Home Weekly Reviews Economic and Political Weekly 01-03-2020

Economic and Political Weekly 01-03-2020




·At least 38 dead and hundreds injured in violent clashes in India

Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued by India’s federal government to paramilitary and police personnel deployed across parts of the capital New Delhi and a curfew imposed to contain sectarian rioting, in which the official overnight death toll rose to 38 . Unofficial figures, however, recorded on social media following clashes between Hindus and Muslims for four successive days in north-east Delhi, put the number of fatalities at anywhere between 40 and 100.

·  Several killed’ in shooting at Milwaukee brewing company USA

Multiple people have been killed in a shooting at a major brewing company in the US. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said there had been a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company campus but did not give the exact number of people killed. He said the gunman had been killed.

· ‘It’s a Game of Thrones’: foreign rivals fight for seat of power in Libya

Pick-up trucks carrying fighters from Libya’s Brothers Brigade speed along sandy roads, past the carcasses of burnt-out cars, shuttered shops and wrecked buildings, their empty shells disfigured with the ugly pockmarks of battle. On reaching the frontline, the men take cover in homes long abandoned, as sporadic bursts of gunfire echo across a once bustling neighborhood of Tripoli that has been transformed by war into a militarized wasteland.

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak buried with full military honors

Egypt held a military funeral on 26th February for its former president Hosni Mubarak, bestowing the state’s final rehabilitation on the man who ruled for 30 years until he was ousted in disgrace in a 2011 popular uprising. Horses drew Mubarak’s coffin draped in the Egyptian flag at a mosque complex as canons fired into the air, followed by a procession led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as well as Mubarak’s two sons Alaa and Gamal.

· Togo’s president takes fourth term in power

President Faure Gnassingbé has won a fourth term in power in Togo’s elections, leading to opposition complaints that the vote was rigged. The West African nation of roughly eight million has been ruled by the 53 year old since 2005. His father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who held the top position for 38 years before him, took control in a military coup and was also involved in killing the first post-colonial president. Mr. Gnassingbé has often been quoted as saying: “My father told me to never leave power.”

·Malaysia thrown into turmoil as PM Mahathir Mohammad resigns

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s nonagenarian prime minister has announced his resignation, threatening the future of the ruling coalition and plunging the Southeast Asian country into political turmoil. The dramatic move throws into doubt the promise the veteran leader made to Anwar Ibrahim – his former foe turned ally – after the landslide election victory of their Pakatan Harapan coalition in 2018, when he said he would hand power to Mr. Anwar after “one or two years”. Mr. Mahathir has already gone back on that pledge several times and it was not clear whether 24th February announcement marked the end of the political career of one of Southeast Asia’s longest serving leaders or his latest political man-oeuvre. He also resigned as chairman of his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

·Iran’s hardliners head for sweeping victory as voters stay away

Early results show Iran’s hardliners are on track for a sweeping victory in the parliamentary election after many voters stayed away due to the absence of prominent reformist candidates and disillusionment over economic hardships. The official voting numbers were not yet known, but unofficial estimates put the turnout at about 40 per cent – the lowest in any parliamentary election since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Estimates in the bigger cities were as low as 20 per cent to 30 per cent, making them even more embarrassing for the Islamic republic as voters failed to engage.

  • A Japanese man recently named the world’s oldest living male has died aged 112, a local official said on 25 February.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home in the same prefecture, the official said. The news came less than two weeks after he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records. Watanabe, who had five children, said the secret to longevity was to “not get angry and keep a smile on your face”,. He admitted a penchant for sweets such as custard pudding and ice cream.

·NATO expresses ‘full solidarity’ with Turkey after 33 soldiers killed in Syria air strikes

NATO allies will consider strengthening Ankara’s air defenses in response to the strike that killed 33 Turkish troops in rebel-held Syria overnight, following an emergency meeting of the military alliance in Brussels on 28th February. Turkey had also called for western countries to establish a no-fly zone after the incident but NATO sources stressed that idea – which could lead to direct conflict with the Russian air force – was not seriously discussed.

· World health body raises corona virus risk alert to ‘very high’

The corona virus spread further on 28th February, with cases reported for the first time in six more countries across three continents leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise its impact risk alert to “very high”. Hopes that the epidemic that started in China late last year would be over in months, and that economic activity would quickly return to normal, have been shattered.

· Due to Corona Virus spread Iran called off Friday prayer congregations in several cities including Tehran, state TV later reported, while state news agency IRNA said Iran has banned Chinese citizens from entering the country.

Iran said on 27th February its death toll from corona virus had risen to 26, the highest number of fatalities from the virus outside China, and the total number of infected people now stood at 245, including several senior officials. Those infected include Masoumeh Ebtekar, the vice president for women and family affairs, and the country’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi. Ebtekar’s case was said to be mild and she has not been hospitalized.

·A record-breaking explosion created by a black hole 390 million light-years away has been discovered by astronomers

“In some ways, this blast is similar to how the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 ripped off the top of the mountain,” said Simona Giacintucci, lead study author at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. “A key difference is that you could fit fifteen Milky Way galaxies in a row into the crater this eruption punched into the cluster’s hot gas,” Giacintucci said.

· Earth has a new mini-moon — but it’s only temporary

Earth has captured a tiny object and pulled it into orbit. The asteroid, known as 2020 CD3, is only the second asteroid known to orbit Earth. And while it won’t last, this asteroid acts as a temporary mini-moon whirling around our planet. The asteroid is expected to drop out of orbit around the Earth in April and return to a heliocentric orbit, which is an orbit around the sun.


· Britain could lose up to $32 billion annually in exports to the European Union if it fails to strike a trade deal with the bloc, UN economists said on Tuesday.

The UN Conference on Trade, Investment and Development (UNCTAD) said the losses would be the equivalent of 14 percent of Britain’s exports to the EU. UNCTAD said half of the losses would come from tariffs that could be imposed by both sides and half from non-tariff measures impacting trade such as health and environmental regulations or packaging standards. “The losses would deal a major blow to the UK’s economy, as the EU market accounts for 46 per cent of the UK’s exports,” said the study by the Geneva-based agency.          


As compared to 23rd February 2020  

Global indices as of Ist March 2020
Name Current Value Prev.


 NASDAQ (Feb 28) 8,567.37 8566.48
 FTSE (Feb 28) 6,580.61 6796.40
 CAC (Feb 28) 5,309.90 5495.60
 DAX (Feb 28) 11,890.35 12367.46
 SGX NIFTY (Feb 29) 11,225.00 11167.00
 NIKKEI 225 (Feb 28) 21,142.96 21948.23
 STRAITS TIMES (Feb 28) 3,011.08 3111.70
 HANG SENG (Feb 28) 26,129.93 26778.62
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Feb 27) 11,292.17 11433.62
 KOSPI (Feb 28) 1,987.01 2054.89
 SET COMPOSITE (Feb 28) 1,340.52 1395.08
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Feb 28) 5,452.70 5535.69
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Feb 28) 2,880.30 2991.33


Global indices as of 23rd February 2020
Name Current Value Prev.


 NASDAQ (Feb 21) 9,576.59 9750.97
 FTSE (Feb 21) 7,403.92 7436.64
 CAC (Feb 21) 6,029.72 6062.30
 DAX (Feb 21) 13,579.33 13664.00
 SGX NIFTY (Feb 22) 12,018.50 12034.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Feb 21) 23,386.74 23479.15
 STRAITS TIMES (Feb 21) 3,181.03 3198.68
 HANG SENG (Feb 21) 27,308.81 27609.16
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Feb 21) 11,686.35 11725.09
 KOSPI (Feb 21) 2,162.84 2195.50
 SET COMPOSITE (Feb 21) 1,495.09 1491.24
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Feb 21) 5,882.26 5942.49
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Feb 21) 3,039.67 3030.15




  • The Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) JF-17 Thunder jets and F-16s captivated Karachi audiences in an air show display to commemorate the first anniversary of ‘Operation Swift Retort’ which had resulted in the downing of two Indian planes that had violated Pakistani airspace.

A large number of people turned up to Sea View to see the PAF in action, undeterred by the warm weather and news of the novel corona virus having entered the city. Earlier, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar had said that February 27 commemorates the resolve of the Pakistan Armed Forces against any aggression. In a tweet, DG ISPR said: “The way we responded on this day is a proof that any misadventure by enemies of Pakistan will always be defeated. Our adversaries will be surprised with our bold responses every time.”

  • The federal cabinet on 28th May approved the appointment of Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar as the new Sind inspector general, effectively replacing Dr Syed Kaleem Imam.

In an official notification issued by the Establishment Division, Mahar, “a grade 22 officer serving as the inspector general of the Pakistan Railways police, has been transferred and posted as the provincial police officer, government of Sind, with immediate effect”.

  • At least 20 people were killed and dozens others injured when a passenger train collided with a bus near Rohri railway station on 28th February night, according to Sukkur Police AIG Dr Jamil Ahmed.

The police official told that the number of casualties was expected to rise as several of the injured were in critical condition.mThe 45 Up Pakistan Express train was on its way to Rawalpindi from Karachi, when it collided with a passenger bus at an ‘unmanned’ railway crossing. The bus was en route to Punjab and was carrying 20 passengers.

  • A journalist, who was also a local leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and member of the peace committee, was shot dead in the Shakardara area of tehsil Matta on 25th February.

According to police, Javedullah Khan was going to his fields in his car when some unidentified assailants opened fire on his vehicle, leaving him seriously wounded. He was rushed to a hospital where he died during treatment. A police guard of the journalist who was with him in the car remained unhurt. Soon after the incident, the police along with CTD officials condoned off the area and launched a search operation


  • Highlighting six key reasons behind a massive revenue shortfall in first half of the current fiscal year, Ministry of Finance has credited the offices of President and Prime Minister for leading the austerity drive by example.

It reported six major reasons behind the shortfall including unprecedented compression in imports, lower consumption of petroleum products, and decline in auto and auto-parts sector, less growth in airline sector, overall economic slowdown and very challenging and unprecedented revenue targets. Under the original Rs2.367tr revenue target agreed to with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the FBR collections stood way behind posting Rs274 billion-shortfall. The report has now been submitted to the parliament as required under section 34(1) of Public Finance Management Act, 2019.

  • The IMF felt the macroeconomic outlook remained broadly as expected at the time of the first review and economic activity had stabilized and remained on the path of gradual recovery.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 27th February said it had reached a staff-level agreement with Pakistan authorities “on policies and reforms needed to complete the second review” of the $6bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF).The announcement was made by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Mission Chief for Pakistan, through a brief statement after a series of engagements with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir and Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch through video conference over the last two weeks. “IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on policies and reforms needed to complete the second review of the authorities’ reform program supported under the EFF,” said the statement. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF management and consideration by its executive board, which is expected in early April. Completion of the review will enable disbursement of SDR 328 million (around $450m), the statement said. The fund believed the current account deficit had declined, helped by the real exchange rate that was now broadly in line with fundamentals, while international reserves continued to rebuild at a pace considerably faster than anticipated. It expected the inflation should start to see a declining trend as the pass-through of exchange rate depreciation had been absorbed and supply-side constraints appeared to be temporary.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of Ist March 2020 as compared to 23rd February  2020
Countries PKR rate as of 23rd  February 2020 PKR rate as of   Ist March  2020
U.S.A. $ 154.60 154.35
U.K. Pounds 201.10 200.00
Euro 168.10 170.00
Japan Yen 1.42 1.42
Saudi Arabia Rial 41.30 41.05
U.A.E. Dirham 42.20 42.00

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of Ist March 2020 As Compared

To 23rd February 2020

Position as of Ist March 2020
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 161 (Curr) Current 37983.62 Current 17447.56
Decline 154 (High) High 38307.07 High 17644.91
Unchanged 27 (Low) Low 37758.57 Low 17345.76
Total change 342  -103.70  -37.68


Position as of 23rd February  2020
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 142 (Curr) Current 40249.22 Current 18512.78
Decline 168 (High) High 40527.08 High 18642.76
Unchanged 25 (Low) Low 40171.10 Low 18488.70
Total change 335  -232.43  -113.96