Economic and Political Weekly 03-11-2019

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World

Politics

·  Vietnam says human ‘traffickers must be strictly dealt with’

Vietnam said on 2nd Nov that human traffickers must be strictly dealt with as the Southeast Asian country was informed that several of its citizens were among the 39 people who died in a truck container in Britain last week. “The Vietnamese embassy in Britain was informed by Essex police that there are Vietnamese citizens, unidentified, among 39 victims in the lorry incident,” Vietnam foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement posted on its website.

·At least 13 dead after car bomb attack in Syrian border town

A car bomb killed a dozen people and injured 30 on 2nd Nov in a market in a Syrian border town that Turkish-backed forces seized last month, prompting Ankara to blame the attack on the Kurdish YPG militia. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said pro-Turkey fighters and civilians were among the dead and injured in Tel Abyad. Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency said 13 were killed after a “bomb-laden vehicle” exploded. The explosion comes after two weeks of relative calm in northeastern Syria, and a day after Turkish and Russian troops began joint ground patrols in the area under a deal between Turkey and Russia that pushed the YPG from Turkey’s border.

·  Hong Kong protesters target Chinese state-owned news agency

Protesters have vandalised the Hong Kong office of China’s official Xinhua News Agency for the first time during the months-long anti-government demonstrations. Local media showed scenes of the aftermath that included a fire in the lobby of the Xinhua office in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, with shattered windows and graffiti sprawled over the wall. Protesters have been targeting Chinese banks and businesses perceived to be linked to mainland China as anger builds up against Beijing, which the protesters accuse of infringing on the freedoms guaranteed when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997. Earlier, police fired tear gas and a water cannon in the area after some protesters hurled petrol bombs at them in another weekend of chaos.

· At least 53 soldiers and one civilian confirmed dead in Mali attack

At least 53 soldiers and one civilian have been killed in an attack on an army post in northern Mali, the government said, in one of the deadliest strikes against the West African country’s military in recent memory. The authorities first reported the attack in Indelimane, Menaka region, on ist Nov, but gave a lower provisional death toll. “Heavily armed unidentified men attacked around noon. The attack started with shellfire. Then they retreated toward Niger,” government spokesman Yaya Sangare said on 2nd Nov.

·Nine Afghan children were killed on 2nd Nov when a mine exploded as they walked to school, police said, the latest victims in a growing toll of civilian casualties in the war.

The blast happened in the northeastern province of Takhar. 2nd Nov is a school day in Afghanistan. “This area is under Taliban control and since security forces launched attacks to clear it, the Taliban have planted anti-personnel mines,” Khalil Asir, a spokesman for the provincial police, told Reuters.

· California wildfires force evacuation of thousands of homes

A new wildfire has erupted in wind-whipped southern California, forcing the evacuation of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and nearby homes, as both ends of the state struggled with blazes, gusty weather and deliberate blackouts. Driven by powerful Santa Ana winds, the brush fire broke out before dawn between the cities of Simi Valley and Moorpark, north of Los Angeles, and exploded to more than 526 hectares, threatening 6,500 homes, Ventura County officials said.

·Chile cancels trade and climate summits as protests rage

Chile withdrew on Wednesday as the host of an Apec summit next month at which the United States and China had been expected to sign a deal to ease a trade war that has hurt the global economy, as raging street protests gripped the South American country. The abrupt move – which came after weeks of riots over inequality in Chile that have left at least 18 people dead – plunged the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting into disarray, with participating countries caught off guard and no alternative venue lined up.

·Lebanon prime minister resigns after anti-government protests

Saad al-Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister, has announced his resignation after almost two weeks of nationwide protests demanding that his government step down. Mr Hariri on 29th Oct said he had “reached a dead end” on finding a way forward, suggesting he had been unable to reach a compromise deal with colleagues in Lebanon’s power-sharing government to address the demands of protesters angry about economic decline and corruption.

·You live with these men as a slave. It’s free for them to do anything’

As a captive of the Islamic State terror group, Naveen Rasho endured nearly five years of hell. She was in Baghuz, Syria, when the caliphate fell, and remembers scenes of smoke and fire and death, as coalition air strikes pounded jihadist positions in the desert village. The young Yazidi woman survived, only to be plunged into the fresh horror of al-Hawl detention camp, where she was imprisoned with her captor’s three brides. Two and a half months later, Rasho heard that a foreign visitor was in al-Hawl, a Kurdish-run camp holding nearly 70,000 Isis relatives in northeast Syria. The camp, which has been a ticking time bomb since Turkey and its Syrian rebel proxies invaded the border area this month, was sliding into brutality. Female members of al-Hisbah, Isis’s morality police, threatened to burn or knife fellow prisoners disobeying their rigid edicts.

·House of Representatives votes to formalize Trump impeachment inquiry

US president Donald Trump moved one step closer to impeachment on 31st Oct as the House of Representatives voted to proceed with the next phase in the inquiry. The vote clears the way for nationally-televised hearings as soon as this month. It also increases the likelihood that the House will vote to impeach the president, possibly by year-end, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that decision has not yet been made. An impeachment trial would then take place in the Senate, but with Republicans controlling the chamber Mr Trump is unlikely to be convicted.

·Islamic State appoints new leader after confirming Baghdadi’s death

Days after the Islamic State group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his heir apparent were killed in back-to-back attacks by US forces in northern Syria, the group broke its silence on Thursday to confirm their deaths, announce a new leader and warn America: “Do not be happy.” In an audio recording uploaded on the Telegram app, Islamic State mourned the loss of al-Baghdadi, who led the organization for nearly a decade, and its spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, who was killed a day after al-Baghdadi and who had widely been considered a potential successor.

· Iraqi and Lebanese protesters confront elites and their foreign backers

Protesters who have taken to the streets and squares of both Lebanon and Iraq are united in their demands for the fall of their governments, the removal of ruling elites, and an end to sectarian regimes imposed and protected by external powers. Demonstrators, who number in their hundreds of thousands in each country, rail against years of mismanagement and corruption that have left them without potable water, electricity, schools, hospitals, jobs and futures for their children.

·  Kashmir autonomy dismantled as India takes back control against wishes of Kashmiri people

(Newly appointed lieutenant-governor of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmi Girish Chandra Murmu takes oath of office)

Offices and shops were closed and streets deserted on 31st Oct in India’s northern disputed Kashmir region, as it formally split into two federally occupied territories nearly three months after its special constitutional status was revoked by the federal government. Under the new arrangement Jammu and Kashmir becomes one territory while Ladakh, its Buddhist-majority enclave, bordering Tibet, forms a second.

·UK election: Six possible results and how they’d affect Brexit. If neither Johnson nor Corbyn wins majority, Corbyn has better chance of becoming PM

There was an elegiac quality to exchanges in the House of Commons this week as MPs paid tribute to Speaker John Bercow, who has left after 10 years in the chair, and to colleagues who will not be contesting next month’s general election. Dozens of MPs have announced they are leaving parliament, some of them because the abuse they receive as MPs, both online and in person has become intolerable. Others are facing into the election with little confidence of success, and one MP in a marginal seat spent much of last week shaking colleagues’ hands and telling them “it was nice knowing you”. The British Election Study reported last month an unprecedented level of churn among voters, half of whom voted for different parties in 2010, 2015 and 2017.

·   Iraq’s prime minister agrees to resign, president says, after weeks of protests

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi has agreed to resign after weeks of anti-government protests that led to hundreds of casualties, Iraq’s president announced on 31st Oct. In a televised speech to the nation on Iraq’s Al-Iraqiya TV, President Barham Salih said Abdul Mahdi had agreed to step down on the condition that a successor is agreed to replace him. “The prime minister has agreed to resign,” Salih said, adding that Abdul Mahdi had asked “political blocs to reach an acceptable alternative” in order “to prevent a vacuum.”

Economy

  • Oil prices fell on 30th Oct as a possible delay in resolving the US-China trade war overshadowed a drop in US crude inventories.

 

Brent crude was down 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $61.41 a barrel by 0405 GMT after gaining 2 cents on 29th Oct. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 27 cents, or 0.5pc, at $55.27 a barrel, having dropped 0.5pc in the previous session. US crude inventories fell 708,000 barrels in the week ended Oct 25 to 436 million, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 494,000 barrels, according to data from the industry group, the American Petroleum Institute.

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 2nd November 2019

As compared to 25th October 2019 

Global indices as of 2nd November 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Nov 01) 8,386.40 8292.36
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Nov 01) 7,302.42 7248.38
 CAC (Nov 01) 5,761.89 5729.86
 DAX (Nov 01) 12,961.05 12866.79
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Nov 02) 11,957.50 11937.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Nov 01) 22,850.77 22927.04
 STRAITS TIMES (Nov 01) 3,229.43 3229.88
 HANG SENG (Nov 01) 27,100.76 26906.72
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Nov 01) 11,399.53 11358.71
 KOSPI (Nov 01) 2,100.20 2083.48
 SET COMPOSITE (Nov 01) 1,592.52 1601.49
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Nov 01) 6,207.19 6228.32
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Nov 01) 2,958.20 2929.06

 

Global indices as of 25th October 2019
Name Current Value Prev

.Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Oct 25) 8,243.12 8185.80
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Oct 25) 7,324.47 7328.25
 CAC (Oct 25) 5,722.15 5684.33
 DAX (Oct 25) 12,894.51 12872.10
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Oct 26) 11,664.00 11603.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Oct 25) 22,799.81 22750.60
 STRAITS TIMES (Oct 25) 3,185.53 3168.87
 HANG SENG (Oct 25) 26,667.39 26797.95
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Oct 25) 11,296.12 11320.14
 KOSPI (Oct 25) 2,087.89 2085.66
 SET COMPOSITE (Oct 25) 1,593.28 1620.97
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Oct 25) 6,252.34 6339.65
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Oct 25) 2,954.93 2940.92

 

Pakistan

Politics

  • Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman 1st Nov addressed the joint opposition’s rally in Islamabad and delivered perhaps the most important speech of his political career.

Speaking about the Kashmir crisis, he said the nation stands with Kashmir. “Should we leave this nation’s future in the hands of this selected government?” he asked. “We are giving you two days to stop backing the government,” he said, asking the institutions to remain impartial. Addressing Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said we are giving you two days to resign. “After this, we will make our own decision. We will not wait any more.” Fazl expressed his readiness to have a dialogue with the institutions, but said the government has to go.

  • PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif attended and addressed the Azadi March rally, flanked by Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal.

He said thousands have died of dengue across Pakistan but Imran Khan is missing. There are no jobs, no trade, laborers are unemployed, prices are going up and no business, he said. In a year and a half he has made the entire nation scream, he said, adding that Imran Khan should be screaming. We must rid ourselves of this government and Imran Khan, he urged.

  • Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also addressed the Azadi March and promised that they would send the “selected” prime minister home.

He was addressing the joint opposition’s rally in Islamabad. “You have conveyed a clear message to the federation by bringing all political parties together,” he told Fazl at the rally.

  • Senior journalist Hamid Mir said on 1st Nov that participants of the Azadi March will not leave within two to three days but would stay at the venue for a minimum of 10-15 days.

 

Speaking to Geo News, Mir said that he had spoken to the people who were participating in the Azadi March.”These people are not here to stay two to three days,” he said. “They are here to stay for a minimum 10-15 days,” he added. Mir said that he spoke to Fazl, who was wondering how he would send so many people home. He said that within the next 24 hours, the marchers could proceed further than the H-9 venue where they were currently holding the jalsa.

  • Fazl should tell which institution his speech refers to: DG ISPR

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor said on 1st Nov that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F leader Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman should tell which institutions was he referring to in his speech to Azadi March protesters in Islamabad. The DG ISPR was speaking to a private channel, where he spoke about the speech Fazl gave to Azadi March protesters today. “Maulana Fazl should take up his reservations with the concerned institutions,” said the DG ISPR. “Pakistan Army is an impartial institution,” said Major General Ghafoor, adding that the security personnel lay their lives in the defense of the motherland. He further said that whichever political party has an issue it should take up with the concerned institution, being within the remits of Constitution and law.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing a public rally in Gilgit-Baltistan, told the ‘Azadi March’ protesters congregated in Islamabad that when they run out of food, more will be sent to them, but their leaders should not expect any amnesty from him.

“Gone are the days when one used to use Islam to gain power. This is a new Pakistan. Sit however long you want. When your food runs out, we will send more. But we will not give you an NRO,” declared the prime minister.

  • How many people are participating in Fazlur Rehman’s Azadi March?

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is holding an anti-government rally in Islamabad that his party has dubbed as Azadi March. People from different walks of life including activists of opposition parties are participating in the Azadi March but major number is of JUI-F workers and students of Madrasa. In a latest video, Maulana Fazl says ‘a sea of humans is sitting in Islamabad’. He also invited others across the country to join them in the federal capital. However, the number of participants in the Azadi March is contradictory. A senior journalist says Azadi March in Islamabad is huge, it has beaten expectations. The journalist further says PTI and PAT could have managed to bring out just 10 percent of this level of participation in 2014 sit-in. An Urdu daily reported the number of participants of Azadi March saying when they reached Lahore the number of participants was 100,000; independent sources say the number of participants is 90,000 while according to police 60,000 people are attending the march. PTI says participants are 20,000 in number. According to AFP, tens of thousands of JUI-F workers rallied alongside members of major opposition parties in Islamabad. Earlier, AFP had reported saying thousands of people are attending the march.

· More than 74 dead after fire breaks out on train in Pakistan

A fire swept through a train on 31st Oct, killing 74 people and injuring nearly 40 after a gas canister that passengers were using to cook breakfast exploded, the minister of railways says but the observers on sight differ with him and put its responsibility on Railway itself. The fire destroyed three of the train’s carriages near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province. The train was on its way to Rawalpindi, near the capital, from the southern city of Karachi, with many people travelling to a religious gathering.

Economy

  • The business community on 30th Oct called off the countrywide shutter-down strike after reaching an eleven-point agreement with the government.

The strike, which started on 29th Oct, was held against the imposition of taxes, and presenting a CNIC copy for buying and selling goods up to Rs50, 000.

  • The federal government on 31st Oct through a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance announced a Re1 increase in the price of petrol for the month of November.

                  

The price of petrol was increased from Rs113.24 to Rs114.24 per litre, as per the recommendations of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). High speed diesel (HSD) price was increased by Rs0.27 per litre as it went up from Rs127.14 per litre to Rs127.41 per litre. The prices of kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO) saw a reduction of Rs2.39 and Rs6.56 respectively. Kerosene, this month, will be priced at Rs97.18 and light diesel oil at Rs85.33.

  • Over the first four months of fiscal year 2019-20, the country’s trade deficit decreased significantly by 33.5 per cent, a report by the Ministry of Commerce revealed on Saturday.

Trade deficit fell from $11.7 billion recorded from July-October of FY18-19 to $7.8bn during the same period this year. The decrease in trade deficit can largely be attributed to a fall in imports, which recorded a decline of 19.3pc. Imports during the period of July-October 2019 amounted to $15.3bn as opposed to $19bn during the same period last year. Exports, meanwhile, saw a meager rise of 3.6pc and grew from $7.3bn to $7.5bn.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 2nd November 2019 as compared to 25th October 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 25th October 2019 PKR rate as of   2nd November  2019
U.S.A. $ 156.10 156.00
U.K. Pounds 201.50 202.10
Euro 174.00 174.60
Japan Yen 1.42 1.45
Saudi Arabia Rial 41.55 41.70
U.A.E. Dirham 42.55 42.70

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 2nd November 2019 As Compared

To 25th October 2019 

 

Position as of 2nd November 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 164 (Curr) Current 34377.61 Current 16248.88
Decline 133 (High) High 34489.51 High 16358.66
Unchanged 38 (Low) Low 34108.10 Low 16157.03
Total Change 335  173.93  37.76

 

 

Position as of 25th October 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 147 (Curr) Current 33671.03 Current 15964.80
Decline 157 (High) High 33943.81 High 16107.77
Unchanged 21 (Low) Low 33597.86 Low 15924.71
Total Change 325  -91.45  -9.52

 

 

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