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Ex-IMF´s Lagarde: Global growth 'fragile,' 'under threat' Washington, Sept 20, 2019 (AFP) -The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, warned Thursday that global growth is "fragile" and "under threat" and policymakers should work to reduce manmade vulnerabilities.Policymakers should work together to "try to reduce the fragility and ... resolve the uncertainty," facing the global economy, she told AFP in an interview.Lagarde, who officially stepped down as IMF managing director last week, decried certain self-inflicted wounds, saying that issues like Brexit and trade frictions "are manmade and can be man-fixed."But Lagarde, who was the first woman to lead the crisis-lender and is set to become the first woman to take over the leadership of the European Central Bank later this year, said, "a bit of woman wouldn´t hurt."Her comments came on the day the OECD said trade tensions are eroding world growth, prompting it to cut its forecast for this year to the slowest rate since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008, just 2.9 percent down from the 3.2 percent expansion previously forecast.President Donald Trump´s trade war with Beijing has undermined business investment and exports at a time when China´s economy already is shifting to slower growth."What we have at the moment is a rather mediocre growth" which is "fragile and it is under threat," Lagarde said.She said central banks have done much of the heavy lifting, preventing the financial crisis from becoming a depression, but officials handling government policies and purse strings now must step up."I think central bankers have done an awful lot and were for many years regarded as the only game in town," she said.In her new post leading the ECB, she said she would focus on job creation and stability, but stability alone may not be enough in the lives of real people.If confirmed, she will step into her new post in an environment where Trump has maintained a relentless campaign against the US Federal Reserve for not cutting interest rates aggressively to stimulate growth.Trump has also accused outgoing ECB President Mario Draghi of deliberately seeking to weaken the euro to gain unfair trade advantages, something Draghi has refuted.Others in Europe have criticized Draghi for cutting rates further into negative territory to juice a sluggish EU economy.But Lagarde said that experience shows that, in cases where politicians meddle with central bank independence, it "doesn´t pan out very well."But she also said central bankers should strive to be "predictable.""There is enough uncertainty around the world, not to add the uncertainty of what a central banker is going to do."Central bankers "should deliver on their mandate and," she said, "they should stick to facts and data so that they could be predictable." Fri, 20 Sep 2019 06:36:38 +0500 Alternate Text
US fines Hyundai $47 mn over dirty diesel engines WASHINGTON: South Korean shipbuilding and industrial firm Hyundai Heavy Industries will pay a $47 million fine for illegally importing and selling dirty diesel engines in violation of American environmental rules, US authorities announced Thursday.Between 2012 and 2015, the company imported nearly 2,300 diesel-powered heavy construction vehicles with engines that did not meet US emissions standards, the US Justice Department said in a statement."Hyundai put profits above the public´s health and the requirements of the law," Jeffrey Bossert Clark, head of the department´s environment and natural resources division, said in a statement."We will not tolerate such schemes that skirt the Clean Air Act, designed by Congress to improve air quality."The case began with a whistleblower tip submitted in 2015 to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which launched criminal and civil proceedings.A US court earlier imposed a $2 million fine on the company for the clean air violations.US officials say the diesel engines were not certified to meet emissions standards for particulate matter and nitrogen oxide, both of which contribute to disease and premature death. Fri, 20 Sep 2019 03:07:47 +0500 Alternate Text
Oil soars again on Mideast tension NEW YORK: Oil prices shot higher Thursday on fresh supply concerns in the Middle East, while on most markets stocks climbed after the US Federal Reserve´s decision to cut interest rates.Brent oil jumped nearly 1.3 percent as traders seized on resurfacing tensions in the crude-rich Middle East.The market had surged at the start of the week after drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Saturday.Traders remain on red alert for further developments, including the US and Saudi response, with both putting the blame at Iran´s door."There´s been a fairly sharp move higher in oil after a couple of incidents occurred in a short space of time that threaten to raise supply fears in the Middle East," XTB analyst David Cheetham told AFP."First off, reports that Saudi Arabia will look to import oil to offset its own reduced production suggests that the impact of last weekend´s attacks is greater than the kingdom is letting on, with hopes of a swift return to the prior level of output looking hopeful to say the least."Not long after this, the Iranian foreign minister tweeted an inflammatory statement aimed at Saudi Arabia and together these have seen a flurry of buying in the oil price," Cheetham added.- New York sags -The crisis has reignited worries about a military flare-up in the oil-rich Gulf region, which would send prices soaring and likely hit stock markets.In New York, stocks ended little changed, erasing gains from earlier in the day after a Trump advisor was quoted in Hong Kong media as saying President Donald Trump would continue escalating the US-China trade war if the two sides failed to strike a bargain soon.Another wave of US tariff increases is scheduled for October 1, with high-level US and Chinese officials also due to resume negotiations early next month.The Fed on Wednesday lowered benchmark interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said policymakers would be ready to act aggressively if the world´s largest economy began to deteriorate.In the eurozone, the Frankfurt and Paris stock markets gained on the Fed news and after increases across much of Asia.London stocks also moved higher after the Bank of England, as expected, held its main interest rate steady at 0.75 percent.Investors shrugged off official data showing that UK retail sales dipped 0.2 percent in August from July."Following the BoE´s policy announcement earlier, which was deemed to be more dovish than anticipated, the pound dropped and this helped to lift the FTSE to a fresh high for the week," said market analyst Fawad Razaqzada at Forex.com. Fri, 20 Sep 2019 03:06:03 +0500 Alternate Text
NY Fed to pump another $75 bn into money markets Friday NEW YORK: For a fourth straight day, the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Friday will inject billions into US money markets to preserve the US central bank´s control over short-term interest rates.The New York Fed said in a statement on Thursday it will again conduct a repurchase agreement operation of up to $75 billion to offer more liquidity to the system that has been running short on cash.It offered the same amounts in repo operations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday -- for a total of just over $200 billion -- but in the past two operations, demand outstripped the amount offered.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell this week showed little concern about the glitch in the crucial plumbing of US financial markets, arguing that it did not reflect on the real economy or monetary policy.Powell and economists have attributed the liquidity crunch to huge cash withdrawals that sucked money out of banks -- corporate tax payments that coincided with a surge in Treasury bond issuance, which shifted money out of the market and into government coffers.When the withdrawals threaten to cause bank reserves to fall below required levels set by the Fed, banks use very short-term, usually overnight, borrowing to plug the hole.The Fed also adds or removes liquidity to keep interest rates in line with the desired target, which is the job of the New York Fed.But the shortage of cash in recent days prompted the New York Fed to pump just more than $275 billion into the short-term market as the interest rates demanded for overnight lending soared, threatening to break out of the Fed´s target range.The central bank cut benchmark lending rates interest rate on Wednesday to provide a boost to the American economy, but also made some technical adjustments to help it maintain market rates in line with the range, including cutting the interest it offers on bank reserves held at the Fed that are in excess of the minimum required level. Fri, 20 Sep 2019 00:40:28 +0500 Alternate Text
US, Chinese trade deputies face off in Washington amid deep differences WASHINGTON: US and Chinese deputy trade negotiators were set to resume face-to-face talks on Thursday for the first time in nearly two months as the world’s two largest economies try to bridge deep policy differences and find a way out of a bitter and protracted trade war.The negotiations on Thursday and Friday are aimed at laying the groundwork for high-level talks in early October that will determine whether the two countries are working towards a solution or are headed for new and higher tariffs on each other’s goods.A delegation of about 30 Chinese officials, led by Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, were set to launch talks on Thursday morning at the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office near the White House. The US side is expected to be led by Deputy USTR Jeffrey Gerrish.The discussions are likely to focus heavily on agriculture, including US demands that China substantially increase purchases of American soybeans and other farm commodities, a person with knowledge of the planned discussions told Reuters.Two negotiating sessions over the two days will cover agricultural issues, while just one will be devoted to texts covering core changes to strengthen China’s intellectual property protections and end the forced transfer of US technology to Chinese firms.“Sessions on agriculture will get a disproportionate amount of air time,” the source said, adding that one of these sessions also will include a focus on US President Donald Trump’s demand that China cut off shipments of the synthetic opioid fentanyl to the United StatesTrump is eager to provide export opportunities for US farmers, one of his key political constituencies who have been battered by China’s retaliatory tariffs on US soybeans and other agricultural commodities.CURRENCY ON TABLEUS Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who will participate in the October talks along with USTR Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, has said that currency issues will be a focus of the new rounds of talks.Mnuchin formally declared China a currency manipulator last month after the yuan slipped below 7 to the dollar, accusing Beijing of pushing its currency lower to gain a trade advantage.Trump has said that China failed to follow through on agricultural purchase commitments made by its president, Xi Jinping, at a G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan as a goodwill gesture to get stalled talks back on track. China has denied that such commitments were made.When such purchases failed to materialize during US-China trade talks in late July, Trump quickly moved to impose 10% tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports untouched by previous rounds of tariffs.But in an easing of tensions last week, Trump delayed a scheduled Oct. 1 tariff increase on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports until mid-month, as China postponed tariffs on some US cancer drugs, animal feed ingredients and lubricants.Beijing also is seeking an easing of US national security sanctions against telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies, which has been largely cut off from buying sensitive US technology products.The trade war, which has dragged on for 14 months, has rattled financial markets as policymakers and investors worry about the broadening global economic fallout of the dispute.The spectre of a global recession has prompted central banks around the world to loosen policy in recent months. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut rates for the second time this year, saying the reduction provided “insurance against ongoing risks” including weak world growth and resurgent trade tensions.IDEOLOGICAL DIVIDETrade experts, executives and government officials in both countries say that even if the September and October talks produce an interim deal that includes purchases and a reprieve for Huawei, the US-China trade war has hardened into a political and ideological battle that runs far deeper than tariffs and could take years to resolve.Jon Lieber, a principal in PwC’s national tax services practice, said a possible “very narrow agreement” in October would do little to solve fundamental differences between the two countries.To keep markets steady, the two sides could well “string along the talks for a longer period of time,” he added.Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters on Wednesday that he was cautiously optimistic about the talks.While he is no fan of tariffs, Brady said Trump was right to challenge China’s trade actions. “Zero is always best, but there is a necessity to change the whole trading relationship with China.” Thu, 19 Sep 2019 14:04:32 +0500 Alternate Text
New Zealand economic growth hits five-year low WELLINGTON: New Zealand´s economic growth slowed to a five-year low in the 12 months to June, official data released Thursday showed, fuelling expectations further interest rate cuts are imminent.Statistics New Zealand said the economy expanded 0.5 percent in the April-June quarter, slightly below market forecasts, as mining and manufacturing activity weakened.It took annual growth to 2.1 percent, the lowest recorded since late 2013.Economists said the weak figures increased the likelihood the central bank will follow up a surprise interest rate cut last month with further reductions.The reserve bank of New Zealand slashed its base rate 0.5 percentage points to a record low of 1.0 percent in August, saying it wanted to stimulate the economy in a bid to meet employment and inflation targets.Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr said New Zealand was struggling for growth amid weak business and household confidence, combined with heightened uncertainty offshore.He predicted the central bank would leave rates on hold next week but cut them by 25 basis points at its November meeting, with a similar reduction possible in early 2020.However, Kerr doubted the bank could kick-start the economy by itself, saying the government needed to boost spending to provide "fiscal caffeination"."What´s needed, is a strong fiscal policy," he said. "Monetary policy is proving ineffective without fiscal support." Thu, 19 Sep 2019 07:03:35 +0500 Alternate Text
Oil prices sink as quick Saudi output recovery seen NEW YORK: Oil prices sank more than five percent on Tuesday, reversing some of the previous day´s gains as analysts predicted Saudi output would recover sooner than expected after weekend drone attacks.At the same time, global stocks were in a holding pattern while investors awaited the US Federal Reserve´s latest decision on monetary policy due on Wednesday.Economists widely expect the Fed to cut interest rates.In the space of several minutes during afternoon European trading, North Sea Brent crude oil for delivery in November tumbled from $67.75 to $65.00. It fell as low as $64.24, before recovering a little.The market was already trading in negative territory after the previous day´s record gains fueled by attacks on Saudi facilities which wiped out half the kingdom´s crude output."The markets were once again wrong-footed by the Saudi news," said Forex.com analyst Fawad Razaqzada in reaction to Tuesday´s price drop."This time prices slumped on reports of sooner-than-expected return for oil production after the attacks."Although little details have emerged, speculators are evidently happy to sell now and ask questions later. And who would blame them after that big (price) gap?"The spike in the oil price had stoked fears that costlier energy and geopolitical instability could weigh on an already slowing global economy, but a quick recovery in Saudi exports and a return to earlier price levels would alleviate those concerns."Arguably Monday´s spike in oil was unsustainable, since oversupply concerns have been the much more dominant theme this year, but the sudden drop came earlier and quicker than expected," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading firm IG.Traders were nervously awaiting a further response from the United States after it said Iran was likely to blame.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was due to fly to Saudi Arabia to discuss possible retaliation after US officials claimed they had proof the weekend attacks had originated in Iran.The crisis revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Gulf region and raised questions about the security of crude fields in the world´s top exporter Saudi Arabia as well as other producers.US President Donald Trump has said he is ready to help Riyadh following the strikes but would await a "definitive" determination on who was responsible.Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility but Washington and Riyadh have accused Tehran, which denies the accusations.Iran´s supreme leader on Tuesday ruled out negotiations with the US "at any level," as tensions mounted between the arch-foes.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States had adopted a policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran because it believes it cannot bring the Islamic Republic to its knees through other means.The attack on Saudi oil facilities also took attention away from the upcoming trade talks between China and the US, as well as a much-anticipated policy meeting of the Federal Reserve, which is expected to cut interest rates Wednesday.Europe´s leading stock markets finished the day mixed, while Wall Street popped into positive territory late Tuesday after a largely flat trading day ahead of the Fed´s decision on interest rates.- Key figures around 2100 GMT -Brent North Sea crude: DOWN $4.47 at $64.55 per barrelWest Texas Intermediate: DOWN $3.56 at $59.34 per barrelNew York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 27,110.80 (close)New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 3,005.70 (close)New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.4 percent at 8,186.02 (close)London - FTSE 100: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 7,320.40 points (close)Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 12,372.61 (close)Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,615.51 (close)EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,521.26 (close)Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,001.32 (close)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.2 percent at 26,790.24 (close)Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.7 percent at 2,978.12 (close)Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1071 from $1.1002 at 2300 GMTDollar/yen: UP at 108.13 yen from 108.10 yenPound/dollar: UP at $1.2497 from $1.2424Euro/pound: UP at 88.57 pence from 88.56 pence Wed, 18 Sep 2019 03:45:48 +0500 Alternate Text
2019 International Bamboo Industry Fair to kick off in Sichuan CHENGDHU: The 2019 International Bamboo Industry Fair will be held in the city of Meishan in southwest China's Sichuan Province from September 26 to 28, according to a press conference on Tuesday.Over 30 international exhibitors from Australia, Japan, Thailand, India, Madagascar and Ecuador along with more than 300 domestic exhibitors will gather in Sichuan to discuss topics on bamboo industry development and environmental protection.The theme of this year's fair is "Bamboo Connects the World."The pavilion has about 400 standard booths covering an area of 13,000 square meters, including 10 exhibition areas, such as the bamboo industry international exhibition area and the bamboo creative design exhibition area.The exhibition area will present various bamboo products, as well as bamboo industry research and development, healthcare and other industries.Sichuan Province boasts of rich bamboo resources.The bamboo industry is huge in China, where people have a long history of growing and using bamboo.The total value of the country's bamboo industry exceeded 200 billion yuan in 2018, according to official figures. Tue, 17 Sep 2019 18:54:27 +0500 Alternate Text
Price for North Sea Brent crude oil posts record 14.6% gain NEW YORK: Prices for North Sea Brent crude oil on Monday took their biggest one-day jump ever as markets reacted to a devastating drone attack on Saudi oil production.In London, Brent benchmark crude for November delivery rocketed 14.6 percent higher, adding $8.80 to settle at $69.02 per barrel -- the largest increase since trading in the contract began in 1988, according to Bloomberg.Meanwhile in New York, West Texas Intermediate likewise jumped 14 percent to $62.90, the biggest increase in more than a decade.The weekend drone attack on Saudi petroleum facilities knocked about five percent of global capacity offline, rattling markets. Tue, 17 Sep 2019 00:41:55 +0500 Alternate Text
Policy rate to remain unchanged at 13.25 per cent: SBP ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said the government has "decided to leave the policy rate unchanged at 13.25 percent". In a statement issued Monday, the country's central bank said that the decision was based on the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) "view that inflation outcomes have been largely as expected and inflation projections for FY20 have remained unchanged since the last MPC meeting" on July 16, 2019.The MPC said Pakistan's monetary policy stance was adequate to slash inflation down to the forecasted target range of five to seven percent in the next two years.The decision came on back of an analysis of the past two months' "key economic developments", as well as the "developments in the real, external and fiscal sectors, and the resulting outlook for monetary conditions and inflation".The SBP said that "the interbank foreign exchange market had adjusted relatively well to the introduction of the market-based exchange rate system", especially in light of the fact that the volatility — and market uncertainty — following the move had subsided.That, coupled with "continued adjustment in the current account", had boosted the rupee's strength against the US dollar, it added, noting further that the United States' Federal Reserve reduced its own rate by 25 basis points (bps), leading to a similar pattern around the world and potentially increasing the emerging market's financial inflows.The SBP also noted changes and developments in the real, external, and fiscal sectors.Lastly, the central bank said the "developments were in line with the SBP’s earlier projections and reflected the pass-through of earlier exchange rate depreciation, adjustment in utility prices, and an increase in food prices". Mon, 16 Sep 2019 22:17:35 +0500 Alternate Text
Oil prices surge after attacks hammer Saudi output HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world´s top producer by half, fuelling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business -- the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent -- while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.The attack by Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.Trump said Sunday the US was "locked and loaded" to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression."Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran."Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.Trump authorised the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world´s biggest producer.Energy firms surge Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region."One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week´s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton´s sacking... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid," said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.The surge in crude lit a fire under energy firms, with Hong Kong-listed CNOOC up more than six percent and PetroChina five percent higher. Woodside Petroleum rallied more than five percent in Sydney.However, airlines took a hit from the prospect of higher fuel costs. Cathay Pacific dropped almost three percent in Hong Kong Air China dropped two percent in Shanghai and Qantas dived more than four percent in Sydney.Asian stock markets were mostly down after last week´s rally, with investors awaiting a key Federal Reserve policy meeting this week hoping for another cut in interest rates.Shanghai added 0.2 percent and Seoul gained 0.3 percent with Taipei 0.4 percent higher.But Hong Kong sank more than one percent after fresh violent protests struck the city at the weekend, while Singapre shed 0.5 percent, Sydney gave up 0.1 percent and Jakarta sank 1.8 percent. There were also losses in Manila and Wellington. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.On foreign exchanges, higher-yielding currencies dropped as traders shifted to safe-haven units such as the yen and dollar, while gold -- a go-to asset in times of uncertainty -- rose more than one percent.The pound held its own around seven-week highs owing to easing fears of a no-deal Brexit.- Key figures around 0230 GMT -West Texas Intermediate: UP $5.66 at $60.51 per barrelBrent North Sea crude: UP $6.93 at $67.15 per barrelHong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.1 percent at 27,047.99Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,034.97Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holidayPound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2481 from $1.2496 at 2030 GMTEuro/pound: UP at 88.76 pence from 88.66 penceEuro/dollar: UP at $1.1079 from $1.1078Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.74 yen from 108.11 yenNew York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 27,219.52 (close)London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,367.46 (close)-- Bloomberg News contributed to this story -- Mon, 16 Sep 2019 06:27:27 +0500 Alternate Text
Trump authorises release of oil from US reserves after Saudi attack WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump took a big step on Sunday to  authorize the release of oil from US strategic reserves after drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant - the world´s largest oil processing facility -  that disrupted output.Trump, in his tweet, wrote: "Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount." On the other hand , Saudi Arabia has also raced  to restart operations at oil plants hit by drone attacks which slashed its production by half, On Sunday, it was  reported that Aramco will dip into its reserves to offset the disruption, but the incident could affect investor confidence as its stock market debut looms. Mon, 16 Sep 2019 03:32:52 +0500 Alternate Text
Bad days gone as Pakistan moving towards economic stability: Hafeez Shaikh ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Sunday said bad days had now gone as Pakistan was heading fast towards economic stability due to timely and prudent measures taken by the PTI government.Addressing a press conference flanked by Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Shabbar Zaidi and Secretary Finance Naveed Kamran Baloch here, he said there had been considerable growth in exports with sizable reduction of 73% in the current account deficit, and stable foreign exchange reserves and rupee-dollar parity.The stock market, he said, had also been stable for the last couple of weeks.At the same time, the overall revenue collection had also increased to Rs 580 billion during the first two months of the current year from Rs 509 billion of the corresponding period of last year, showing 25 percent growth.Due to decline in imports, revenues in that regard were decreased, but domestic revenue collection surged by 40% during the period, he added.He said during the first two months of current financial year, the fiscal deficit remained controlled as evident from the fact that it was recorded only Rs 24 billion during the period.The advisor said the inflation rate was lower than what they were expecting and it would hopefully come down further in next few months.The government had taken several measures, including no borrowing from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to control inflation, he added."We have not borrowed even a single rupee from the SBP during first the two months (July-August) of current fiscal year."Hafeez Shaikh said the government had also fulfilled its pledge of clearing all the verified sales tax refund claims of around Rs 22 billion, filed till 2015, which benefited some 10,000 people.The business community had lauded that initiative."The income tax refunds of up to Rs 100,000 pending since 2015 have also been cleared." He said the government had introduced a new system with no human intervention to ensure immediate refunds to the exporters.Under the system, which was being labeled as ‘Faster’ and operational since August 23, refund claims of the previous month would be cleared by 16th of the next month, he added.He said the government also expected collection of around Rs 1,000 billion non-tax revenues, out of which Rs 200 billion would come from renewal of cellular companies' lincenses, Rs 300 billion from the LNG terminal's privatization which was expected to be finalized by December and Rs 300 billion as interest from the SBP.Talking about power sector reforms, he said the circular debt, which had been reduced to just Rs10 billion from Rs 38 billion per month, would be zero by December next year.He said by overcoming power theft and other losses, the government had saved around Rs120 billion.Talking about the stability phase, the advisor said after assuming the charge, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government focused on the external sector and reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund which had been widely appreciated.It also engaged the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, he added.He said the private sector, vulnerable segments of society and ignored regions of the country were given special attention in the budget.Moreover, the government also took austerity measures and reduced its expenditures by Rs 50 billion, besides freezing expenditures of military and pay of high officials, he added.As regards the privatization process, Hafeez Shaikh said the government had decided to hand over such public organizations to the private sector which could not be handled by the government departments.Some 20 state-owned enterprises had been put on the priority list for privatization, he added."When I was privatization minister back in 2006, the then government had privatized 34 SOEs," he said.The advisor said the government was also mulling over privatizing the profitable entities, including National Bank of Pakistan and State Life Insurance Corporation.He said the government was confident to surpass the growth target of 2.4% set for the current fiscal year (2019-20) as after gaining stability on the external front during the past year, the economy was now moving forward on the right path.He said the government was specially focusing on the development of agriculture sector.Over 3% growth was expected to be recorded by the end of current fiscal year in the sector, which remained totally neglected during the past regimes as evident from a negative growth of 0.8 percent during 2013-2018. Hafeez Shaikh said the government was working hard for the public welfare.He urged the people to remain calm during the difficult time as the government had to take long term difficult decisions for their betterment.To a question, the advisor said the visit of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team to Pakistan was a routine matter.It had already been agreed between the two sides that the IMF team would visit Islamabad quarterly to review the economic performance.FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi while responding to a question said the number of tax filers had increased by 0.6 million to 2.5 million this year from 1.9 million last year.Rs 6 billion had received from the new tax filers, he added.He said the FBR had launched a mobile application through with the tax payers would be able to easily file their income tax returns and pay their taxes. Sun, 15 Sep 2019 22:09:56 +0500 Alternate Text
Disney chief exits Apple board as firms become streaming rivals SAN FRANCISCO: Disney chief Bob Iger resigned from Apple´s board of directors as the companies are poised to launch rival online streaming services, according to a filing Friday with US regulators.Iger´s departure came the same day that the iPhone maker announced that its Apple TV+ subscription service with a budding library of original content will go live internationally on November 1, according to paperwork filed by Apple with the Securities and Exchange Commission.Apple unveiled iPhone 11 models this week with a price cut for the most basic models while also laying out plans for streaming and gaming services, as it bids to weather the slump in the global smartphone market.Apple´s announcements appeared to be aimed at emphasizing value as the company looks to reduce its dependence on smartphones and tie digital content and other services to its devices.Apple TV+ service will launch November 1 in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month to compete against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon. It promises a "powerful and inspiring lineup of original shows, movies and documentaries."Apple said customers who purchase an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac will get the first year of the service for free.As for Disney, its Disney+ online streaming service will launch November 12 in the US, Canada and the Netherlands, before rolling out worldwide.Its vast lineup of films and television shows will include three live-action Star Wars series, including Ewan McGregor´s return as Obi-Wan Kenobi.Iger told investors on a recent earnings call that "nothing is more important to us" than the platform, which will compete in a crowded marketplace against Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, HBO Max and more.As well as offering Disney´s enormous back catalog, including all animated films and Pixar movies within its first year, it will feature a cornucopia of newly commissioned shows. It will cost $6.99 a month in the US. Sat, 14 Sep 2019 03:42:35 +0500 Alternate Text
Pound jumps on Brexit hopes as global stocks firm LONDON: The British pound hit a seven-week high against the dollar Friday on easing fears of a no-deal Brexit.Stock markets meanwhile won support after China said some US agricultural products including pork and soybeans would be exempt from added tariffs, ahead of trade talks between Beijing and Washington scheduled for October.The announcement was the latest in a series of conciliatory measures between the world´s two biggest economies, who for the past year have been locked in a bitter trade war resulting in tit-for-tat tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.In foreign exchange, the pound was in focus after the UK currency jumped to its highest level since late July.The pound "has rallied... as traders are less fearful about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit", noted David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.It comes after Britain´s parliamentary speaker warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to disobey the law by refusing to ask for a Brexit delay and vowed to thwart any attempt to circumvent legislation.- ´Most terrible example´ -Parliament passed a law earlier this month aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit, but Johnson is adamant Britain will still leave the EU on schedule on October 31 with or without a withdrawal agreement.The speaker of Britain´s House of Commons John Bercow said disobeying the law "would be the most terrible example to set to the rest of society", according to Britain´s Press Association news agency.In a speech in London on Thursday, Bercow warned that if the government came close to doing so, parliament "would want to cut off such a possibility and do so forcefully".In equities markets, all key European indices ended the day higher, while on Wall Street, the DJIA and S&P 500 posted modest gains in the late New York morning, while the Nasdaq was a touch lower.- No big bazooka -Earlier, equities had risen in Asia after the ECB on Thursday unveiled a fresh round of economic stimulus and another interest rate cut.Global markets were buoyed earlier in the week by a growing sense that central banks were set on easing monetary policy to support growth, and the ECB did not disappoint.It said it would restart its bond-buying quantitative easing programme to boost liquidity, provide support for struggling banks and reduce borrowing costs deeper into negative territory in a bid to kickstart lending.The announcement, while slightly short of expectations, was broadly cheered by markets, sending equities in Europe and New York higher Thursday."In the end, it wasn´t a big bazooka, but ECB President Mario Draghi did his level best trying to convince investors that monetary policy will remain extremely accommodative for some considerable time to come," said Gavin Friend, a senior market strategist at National Australia Bank.The news also provided further hope that the Federal Reserve would cut rates at its meeting next week, even though data showed a jump in US inflation last month.- Key figures around 1540 GMT -Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2451 from $1.2337 at 2030 GMTEuro/pound: DOWN at 88.93 pence from 89.67 penceEuro/dollar: UP at $1.1074 from $1.1064Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.09 yen from 108.11 yenLondon - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,367.46 points (close)Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 12,468.53 (close)Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,655.46 (close)EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,550.11New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 27,232.06Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 21,988.29 (close)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 27,352.69 (close)Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holidayBrent North Sea crude: DOWN 20 cents at $60.18 per barrelWest Texas Intermediate: DOWN 29 cents at $54.80 per barrel Sat, 14 Sep 2019 02:27:18 +0500 Alternate Text
IMF stresses Pakistan to mobilise tax revenue WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday said Pakistan needs to increase its tax revenue in order to fund development amid reports of yawning budget deficit.In a press briefing, IMF Director Communications Gerry Rice said, “One of the key elements of the program that the IMF is supporting in Pakistan, Pakistan’s program, is the need to mobilise domestic tax revenue to fund much needed social and development spending while placing debt on a firm downward trend.”Rice further said this was something that was emphasised by acting Managing Director David Lipton during his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in July.The spokesman also confirmed an earlier report of an IMF mission visiting Islamabad to hold talks on fiscal matters with the policymakers.“Let me add that we expect an IMF team to be in Pakistan in the next few days, including our Director for that area, Jihad Azur will be there,” he added. Fri, 13 Sep 2019 12:41:54 +0500 Alternate Text
Apple cuts prices, ramps up services as iPhone 11 launches NEW YORK: Apple unveiled its iPhone 11 models Tuesday with a price cut for the most basic models while also laying out plans for streaming and gaming services as it bids to weather the slump in the global smartphone market.More: All the details you want to know about new iPhone 11Price appeared to be a key consideration as the tech giant reduced the entry level price for the iPhone 11 to $699 and undercut rivals for its gaming and streaming television subscriptions.Apple unveiled three versions of the iPhone 11 including "Pro" models with triple camera and other advanced features starting at $999 and $1,099, unchanged from last year´s prices, touting upgraded features including ultra-wide camera lenses.The surprise from Apple was the reduction in the starting price at $699, down from $749 for the iPhone XR a year ago even as many premium devices are being priced around $1,000.The new iPhones are "jam-packed with new capabilities and an incredible new design," Apple chief executive Tim Cook told a launch event in Cupertino, California as the company set plans to sell the new handsets on September 20.- Content as ´sweetener´ -Apple´s announcements appeared to be aimed at emphasizing value as the company looks to shift its business model to reduce its dependence on smartphones and tie in digital content and other services to its devices."We got a stream of nonstop product launches, with content being used as a sweetener," said Avi Greengart, analyst and consultant with Techsponential."I think the iPhone 11 is compelling and may convince people to upgrade earlier than they might have otherwise given the lower price and longer battery life, not just an improved camera."With the new devices and services, "I think there are more reasons to stay with Apple than to defect from Apple," said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.- Streaming and gaming -Apple TV+ service will launch November 1 in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month and will include a "powerful and inspiring lineup of original shows, movies and documentaries."While Apple´s streaming service will have limited content at first, its price is below the $6.99 for the forthcoming Disney+ service and the more expensive plans from Netflix."Clearly Cupertino is looking for market share coming out of the gates with these surprising price points that we loudly applaud," said Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities.Apple is featuring scripted dramas, comedies and movies as well as children´s programs in the service, which will compete against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon."With Apple TV+, we are presenting all-original stories from the best, brightest and most creative minds, and we know viewers will find their new favorite show or movie on our service," said Zack Van Amburg, Apple´s head of video.Apple said customers who purchase an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac will get the first year of the service for free.The company´s online gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, will launch next week, offering exclusive titles for mobile and desktop users.The new service, which will also cost $4.99 per month, will include more than 100 game titles made for Apple devices and will be available in some 150 countries."You can´t find these games on any other mobile platform or subscription service. No game service ever launched as many games, and we can´t wait for you to play all of that," product manager Ann Thai told the Apple media event.Apple also unveiled updates to its iPad tablet and Apple Watch smartwatch, also emphasizing stable or lower prices with cuts to older versions."We think the lower iPhone 11 price point and trade-in program will help promote upgrades, specifically in China, while the Apple Arcade and TV+ offerings will help accelerate services growth," CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino said in a note about Apple.Apple shares ended the formal trading day up slightly to $216.70, while streaming television rivals Netflix and Disney both finished down about two percent. Wed, 11 Sep 2019 03:34:08 +0500 Alternate Text
Jack Ma steps down as Alibaba’s chairman SHANGHAI:   Jack Ma, the Co-founder of the Chinese retail behemoth Alibaba, is  stepping down as company chairman on Tuesday (Today) - the day high-profile entrepreneur turns 55.Jack Ma, a former English teacher, along with a team of few  people founded Alibaba in the eastern city of Hangzhou in 1999; 20 years later, it has over 60,000 full-time employees. It is now a company valued over $430 billion. Since its founding , Alibaba has gone from being a traditional e-commerce company to a conglomerate that has businesses from logistics to food delivery and cloud computing.  Tue, 10 Sep 2019 09:00:59 +0500 Alternate Text
Pound lifted by Johnson´s latest defeat, Asian equities struggle HONG KONG: The pound bounced Tuesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson again failed to get MPs to back a snap election, while Asian equities drifted as investors await a key European Central Bank meeting and developments in the China-US trade talks.Just before Westminster lawmakers broke up for five weeks they inflicted yet another defeat on the new premier, who has been thwarted in his attempts to call an early poll as he looks to win a majority in parliament and push through a no-deal Brexit.MPs had earlier also voted to demand the government publish confidential documents about Britain´s readiness to leave the European Union on October 31 without a divorce deal.The latest defeat on calling an election saw the pound -- which had been slipping through Monday -- rally more than one percent against the dollar from as low as $1.2234 to as much as $1.2385, its highest level since the end of July. Data showing the British economy faring better than expected also provided support to the sterling.Johnson insists he will not ask for a delay to the October 31 Brexit date, despite MPs passing a bill that could force him to do so if he fails to reach an agreement with the EU.Asian equity traders struggled after last week´s rally as the ECB prepares for a much-anticipated meeting on Thursday with speculation it will unveil fresh economy-boosting measures including an interest rate cut deeper into negative territory."With the two percent inflation target still a Japanese-style distant memory and growth slowing in Germany, Europe´s engine, the ECB had to do something," said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley."Whatever comes out on Thursday will test the limits of the effectiveness of monetary policy."Crude builds on gains There were warnings from some analysts that a disappointing response from the bank could deal a heavy blow to equities.The ECB announcement comes a week before the Federal Reserve´s next meeting, where it is tipped to announce a further reduction in borrowing costs following weak jobs figures and signs of slowing in the economy.However, other, more upbeat readings have kept traders guessing about the Fed´s plans, while reports on consumer prices and retail sales this week will provide more of an idea about the outlook.In early trade, Hong Kong was down 0.1 percent, Shanghai slipped 0.4 percent and Sydney dropped 0.5 percent, while Taipei, Wellington and Manila were also well down.However, Tokyo ended the morning slightly higher, while Singapore, Jakarta and Seoul were in positive territory.There seemed to be little major reaction to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying there had been "lots of progress" on trade talks between China and the US.Dealers are instead waiting for more concrete developments as the two sides prepare for high-level talks in Washington next month.Regional energy firms were given a leg-up by thanks to gains in oil prices that came after Saudi Arabia´s new energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said output cuts would benefit all exporting nations.The remarks suggested he would support reductions to address an oversupplied market and sagging prices.Key figures around 0230 GMTTokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 21,360.15 (break)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,658.92Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,012.85Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2346 from $1.2342 at 2100 GMTEuro/pound: DOWN at 89.44 pence from 89.45 penceEuro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1043 from $1.1046Dollar/yen: UP at 107.48 yen from 107.23 yenWest Texas Intermediate: UP 51 cents at $58.36 per barrelBrent North Sea crude: UP 49 cents at $63.08 per barrelNew York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 26,835.51 (close)London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,235.81 (close) Tue, 10 Sep 2019 08:05:04 +0500 Alternate Text
Oil prices gain as Saudi minister backs output cuts; global stocks mixed NEW YORK: Global stock markets were mixed on Monday ahead of key US economic data and a European Central Bank meeting, while crude prices gained as the new Saudi oil minister signaled he would defend oil prices.Major US stock indices finished little changed ahead of key reports on consumer prices and retail sales for August later in the week.Investors are in "wait and see" mode, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities."It´s a case of having a two-week winning streak and not much of a rethink on it," he added.Recent US data has been mixed, with August jobs growth lagging expectations, but services sector activity growing more quickly than expected, according to reports last week.European bourses were also mixed, with London falling sharply as the pound rose on official data that showed the British economy grew by 0.3 percent in July, reducing the likelihood of a UK recession this year as Brexit looms large."While parliament seems to be falling apart, the economy is holding up reasonably well," noted Paul Dales, chief UK economist at research consultancy Capital Economics."July´s surprisingly strong rise in GDP suggests that it has not fallen into a recession."British MPs voted to demand Prime Minister Boris Johnson release confidential documents relating to Britain´s EU exit, during a final day of defiance before he suspends their session until just weeks before Brexit.Elsewhere, the euro wavered as dealers mulled speculation that the European Central Bank could decide this week to loosen monetary policy.- Oil rallies -Oil prices advanced as newly-installed energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said that oil production cuts would benefit all exporting nations, in an indication he will support further reductions to address an oversupplied market and sagging prices.In his first comments since being appointed by his father King Salman on Sunday, the minister signaled no major change in approach in Saudi Arabia, the de facto OPEC leader which pumps about a third of the cartel´s oil."The pillars of our oil policy are pre-determined and will not change," he told Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya.The appointment of Prince Abdulaziz, half-brother to de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, marks the first time a royal family member has been put in charge of the all-important energy ministry.He replaces veteran official Khalid al-Falih as the world´s top crude exporter accelerates preparations for a much-anticipated stock listing of state-owned oil giant Aramco, expected to be the world´s biggest. Tue, 10 Sep 2019 03:20:48 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistan to challenge heavy fine imposed in Reko Diq Karke cases: Umer Ayub ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Power Umar Ayub Khan on Monday said that Pakistan would challenge the heavy fines imposed by International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Reko Diq and Karke cases.Addressing a press conference here at PID, he said that in Reko Diq and Karke, ICSID had imposed $6.2 billion and $1.2 billion fines, respectively.The country could not afford such huge fines.In fact, no developing country could afford heavy fines as the assets of some defaulting countries had already been confiscated in the past.He said Rousch company was seeking local mediation while 11 other companies have opted for international mediation.Questions were being raised on Rousch Company’s local mediation.Rousch Power Company was the project of 425 MW power.Thorough investigations have revealed that the case of Rousch was genuine and it could win the case, he added.The minister said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government had decided out of court settlement of Rousch in Economic Coordination Council meeting held in 2017. Umar Ayub said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government believed in merit and was trying to resolve the chronic issues.The incumbent government wanted to resolve power sector issues.This would bring foreign investment besides creating employment opportunities in the country, he added.He said transparency and merit was the top priority of the present government.He said that previous government put burden of extra charges on Independent Power Producers (IPPs), which compelled them to go for local and international arbitration.Umar Ayub said that when PTI government came into power, load shedding was rampant in various parts of the country.It worked day and night and brought improvements in load shedding.The government had also improved power production and transmission system.He said no complaint of malfunctioning of 8,810 feeders was received in last Ramazan and efficiency ratio was improved by 99 percent.Nowadays only 130 feeders were closed across the country owing to technical reasons while 99 percent were in working condition.The government was taking steps to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the holy month of Muharram.He said the government has declared the current year as the year of power distribution for which heavy investment was being made, to improve transmission system.He said the decision regarding Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) was correct and when objections were raised the government filed a petition in apex court.The government would use the amount of GIDC on gas infrastructure development, in case of favourable decision by the Supreme Court.Responding to a question, he said Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were being paid 80 to 88 percent of their dues from 2017 whereas energy and fuel charges were being paid 100 percent to IPPs.The incumbent government has brought down the volume of circular debts and it would be ended by December 2019. Mon, 09 Sep 2019 23:16:26 +0500 Alternate Text
British Airways faces first global pilots´ strike LONDON: British Airways faced its first global strike by pilots on Monday and the possibility of almost all its flights being grounded for two days.The UK flag carrier and its 4,300 pilots have been locked in a nine-month pay dispute that could disrupt or alter the travel plans of nearly 300,000 people.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson´s government urged both sides Friday "to get round the table and sort this out".But BA only upped the stakes by reportedly threatening to strip pilots and their families of free travel perks if the strike action goes ahead."We make no apology for doing everything we can to protect our customers from further disruption," a BA spokesperson told the Financial Times on Friday.The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has rejected a pay increase of 11.5 percent over three years that the airline proposed in July.BA says the offer would see flight captains receive "world-class" pay and benefits of around £200,000 ($246,000 or 220,000 euros) a year.It also points out that two other unions representing 90 percent of the airlines´ workers have accepted the 11.5-percent raise.BALPA counters that co-pilots´ salaries average around £70,000 -- and that of junior ones drops down to just £26,000.This leaves some in heavy debt since they must first undergo training that the BBC estimates costs around £100,000.BALPA also points to a nearly 10-percent jump in pre-tax profits reported by BA´s parent company IAG last year."One day of strike action will cost BA, on their own figures, £40 million," BALPA tweeted on Sunday."The difference between us now is £5 million. Why won´t they work with us to end this dispute?"The union said that BA never replied to a counteroffer it made to the airline on Wednesday.Pilots are threatening to strike for one more day on September 27 -- and then possibly again closer to the winter holidays -- should the dispute rage on.- 'Deeply sorry'-BA says a "vast majority" of its travellers have either made alternative arrangements or accepted refunds since being informed of the possible walkout last month."We don´t underestimate the inconvenience caused, for which we are deeply sorry," BA said in a statement to customers on Sunday.But it remains unclear how many people using BA for just one leg of an extended journey will be affected worldwide.BA is preparing to cancel 850 flight on Monday.The Financial Times said the airline normally operates 1,700 flights over a 48-hour span.IAG has been trying to rebound from a loss of investor confidence that drove its stock price down by almost 40 percent in the past 12 months.But BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said the company had adopted a "cost-cutting culture (that) has in the eyes of pilots not only dumbed down a great brand but also made it harder for them to do their jobs". Mon, 09 Sep 2019 07:57:11 +0500 Alternate Text
Chinese FM Wang Yi arrives to attend trilateral foreign ministers’ dialogue ISLAMABAD: State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi on Saturday arrived to attend the 3rd round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue being held at the federal capital. Chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the dialogue was  participated by the Chinese foreign minister and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Salahuddin Rabbani along with their respective delegations. Sat, 07 Sep 2019 20:50:03 +0500 Alternate Text
Apple: Security report on iPhone hack created 'false impression' San Francisco: Apple hit back Friday at a Google research report suggesting iPhones may have been targeted by a long-running hacking operation, calling it inaccurate and misleading.Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said in a statement the research released by Google created a "false impression" that large numbers of iPhone users may have been compromised.Sainz said that contrary to what Google claimed, the incident was a "narrowly focused" attack which affected "fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community, an ethnic minority in China."Regardless of the scale of the attack, we take the safety and security of all users extremely seriously," he wrote."Google´s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of ´mass exploitation´ to ´monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,´ stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case."Researchers with Google´s Project Zero security taskforce said last week that an "indiscriminate" hacking operation that targeted iPhones used websites to implant malicious software to access photos, user locations and other data."Simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant," said Project Zero´s Ian Beer.Sainz said Apple believes that the website attacks were operational for roughly two months, not two years as Google implied."We fixed the vulnerabilities in question in February -- working extremely quickly to resolve the issue just 10 days after we learned about it," Sainz said."When Google approached us, we were already in the process of fixing the exploited bugs. Security is a never-ending journey and our customers can be confident we are working for them." Sat, 07 Sep 2019 00:52:23 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks gain as new trade talks announced NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks rocketed higher on Thursday following news that the United States and China will resume high-level trade talks in October, raising hopes of possible progress in the trade war.The gains also came after data showed increased private-sector hiring in August and better-than-expected services sector activity.Major indices are "hitting their highest levels in more than a month... thanks primarily to the agreement between the US and China regarding another round of trade talks," said a note from Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4 percent to 26,728.15.The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.3 percent to 2,975.97, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.8 percent to 8,116.83.The announcement on US-China talks comes less than a week after both Beijing and Washington enacted new tariff measures on each other. The grinding dispute has hung over markets for more than a year.The report from payrolls firm ADP on private-sector hiring estimated August job growth at 195,000 new positions, above analyst expectations.The data comes a day ahead of the government jobs figures, which are expected to show 171,000 jobs added last month.The Institute for Supply Management´s monthly non-manufacturing index leapt 2.7 points to a reading of 56.4, overshooting economists´ expectations and hitting its highest level since May.Large banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup jumped more than two percent as the yield on US Treasury notes increased, boosting hopes for banking profits.Big tech companies also prospered, with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet winning two percent or more.But Slack Technologies fell 3.4 percent after it projected a larger loss in the third quarter than analysts expect. Fri, 06 Sep 2019 01:28:31 +0500 Alternate Text
Canada central bank holds key lending rate at 1.75% The Bank of Canada on Wednesday held its key lending rate at 1.75 percent, saying it expects the Canadian economy to slow in the second half of the year.A bump in domestic growth in the second quarter was likely temporary, it said in a statement, amid an outlook dampened by the ongoing China-US trade conflict."In sum, Canada's economy is operating close to potential and inflation is on target," the bank said. "However, escalating trade conflicts and related uncertainty are taking a toll on the global and Canadian economies." US growth has moderated but remains solid -- buoyed by consumer and government spending, it noted.Commodity prices, however, have fallen.At home, stronger energy production and robust export growth sent Canada's economy unexpectedly soaring in the second quarter.That uptick, announced in late August after a disappointing end to 2018 and a weak first quarter, was good news for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau less than two months before elections.Housing activity regained strength and wages picked up further, the bank said.But consumption spending has been soft and business investment contracted sharply amid heightened trade uncertainty, it warned. Wed, 04 Sep 2019 20:11:12 +0500 Alternate Text
Telegram secretly plans ´Gram´ cryptocurrency MOSCOW: Working in secrecy for a year, the Telegram messaging service has a plan: to beat Facebook in the race to launch a cryptocurrency with its new project "Gram".Little is known about Gram, but media reports say Russian-founded Telegram aims to create an accessible service that is easier to use than various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin -- still confined to a relatively small market. In a document leaked online, Telegram said it wants to create a "standard cryptocurrency used for the regular exchange of value in the daily lives of ordinary people". According to the document, the encrypted messenger envisages a system of secure and fast payment with the aim of becoming an "alternative to Visa and Mastercard for a new decentralised economy".Facebook has announced its own plans to launch a global currency, Libra, in 2020.Telegram is rushing to beat the social media giant, with the New York Times reporting the first Gram units could be put in circulation within two months, citing anonymous investors. To that end, Telegram has raised a record $1.7 billion from 200 private investors via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) executed in two stages, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. Such was its success that media reports said the messenger cancelled a public fundraiser, making interested parties wait for the official launch of "Gram" to be able to buy the new currency. 'A space to fill'Officially, Telegram hasn´t uttered a word on the subject, but information has trickled through investors, mostly in the United States, Asia and Russia. "They (investors) are bound by a confidentiality clause," a source in Moscow´s economic circles told AFP. The source claimed personally knowing "at least a first-tier banker and a businessman from Russia´s Forbes list" who are among the investors."It was only possible to invest via invitation, but so many wanted to participate," the source added. The clock is ticking: according to the Russian daily Vedomosti, Telegram vouched to distribute the Grams to investors before October 31 or guarantee their money back."Facebook and Telegram see a space to fill," said Manuel Valente, director of the French cryptocurrency exchange Coinhouse. He said the Tech giants want to allow users to exchange "small amounts online" without going through banking or applications. These projects, he said, will "strengthen the fears of nation states of losing influence", since cryptocurrencies are meant to function without a central authority. Telegram has already repeatedly clashed with Russian authorities over its strong encryption and it is officially blocked in the country. Encrypted messaging apps like Telegram are preferred around the world by a wide variety of people trying to avoid surveillance by authorities -- from Islamic State jihadists and drug dealers to human rights activists and journalists.- Apps have much to gain -Messaging services such as Telegram, Facebook or WhatsApp have much to gain from their own cryptocurrencies.According to a report by the Russian investment fund Aton, "the new cryptocurrencies that will be successful are those that are an integrated part of an existing social network´s messenger ecosystem." With their huge number of users -- such as Telegram´s estimated 250 million -- messaging apps could "increase acceptance of the cryptocurrency among the wider public," the report said. But it also predicted that the new cryptocurrencies most likely to succeed will be those that are "fully compliant with regulation in the main markets."At the G7 finance ministers meeting in France in July, ministers and central bankers warned of the risks of such ambitious digital money projects for the international financial system. Telegram was launched in 2013 by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. It allows users to exchange encrypted text messages, photos and videos, and also create "channels" for as many as 200,000 people. It also supports encrypted voice calls. The app is being widely used by student protesters in Hong Kong to organise and share information about the ongoing anti-government demonstrations.A non-profit organisation, Telegram is based on "open source" software accessible to all to improve the program, and rejects any type of control over its operation. Wed, 04 Sep 2019 08:29:17 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks tumble on tariffs, weak data NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks tumbled Tuesday as new tariffs in the US-China trade war took effect, while US data pointed to weakness in the manufacturing sector.Both countries imposed new levies on September 1, with the US now assessing 15 percent tariffs on an assortment of consumer goods and China rebutting with its own duties.In its first session since the tariffs took effect, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 1.1 percent at 26,118.02.The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.7 percent, closing at 2,906.27, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.1 percent to 7,874.16.CFRA Research´s Sam Stovall said hopes were dashed that the United States might delay as the tariffs as it has done at times in the past.Stovall also pointed to hawkish commentary from US President Donald Trump against Beijing. On Twitter, the US president vowed China would face a "much tougher" deal if Trump is reelected in November 2020.Investors "hoped there might be a postponement to allow the talks to go on," Stovall said. "But instead we heard an even greater threat towards China. That just caused investors to think, ´Oh boy, here we go again.´"Tuesday´s losses also followed a downcast report from the Institute for Supply Management, which said that US manufacturing activity fell into contraction in August for the first time in three years.Though Trump has championed the US manufacturing sector, it is now the weakest part of the American economy, suffering repeat shocks from the US-China trade war, which has raised prices and eaten into demand, and from a weakening global economy.The ISM report comes ahead of other key data later in the week, including the August jobs report, which will be released Friday. Wed, 04 Sep 2019 01:28:59 +0500 Alternate Text
Could cryptocurrency dethrone the dollar? London: Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested that a virtual currency, modelled on Facebook´s Libra, could one day replace the dollar as king of the foreign exchange market.The BoE chief aired vague proposals for a so-called "Synthetic Hegemonic Currency" at the recent Jackson Hole Symposium of central bankers.Here is a brief assessment of why the greenback is losing its lustre and the outlook for Carney´s proposed new digital currency, which would be supported by major central banks around the world. Why dollar dominance?The dollar has been the world´s reference currency since the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944, when various key units were fixed to the value of the greenback. It has retained its global supremacy ever since, thanks to the economic and political clout of the United States."The dominant currency is always that of the world´s biggest political power," noted Philippe Waechter, head of research at Ostrum Asset Management.The dollar accounted for almost 62 percent of global foreign exchange reserves in the first quarter of 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund.The European single currency was second with 20.2 percent, while China´s yuan comprised only two percent despite the country´s rise to the rank of the world´s second biggest economy behind the US. Why is greenback losing appeal?Although the dollar has lost its sparkle owing to globalisation and the changing world economic order, gyrations in the US unit still impact economies elsewhere."US developments have significant spillovers onto both the trade performance and the financial conditions of countries even with relatively limited direct exposure to the US economy," Carney said at the recent bankers´ meet in Wyoming.When the greenback appreciates, so do repayments for many emerging nations because their debts tend to be denominated in dollars.The BoE chief, who steps down in January, added: "In the longer term, we need to change the game." Central bank role?The public sector, in the form of central banks, could instead provide the best support for a new virtual currency, according to Carney."It is an open question whether such a new (cryptocurrency) would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies," he said.Yet central bankers and world leaders alike remain anxious over the current crop of virtual currencies because they are unregulated.US President Donald Trump himself has lashed out at Bitcoin and Libra for being "based on thin air" and having no standing or dependability -- unlike the dollar.Commentators believe Washington is unlikely to allow the greenback to lose its cherished status as the world´s premier reserve currency. "The United States will simply not allow it to happen without a fight. Nobody in its position would," said Rabobank analysts. What about Libra?The BoE governor meanwhile made explicit references to Libra -- a future cryptocurrency unveiled by social media giant Facebook in June.Carney avoided all mention of Bitcoin, which is the world´s most popular digital unit but has been plagued by volatility.Libra, which aims to launch in the first half of 2020, will be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.Yet Libra has also attracted the ire of central bankers owing to its origin in the private sector."Central banks are a little annoyed by this (Facebook) bid to privatise currency," said Agnes Benassy-Quere, a researcher at the Paris School of Economics.Whereas Bitcoin is decentralised, Libra will be co-managed by 100 partner firms including Facebook itself.  Sun, 01 Sep 2019 11:47:22 +0500 Alternate Text
Trump moving ahead with new tariffs on Chinese products WASHINGTON: Washington is moving ahead Sunday with new tariffs on Chinese imports as it steps up a high-pressure campaign aimed at coercing Beijing to sign a new trade deal even amid fears of a further slowing of US and world growth.The additional 15 percent tariffs, affecting a portion of the $300 billion in goods from the Asian giant that so far has been spared, will take effect at 04H01 GMT, according to the US Trade Representative´s office.President Donald Trump on Friday ruled out any further postponement. "They´re on," he told reporters.The new tariffs will target a range of products, from foodstuffs (ketchup, butchered meat, pork sausage, fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese) to sports equipment (golf clubs, surf boards, bicycles), to musical instruments, sportswear and furniture, according to an official list.Economists at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics estimate $112 billion in goods will be affected.The trade war touched off by Trump more than a year ago received its latest jolt last week with the US announcement that all Chinese goods would be subjected to tariffs by the end of this year.More than $250 billion worth of China´s $540 billion in exports to the US (2018 figure) are already subject to tariffs.Trump´s announcement earlier this month drew a retaliatory move from Beijing, which said it would target $75 billion in US goods, beginning in part on September 1.Hundreds of US companies and professional groups have appealed to the Trump administration to postpone the new tariffs, saying they would destroy jobs and place a burden on consumers.But on Friday, the Republican president, already campaigning for a second term, said those complaining were themselves partly at fault.Days earlier, Trump caused widespread consternation when he tweeted "I hereby order" American companies to stop doing business with China, sparking both doubts and derision. His aides quickly sought to dial it back.The president launched his trade war in March 2018, demanding that China end practices widely seen as unfair, such as forced technology transfers from US firms and the massive subsidies given Chinese enterprises.While the strategy is clearly weighing on the Chinese economy, it has produced few positive results.A further round of tariffs could sharply cut Chinese growth, the International Monetary Fund recently predicted, and continuing tensions could spark a global slowdown.Yet Chinese leaders have shown little inclination to give in.Trade negotiations have been at an impasse for months.At the recent G7 meeting in France, Trump spoke of new communications between US and Chinese negotiators -- giving financial markets a brief boost -- but China´s foreign ministry said it was unaware of such contacts.While the US president insists the American economy has been unaffected by the trade war, he has identified a culprit should things slow down: the Federal Reserve.For now, the US economy is doing well, to judge by GDP growth and a still-low inflation rate.But the trade war has clearly weighed on company investment practices and consumer confidence -- which in August marked its sharpest decline since December 2012, according to a University of Michigan study.In a sign of administration concern about the impact of the new tariff round -- particularly ahead of this year´s Christmas shopping season -- some Chinese products will not be affected until December 15.They include cell phones, laptop computers and some toys.American consumers account for 75 percent of GDP growth. Sat, 31 Aug 2019 23:31:16 +0500 Alternate Text
Airbus drops bid to replace Canada fighter jets OTTAWA: Aerospace giant Airbus announced Friday that it is withdrawing from a Canadian government call for proposals to replace 88 aging fighter jets.The contract is reportedly valued at a minimum Can$15 billion (US$11.4 billion).The company announced in a statement with Britain´s Defense Ministry that the Typhoon fighter presented by the Eurofighter consortium would no longer be among the candidates.The statement cited two factors for the decision, the first of which was that security requirements from the joint US-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) were too expensive."NORAD security requirements continue to place too significant of a cost on platforms whose manufacture and repair chains sit outside" the United States and Canada, the statement said.The new aircraft´s central role will be to patrol North American air space with the US Air Force under NORAD.Additionally, "the significant recent revision of industrial technological benefits (ITB) obligations does not sufficiently value the binding commitments the Typhoon Canada package was willing to make, and which were one of its major points of focus," the statement said.Airbus´s withdrawal leaves the field open to three other candidates: Saab´s Gripen, Lockheed Martin´s F-35 and Boeing´s F/A-18 Super Hornet.France´s Dassault Aviation took its Rafale out of the running in November because of technical requirements tied to Canada´s membership in the "Five Eyes" signals intelligence sharing group of nations that the company could not meet, sources told AFP.The Five Eyes group is comprised of Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.The defense contractors have until the spring of 2020 to submit initial proposals with a contract award due in early 2022 and delivery expected in 2025.After a trade dispute with Boeing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau´s government announced in 2017 that, instead of buying 18 new Super Hornets, it would buy 18 used F-18s from Australia as a stop-gap measure. Sat, 31 Aug 2019 11:52:00 +0500 Alternate Text
US, China, UK top three export destinations of Pakistani products ISLAMABAD: The United States remained among the top exports destinations of the Pakistani products followed by China and United Kingdom during first month of current financial year 2019-20 as compared to the corresponding month of last year.During the month of July, 2019, the total exports to the US were recorded at $373.514 million against the exports of $328.090 million, showing an increase of 13.84 percent during the period under review, according to the data issued by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).This was followed by China, wherein Pakistan exported goods worth $167.058 million against the exports of $152.043 million same month of last year, showing growth of 9.87 percent.To United Kingdom (UK), Pakistan exported products worth $147.333 million during the current fiscal year against the exports of $153.702 million during last fiscal year, showing decrease of 14.4 percent, SBP data revealed.Among other countries, Pakistani exports to Germany stood at $116.041 million against $116.064 million during last year, showing decline of 0.01 percent while the exports to Afghanistan were recorded at $108.642 million against $127.475 million last year, the data revealed.The exports to Netherlands (Holland) were recorded at $85.398 million against $80.424 million whereas the exports to Spain were recorded at $81.468 million against $74.632 million last year.During the period under review, the exports to Italy were recorded at $70.195 million against $68.008 million whereas the exports to Bangladesh stood at $66.957 million against $58.370 million.Pakistan’s exports to France were recorded at $40.699 million against $38.209 million last year where as the exports to Turkey stood at $30.924 million against $29.267 million.Similarly, the exports to Saudi Arabia during the period under review were recorded at $30.139 million against $27.008 million while the exports to Singapore stood at $ 27.155 million against $15.157 million.During first month, Pakistan’s exports to Kenya were recorded at $24.101 million during the current fiscal year compared to 22.703 million same month of last year, the exports to Canada stood at $23.975 million against $25.792 million, to Japan $20.301 million against $17.608 million whereas the exports to Malaysia stood at $14.901 million during the current year against $14.013 million during last year. Thu, 29 Aug 2019 15:43:36 +0500 Alternate Text
Govt working hard to improve ease of doing business: Hafeez Shaikh ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Thursday said the government was working hard to improve ease of doing business in the country by providing maximum facilities to the local as well as international investors."We are working hard on ease of doing business and the numbers of businesses are gradually improving," he said this while addressing the First Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Capital Market Regulators Forum.The two-day forum on the theme of “CAREC Capital Markets: Fostering Stronger Cross-Border Cooperation” was jointly organized by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and CAREC.He invited the investors to take benefit from the opportunities offered by the government, saying, they would feel comfortable while doing business in benefiting from the tremendous opportunities in sector of economy.Hafeez Shaikh said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) believed in transparency and on behalf of the prime minister, he assured the investors that henceforth they would no more face hardships and other issues while doing business.He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was the flagship project of Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which will help promote connectivity among the regional countries.Through this project the Western China would get the shortest rout to Gwadar Sea Port.He said after completion of road network, energy and infrastructure facilities under the BRI and CPEC, the country would have such a platform through which inter-regional connectivity would be improved significantly.On privatisation, he said, "We are also initiating privatisation programme to bring foreign investment as well as to motivate local businessmen to come and undertake the job of running commercial enterprises".The adviser said Special Economic Zones being built under CPEC would also help increase Foreign Direct Investment in the country.Promoting communication and connectivity, he said was vital for regional development and by improving regulations, the transparency of capital market could be improved.He said capital market was important for financial needs of private sector.Hafeez said Pakistan had conveyed a message to the world that Pakistan was maintaining financial discipline and after entering the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, a positive image of Pakistan''s economy had built up around the globe. Thu, 29 Aug 2019 14:40:22 +0500 Alternate Text
New China tariffs a 'job killer,' US industry tells Trump WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump´s new tariffs on Chinese goods are a "job killer" that will slam consumers and could make a recession more likely, industry groups said Wednesday.The latest cry for peace in Trump´s year-long trade war came just days before the first in series of tariff increases is due to go into effect -- potentially raising prices ahead of the crucial holiday shopping period.In a sharp deterioration in the US-China trade war, Trump last week ramped up the punitive duties for the vast majority of US imports from China.The five percent increases, which will take the tariffs to 15 percent and 30 percent, are due to roll out in stages through December and target some popular items, such as laptops, mobile phones and some shoes.More than 200 footwear manufacturers and retailers, including major brands such as Nike and Foot Locker, signed onto the letter alerting that the new tariffs could cost US consumers an additional $4 billion a year and increase the chances of an economic downturn.A broad array of 160 other trade groups -- including software and electronics manufacturers, as well as retailers, liquor producers and others -- also warned Trump of higher prices and damaged consumer confidence and urged him to abandon the tariff strategy."We´ve been telling the White House since the beginning that tariffs will be paid by Americans in the form of higher prices, and that due to our already high import taxes, this will be a job killer," Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, said in a statement.The footwear group directly disputed Trump´s claim that China is bearing the cost of the tariffs."There is no doubt that tariffs act as hidden taxes paid by American individuals and families," its letter said.Long a powerful voice in Washington, US industrial lobbies have been unable to persuade Trump to avoid escalating his year-old trade war with China.The Information Technology Industry Council agreed China needs to change its unfair trade practices, but said in a statement Wednesday that "the current tool of tariffs has simply not worked, and we´re continuing to see the negative results."- Recession risk -The companies agreed with economists that recession risks are rising, warning Wednesday that uncertainty caused by the confrontation with Beijing was rattling the wider economy -- a sensitive subject as Trump seeks reelection next year."An economic downturn will take away disposable income from US consumers, even as they have to pay more for products," they said.Already high US import duties on footwear have continued to rise in recent years even as shoe prices have eased, according to the letter, meaning new tariffs almost certainly will be passed onto consumers.US officials have delayed or canceled tariffs on some popular items until December, including some shoes, preventing price hikes from hitting just before the holiday shopping period.But, even before they take effect, the tariffs threaten to drive up prices by straining manufacturers outside China to meet a sudden rush of demand, the letter said.Trump has blown by turns hot and cold this month, thundering last week that US companies should withdraw from China but optimistically predicting a deal on Monday.Trump´s recent, more moderate tone helped stanch bleeding on Wall Street but was quickly met with skepticism by investors since Beijing did not seem to share that optimism. Thu, 29 Aug 2019 02:54:55 +0500 Alternate Text
Pound dives on increased no-deal Brexit prospect NEW YORK: The pound fell against the dollar and euro on Wednesday as Britain’s government moved to extend the suspension of parliament, increasing the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.Meanwhile, global stocks had a mixed day, with Wall Street staging a late rally, shrugging off its fears for the slowing world economy.In London, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the annual suspension of parliament would be extended until October 14 -- just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the European Union.Britain’s currency slid by more than one percent against the dollar and euro in early business, before paring some of the loss."The pace of sterling’s drop demonstrates yet again the currency’s susceptibility to Brexit fears," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM trading group.The pound’s plunge helped London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index outperform as it features many multinationals with most of their earnings in dollars -- whereas construction companies notably saw their shares take a tumble.Anti-Brexit MPs said Johnson’s move amounted to a coup and a declaration of war, branding the prime minister a dictator.In New York, the gloom lifted as energy stocks benefitted from a plunge in crude oil inventories, pointing to sustained demand for fuel, a sign of economic health.In light-volume, late-summer trade, Wall Street climbed out of the red and rallied, casting aside worries about Brexit, the escalating US-China trade war and Brexit.Adam Sarhan said the lower prices early in the day had attracted bargain hunters."Every time the market fell off the last month, we’ve seen the buyers show up and curb the selling," he told AFP.Earlier Wednesday, yields on 30-year Treasury bonds touched a fresh all-time low while the spread between 2- and 10-year Treasury notes widened the most since 2007, indicating waning confidence in the longer-term outlook and drawing more attention to this closely-watched recession indicator.Major European bourses fell. But a poll showed German consumer sentiment is stabilizing after three months of decline and despite fears of a looming recession in Europe’s biggest economy.Energy shares also were supported by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s call for the United States to lift all sanctions against his country before he would meet Trump, after the US leader had said he would be open to talks.In government bond markets, Italian bond yields fell below 1 percent, their lowest level ever, on hopes that a new government can be formed without fresh elections. Thu, 29 Aug 2019 02:07:33 +0500 Alternate Text
MC-21: Russia challenges Boeing and Airbus with new passenger plane ZHUKOVSKY: Russia is set to unveil on Wednesday its new passenger plane MC-21, billed as a competitor to Boeing and Airbus even as the project is overshadowed by sanctions and setbacks with its predecessor, the Superjet.President Vladimir Putin formally opened the MAKS air salon outside Moscow Tuesday with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was enticed with Sukhoi fighter jets and treated to ice-cream as demonstration squadrons roared overhead.The showpiece of this year’s MAKS is the new civilian aircraft, which will be formally shown to potential clients after more than a decade in the making and multiple delays.Putin lauded Russia’s aircraft builders and their "unique traditions" which permit the country to "remain among the flagships of the global aerospace industry" and produce "breakthrough projects" such as the MC-21 and Mi-38 and Ka-62 helicopters.The salon is the first since Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), a conglomerate of the country’s main civilian and military aircraft makers, was put in the hands of state-owned corporation Rostec last year.The handover, to be formally completed next year, was billed as a way to steer the industry toward more streamlined management and kindle new airplane projects.Russia will also showcase for the first time its Su-57 fighter on Wednesday.- Wings clipped by sanctions -The medium-haul MC-21, which is produced by Siberian-based manufacturer Irkut and seats up to 211 passengers, is the industry’s big hope after setbacks with the regional Sukhoi Superjet 100 liner, launched in 2011 as the first post-Soviet civilian airplane."MC-21 is a modern, improved mid-range plane, which is set to compete on the market with Airbus 320 and Boeing 737," said Oleg Panteleyev, an aviation analyst who heads industry website Aviaport.ru.An MC-21 prototype made its maiden flight in 2017 but serial manufacturing has been delayed, in part due to US sanctions affecting the production of its carbon composite wings.Though it was supposed to be put in service at the end of 2018, Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov said this year the first MC-21 planes will be delivered to Russian state-owned Aeroflot airline only in 2021.The domestically-made composite material needed to go through testing, but "in the nearest future we will start making the wing and testing it on the plane", Chemezov said in May.The first batch of MC-21 aircraft were also to be equipped with US-made Pratt & Whitney engines, according to a contract signed before the sanctions blocked further deliveries.The three variants on show at Wednesday’s salon use the American engines, while future production will use Russian-made PD-14 engines.Sanctions against Moscow, gradually introduced since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, have hit several Russian industries, and Rostec and Chemezov were put on the US Treasury’s sectoral sanctions blacklists.- Buyer ‘fears’ -While military aircraft makers are financially supported by the Russian airforce, which has been ordering new planes in recent years, the main hurdle for Russia-made civilian aircraft has to do with finding foreign clients, said Panteleyev."They have to compete with foreign manufacturers which have much larger scope for promoting their planes," he said.Russia’s previous, much-lauded Superjet was initially well-received but many clients later backed out due to difficulty in servicing it and getting parts replaced.Several accidents also contributed to a poor image for the plane, most recently in May, when 41 people died in a fire after crash landing with full fuel tanks in Moscow. The investigation into the accident is ongoing.Superjet had minor problems that could be fixed by continued investment, but "because so few planes were sold, they can’t get enough money from turnover for these works", Panteleyev said.At the outset, Superjet had targeted 20 percent of the market for regional planes, but is now mostly used by state-owned Aeroflot."Everyone is aware there is a risk" of the shadow of Superjet’s troubles falling on the MC-21, Panteleyev said."They will do everything possible to soothe the fears of potential buyers." Wed, 28 Aug 2019 13:24:48 +0500 Alternate Text
Markets sag as hope fades for trade war detente NEW YORK: Investors´ souring hopes for detente in the US-China trade war dragged stocks lower on Tuesday, putting a dent in the relief rally that started the week.US stocks got off to a good start, but an inverted yield curve and worrisome economic data out of Germany wiped away Wall Street´s early gains while results in Europe and Asia were mixed.In Frankfurt and Paris, shares advanced solidly but London dipped as Brexit-weary British investors played catch-up after a three-day holiday weekend.China´s beleaguered yuan nosedived to 7.1722 yuan to the dollar -- a level not seen since 2008.The currency plunged Monday on last week´s news that Washington would hike tariffs on more than half-a-trillion dollars of Chinese imports, after Beijing unveiled levies on tens of billions of dollars of US goods.'State of confusion'Trump´s repeated assertions that Beijing wants to make a deal cheered markets on Monday, but the optimism did not last long since Chinese officials did not confirm any new talks.Chris Low of FTN Financial said investors were absorbing the reality that, despite Trump´s rosy forecasts on Monday about the chances for a trade deal, the two sides were in fact no closer."We´ve been barraged by comments from the Chinese side that nothing has changed," he told AFP.He also pointed to unhappy economic news out of Germany, which recorded negative growth in the second quarter.The news prompted fresh talk of a recession, with many saying growth could easily be negative again in the third quarter."Given that other data points for Germany in Q3 have been weak there´s every chance that we see another contraction and satisfy the definition of a technical recession," said David Cheetham at XTB.'All the noise'Charles Schwab analysts said "early gains that came amid cooled trade tensions between the US and China fell victim to worries surrounding the persistent decline in bond rates, with the inversion between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes widening to heighten recession concerns."In commodities, oil prices rose after Trump said he was prepared to meet Iran´s Hassan Rouhani in the next few weeks, following talks over Tehran´s nuclear program at the G7 summit."Expectations are... rising that tensions in the Gulf can be de-escalated following President Macron´s overtures to broker a meeting between Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart," noted AxiTrader analyst James Hughes.- Key figures around 2100 GMT -New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 25,777.90 (close)New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.3 percent at 2,869.16 (close)New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,826.95(close)London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,089.58 points (close) Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.6 percent at 11,730.02 (close)Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 5,387.09 (close)EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,370.47 (close)Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 20,456.08 (close)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 25,664.07 (close)Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.4 percent at 2,902.19 (close)Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1083 from $1.1102Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.77 yen from 106.12 yenPound/dollar: UP at $1.2288 from $1.2217Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.25 pence from 90.87 pence Brent North Sea crude: UP 81 cents at $59.51 per barrelWest Texas Intermediate: UP $1.29 at $54.93 Wed, 28 Aug 2019 02:50:49 +0500 Alternate Text
US Fed should help defeat Trump in 2020: ex-Fed official WASHINGTON: A former top US central banker leapt into the political fray on Tuesday, calling on the Federal Reserve to oppose President Donald Trump´s reelection effort next year.Bill Dudley, the influential former president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, also said the Fed should not "enable" Trump´s escalating trade war with China by lowering interest rates.The stunning arguments in a Bloomberg opinion column flew in the face of efforts of current Fed officials to remain strictly neutral, above the political fray, despite Trump´s intense year-long campaign to demand easier monetary policy.But Dudley said the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections was arguably "within the Fed´s purview" because a second Trump term represented a threat to the global economy as well as the Fed´s political independence and policy mandates."If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020," he wrote.Trump already blames the Fed, rather than trade policy, for the slowing economy and has demanded drastic cuts in interest rates in his relentless, nearly daily attacks.Last week he called Fed Chairman Jerome Powell an "enemy" and on Tuesday tweeted that central bankers loved "watching our manufacturers struggle" to export to markets with easier monetary policy.Powell, when asked, has consistently brushed off Trump´s near-daily invective, saying Fed officials do not take politics into account when deciding on policy.Earlier this month, the Fed cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade even though unemployment remains at historic lows, amid growing concerns about the global economy.Investors overwhelmingly expect the Fed to deliver at least a 25-basis-point rate cut next month as the economy slows and the US-China trade war drags into its second year.But Dudley, who also served as the vice chairman of the Fed´s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, said in his op-ed that providing more stimulus could encourage Trump to escalate a "disastrous" trade war with China, which deteriorated sharply last week.- Not politicizing -"The central bank´s efforts to cushion the blow might not be merely ineffectual. They might actually make things worse," he wrote.Instead the Fed should clearly state that it will not cut rates to send a signal that Trump will own the risks created by his trade wars -- "including the risk of losing the next election," Dudley said.Dudley retired from his post as New York Fed president last year and is currently a senior research scholar at Princeton University.Richard Fisher, former president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said Tuesday the Fed´s moves were decided purely on the merits and were not reactions to Trump´s actions."I am convinced that they are not politicizing," he told CNBC, adding that he felt Dudley had gone "a little too far" in his opinion piece.On the other hand, Fisher warned that policymakers who bent to the will of the White House risked the scornful judgment of history.He cited the example of former Fed Chairman Arthur Burns who, was bullied into easing policy by President Richard Nixon, helping ignite runaway inflation.Burns "prostituted himself" to Nixon and became "the least respected of all former Fed chairs," Fisher said. Wed, 28 Aug 2019 00:44:17 +0500 Alternate Text
IMC profit falls 13 percent in FY19 Indus Motor Company (IMC) profit declines 13.04 percent to Rs13.71 billion for the year ended June 30, 2019 from Rs15.77 billion posted last year, a statement said. It announced final cash dividend for the year at Rs27.50/share. This was in addition to the combined interim cash dividend of Rs87.50/share. Net sales went up 13.08 percent to Rs157.99 billion as compared to Rs139.71 billion last year. However, cost of sales increased by 19.83 percent to Rs138.80 billion from Rs115.83 billion during the same period last year. The company paid Rs5.26 billion in taxes, compared to Rs7.22 billion paid last year. Wed, 28 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistani mangoes’ import possible through PTA: Tunisian envoy ISLAMABAD: Tunisian Ambassador Adel Elarbi Tuesday said signing of a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Pakistan would ensure supply of Pakistani mangoes to his country to meet the demands of its people.The Pakistani mangoes were the best in taste and aroma although the fruit was being produced in many countries, Elrabi said while speaking at the ‘Pakistan Mango Festival’ arranged by the Tunisian Mission here at a local hotel.There were different varieties of mangoes being grown in Pakistan, he added.The event was attended by members of the Tunisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, fruit importers, guest officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Municipality of Tunis and Gammarth, diplomats and Pakistani community.President of Tunisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mounir Moakhar was the chief guest, according to an embassy press release.The public reaction to the Mango Festival was overwhelming.The event, which was planned for two hours, lasted for four hours.The guests enjoyed the large variety of mango cuisines, including chilled mango juice, mango milk shake and fresh mangoes as well as assorted bakery items prepared from the fruit. Tue, 27 Aug 2019 22:13:57 +0500 Alternate Text
Exports of textile articles increase by 3.16 percent in July: SBP ISLAMABAD: The exports of textile articles from the country grew by 3.16 percent during the first month of current financial year 2019-20 as compared to the corresponding month of last year.During the month of July, 2019, the export of textile and its articles was recorded at $1233.636 million as against $1195.820 million exports recorded during the same month of last year, showing growth of 3.16 percent, according to the data issued by the State Bank of Pakistan.The commodities that contributed in growth, carpets and other textile floor coverings, export of which grew from $6.414 million last year to $6.978 million during the period under review, showing growth of 8.79 percent.The exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories (knitted or crocheted) grew by 6.57 percent from $258.274 million to $275.258 million while the exports of articles of apparel or clothing accessories (not knitted or crocheted) also increase by 11.08 percent from $218.072 million to $242.245 million.During the period under review, the export of knitted or crocheted fabrics increased by 116 percent from $1.787 million to $3.860 million whereas the export of other made-up textile articles increased by 3.85 percent from $337.453 million to $350.465 million, the data revealed.The export of man-made filaments increased by 22.89 percent from $2.223 million to $2.732 million while the exports of man-made staple fibers also increased by 8.08 percent from $24.972 million to $26.992 million.Meanwhile, the export of other vegetable textile fibers (paper yarn etc) increased by 145.28 percent from $0.371 million to $0.910 million, the data added.On the other hand, the commodities that contributed in negative growth included silk, exports of which declined by 44 percent from $0.525 million to $0.294 million while the export of wool, fine or coarse animal hair, horse hair yarn also decreased by 80 percent from $0.501 million to $0.100 million.During first month of current financial year, the exports cotton dipped by 2.99 percent from $327.557 million to $317.743 million while the exports of wadding, felt and non-woven, special yarn, twine also decreased by 97.11 percent, from $14.588 million to $1.880 million, the data revealed. Tue, 27 Aug 2019 16:22:28 +0500 Alternate Text
China’s yuan sinks to lowest in 11 years amid trade tension Shanghai: China’s currency on Monday slid to its lowest point in more than 11 years as concerns over the US trade war and the potential for global recession weighed on markets.The onshore yuan fell to 7.1487 to the US dollar, its weakest point since early 2008, in Asian trading.Global economic tensions have intensified in recent days with the US and China raising tariffs on each other’s imports, and President Donald Trump calling on US businesses to pull out of China.The yuan is not freely convertible and the Chinese government limits its movement against the dollar to a two percent range on either side of a figure that the central bank sets each day to reflect market trends and control volatility.The People’s Bank of China has set that rate steadily weaker in recent weeks and set it on Monday at 7.057 to the dollar.Allowing the yuan to depreciate makes Chinese exports cheaper and offsets some of the burden of punitive US tariffs.The yuan breached the key 7.0 threshold against the dollar earlier in August, days after the US announced plans to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese imports from September 1.The plunge past 7.0 prompted Washington to officially brand Beijing a "currency manipulator".China’s central bank has "resolutely opposed" the label. Mon, 26 Aug 2019 11:51:32 +0500 Alternate Text
Dollar to PKR, USD to PKR Rates in Pakistan Today, Open Market Exchange Rates, 24 August 2019 The buying rate of the US dollar in the open market was Rs 157.70 while the selling rate of USD was Rs 158.20 in Pakistan.Below you can see the rates of the last seven days for the US dollar compared to the Pakistani Rupee.DateSymbolBuyingSelling23 August, 2019USD to PKR157.70158.2022 August, 2019USD to PKR158.35158.8521 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.0020 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.0019 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.0017 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.5016 August, 2019USD to PKR158.80159.80Check UK Pound to Pakistani Rupee Rates Here Sat, 24 Aug 2019 10:02:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar (USD), UK Pound (GBP), Saudi Riyal (SAR), UAE Dirham (AED), 23 August 2019 Following were the closing rates of the US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in Pakistan on the date of August 23, 2019. The above information is according to the Forex Association of Pakistan.Check here to see the closing currency exchange rates of August 22, 2019. Fri, 23 Aug 2019 16:51:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistan's economic policy achieves remarkable results: Sina Finance BEIJING: Pakistan’s economic policy adopted by the present government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan during the last one year, has achieved remarkable results, Sina Finance, one of the largest financial news portals in China reported on Friday.Recently, the Pakistani government released the first year of the government's report on the results of the administration.The report shows that the Pakistani economy has emerged from the crisis in the past year and has gradually stabilized, it added.The positive trend of the economic policy that reflects the stability of the Pakistani government is significant.Among them, the improvement of business environment, the increase of taxation scale, the adjustment of development focus and the optimization of foreign-related cooperation are its outstanding features.The positive changes in the above-mentioned strong base have laid a relatively reliable foundation for the development of Pakistan in the next stage.The optimization of the business environment is conducive to expanding the attraction of foreign investment.The report pointed out that in the past year, the Pakistani government's main investment department responsible for attracting foreign investment has approved the establishment of 11 special economic zones, which are distributed in the four provinces of the country.In addition, in order to improve the ease of doing business, Pakistan has also implemented a series of reform measures.Taking the establishment of a company as an example, the new company registration can be completed within one working day, the power supply can be in place within three months to four months, and the new building construction permit can be approved within about three months.In the course of business, taxes, social security, and pension payments can be paid online.At the same time, the government has set up a 24-hour hotline to answer questions and provide convenience for investors.Under the influence of a series of positive measures, the ranking of the Bar Business Convenience Index has steadily increased from 147 to 136.The increase in the size of the tax will help alleviate the fiscal deficit.The report shows that the government's series of tax reforms implemented in the past year have achieved remarkable results.In July this year, the total domestic tax revenue of Pakistan was 234 billion rupees (about 1.45 billion US dollars), an increase of 60% year-on-year, and basically reached the target of 236 billion rupees.The expansion of tax revenue is inseparable from the increase in taxpayers.In the fiscal year of 2018/2019, the number of new taxpayers in Pakistan increased by 350,000, an increase of 137% over the previous fiscal year, indicating that the tax evasion problem that has long plagued Pakistan has been accelerated.As long as this positive momentum is maintained, the situation of the Pakistani fiscal deficit will gradually ease.The report pointed out that in the case of financial difficulties, the total size of development expenditure is limited.In order to maximize the utility of limited resources, the Pakistani government has placed more emphasis on backwardness and delinquency in the development of key choices to achieve a balanced development between regions.Among them, the province with the lowest level of development has received the largest share of public sector development funds totaling Rs 700 crore.In addition to focusing on short-boarding in regional distribution, the Pakistani government also focuses on cultivating new economic growth poles in high-potential areas in the use of development funds.It has established a technical and knowledge-intensive economic development working group and allocated Rs 14 billion as an incubation fund for 27 projects.By focusing limited development funds on key areas, the situation of horizontal and unbalanced economic development in Pakistan is improving.The report pointed out that an important achievement of the Pakistani government in the past year has been the expansion of the connotation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which further includes market access and industrial development in addition to traditional priorities such as energy project infrastructure construction.New areas such as poverty alleviation through the people's livelihood, agricultural modernization, and the marine economy have enabled the corridor to keep pace with the times and better meet the needs of Pakistan's economic development.In the future, as the economic measures of the economy will continue to be effective and the economic fundamentals will stabilize, Pakistan will gradually increase the priority of development and construction in economic policies.By then, the construction of large-scale infrastructure projects under the corridor will accelerate. Fri, 23 Aug 2019 11:52:37 +0500 Alternate Text
Dollar to PKR, USD to PKR Rates in Pakistan Today, Open Market Exchange Rates, 23 August 2019 The buying rate of the US dollar in the open market was Rs 157.70 while the selling rate of USD was Rs 158.20 in Pakistan.Below you can see the rates of the last seven days for the US dollar compared to the Pakistani Rupee.DateSymbolBuyingSelling22 August, 2019USD to PKR158.35158.8521 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.0020 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.0019 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.0017 August, 2019USD to PKR158.50159.5016 August, 2019USD to PKR158.80159.8009 August, 2019USD to PKR158.00159.90Check UK Pound to Pakistani Rupee Rates Here Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:00:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar (USD), UK Pound (GBP), Saudi Riyal (SAR), UAE Dirham (AED), 22 August 2019 Following were the closing rates of the US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in Pakistan on the date of August 22, 2019. The above information is according to the Forex Association of Pakistan.Check here to see the closing currency exchange rates of August 21, 2019. Thu, 22 Aug 2019 16:35:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Dollar to PKR, USD to PKR Rates in Pakistan Today, Open Market Exchange Rates, 22 August 2019 The buying rate of the US dollar in the open market was Rs 158.35 while the selling rate of USD was Rs 158.85 in Pakistan.Below you can see the rates of the last seven days for the US dollar compared to the Pakistani Rupee. Check UK Pound to Pakistani Rupee Rates Here Thu, 22 Aug 2019 10:00:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Comment Somebody had to take China on. This is something that had to be done. The only difference is I am doing it.Donald Trump, US President Thu, 22 Aug 2019 08:28:37 +0500 Alternate Text
Fed will remain flexible, rates not on 'preset course': minutes WASHINGTON: The US Federal Reserve will remain flexible and interest rates will not be on a "preset course" despite persistent risks from trade uncertainty and weak global growth, the central bank said Wednesday.Although the minutes of the Fed´s policy meeting late last month showed officials were primarily focused on the risks to the US economy, amid fears about the blowback from President Donald Trump´s trade war with Beijing, they stressed that they would keep their options open on their next steps.After the Fed cut the benchmark interest rate for the first time in more than a decade, the fact that officials highlighted the importance of maintaining "optionality" may unsettle financial markets that have been counting on another rate cut in September.After four rate increases last year -- the last one in December -- the Fed has been under relentless pressure from Trump to reverse course and slash rates to juice the economy.While they made no mention of Trump´s constant attacks on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, officials said they would be "guided by incoming information and its implications for the economic outlook" and avoid "any appearance of following a preset course," according to the minutes of the Fed´s July 30-31 policy meeting.The July rate cut was viewed as "part of a recalibration... or mid-cycle adjustment" and, given the uncertainty surrounding the outlook, the officials "highlighted the need for policymakers to remain flexible and focused on the implications of incoming data for the outlook."However, the minutes showed the central bankers are not unified, with several opposed to cutting rates while a couple favored a bigger cut."The July minutes underscore why Fed Chairman Jay Powell had such a hard time explaining the Fed´s decision to cut rates; the vote cleared by an even smaller majority than depicted in the statement; they had two extremes fighting against each other," economist Diane Swonk of Grant Thornton said in an analysis.- Uncertainty persists -Continuing trade frictions have increased uncertainty and caused businesses to hold off on investments, at a time when China´s economy is slowing and Europe is facing the uncertainty of Brexit, and those risks are expected to persist, the Fed said.The "continued weakness in global economic growth and ongoing trade tensions had the potential to slow US economic activity," the Fed cautioned.Powell acknowledged at his news conference on July 31 that the rate cut was meant as insurance "against downside risks from weak global growth and trade policy uncertainty, to help offset the effects these factors are having on the economy."And the minutes said officials were "mindful" that trade tensions were far from settled and that trade uncertainties could intensify again, while continued weakness in the global economy "remained a significant downside risk."And with inflation stubbornly weak, a slowing US economy would further delay a sustained return of inflation to the two percent objective, the report said.Despite the risks to the outlook, and the fact that Fed officials expect US growth to slow in the second half of the year, they "continued to view a sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the committee´s symmetric two percent objective as the most likely outcomes."In fact a rate cut when the economy is showing solid, albeit slower, growth and unemployment is near historic lows, runs counter to conventional thinking. Thu, 22 Aug 2019 02:33:01 +0500 Alternate Text