Economic & Political Weekly 25th Nov, 2018

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World

Politics-

  • Trump: I’m Not Going to ‘Destroy the Economy’ Over Khashoggi Killing.

President Trump told reporters the U.S. would not “give up hundreds of billions of dollars” by retaliating against Saudi Arabia in the wake of a CIA report that Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

·At least 50 killed and 75 injured in Kabul suicide bombing

At least 50 people were killed and 75 injured in the bombing of a crowded religious gathering in Kabul on 20th Nov. They included clerics and religious scholars along with others who had gathered to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, a national holiday in Afghanistan.

· UAE has ‘compelling evidence’ for jailing British academic Matthew Hedges (31) who could face a life behind bars after being convicted of espionage.

The government of the United Arab Emirates stressed “compelling and powerful” evidence was shown in support of prosecuting British academic Matthew Hedges for spying amid an outcry in the UK over his sentencing to life imprisonment.

·85,000 children may have died of hunger in Yemen, charity says.

US defense secretary Jim Mattis said on 21st Nov that peace talks between Yemen’s warring parties were likely to take place in early December in Sweden. Western countries are pressing for a ceasefire and renewed peace efforts to end the more than three-year conflict, which is seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran

·  Quelling of Conservative rebellion is May’s latest Brexit mission

Now that the immediate threat to her leadership has receded, Theresa May has turned her focus on how to limit the Conservative rebellion against her Brexit deal when MPs vote on it next month. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s bungled coup against the prime minister has left him and his allies in the European Research Group (ERG) looking incompetent and a little ridiculous. Last week, Rees-Mogg stood outside parliament to announce that he had submitted a letter of no confidence in May, promising that the 48 needed to trigger a ballot. Then the Brexiteers said MPs were consulting their constituency associations before submitting letters. But, later Rees-Mogg was telling reporters that the 48 letters might not come until after the Commons vote on the Brexit deal.

  • Kremlin insider set to be elected head of Interpol.

Interpol is due to elect a new president at a general assembly in Dubai. Alexander Prokopchuk, a former Russian interior ministry major general who has served as Interpol’s vice president since 2016, is widely expected to win the poll.

·Thousands of Cuban doctors depart Brazil leaving millions without medical care since Brazil new right wing President Bolsonaro criticism of ‘slave labor’ prompts Cuba to sever co-operation agreement.

The first of thousands of Cuban doctors left Brazil on 22nd Nov, after criticism by Brazil’s far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro prompted Cuba’s government to sever a co-operation agreement, leaving millions of Brazilians without medical care. Mr Bolsonaro said the Cuban doctors were being used as “slave labor” because the Cuban government takes 75 per cent of their salaries. He said the program that began in 2013 could only continue if they get full pay and were allowed to bring their families from Cuba.

Economy-

·Climate change will cost US economy billions, says report. Government study issues dire warning at odds with policy enacted by Trump administration.

Climate change will cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, damaging everything from human health to infrastructure and agricultural production, according to a government report issued on 23rd Nov. The report says global warming would disproportionately hurt the poor, broadly undermine human health, damage infrastructure, limit the availability of water, alter coastlines, and boost costs in industries from farming to energy production.

  • Trade tariffs, higher interest rates are slowing global economic growth, OECD says.

Amid prolonged trade disputes and rising interest rates, the global economy will continue to slow down next year, according to the OECD’s latest forecasts. But the Paris-based group doesn’t see a recession on the horizon.

% change in real GDP in developing economies

The slowdown is expected to hit hardest in developing economies.

Global Indices as of Nov 23

Name Current Value Change
US Markets
Nasdaq (Nov 23) 6,938.98 -33.27
European Markets
FTSE 100 (Nov 23) 6,952.86 -7.46
CAC 40 (Nov 23) 4,946.95 8.81
DAX (Nov 23) 11,192.69 54.20
Asian Markets
Nikkei 225 (Nov 22) 21,646.55 139.01
Straits Times (Nov 23) 3,052.49 11.11
Hang Seng (Nov 23) 25,927.68 -91.73
Taiwan Weighted (Nov 23) 9,667.30 -47.41
KOSPI (Nov 23) 2,057.48 -12.47
 SET Composite (Nov 23) 1,622.10 17.70
 Jakarta Composite (Nov 23) 6,006.20 15.39
Shanghai Composite (Nov 23) 2,579.48 -65.95
SGX Nifty (Nov 24) 10,545.50 -9.50

 

Global Indices 16-11-18

Name Current Value Change
US Markets
Nasdaq (Nov 16) 7,247.87 -11.16
European Markets
FTSE 100 (Nov 16) 7,013.88 -24.13
CAC 40 (Nov 16) 5,025.20 -8.42
DAX (Nov 16) 11,341.00 -12.67
Asian Markets
Nikkei 225 (Nov 16) 21,680.34 -123.28
Straits Times (Nov 16) 3,083.60 29.07
Hang Seng (Nov 16) 26,183.53 80.19
Taiwan Weighted (Nov 16) 9,797.09 -29.37
KOSPI (Nov 16) 2,092.40 4.34
 SET Composite (Nov 16) 1,635.00 -3.83
 Jakarta Composite (Nov 16) 6,012.35 56.61
Shanghai Composite (Nov 16) 2,679.11 10.94

Pakistan

Politics

  • Pakistan summons US envoy over Trump’s ‘unacceptable’ Osama bin Laden comments.

The country’s foreign ministry says the US leader’s rhetoric was “totally unacceptable” and insisted Pakistan’s intelligence service provided evidence that helped Washington to trace the al Qaeda leader.

Mr. Trump told Fox News that Bin Laden had been living “beautifully” next to a Pakistani military academy in “what I guess they considered a nice mansion”. He added: “Everybody in Pakistan knew he was there and we give Pakistan $1.3bn (£1bn) a year and they don’t tell him?”

  • Pakistan PM Imran Khan also lashes out at Trump ‘tirade’.

He said “Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” Khan tweeted.

· Mountains flattened as Lanzhou builds on the New Silk Road.

Hundreds of mountains in the dusty province of Gansu have been cut down to make way for Lanzhou New Area, a staging post on the New Silk Road passing through the Pakistan ending at Arabian Sea. China hopes that it will boost trade with Europe, Asia and Africa in President Xi Jinping’s “project of the century

·Two dead after gunmen attack Chinese consulate in Karachi.

A terror attack targeting the Chinese Consulate situated in Karachi’s Clifton area was foiled by security forces on 23rd Nov, leaving at least seven people dead. Two policemen lost their lives due to multiple injuries caused by explosive material, while a private security guard was injured in the blast. The police officers were identified as Assistant Sub Inspector Ashraf Dawood and Constable Amir, while the private security guard was identified as Muhammad Juman, e. Two civilians, a father and son, named Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim, were also killed in the attack.

Three terrorists were killed in the operation by security forces, according to Sind Police and the army’s media wing. Baluchistan Liberation Army claims that attackers were their members.

  • In one week or less, Clifton Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Suhai Aziz Talpur will be promoted to the rank of SP, and no one can be prouder than her father, Aziz Talpur. She played active role in action against terrorists attack on Chinese consulate.

Mr. Talpur is a political activist and writer based in Hyderabad who was excommunicated from his family after he decided to send his daughter to school. On23rd Nov, as ASP Suhai’s name flashed on every news channel in the country, Mr. Talpur says he received phone calls from family members who had once shunned them.

  • As the investigation into  attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachimade headway police officials suspects Harbiyar Marri, the exiled leader of the banned Baluchistan Liberation (BLA), of being the mastermind of the deadly assault that left two policemen and as many civilians dead.

Police officials say the attack, carried out with the assistance of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was an attempt to strike against the growing diplomatic and economic relations between China and Pakistan.

  • Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that war against terrorism and militancy is not over yet. The army chief’s remarks came during a visit to Multan Garrison on 23rd Nov.

He said some elements were wittingly or unwittingly trying to pull the country back into confrontation. “The State shall not let them do it whether on the name of religion, ethnicity or any other pretext,” he said, adding that peace, stability and progress of the country was contingent upon rule of law by all.

Meanwhile, the army chief confirmed death sentences awarded to 11 hardcore terrorists, who were involved in heinous offences related to terrorism. According to the ISPR, the terrorists were involved in attacking armed forces, law enforcement agencies, killing of an innocent civilian and destruction of an educational institution. The convicted terrorists, it said, were involved in the killings of a total of 26 people — one civilian and 25 armed forces/security personnel — and injuring 22 others. Arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession.

  • Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on 23rd Nov arrested Dr Shahid Masood from court premises after Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani dismissed his pre-arrest bail.

Now Masood, who is accused of being involved in the embezzlement of Rs38 million from state-run broadcaster Pakistan Television has been shifted to FIA’s Zonal office.

  • Thirty-two people have been killed and 31 injured in an explosion in Kalaya Bazar area of lower Orakzai tribal district.

The explosion, which according to officials was a suicide bombing, took place near an imambargah on 23rd Nov morning. The injured have been shifted to the KDA teaching hospital in Kohat. The lower Orakzai district, formerly an agency, is situated near the Hangu district.

  • One of the most courageous feminist voices coming out of the literary circles in Pakistan and distinguished Urdu poet, translator and fiction writer Fahmida Riaz passed away on 21st Nov and laid to rest in 22nd Nov in Lahore. She was 72.

Ms Riaz was born on July 26, 1946 in Meerut, India. Her father worked in the education sector and was involved in efforts to improve the education system in Sindh. When Pakistan gained independence, her father was transferred to Hyderabad, Sindh, where the family shifted for good.

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to take a decision on Pakistan’s efforts against terror financing in September 2019 to de-list the country from its grey list, experts believe that it would be a daunting task for the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakis­tan (SECP) to monitor thousands of NGOs registered with provinces as these organizations have allegedly been used for terror financing.

The SECP has cancelled registration of 3,000 NGOs and non-profit organizations (NPOs) during 2017-18 as their accounts were suspected to be misused for money laundering. But the SECP has no jurisdiction to regulate or monitor around 15,000 NPOs registered under provincial laws across the country.

  • Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who is in the United Kingdom for a week-long visit, has said that construction of dams is imperative for Pakistan

The chief justice while, talking to British parliamentarians of Pakistani origin in London, said that funds are required to construct Diamer Bhasha Dam. He said that the unresolved water crisis will force the people to migrate from the country if not addressed. Justice Saqib Nisar’s visit to the UK is aimed at raising funds for construction of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams. He is expected to return on Nov 28.

  • The Pakistan Railways (PR) will begin a “grand operation” from 26th Nov for the removal of encroachments along both tracks of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), officials said.

The decision was taken after Justice Gulzar Ahmed of the Supreme Court ordered authorities to immediately remove encroachments from railway lines and revives the KCR.

Justice Ahmed, who was chairing a meeting at the apex court’s Karachi registry, said time should no longer be wasted in the revival of the KCR, which was abandoned around two decades ago.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on 24t Nov has said that he has asked Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to set up tents for people sleeping on footpaths and provide them with food until the Panah Gah shelters are built.

Taking to Twitter, the premier said the initiative was being undertaken “as weather is turning increasingly cold”. He added that spots were also being located in Peshawar and Karachi.

  • Groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor is taking place on Wednesday, November 28 and the groundbreaking will be performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan

India’s Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri will attend the event as Government of India’s representatives.

The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur to Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district where the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib — the shrine of revered saint Baba Guru Nanak — is situated.

  • A day after Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi among other party leaders and workers was arrested in a countrywide crackdown against his party, the Punjab government has barred all public gatherings till December 1.

According to an official notification Section 144 has been enforced to prevent any untoward incident taking place in the province. Punjab Additional Chief Secretary Fazeel Asghar said the decision was taken in view of the sensitivity of the current situation

Economy

 

  • Talks remained inconclusive between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the government of Pakistan for a bailout needed to build reserves and avert the possibility of a balance of payments crisis.

A press release issued by the Fund has said that “our dialogue with the Pakistani authorities will continue over the coming weeks”. Pakistan’s case for an IMF program can now be taken up by the executive board of the Fund in the second half of January at the earliest. Programs are finalized and funds are released only after the board’s approval.

  • The United Bank Ltd (UBL) has announced its plans to wrap up its operations in New York, saying the decision has been taken considering the commercial viability of the branch.

“As part of its global realignment strategy, UBL intends to voluntarily liquidate and surrender its license pursuant to New York Banking Law,” the bank said in a letter to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). “This is a commercial decision keeping in view the commercial viability of NY Branch and is subject to all regulatory approvals,” it added.

  • The Baluchistan government on Friday decided to resume work on establishment of the Bank of Baluchistan besides taking other decisions related to the finance department, rural support program, districts development plan, hospitals and sports.

The idea of establishing the Baluchistan Bank remained on the agenda of the two successive coalition governments of Nawab Raisani and Nawab Sanaullah Zehri.

  • The country’s defense and current expenditures surged significantly while development spending dropped drastically in the first quarter of the current financial year FY 2019 as consolidated fiscal deficit widened to 1.4 per cent Of gross domestic product (GDP).

According to fiscal operations data released by the Ministry of Finance on Friday, the total defense spending during the first three months (July-Septem­ber 2018) rose to 0.6pc of GDP, compared to 0.5pc the same period last year. In absolute terms, the defense expenditure increased by 21pc to Rs219.4bn from Rs181bn in the first three months last year.

The current expenditure in the first quarter increased by 19pc to Rs1.48 trillion, compared to Rs1.24tr the same period last year. As percentage of GDP, current expenditure was up by 3.9pc this year against 3.5pc last year.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR
Countries PKR rate as of 17th Nov PKR rate as of 24th Nov
U.S.A. 134.00 135.2
U.K. 174.00 175
Euro 152.50 155
Japan 1.1800 1.20
Saudi Arabia 35.70 36.15
U.A.E. 36.70 37

 

  • The week ended with downward trend in the stock markets as of 23rd November 2018 as compared to 16th November 2018.
Position as of 23rd Nov 2018

 

Symbols                                                          KSE100                 PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 149
40869.28
19934.56
Declined (High) 151
        40899.47
20013.41
Unchanged (Low) 25
40655.08
19903.42
Total (Change) 325
-4.75
-62.69
Position as of 16th Nov 2018

 

Symbols                                                 KSE100                              PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 169
41660.75
20348.27
Declined (High) 156
41804.81
20426.41
Unchanged (Low) 22
41428.63
20234.40
Total (Change) 347
232.12
113.87

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