Economic and Political Weekly 24-11-2019

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World

Politics

. Bolivia’s death toll rises as protests continue

 

At least eight people have died following deadly clashes yesterday between Bolivian security forces and supporters of the ousted president Evo Morales.nThe violence took place as Bolivian security services attempted to clear a path for gas tanks to leave the Senkata gas plant near La Paz on Tuesday. In total, at least 31 people have been killed in political unrest sparked by a disputed presidential election on October 20. Morales denied any electoral fraud, but he eventually resigned under pressure from the military, and fled to Mexico where he was granted political asylum.

· Israel strikes Iranian positions in Syria after rocket fire – Further at least 24 are dead after Syrian regime targets hospital and displacement camp

Israel hit dozens of Iranian and Syrian military targets in a series of raids in the early hours of 20th Nov, the Israeli military said, in response to four rockets fired from Syrian territory into Israel in the early hours of 19th Nov .n Israeli military warplanes hit surface-to-air missiles, weapons houses and military bases in Syria, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. Two civilians, a man and a woman, were killed in the strikes, Further at least 24 people have died after Syrian government shelling targeted a displacement camp and hospital, rescue workers and residents have said, as president Bashar al-Assad continues to pound the last pocket of opposition-held territory in the country.

· In secular India, it’s getting tougher to be Muslim

On the eve of India’s independence, the man who would soon become the country’s first Prime Minister outlined an aspirational vision. India would be a nation where people of all religions had equal rights, privileges and obligations, Jawaharlal Nehru said in his now-iconic speech to the country’s parliament on August 14, 1947. Now, over 70 years later, there are signs that Nehru’s hopes for the nation face perhaps their greatest threat. On November 9, India’s top court gave Hindus permission to build a temple on a disputed centuries-old holy site in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, which holds significance for both Hindus and Muslims.

·Sri Lanka elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as prime Lanka’s newly minister on 21st Nov by his brother and the former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, capping a victorious return to power for the brothers.

Ranil Wickremesinghe stepped down as prime minister earlier on 21st Nov to clear the way for the president to form his government. Wickremesinghe said in a statement that he was quitting despite having a parliamentary majority, respecting the mandate Gotabaya Rajapaksa received in last Saturday’s presidential election.

·Taliban replaces Isis as world’s deadliest terror groups, Further US withdrawal is enabling Islamic State to regroup in Syria, Pentagon says

Islamic State is no longer the deadliest terrorist group in the world having held the title since 2014, but there has been a “worrying surge” in attacks from far right groups, the latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index shows. The index, which is compiled by the Institute for Economics & Peace, analyses key global trends in terrorism over the last 50 years. Its 2019 edition has found that total deaths from terrorism are down over 52 per cent from their peak in 2014.

·Aung San Suu Kyi to ‘defend’ Myanmar on genocide accusations

Aung San Suu Kyi will lead a team to The Hague to “defend” Myanmar against accusations of genocide, putting the country’s de facto leader at odds with international efforts to hold her country to account for the alleged atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to become personally involved in the lawsuit at the International Court of Justice risks further reputational damage for the former political prisoner, who has drawn heavy external criticism over her response to the military crackdown in western Myanmar.

  • Iran has claimed ‘victory’ after protests.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has claimed victory over the ongoing unrest in the country, state media reported Wednesday, six days after nationwide protests erupted following an abrupt spike in gas prices. Speaking at a government meeting in Tehran, Rouhani said the country had been “victorious out of yet another test” and that “despite the country’s economic problems and existing grievances,” Iran had demonstrated it “would never allow the balance to tilt in favor of the enemy,” according to state broadcaster Press TV. Iran’s government has blamed foreign enemies for the recent unrest — the severity of which remains unclear because a near-total internet shutdown has halted the flow of information out of the country.

  • Hongkong protests go on. Police accusing protesters of turning PolyU and other universities into“weapons factories” that “look like military training grounds” and surrounded the campus.

          

Hundreds of protesters were trapped, but some slowly managed to get out. Authorities said they had processed 1,100 people — 600 of whom left willingly. Protesters were arrested if they were older than 18 or registered and then released if they were minors, police said. As of 20th Nov y afternoon, a small number still remained, as parents, school staff and local politicians attempted to negotiate their surrender. A slow surrender has been ongoing since 19th Nov, when the violence subsided, with the campus was in ruins.  Once inside, they soon faced an impossible choice: stay inside until supplies run out, or leave the university and risk getting tear gassed and arrested for rioting, a charge which can fetch a 10-year prison sentence. Police have been on the edge of the campus for more than three days, firing round after round of tear gas at protesters who responded with makeshift petrol bombs, catapults and bows and arrows.

·Corbyn promises a UK ‘New Deal’ in radical Labor manifesto

Jeremy Corbyn has launched Labor’s most radical general election manifesto in decades, promising big tax increases for big companies and the wealthy to fund better housing, schools, hospitals and other public services. Labor would increase taxes by £82.9 billion (€97 billion) a year, increasing the corporate tax rate from 19 per cent to 26 per cent, taxing capital gains at the same rates as income tax, extending the financial transactions tax and introducing a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.

Economy

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 23rd November 2019

As compared to 16th November 2019

Global indices as of 23rd November 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

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US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Nov 22) 8,519.88 8506.21
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Nov 22) 7,326.81 7238.55
 CAC (Nov 22) 5,893.13 5881.21
 DAX (Nov 22) 13,163.88 13137.70
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Nov 23) 11,920.00 11918.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Nov 22) 23,112.88 23038.58
 STRAITS TIMES (Nov 22) 3,225.65 3192.21
 HANG SENG (Nov 22) 26,595.08 26466.88
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Nov 22) 11,566.80 11558.27
 KOSPI (Nov 22) 2,101.96 2096.60
 SET COMPOSITE (Nov 22) 1,597.72 1591.86
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Nov 22) 6,100.24 6117.36
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Nov 22) 2,885.29 2903.64

Global indices as of 16th November 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

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US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Nov 15) 8,540.83 8479.02
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Nov 15) 7,302.94 7292.76
 CAC (Nov 15) 5,939.27 5901.08
 DAX (Nov 15) 13,241.75 13180.23
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Nov 16) 11,926.00 11944.00
 NIKKEI 225 (Nov 15) 23,303.32 23141.55
 STRAITS TIMES (Nov 15) 3,238.86 3231.85
 HANG SENG (Nov 15) 26,326.66 26323.69
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Nov 15) 11,525.60 11450.42
 KOSPI (Nov 15) 2,162.18 2139.23
 SET COMPOSITE (Nov 15) 1,602.23 1609.47
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Nov 15) 6,128.34 6098.95
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Nov 15) 2,891.34 2909.87

Pakistan

Politics

  • IMRAN Khan’s recent, ill-considered swipe against the judiciary, evidently triggered by what he perceived as a disparity in the judicial system’s treatment of the elite and the rest of the citizenry that allowed Nawaz Sharif to leave the country, has met with a firm response by the country’s top judge.

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, speaking at an event on Wednesday, said it was the government itself that had permitted the former prime minister to proceed abroad. Clearly, the prime minister’s calling upon the judiciary to ‘restore public confidence’ in its working irked Justice Khosa, who has made judicial reforms the cornerstone of his tenure. To that end, at the same event, he also appreciated Mr Khan’s stated intention of enhancing resources for the judiciary.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on 22nd Nov sounded skeptical about the veracity of medical reports on the health of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, saying he was shocked to see the way the former premier ran up the stairs of the air ambulance.

“After seeing him going up the plane stairs, I once again went through the medical reports that suggested he has heart problem, his kidneys are also not functioning properly and that he is a diabetic,” Mr Khan told a gathering in his hometown where he opened work on several mega projects. His comments on the health of Mr Sharif came two days after Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa’s remarks that it was the prime minister himself who had allowed “someone” to go abroad.

  • HERE is the biggest problem Imran Khan now faces: he has wedded his political fortunes to a promise he can neither fulfill nor betray. Shouting “I will not spare any of them” from the container tops made for catchy opposition rhetoric, but it’s a losing gambit in politics once in power. It commits one to an endless witch hunt with no clear end point. And the stakes grow exponentially as one climbs higher up this pole. Sooner or later something will give.

What happened all last week, leading to the eventual departure of Nawaz Sharif from Lahore airport, was only the beginning. From here on, Khan has to either double down behind his promise or change course altogether. The worst thing he can do at this time is to start trying to claw back elements of his wounded pride. He told his audience at the ceremony meant to mark the opening of the Thakot Havelian section of the motorway that “nations rise from their passion”. No, they don’t, Mr. Prime Minister. Nations rise on their accomplishments. The fact that he was inaugurating a highway begun by the government of Nawaz Sharif and built by the Chinese was the most visible irony of the moment. The facts smiled at the words. Pakistan lacks the money and the expertise to build its own infrastructure, and no amount of passion is going to change this. By this point in their respective terms, both the PML-N and PPP governments had embarked upon what eventually became the signature accomplishments of their governments.

  • Leading opposition parties in the country on Wednesday announced their plan to stage rallies and organise protests across the country against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s government in accordance with what was described as ‘Plan C’ of the Azadi march.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had led a two-week protest against the government in Islamabad which began in Karachi on Oct 27 but was later called off. It was followed by a ‘Plan B’ that included blocking key roads and highways across the country but that too was called off by the opposition’s Rehbar Committee on Tuesday. Addressing a news conference, senior leader of the JUI-F and MNA Maulana Abdul Wassay, Nasrullah Khan Zeeray from the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) provincial president Haji Ali Madad Jattak, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Balochistan’s Jamal Shah Kakar, National Party’s Abdul Khaliq Baloch and Awami National Party’s Mahabat Khan Kakar said, “Imagining himself as a monarch, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been threatening opposition leaders. But the bitter tone in his recent speech revealed his nervousness.” “Intimidation tactics by the government cannot deter us from protesting against the ‘selected regime’,” they added. JUI-F’s Wassay said that opposition parties had proved their strength in Islamabad’s Azadi march. “The federal government has been claiming that there are differences between opposition parties but as of now rifts have surfaced between the PTI and its coalition partners,” he added. “The opposition parties are united on the singular demand of the resignation of the prime minister and parliament and Constitution’s supremacy “The PTI government is standing on the pillars of rigging and it can’t move forward because the central government’s days are numbered,” he claimed. Jamal Kakar from the PML-N criticised comments made by some of the federal ministers over Nawaz Sharif’s ailing health. “The court gave relief to the former prime minister allowing him to seek treatment from abroad,” he said.

  • Financial Daily and Karachi Editors Club organized 2nd Food Excellence Awards on 19th November at Governor House, Karachi with the theme that Food diplomacy can bring people closer: Governor Sind Mr. Imran Ismail distributed the award.

SEMS won the award for best catering and event management, Foodies & Friends for best Social Media Platform, Matco Foods Ltd for best rice brand, Falak, Port Grand for best family destination for Food & Fun, New York Pizza for best Pizza Joint, Bonsai for best Pan Asian Restaurant. Ms Faiza Bilal was awarded for best Emerging Chef, Beach Luxury Hotel for best Sea Food, Marriott Hotel Karachi, Pearl Continental Hotel, Akbari Nihari Restaurant for best in Shahana Style, Pakistan Oil Mills for best emerging cooking oil, Chotu Chai Wala for best Chai Dhaba, KFC, Bundo Khan for BBQ, United King for best baker, Avari for Dynasty Restaurant and Food Panda for the appreciation for serving the food industry. Honorable Governor Sindh Imran Ismail was awarded for Excellent Support to the 2nd FEA at Sind Governor House, Karachi. Manzar Naqvi and Mubesher Mir were the main proponents of these awards.

Economy

  • The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on 22nd Nov kept the interest rate unchanged at 13.25 per cent as expected on Friday due to high inflationary pressures

The central bank warned the inflation could rise beyond the target set for the current fiscal year. The bank’s monetary policy statement said that annual average inflation in the ongoing fiscal year remained broadly unchanged at 11-12pc and maintaining the current monetary policy stance was appropriate.

  • NEPRA notified Rs1.83 per unit increase in electricity tariff under monthly fuel price adjustment for electricity consumed in September to generate Rs 24 billion revenue to ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos).

The decision to approve the tariff increase was taken at a public hearing on November 5 presided over by the regulator’s member Punjab Saifullah Chattha and attended by member Baluchistan Rehmatullah Baloch.The additional fuel cost will be charged to consumers in the coming billing month i.e. December. The increase is not applicable to K-Electric and lifeline consumers using less than 50 units of other Discos. The price adjustment “shall be shown separately in the consumers’ bills on the basis of units billed to the consumers in the month of September 2019”, Nepra said in its notification.

  • The government has raised less than half of its target through the Market Treasury Bill auction on 20th nov.

The State Bank of Pakistan reported the government raised Rs239.7 billion through T-bills, as against the target of Rs500bn. For the last several auctions, the government has been raising liquidity less than its target amounts, reflecting its fiscal concerns. It has also stopped borrowing from SBP, which was a major source of financing for the past few years. However, investors were willing to buy more than Rs500bn of security papers as total bids came in at Rs518.2bn. The maturing amount for this auction was Rs175.77bn. The high-yield T-bills are becoming attractive for foreign investors who have invested more than $800 million in the securities since the start of this fiscal year. The returns of three-, six- and 12-month papers were 13.51 per cent, 13.28pc and 13.24pc, respectively. In the latest auction, the government raised Rs178.8bn for three-month papers versus bids of Rs222.8bn, which is the highest amount offered for the tenure. The amount of Rs15.5bn was raised for six-month and Rs45.2bn for the year-long papers. The returns on T-bills were almost close to the key interest rate of 13.25pc, indicating that the monetary policy which due on Nov 22 may not see any change.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 23rd November 2019 as compared to 16th November  2019
Countries PKR rate as of 16th November   2019 PKR rate as of   23rd November  2019
U.S.A. $ 155.50 155.50
U.K. Pounds 201.00 202.00
Euro 172.50 173.50
Japan Yen 1.43 1.43
Saudi Arabia Rial 41.45 41.50
U.A.E. Dirham 42.45 42.50

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 23rd November 2019 As Compared

To 16th November 2019     

 

Position as of 23th November 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 274 (Curr) Current 37925.79 Current 17905.57
Decline 69 (High) High 37948.37 High 17928.45
Unchanged 12 (Low) Low 36953.96 Low 17452.42
Total change 355  824.48  411.52

 

 

Position as of 16th November 2019

Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 276 (Curr) Current 37583.89 Current 17757.27
Decline 89 (High) High 37634.75 High 17775.60
Unchanged 12 (Low) Low 37225.61 Low 17555.95
Total Change 377  340.69  201.32

 

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