decade, averaging 8.4% real growth per annum.

  • ...

Medical Devices

Bangladesh Medical Devices

BMI View:

BMI View: We expect the Bangladeshi medical device market to achieve one of the fastest growth rates in the world, at 14.5% annually, to 2019. With little domestic production, the demand for imported goods continues to drive growth, and positive trade indicators confirm this view. This under-developed market has huge potential, but prospects will hinge upon maintaining political stability and economic growth.

Projected Medical Device Market, 2014-2019
Total (USDmn) Per Capita (USD) Total (Local Currency mn) ...

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Bangladesh Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View: Replicating India's success in the generic drugs sector will remain a challenge for Bangladesh. The country's strategy of leveraging upon an extension of the patent waiver for least developed countries presents limited opportunities, as many of these markets have low levels of healthcare access and per capita pharmaceutical spending. Moreover, the key growth opportunities for generics medicines lie in the emerging countries and selected developed markets where Bangladesh firms will have to work within the intellectual property framework.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: BDT171.6bn (USD2.2bn) in 2015 to BDT190.8bn (USD2.4bn) in 2016; +11.2% in local currency terms and +9.1% in US dollar terms.

  • Healthcare: BDT419bnbn (USD5.3bn) in 2015 to...

Power

Bangladesh Power

BMI View:

BMI View: Gas will remain the dominant source of energy for electricity generation in Bangladesh for much of the foreseeable future. However, if Bangladesh is to stop the acute gas shortages from crimping economic growth, the country will have to cut its over-reliance on gas-fired capacity and diversify the energy mix. The government has outlined plans to ensure coal accounts for 50% of the energy mix by 2030 , but we remain unconvinced that such plans will come to fruition local opposition to the exploitation of Bangladesh's huge coal reserves has so far stymied the development of a domestic industry.

Headline Power...

Telecommunications

Bangladesh Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View : Two mobile operators have announced network upgrades that will boost 3G and 4G take-up. Robi Axiata, which is set to displace Banglalink in terms of mobile subscriber market share through its merger with Airtel Bangladesh, has contracted Ericsson as its supplier for hardware, software and integration services, 3G expansion and 4G network readiness. According to the operator, smartphone penetration reached 20% at end-2015, up from just 6% two years earlier, and is projected to reach 40% by 2018. Grameenphone's parent company Telenor has also signed a five-year network enhancement agreement with Ericsson, which encompasses not only 2G/3G network transformation but also the deployment of 4G. The operator aims to upgrade all...

Latest Bangladesh Articles

  • With global growth continuing to stutter amid unconvincing growth performan...

  • A few key themes stand out when comparing BMI's forecasts against Bloomberg...

  • We are generally below consensus on the inflation outlook for Asia in 2016,...

Latest Bangladesh Blogs

  • India will seek to expand its geopolitical reach over the coming decade and...

Latest Bangladesh Podcasts

  • Several Asian countries are set to see their telecoms industries exper...

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