Economic & Political Weekly 16-06-2019

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World

Politics

· Protest In Hong Kong going on with clashes.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Hong Kong on 12th June, hours after tens of thousands of mostly young people surrounded the city’s government headquarters and postponed the debate over a controversial bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited to China. The protest was deemed a riot. Up to 5,000 police in riot gear were deployed to guard the building. Protesters were seen wearing helmets, goggles and heavy-duty workman’s gloves, and pulling bricks from the sidewalks. The city’s legislative council had been due to hold the second reading of the controversial bill Wednesday morning local time, but it was postponed. The bill has been met with widespread opposition, including from the city’s traditionally conservative business community. What officials are saying: Despite the mass demonstrations, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has refused to withdraw the extradition bill, saying it is needed to plug loopholes to prevent the city from becoming a haven for mainland fugitives.

·Mali attack leaves at least 95 people dead in Dogon village  

Attackers believed to belong to the Fulani ethnic group raided a rival Dogon village in central Mali overnight, killing at least 95 people and burning houses to the ground, local and government officials said on 10th June .Violence between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders has killed hundreds since January, including an attack in March in which gunmen killed more than 150 Fulani, one of the worst acts of bloodshed in Mali’s recent history. 9th June raid took place in the Sangha district, where Fulanis from the neighboring Bankass district descended on a Dogon village after dark, Bankass mayor Moulaye Guindo told Reuters on 10th June.Armed men, apparently Fulani, fired at the population and burnt the village,” said Siriam Kanoute, an official for the nearby town of Bandiagara. Sangha mayor Ali Dolo told Reuters 95 charred bodies had been found so far, but that the death toll was likely to rise as the village was still ablaze.

· Tokayev wins vote to become Kazakhstan’s second president

Kazakhstan has arrested protesters and been accused of voting misconduct amid a rubber-stamp election of the country’s new president, a longtime ally of the country’s veteran leader who will retain sweeping powers over the oil-rich nation. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, a loyal lieutenant of predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev who has run the country since 1990, won 70.8 per cent of the vote, results released on 10th June showed. The race was tightly controlled by state authorities to deliver an outcome that was never in doubt.

· Saudi teenager faces death sentence for acts when he was 10

A Saudi teenager held for more than four years without charge faces possible execution for acts he is accused of having committed when he was as young as 10, according to human rights groups tracking his case. A death sentence for the teenager, Murtaja Qureiris, now 18, would be what the groups called one of the most egregious violations of legal protections for children in the world.“There are few more serious breaches of international law than the execution of a child,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, one of the rights groups. She said that in seeking the death penalty for Murtaja, “the Saudi regime is advertising its impunity to the world”.

·  Abe seeks to reduce Middle East tensions in two-day visit to Iran

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began a two-day visit to Iran on 12th June as part of international efforts to reduce tensions between Tehran and Washington. Abe’s trip to Iran is the first by a Japanese premier since the 1979 Islamic revolution and the first by a G7 leader since US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear accord Tehran signed with world powers in 2015.

· Russian police crackdown on supporters of detained journalist

Police in Moscow cracked down on a demonstration against the framing of Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on 12th June arresting hundreds of people. Russia’s most prominent opposition leader was among the first to be detained. He faces charges of organizing an illegal public meeting that could land him a 30-day prison sentence.

·  Boris Johnson has clear lead as Conservatives set to vote for its leader in UK

Conservative MPs vote on 13th June in the first round of a leadership contest that was overwhelmingly won by the Boris Johnson in the race to replace outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May. The Brexit-backing former foreign minister picked up 114 of the 313 votes cast in a secret ballot of Conservative Party lawmakers in the lower House of Commons. Mark Harper, Esther McVey, and Andrea Leadsom, who came in second to May in the last leadership race in 2016, failed to collect the required 17 votes and were knocked out.

· Sri Lanka police arrest five Easter bomb attack suspect

Five Sri Lankans suspected of having links to Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people were taken home in police custody on 14th June after being deported from Saudi Arabia, police said. Police declined to provide details of the arrests beyond saying the five were picked up in a Middle Eastern country and were sent back, in the custody of Sri Lankan police, from the Saudi city of Jeddah. “These are the five remaining leaders of the April 21st terrorist group,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told reporters. The co-ordinated Islamist militant suicide bomb attacks on hotels and churches sent shockwaves through the Indian Ocean island state that had enjoyed relative peace since a civil war ended a decade ago. The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which authorities said were carried out by two little-known domestic groups – the National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim.

·  Algerian spring lives on as Sudan descends into violence

While Sudan’s civilian uprising is crushed in a bloody crackdown, Algeria’s peaceful protest movement continues unabated and might even yield results despite the apparent intransigence of the regime’s military leaders, analysts say. In April, after two months of mass protests, the army’s generals relented to Algerian protesters’ demand to oust 82-year-old, wheelchair-bound leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika who was seeking re-election for another five-year term. Since then, the leaderless grassroots movement – “Hirak” as Algerians call it – has persisted, avoided being hijacked by Islamist groups, and stuck to its demand for a civilian-led transition to democracy. In doing so, it is challenging the military, which has considered itself the ultimate guardian of the gas-rich Northern African state since winning the war of independence against France in 1962.      

Economy-

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 14th and 15th June 2019

As compared to 6th and 7th June 2019

Global indices as of 14th and 15th June 2019
Name Current Value Open

Prev.

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Jun 14) 7,796.66 7807.19

7837.13

EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Jun 14) 7,345.78 7368.57

7368.57

 CAC (Jun 14) 5,367.62 5367.10

5375.63

 DAX (Jun 14) 12,096.40 12124.36

12169.05

ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Jun 15) 11,797.50 11826.00

11831.00

 NIKKEI 225 (Jun 14) 21,116.89 21049.41

21032.00

 STRAITS TIMES (Jun 14) 3,222.63 3214.68

3220.66

 HANG SENG (Jun 14) 27,118.35 27180.74

27294.71

 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jun 14) 10,524.67 10546.42

10561.01

 KOSPI (Jun 14) 2,095.41 2096.32

2103.15

 SET COMPOSITE (Jun 14) 1,672.33 1673.55

1674.14

 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jun 14) 6,250.26 6278.03

6273.08

 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jun 14) 2,881.97 2913.00

2910.74

 

Global indices as of 6th and 7th June 2019
Name Current Value Open

Prev Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Jun 07) 7,742.10 7652.97

7615.55

EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Jun 07) 7,331.94 7259.85

7259.85

 CAC (Jun 07) 5,364.05 5299.71

5278.43

 DAX (Jun 07) 12,045.38 12003.92

11953.14

ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Jun 08) 11,956.00 11899.00

11897.00

 NIKKEI 225 (Jun 07) 20,884.71 20859.78

20774.04

 STRAITS TIMES (Jun 07) 3,166.29 3145.93

3146.18

 HANG SENG (Jun 06) 26,965.28 26935.87

26895.44

 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jun 06) 10,409.20 10409.90

10461.62

 KOSPI (Jun 07) 2,072.33 2070.78

2069.11

 SET COMPOSITE (Jun 07) 1,653.50 1656.84

1653.41

 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (May 31) 6,209.12 6110.52

6104.11

 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jun 06) 2,827.80 2862.33

2861.42

Pakistan

Politics

  • Punjab Minister for Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Sibtain Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on 14th June in connection with a case pertaining to corruption and illegal award of contracts.

A NAB Lahore statement issued to announce the arrest said he was taken into custody during an inquiry. According to NAB, Khan had in July 2007, as the Punjab Minister for Mines and Minerals, been involved in the illegal award of a multi-billion rupee contract for 500 metric tons of iron ore in Rajwah and Chiniot to a company of his choice called Earth Resource Pvt Ltd, the statement said. The contract, which deviated from existing laws, was awarded to ERPL through connivance with other suspects, NAB said. The company was awarded the contract despite not having previous experiencing in mining.

  • PPP leader Faryal Talpur, the sister of former president Asif Zardari who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier this week, was arrested by NAB officials in Islamabad on 14th June in connection with a case pertaining to money laundering through fake accounts, a NAB spokesman said.

A five-member NAB team including female investigators is at Zardari House, Islamabad, which was notified as a sub-jail by the NAB chairman earlier on 14th June “for the purposes of detention of accused under the NAO, 1999”, according to a notification issued by the accountability watchdog.

  • As the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) heard the references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice Karim Khan Agha of the Sind High Court on 14th June, a large number of lawyers — representing the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and other bodies — held a sit-in at the top court in protest.

The main entrance of the apex court was blocked by the lawyers. The five-member SJC comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Sind High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh and Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth heard the references against Justices Isa and Agha for allegedly possessing properties in the United Kingdom.

Economy

  • Sind Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of Finance, on 14th June presented a Rs1, 217 billion budget for the financial year 2019-20 in the Sind Assembly.

Among the most notable figures of the budget is a 15 per cent across the board increase in salary and pension for government employees. This means that all employees of Grade-1 to Grade-22 will see a 15 per cent pay raise as part of an adhoc relief allowance and pensioners will receive an increase in their pension by the same percentage. The minimum wage for workers has been fixed at Rs17, 000.

  • Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakhat presented the Punjab budget for financial year 2019-20 with a total outlay of Rs 2.3 trillion in the Punjab Assembly on 14th June.

Giving a break-up of the budget during his speech in the house, the minister said that the general revenue receipts for FY 2019-20 were estimated at Rs1,990bn, while the province was expected to receive Rs1,601.46bn under the National Finance Commission (NFC) award. He went on to say that the total provincial revenue was estimated at Rs388.4bn. Rs350 billion have been allotted for development, whereas Rs1.71tr has been earmarked for non-development expenditure, he added.

  • The World Bank has approved a package of $518 million for two projects in support of “Pakistan’s ambitious efforts to raise revenue and reduce compliance cost with a goal of providing better services to the people”, said a statement issued by the body.

“The $400 million Pakistan Raises Revenue Project will support the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) focus to create a sustainable increase in Pakistan’s domestic tax revenue. The project will assist in simplifying the tax regime and strengthening tax and customs administration,” the statement said.

  • The value of the US dollar against the rupee touched another all-time high for the second consecutive day, reaching Rs156.80 in the interbank market after an increase of Rs2.80 on 14th June.

The greenback was being traded at Rs157.50 in the open market at the time of closure, showing an increase of Rs3. In the last two days, the local currency has lost almost Rs5 against the dollar, setting a new record of Rs157 in the interbank market. The rupee’s slide had continued on Thursday as it fell as low as Rs154 in the interbank market.                                              

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 15th June 2019 as compared to 7th June 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 7th  June 2019 PKR rate as of 15th June 2019
U.S.A. 148.80 155.82
U.K. 190.00 196.18
Euro 169.00 174.76
Japan 1.3700 1.4354
Saudi Arabia 39.30 41.55
U.A.E. 40.40 41.80

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 14th June 2019 As Compared

To 7th June 2019

 

Position as of 14th June 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 149

(curr)

Current 35572.95 Current 16682.02
Decline (High) 160 High 35659.35 High 16754.63
Unchanged Low 23 Low 35295.64 Low 16557.26
Total change 332 169.88 99.79

 

 

Position as of 7th June 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 102

(Curr)

Current 35505.29 Current 16577.19
Decline (High) 154 High 35974.79 High 16874.82
Unchanged Low 19 Low 35425.32 Low 16546.13
Total change 275  -469.50  -297.63

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