Economic and Political Weekly 20-10-2019

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World

Politics

· Typhoon Hagibis: Death toll hits 66 as rescuers slog through mud

The death toll in the worst typhoon to hit Japan for decades climbed to 66 on 15th Oct as rescuers slogged through mud and debris in an increasingly grim search for the missing, and as thousands of homes remained without power or water. Fifteen people remain missing nearly three days after Typhoon Hagibis smashed into central and eastern Japan, national broadcaster NHK said. More than 200 people were injured in the storm, whose name means “speed” in the Tagalog language. The highest toll was in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo, where levees burst in at least 14 places along the Abukuma River, which meanders through a number of cities in the largely agricultural prefecture. At least 25 people died in Fukushima, including a mother and child who were caught in flood waters, NHK said. Another child of the woman remains missing.

·  Kim Jong-un mounts white horse in propaganda campaign

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un mounted a white horse in an evocative propaganda stunt as his own deadline for US movement on nuclear talks is nearing. The images in his country’s official media showed a bespectacled Mr Kim, wearing a long, light-brown coat and riding up snow-covered Mount Paektu on horseback.

· Newborn girl rescued after being found buried alive in Indian cemetery

A four-day-old baby girl has been rescued after she was found buried alive in a cemetery in northern India. The infant was pulled to safety by an unsuspecting couple in Uttar Pradesh state on October 10, as they were burying their own child who had died in hospital. “When they began digging the ground, they immediately heard noises of crying. As they dug up two to three feet of dirt, they found a baby girl who had been buried in an earthen pot,” Abhinandan Singh, Superintendent of Police for Bareilly district, told CNN.

·Pelosi walks out of Trump meeting after he calls her ‘third-grade’ politician

US president Donald Trump and House speaker Nancy Pelosi have traded verbal blows after a fractious meeting at the White House. Mr. Trump called Ms Pelosi is a “third-grade” politician, while she accused the president of having a meltdown.

·Spain seeks to extradite Carles Puigdemont as Catalonia braces for general strike

Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan president who led the region’s failed bid for independence two years ago, has handed himself into judicial authorities in Belgium in response to the reactivation of an international arrest warrant against him earlier this week. His appearance came as Catalonia braced for a general strike and a huge demonstration in Barcelona following a fourth night of violent protests triggered by the jailing of nine pro-independence leaders by the Spanish Supreme Court on Monday. At least 46 police among injured in protests against jailing of independence leaders

· Syria-Turkey border sees shelling despite ceasefire

Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on 18th Oct morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States. The truce, announced on 17th Oct by US vice president Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces. Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize. The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions as well as civilian targets in Ral al Ain: “Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.

· Brexit outcome expected to depend on a handful of votes on 19th Oct

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to put his last-minute Brexit deal to a vote in an extraordinary sitting of the British parliament on 19th Oct. However, there is uncertainty about whether the decisive vote will actually go ahead after House Speaker John Bercow chose an amendment that, if passed, would require the prime minister to write to the EU by the end of the day to ask for a three-month extension to Brexi The European Council before this has  agreed unanimously to endorse the deal, which includes plans for a regulatory and customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The deal leaves all but a fraction of the withdrawal agreement negotiated with Theresa May intact, with a new political declaration about the future relationship between Britain and the EU. The Northern Ireland backstop is replaced by a new arrangement under which the North will continue to follow EU regulations on goods.

  • Blasts in a mosque in eastern Afghanistan during 18th Oct (Friday) prayers killed at least 62 men who had gathered for worship, local officials said.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for Nangarhar province’s governor, said there were multiple blasts from explosives placed inside the mosque in the Jawdara area of Haska Mena district. The roof of the mosque had completely fallen in. Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council in Nangarhar, while expecting a rise in the number of casualties, said that more than 100 others had been wounded.

Economy

·Goldman Sachs raises probability on Brexit deal to 65%

Goldman Sachs said it had raised its estimate on the probability of a Brexit deal to 65 per cent from 60 per cent after Britain struck a new divorce agreement with the European Union that still needs British parliamentary backing. The bank lowered its odds on “no deal” to 10 per cent from 15 per cent and left its odds of no Brexit happening at all unchanged at 25 per cent, it said, adding that it maintained its base case that Britain will leave the EU with a deal by October 31st.

·China’s economic growth slowest since 1993 over trade war

China’s economic growth has sunk to a 26-year low in the latest quarter amid pressure from a trade war with the US. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6 per cent in the three months ending in September, down from the previous quarter’s 6.2 per cent.

·Three Nobel winners prove economics is not such a dismal science

In 1847 the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle referred to economics as the dismal science because of the opposition of economists to slavery. Economists, who seek by their research to build a better society, wear this title as a badge of honor. On 14th Oct the winners of the Nobel Prize for economics were named, three people who have played an important role in developing policies to make the world a better place by raising living standards in developing countries. The 2019 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded y to Abhijit Banerjee of India, Esther Duflo (46 year’s economist who is also wife of Abhijeet Bannerjee) and Michael Kremer of Kambridge College for pioneering new ways to alleviate global poverty.

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 18 th October 2019

As compared to 11th October 2019    

Global indices as of 18th October 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

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US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Oct 18) 8,089.54 8156.85
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Oct 18) 7,150.57 7182.32
 CAC (Oct 18) 5,636.25 5673.07
 DAX (Oct 18) 12,633.60 12654.95
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Oct 19) 11,669.50 11681.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Oct 18) 22,492.68 22451.86
 STRAITS TIMES (Oct 18) 3,114.16 3126.14
 HANG SENG (Oct 18) 26,719.58 26848.49
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Oct 18) 11,180.22 11186.88
 KOSPI (Oct 18) 2,060.69 2077.94
 SET COMPOSITE (Oct 18) 1,631.43 1632.80
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Oct 18) 6,191.95 6181.01
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Oct 18) 2,938.14 2977.33
Global indices as of 11th October 2019
Current Value Prev

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Oct 11) 8,057.04 7950.78
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Oct 11) 7,247.08 7186.36
 CAC (Oct 11) 5,665.48 5569.05
 DAX (Oct 11) 12,511.65 12164.20
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Oct 12) 11,287.00 11309.00
 NIKKEI 225 (Oct 11) 21,798.87 21551.98
 STRAITS TIMES (Oct 11) 3,113.97 3089.48
 HANG SENG (Oct 11) 26,308.44 25707.93
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Oct 09) 10,889.96 11017.31
 KOSPI (Oct 11) 2,044.61 2028.15
 SET COMPOSITE (Oct 11) 1,626.00 1607.50
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Oct 11) 6,105.80 6023.64
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Oct 11) 2,973.66 2947.71

Pakistan

  • PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif on 18th Oct announced PML-N’s “complete support” for JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s ‘Azadi March’.

He said that a massive rally will be held in Islamabad on October 31 to present a joint list of demands by the opposition. “Despite the support that Imran Khan enjoys, he has failed the country and is placing the burden of his failures on the shoulders of our institutions,” said Sharif, as he addressed a press conference in Lahore. “If even the most far gone of governments had received just 25 per cent of the support he has received, then Pakistan would have been soaring high in the skies of progress,” he continued. “From Karachi to Peshawar, the entire nation is in agreement that this government should go home and as soon as possible, fresh elections should take place,” said Sharif.

  • Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton on 18th Oct left for the United Kingdom after completing a five-day visit of Pakistan, the first royal visit to the country in more than a decade.

They were seen off at the Nur Khan airbase by British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and other officials. The duke and duchess arrived in Islamabad for their maiden visit to Pakistan on Monday night. Their second day was a busy one, with a visit to a girl’s college in the capital and then Margalla Hills. The couple was hosted by President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Aiwan-i-Sadr and Prime Minister House, respectively. In the evening, they attended a star-studded reception, hosted by British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew, On the third day of their trip, the royals paid a visit to Chitral district to observe the effect of climate change in the region. During the visit, the couple flew to the Baroghil Valley National Park in the extreme north and the Bumburate Valley in the south where they mingled with the Kalasha community. On Thursday, they arrived in Lahore. They later visited the SOS Children’s Village, where they took part in a storytelling session and interacted with the staff and children. Kate also delivered a short address at a birthday party held for three children at the centre and wished the kids ‘happy birthday’ in Urdu. Afterwards, the duke and duchess went to the National Cricket Academy where both of them tried their hand at batting. William and Kate also toured the iconic Badshahi Mosque and later joined a discussion on interfaith harmony with religious leaders. The royal couple then visited the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre,

  • The Finan­cial Action Task Force (FATF) on 18th Oct formally announced that Pakistan will remain on its grey list for the next four months.

The FATF acknowledged recent improvements but also expressed serious concerns over the lack of progress by Pakistan to address terror financing risks. The task force directed Islamabad to take more measures for complete elimination of terror financing and money laundering. “The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020,” it said in a statement. “Otherwise, should significant and sustainable progress not be made across the full range of its action plan by the next Plenary, the FATF will take action.”

· Pakistan PM: Trump asked me to be a ‘go-between’ with Iran

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is positioning himself as a political mediator, starting with the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Max Foster, the Pakistani cricket legend turned politician said that US President Donald Trump had asked him to help defuse tensions by acting as a “go-between” with Iran. “What I like about him is he does not believe in wars,” Khan said of the US President, speaking to CNN in Islamabad. Khan met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on 13th Oct, before traveling to Saudi Arabia on 15th Oct, with the aim of facilitating talks between the arch rivals. Khan said Trump had asked him last month to “try and be a go-between with Iran and the United States.”

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on 17th Oct launched the first phase of the “Kamyab Jawan Program” for youth across the country to support them through technical and financial assistance.

The prime minister while addressing the inauguration ceremony in Islamabad announced that Rs100 billion have been allocated for youth loans under the program. He said that out of the total amount, Rs25bn have been earmarked for women. Prime Minister Imran announced that loans worth up to Rs100, 000 will be interest-free, while the loans in two other categories will be concessionary loans. The premier added that one million young people will be facilitated under the program.                 

Economy

  • The Inter­national Monetary Fund (IMF) on 16th Oct projected Pakis­tan’s primary deficit to turn positive one per cent of GDP in the FY21 from a negative 0.5pc in FY20 but said the country’s debt levels are likely to remain elevated at above 65.4pc until FY24 despite continuous decline.

In one of its publications released by the IMF on the eve of annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, the fund noted that the government expenditure of Pakistan would generally remain stubborn above 22pc. The Fiscal Monitor 2019 put the budget deficit at 8.8pc of the GDP in 2019 with projection for FY20 at 7.4pc as IMF-supported program comes into force. The fiscal deficit is likely to go down to 5.4pc of GDP in FY21, followed by 3.9pc in FY22 and 2.8pc in FY23. It will then stay at 2.6pc of GDP in FY24, adds the report. On the other hand, primary balance would be negative 0.5pc of GDP in FY20 and then turn surplus to the extent of 1pc of GDP in FY21. The primary balance would further improve to 2.1pc of GDP in FY22 followed by 2.7pc of GDP over the subsequent two years. The revenue-to-GDP ratio, at 12.8pc, is expected to increase to 16.3pc of GDP during current fiscal year because of current year’s taxation measures and further go up to 17.9pc in FY21. This ratio will increase to 19pc in FY22 and then remain unchanged at 19.6pc in FY23 and FY24. The government expenditure will generally keep moving within a narrow band of 22-23pc of GDP all along until FY24. The general government debt at 76.7pc of GDP in FY19 will further go up to 78.6pc in FY20 and come down to 76.1pc of GDP in FY21. The debt-to-GDP ratio will further reduce to 72.5pc in FY22 followed by 69pc in FY23 and 65.4pc in FY24.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 18th October 2019 as compared to 11th October 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 11th October 2019 PKR rate as of  18th October 2019
U.S.A. $ 156.40 156.20
U.K. Pounds 192.50 201.50
Euro 172.50 175.00
Japan Yen 1.46 1.45
Saudi Arabia Rial 41.65 41.75
U.A.E. Dirham 42.65 42.75

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 18th October 2019 As Compared

To 11th October 2019

 

Position as of 18th October 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 140 (Curr) Current 33874.53 Current 16044.99
Decline 179 (High) High 34096.39 High 16112.10
Unchanged 17 (Low) Low 33667.80 Low 15917.37
Total Change 336  -24.03  11.31

 

 

Position as of 11th October 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 187 (Curr) Current 34393.42 Current 16112.99
Decline 152 (High) High 34689.30 High 16289.52
Unchanged 13 (Low) Low 34027.70 Low 15942.54
Total Change 352  365.72  170.45

 

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