Home Weekly Reviews Economic and Political Weekly 19-04-2020

Economic and Political Weekly 19-04-2020

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World

Politics

As of 19th April latest on corona Virus

· Trump halts funding for WHO. Trump claims ‘so much death has been caused by mistakes’ of World Health Organization. America provide between $400 and 500 million a year to the body, he said: “In contrast China contributes roughly $40 million and even less.”

·Turkey is among the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to confirmed corona virus cases, but the mortality rate has been much lower than elsewhere.

.Wuhan officials have revised the city’s corona virus death toll up by 50%. The total number of cases recorded in the city now stands at 50,333, with 3,869 deaths

·As on 17th April 2,250,689 are confirmed cases with 154,256 deaths in the world.

· USA, Italy, Spain, UK, China, Iran, Turkey, Belgium, France, Germany are top 10 countries in effected list

· How Germany, South Korea, Iceland and Taiwan brought their curve flattened in case of deaths due to Corona Virus

They did it because they were well prepared, quick in Testing, in provider of trace and quarantine, Use of data and techs, remaining aggressive, got the private sector involved, Acted preventatively, Used tech by keeping respect and privacy, continued-through testing, Learning from the past, Testing more as restrictions eases and Building capacity at hospitals.

·Sweden isn’t enforcing a lockdown.

Scientists in Sweden are pushing for increased restrictions to slow the corona virus spread as restaurants, bars and public spaces largely remain open. As per latest report 12000 persons have been infected with 1200 deaths in a country with population of 10.3 million.

  • A 99-year-old British war veteran has raised more than£4.8 million ($6 million) for the country’s National Health Service (NHS) as he aims to complete 100 laps of his garden, aided by a walking frame.

Tom Moore, who will turn 100 on April 30, began the challenge last Thursday to raise money for NHS Charities Together, which raises funds for UK hospitals, including for staff, volunteers and patients affected by the corona virus crisis.

  • Less than a month ago, Putin had radiated confidence about his government’s responseto a growing global crisis, reassuring his citizens that the situation was “under control” thanks to early intervention measures. But now few weeks after the position has reversed.

How quickly things can change in the time of corona virus. In his 13th April videoconference, Putin took stock of a worsening situation. “We have a lot of problems,” Putin said. “There is nothing to boast about, and we must not let our guard down, because in general, as you and your specialists say, we have not passed the peak of the epidemic yet.”

·EU country with most Covid-19 deaths starts easing lockdown

Though a nationwide lockdown of Italy has been extended, parts of the country are seeing a cautious easing of restrictions. Around 300,000 nonessential workers are estimated to have gone back to their jobs in Spain’s Madrid region as the country began a partial lifting of lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of corona virus, a spokesperson for Madrid’s regional government says. As Spain enters its second month of lockdown, some restrictions were eased, allowing those who cannot work from home, such as those in the construction and manufacturing industries, to return to work.

·Boris Johnson grateful after release from hospital

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the National Health Service staff at St. Thomas’ Hospital following his treatment for corona virus, saying “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life, he said. 

Japan’s Shinzo Abe promotes anti-flu drug to treat virus

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is promoting the anti-flu drug Avigan to treat patients diagnosed with Covid-19

· Bangladesh has executed a military captain less than a week after he was arrested after nearly 25 years on the run over the assassination of the country’s founding leader, a minister said on 12th April.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was killed along with most of his family in a military coup on August 15, 1975, nearly four years after he led Bangladesh to independence. In 1998 Abdul Majed was sentenced in absentia to death along with a dozen other army officers over the murders.

·Iraqi Student Ahmed Khaled al-Kaabi, 23, proposed to the love of his life last year. The couple’s dream was to have a huge celebration with family and friends in the southern holy city of Najaf.

However in the wake of the new corona virus, those hopes were dashed when a government-ordered curfew banned large public gatherings and wedding halls were shuttered. Unwilling to postpone the wedding, al-Kaabi came up with a different plan. He asked the local security forces to help him make the wedding happen. The police responded by providing the groom with vehicles, complete with blasting music. They transported al-Kaabi’s bride to the family home for a small celebration of just six people.

  • A rare zonkey is born in Kenya

The young animal is a hybrid of a zebra and a donkey, according to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

·Mixed picture’ in Europe, corona virus vaccine at least 12 months off: WHO

The number of new cases of COVID-19 is easing in some parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, but outbreaks are still growing in Britain and Turkey, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 14th April. “The overall world outbreak, 90 percent of cases are coming from Europe and the United States of America. So we are certainly not seeing the peak yet,” WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris told a briefing in Geneva. On vaccines, Harris said: “We really shouldn’t be expecting to see the vaccine at least for 12 months or longer.”

· Under India’s caste system Dalits are considered untouchable. The corona virus is intensifying that slur

Since India went into lockdown to stop the spread of corona virus on March 25, families who live in hilltop village in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, have been barred from going down the hill, even to purchase essentials such as food and medicine. The families are part of the Yanadi community, who work mainly as waste pickers and drain cleaners and who — even before the corona virus — were segregated because of their caste. “We’ve been locked up here, like prisoners — we live near a milk factory, and there is not a drop of milk for my children to drink. We are called dirty, and they say we are spreading the disease.

The Arctic’s ozone layer developed a tear, which grew into a hole, and then a bigger hole. Now, it may be biggest hole the North Pole’s ozone layer has ever incurred.

This hole in the Arctic ozone layer reached an area of over 620,000 square miles since it was first spotted in February, said Diego Loyola, a scientist at the German Aerospace Center, in a statement to the European Space Agency. Ozone levels in the area have dropped steeply since then. That’s unusual for a few reasons. While holes in the ozone layer are reported every year in the Antarctic, where temperatures are much colder, no sizable holes in the ozone layer have been recorded in the Arctic since 2011.

·Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, said that prayers during Ramazan and for the subsequent Eid al-Fitr feast should be performed at home if the corona virus outbreak continues.

Ramazan’s Taraweeh (evening) prayer can be performed at home if it cannot be performed at mosques due to the preventive measures taken to fight the spread of corona virus,” he said in response to a question, adding that the same applies for Eid prayers, according to the Grand Mufti. The holy month of Ramazan begins next week. Saudi Arabia in mid-March stopped people performing their five daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayer inside mosques as part of efforts to limit the spread of the corona virus.

Economy

  • The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other oil producing nations agreed on Sunday to cut output by a record amount, representing around 10 percent of global supply, to support oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for May-June, after four days of marathon talks and following pressure from US President Donald Trump to arrest the price decline. In the biggest oil output cut ever, the countries will keep gradually decreasing curbs on production in place for two years until April 2022.

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 19th April 2020

As compared to 12th April 2020

Global indices as of 19th April 2020
Name Current Value Prev.Close
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Apr 17) 8,650.14 8532.36
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Apr 17) 5,786.96 5628.43
 CAC (Apr 17) 4,499.01 4350.16
 DAX (Apr 17) 10,625.78 10301.54
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Apr 18) 9,282.00 9309.00
 NIKKEI 225 (Apr 17) 19,897.26 19290.20
 STRAITS TIMES (Apr 17) 2,614.60 2612.25
 HANG SENG (Apr 17) 24,380.00 24006.45
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Apr 17) 10,597.04 10375.48
 KOSPI (Apr 17) 1,914.53 1857.07
 SET COMPOSITE (Apr 17) 1,239.24 1200.15
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Apr 17) 4,634.82 4480.61
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Apr 17) 2,838.49 2819.94

 

Global indices as of 12th April 2020
Name Current Value Prev.Close
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Apr 09) 8,153.58 8090.90
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Apr 09) 5,842.66 5677.73
 CAC (Apr 09) 4,506.85 4442.75
 DAX (Apr 09) 10,564.74 10332.89
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Apr 11) 9,096.00 9106.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Apr 10) 19,498.50 19345.77
 STRAITS TIMES (Apr 09) 2,571.32 2539.44
 HANG SENG (Apr 09) 24,300.33 23970.37
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Apr 10) 10,157.61 10119.43
 KOSPI (Apr 10) 1,860.70 1836.21
 SET COMPOSITE (Apr 10) 1,228.03 1210.48
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Apr 09) 4,649.08 4626.70
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Apr 10) 2,796.63 2825.90

 

Pakistan

Politics

As of 19th April latest on corona Virus

·On 17th April the confirmed cases in Pakistan are 7025 with 135 deaths

·The April 14th decision by some senior Ulema and religious scholars to reopen mosques for congregational prayers was highly reckless and disheartening. What has been more disappointing, and certainly far more dangerous, is the federal government’s obvious spinelessness when dealing with this situation. On April 17th, saw a few hundred-strong Friday prayer congregations at Islamabad’s Red Mosque, along with other smaller congregations in parts of the country.

This is happening at a time when ordinary Pakistanis continue to bear the brunt of not just the corona virus, but also the accompanying economic devastation, these congregations will almost surely exacerbate the situation. For starters, the flouting of social distancing guidelines in such large numbers means an exponential increase in infections and casualties. Equally importantly, the flippancy of the religious establishment will lead to an extended lockdown in the longer run as cases rise, spelling even more economic ruin for Pakistan’s poor.

  • Fawad hits out at Mufti Muneeb for ‘making mockery of govt orders’

This year something is indeed amiss with concerns over the new corona virus mounting and the ensuing lockdown bringing the country to a grinding halt. But the science and technology couldn’t hold back after the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee chairman told his followers to continue going to mosques while ‘practicing social distancing’ at a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday. “The lockdown will no longer be applicable on mosques,” he said. On this Fawad Tweeted: “When he (the Mufti) can’t see such a big moon, how will he spot the small corona virus.” Fawad has previously criticized the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, synonymous with the Mufti, for being archaic and regressive, while singling out Muneeb for his refusal to use science to determine the lunar cycle and, thus, avoid the annual debate over the sighting of the Ramazan moon. He also launched a Ruet app last year while calling for disbanding the committee.

  • Supreme Court on Corona Virus epidemic.

In a recent hearing of a Suo-Motu case regarding COVID-19 and the government performance during this pandemic, CJP Gulzar Ahmed in his remarks criticized the federal and provincial governments for their failure to adopt satisfactory measures, stating,

  • Advisors have been given status of federal ministers but despite this larger number of advisers, there is no betterment in the federal government performance to deal with the pandemic.”
  • The situation of this magnitude demands consensus and uniformity, but the provincial governments are going in a different direction, while the central government on the other.”
  • He also asked for the removal of Health Advisor.

However apart from removal of Health Advisor that is debatable; CJ comments are valid and support formulation of activities to counter Corona Virus disease.

  • A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated that the premier has taken a very serious view of the recent campaign on social media in which “uncalled, immoderate and intemperate language” has been used against the superior judiciary of Pakistan, including the CJP

.

The prime minister has been pleased to direct that the Federal Investigation Agency’s director general shall look into this malicious campaign and depute a team of suitable officers to track down the culprits involved,” it added. PM Imran also instructed the FIA chief to take necessary legal action against the offender as per the relevant laws.

· PM Imran extends lockdown for two weeks

Prime Minister Imran Khan has extended the lockdown in the country for an additional two weeks, saying that the restrictions as well as other social distancing measures have benefited the country despite the economic costs incurred and announced opening construction as well as several other industries from  15th April. “Construction industry and other sectors will be opened from today in phases, government was working on issuing two presidential ordinances. “One will provide a stimulus package to the construction industry while the other will curb smuggling and hoarding of dollars and wheat.” We will review the situation again before Ramadan and open additional sectors if there is any possibility to do so.”

· Lockdown to be stricter than before: Sind CM

The chief minister said that citizens should refrain from thinking that the lockdown for the next two weeks had been eased. “It is a stricter lockdown. There are just a few exceptions.” “Any business operating under the exemption must have SOPs in place. We asked the federal government to present its SOPs so that we could reply accordingly,” he added. He further stated that there will be a ban on pillion riding in across the province.  “Only a man with a female can travel on a bike, any other pillion riding will be banned,” he said. He further added that the Sind government has decided against allowing plumbers, electricians, tailors and barbers to operate in the province.  “Employees over the age of 55 will not be allowed to travel for work,” he said adding that the chief secretary will hold a meeting with factory owners and allow them to operate only if they are satisfied with the arrangements. Shah also spoke about the recent surge in positive cases among members of the Tableeghi Jamat. “We have begun testing Tableeghi Jamaat members. Around 5,000 of them are in isolation. The recovered ones are issued certificates and sent back homes. We are also informing the management of the area where they are going. 110 out of 122 Tableeghi Jamaat members in Hyderabad have recovered,” he said. The chief minister said 45 patients in the province were in critical condition.

  • A Pakistan Army airplane on a routine mission crashed on Monday near Gujarat, according to the military’s media wing.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Major Umer, an instructor pilot, and Lieutenant Faizan, a student pilot, were martyred during the crash.

  • Renowned journalist, writer and poet Ahfaz ur Rehman passed d away early on Sunday at the age of 78 after a prolonged illness.

Rahman was born in the Indian city of Jabalpur on April 12, 1942. During his college days, he was a member of the National Students Federation and later came to be known among his colleagues for being a fearless defender of press freedom, civil liberties and an active member of trade unions.

  • Combination Of Two Drugs Better Results In Treating Corona virus Patients: Dr Ata

Chairman Task Force of Pakistan Science and Technology, Dr Ata ur Rehman on 12th April  said that combination of two drugs would have better results in treating corona virus patients. The clinical trials of patients had been carried out in Karachi and Lahore for checking the results of Anti-malarial and Erythromycin drugs, he stated in a ptv program. The Americans had tested “Hydroxychloroquine in treatment of patients infected with corona virus but the result was appearing negative. We hope that in Pakistan, Hydroxychloroquine” plus “Erythromycin” would produce results after treating patients of this spreading virus, he added

Economy

  • World Bank Forecasts on Pakistan economy due to Corona Virus Impacts

Real GDP growth is projected to contract by 1.3 per cent in FY20 as domestic and global economic activity slows down sharply in the last four months of the fiscal year, according to the report. “The outbreak of Covid-19 will impact growth beyond FY20. Under the baseline scenario, growth will remain muted at 0.9 per cent in FY21 before reaching 3.2 per cent in FY22. “Inflation is expected to average 11.8 per cent in FY20 and to gradually decline thereafter. The current account deficit is projected to narrow to 1.9 per cent in FY20, as imports contract more than exports.” “The fiscal deficit is expected to remain elevated, at 9.5 and 8.7 per cent of GDP in FY20 and FY21, respectively. Revenue mobilization efforts will be negatively impacted by subdued domestic activity, while expenditures will increase to contain the spread of Covid-19 and support the economy. “The fiscal deficit is expected to fall gradually to 6.0 per cent of GDP by FY22 as the impact of the crisis tapers-off.”

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 16th April approved an emergency loan of $1.4 billion for Pakistan, as Islamabad is also expected to get around $1.5 billion relief in the shape of delay in repayment of loans to bilateral creditors.

Pakistan is not among the nations whose debts will be written off by the rich nations and multilateral institutions. But it has been offered both, cheap financing by the multilateral creditors and debt rollover by the bilateral creditors.

  • SBP slashes monetary policy rate to 9%

In a surprise move, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on 16th April cut the benchmark interest rate by 200 basis points to a 17-month low at 9% to help businesses and people to avert default on loans and help banks to stave off loans.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of  19th April 2020 as compared to 12th April   2020
Countries PKR rate as of 12th April   2020 PKR rate as of   19th April  2020
U.S.A. $ 166.70 163.00
U.K. Pounds 206.50 208.00
Euro 186.25 188.25
Japan Yen 1.58 1.58
Saudi Arabia Rial 42.55 43.00
U.A.E. Dirham 45.00 47.00

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 19th April 2020 As Compared

To 12th April 2020

Position as of 19th April 2020
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 291 (Curr) Current 32831.83 Current 15850.32
Decline 30 (High) High 33257.15 High 16022.54
Unchanged 13 (Low) Low 31329.46 Low 15043.85
Total change 334  1502.37  806.47

 

Position as of 12th April 2020
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 173 (Curr) Current 32033.20 Current 15213.54
Decline 116 (High) High 32086.10 High 15239.07
Unchanged 16 (Low) Low 31377.10 Low 14950.89
Total Change 305  195.90  0.87

 

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