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IMF chief Georgieva tells women: Don´t accept less! WASHINGTON: Women around the world take on far more unpaid work than men but what they should never do is agree to a lower wage in the workplace, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday.She recounted her experience early in her career during the Soviet era, saying she did not know at the time she could bargain for better conditions.To women of today she said: "Do not accept to be less paid than your colleague men, ever!"The International Monetary Fund released a report on Tuesday which found that unpaid work "is a substantial part of economic activity that goes unmeasured and is shouldered disproportionally by women."In fact, women do two hours more of unpaid work than men every day and even "in the most egalitarian countries in the world, women do at least 20 percent more unpaid work than men," notably chores around the home, the report said.To address that issue, governments must invest in infrastructure, to provide water and electricity and internet access, but also provide services such as childcare and elder care, and improve education opportunities, to help women "replace unpaid work with paid work."In more advanced economies, that means "implementing family-friendly policies such as parental leave and taxation of secondary earners, enhancing the efficiency of labor markets, and promoting flexible work arrangements."But asked by one young woman how to achieve professional success, Georgieva offered no easy solutions:"You have to be competent and to be more confident."She also said quotas for hiring women in private firms were not a perfect solution "but it´s pragmatic" since it could provide a faster path to gender equity in the workplace. Otherwise it will take a "very, very long time." Wed, 16 Oct 2019 02:46:56 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks boosted by good earnings day NEW YORK: -Wall Street stocks surged Tuesday following a batch of mostly good corporate earnings while investors shrugged off a downcast IMF forecast that emphasized the drag from trade wars.Shares of Dow components JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson and United Healthcare rocketed higher following strong earnings announcements.The strong reports more than made up for a disappointing release from Goldman Sachs and raised hopes that investors have underestimated the coming earnings period.The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.9 percent to 27,024.80.The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.0 percent to 2,995.68, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.2 percent to 8,148.71.Expectations have been tepid for the third-quarter earnings season, which began in earnest on Tuesday. Companies in the S&P 500 were projected to report a 4.6 percent drop in earnings, according to FactSet."The rally is based on earnings," said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities. "If this keeps up we should be able to hit new records very shortly."The gains came despite a fresh International Monetary Fund report that lowered the 2019 and 2020 growth forecasts and warned of a "precarious" outlook if trade conflicts continue to fester.JPMorgan jumped 3.0 percent after reporting profits of $9.1 billion, up 8.4 percent from the year-ago period in results that topped analyst expectations. Executives pointed to consumer lending businesses as especially strong.Johnson & Johnson advanced 1.6 percent as it lifted its full-year forecasts and reported quarterly profits of $4.8 billion, up 22.9 percent. The results helped reassure investors as the health giant contends with numerous high-profile product lawsuits.General Motors climbed 2.1 percent on signs the company may be close to a deal with the United Auto Workers to end a strike that has entered its fifth week.Several large technology companies also climbed, with Amazon, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet winning about two percent or more. Wed, 16 Oct 2019 01:37:14 +0500 Alternate Text
Google in smartphone push with motion-sensing Pixel 4 NEW YORK: Google stepped up its smartphone ambitions Tuesday with updated Pixel handsets, touting a move toward computing with a simple hand wave or spoken command.Pixel 4 models boasting features including gesture and face recognition debuted at a "Made by Google" event showcasing new hardware infused with artificial intelligence to respond to motion and voice.The Pixel 4 handset with a 5.7-inch display has a starting price of $799 in the United States and will be available globally starting October 24. A larger 6.3-inch Pixel XL will start at $899.The new devices aim to ramp up Google´s challenge in the premium smartphone segment dominated by Samsung and Apple, which recently unveiled an iPhone 11 starting at $699.Google also updated its Nest smart home cameras and speakers and announced its streaming game service Stadia would launch November 19.While Pixel smartphones have struggled for traction in the smartphone market, they provide an opportunity to showcase the Android operating system´s capabilities and the Google Assistant digital aide.Pixel 4 features improved camera capabilities, using artificial intelligence to boost optical zoom and take better photos taken after dark, with a feature devoted to capturing images of the heavens at night.Motion-sensing technology that Google has been working on for some time is built into Pixel 4 and will allow for some basic controls, such as silencing alarms or skipping to the next song, by holding up or waving hands. The handsets also include a "face unlock" feature similar to those on iPhones and other devices.Amid antitrust reviews on both sides of the Atlantic over its online dominance, Google is seeking to diversify its business by adding more devices and services.- Stadia ready to go -The California-based internet titan will launch Stadia streaming game service on November 19, hoping to send console-quality play soaring into the cloud.Stadia allows video game play on any internet-connected device, eliminating the need for game consoles.Google updated products across its hardware line, from Nest smart home devices to Chromebook laptops and wireless ear buds.A common theme was making it more natural to use Google to tap into the internet and digital assistant capabilities naturally with voice or gestures at any time.The notion of online services and machine smarts being all around and always ready to serve people instead of needing them to tap at smartphones or keyboards is referred to as "ambient computing.""Our vision for ambient computing is to create a single, consistent experience anywhere you go," said Rick Osterloh, head of Google´s hardware division.Google also built digital assistant capabilities into smart home products from its Nest unit in a move that shrewdly extends its reach, according to Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi."I really felt the bigger message today was about ambient computing and how the different products work together to highlight Google´s AI," Milanesi said.Google spotlighted product design and user privacy at the event, hitting on themes stressed by Apple as well as Microsoft, the analyst added.- Building in privacy -Google emphasized privacy enhancements in its line of products, which kept more personal data and computing functions on devices instead of sending it to datacenters in the cloud."Privacy is built in," Google director of product management Sabrina Ellis said while introducing Pixel 4."New Google Assistant can respond to day-to-day requests on-device."Data processed on Pixel 4 handsets is "never saved or shared with other Google services," she added.The smartphones still need to reach into the cloud for requests such as checking whether flights are delayed or commute traffic troubled.Pixel 4 users will be able to tell their devices to delete anything said to it that day or week, according to Ellis. A chip in the handset is also designed as a secure digital vault for personal data."More and more of Google´s story today is about on-device AI capabilities... it opens lots of possibilities for faster performance and better privacy," Technalysis Research chief analyst Bob O´Donnell said in a tweet.Google also said it is ramping up investments in renewable energy, aiming to offset all the power required to make its hardware with green power. Wed, 16 Oct 2019 00:50:09 +0500 Alternate Text
Russia, Saudi Arabia sign key oil deal RIYADH: Energy giants Saudi Arabia and Russia on Monday sealed a key oil deal to boost cooperation among the two countries, as visiting President Vladimir Putin sought to defuse political tensions in the the region.The energy superpowers inked  some 20 contracts and agreements worth billions of dollars on aerospace, culture, health, advanced technology and agriculture.Key among the deals was the agreement to bolster cooperation among the so-called OPEC+ countries -- the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus 10 non-members of the cartel.Moscow is not a member of OPEC, but it has worked closely with the group to limit supply and push up prices after a 2014 slump that wreaked havoc on the economies of Russia and cartel heavyweight Saudi Arabia.Monday´s deal seeks to "reinforce cooperation ... and strengthen oil market stability", Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at the signing ceremony.Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters that Putin and Saudi officials also discussed "military and technical cooperation".- Role of 'peacemaker' -On Monday, Putin said "Russia attaches particular importance to the development of friendly, and mutually beneficial ties with Saudi Arabia".King Salman told Putin: "We look forward to working with Your Excellency on everything that will bring security, stability and peace, confront extremism and terrorism and promote economic growth."Moscow and Riyadh, a traditional US ally, have made a striking rapprochement in recent years, marked in particular by King Salman´s first visit to Russia in October 2017.A year later, when Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was under fire over the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Putin went out of his way to shake his hand at a G20 summit, to much comment.In an interview with Arabic-language television channels ahead of his visit, Putin praised his good relations with the Saudi royals."We will absolutely work with Saudi Arabia and our other partners and friends in the Arab world... to reduce to zero any attempt to destabilise the oil market," he said.Russian political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov said Moscow, with its older ties to Iran and new links with Saudi Arabia, could "play the role of peacemaker" as tensions soar between Tehran and Riyadh.These tensions spiked last month after the attacks on Saudi oil facilities that halved the kingdom´s crude output and set oil markets alight.Yemen´s Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed responsibility. But US officials blamed Tehran, charging that the rebels did not have the range or sophistication to target the facilities.Tehran has denied involvement and warned of "total war" in the event of any attack on its territory.- Syria war -Russia has sought to keep a foot in both camps, offering missiles to Riyadh to defend itself, while at the same time warning against "hasty conclusions" regarding Iran´s alleged involvement.Last week, an Iranian tanker was hit in suspected missile strikes off the coast of Saudi Arabia, sparking fresh fears of war.Putin held talks with the crown prince late Monday do discuss "bilateral cooperation" and developments in Syria and Yemen.Russia and Iran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the Saudis support the opposition seeking his ouster.But "it is important for Russia that an Arab country participates in the political settlement in Syria", said Lukyanov.For now "only three non-Arab countries" -- Turkey, Russia and Iran -- are hosting talks, the analyst added.After Saudi Arabia, Putin will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to meet the powerful crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Tue, 15 Oct 2019 01:28:33 +0500 Alternate Text
US, China trade talks continue this week: Mnuchin WASHINGTON: US and Chinese officials will hold talks by phone this week and next as they work to finalize the "phase one" trade deal announced last week, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.President Donald Trump, beset with an impeachment inquiry and criticism over his foreign policy, on Friday hailed the breakthrough agreement, but said it would take several weeks to finalize the details before he signs a pact with Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month.There are few specifics, nor does the deal roll back the tariffs already imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars in trade between the world's two dominant economic powers.But Mnuchin indicated the next round of new tariffs due to hit consumers on December 15 could be scrapped once the deal is signed.He pushed back on the skepticism about the agreement in an appearance on CNBC."There is a fundamental agreement in principle," he said. "There are still some issues that need to be worked out in wording but I would say we have every expectation that phase one will close."So I would describe phase one as quite substantial."He said deputy-level officials will hold discussions by telephone this week, while he and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will have a call with China´s trade envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, next week.The senior officials will then meet in Santiago, Chile, on the sidelines of the APEC ministerial meeting, before the leaders summit where Trump and Xi are expected to sign the pact.The initial deal, which finally breaks an 18-month trade spat, included a massive increase in China's purchases of US farm products, and also covers intellectual property, financial services and currencies.Mnuchin also said the sides had agreed on "real enforcement mechanisms" in case further disagreements arise between Washington and Beijing over the terms of the deal. Mon, 14 Oct 2019 19:21:02 +0500 Alternate Text
British Pakistani entrepreneur wins Asian Business Award LONDON: British Pakistani businessman and CPIC founding member Zeeshan Shah was “International Entrepreneur of the year 2019” at the annual Asian Business Awards.In a star-studded event for the Asian Business Awards here, British professionals and business heavyweights of Pakistani, Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi origin were recognised for their outstanding achievements. The ultimate award and highest accolade of the evening was given to British Pakistani serial-entrepreneur and former Apprentice star Zeeshaan Shah. The citation read that Zeeshaan Shah is a self-made entrepreneur who came to the UK nine years ago with almost nothing in his pocket after growing up in Karachi. It said that Shah now owns multi-million pound businesses with offices in Karachi, Gwadar, Islamabad, Dubai, London and New York with over 400 employees and projects under development in excess of $500 million USD. The organisers said that the special award of “The International Entrepreneur of the Year” has been started to recognise “a true giant of the business world”. The host of the evening said: “There are only a small number of men and women who can even qualify for this prestigious award. The individual chosen this year has excelled in an exceptionally challenging global business environment and is well known in the business community here at home and abroad. Zeeshan Shah is an international acclaimed CEO and is someone we are deeply honored to recognise on this platform.”Commenting on the win, Zeeshan Shah said it was an absolute honour for him to be recognised with the top award of the evening alongside the heavyweights of British Asian business society. “I came to London nine years ago with £500 in my pocket and it is unbelievable to be standing here today and winning this accolade. As a British-Pakistani representing Pakistan on the highest level of business in British society is an honour for me.“Pakistanis are amongst the most intelligent people in the world if we apply our minds positively. I hope my victory as International Entrepreneur of the Year can inspire more Pakistanis to rise to the pinnacle of their chosen fields and understand what potential we have as a nation both in Pakistan and globally.”Shah said that his firm is investing heavily in Gwadar and that fact has been acknowledged at the international stage as more and more investors are looking to spend money in the gateway city. Sun, 13 Oct 2019 18:01:46 +0500 Alternate Text
Economic reforms have gradually started bearing results: Dr Hafeez Shaikh ISLAMABAD: Owing to the tough economic reforms introduced by the government, twin deficits including current account and fiscal deficit have significantly reduced, imports increased where as exports decreased during first quarter of financial year 2019-20.This was stated by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh while addressing a press conference here on Saturday.The Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zadi and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were also present.The Adviser said that those economic reforms have gradually started bearing the results and all the macro-economic indicators showed resilience during first quarter of current financial year.He said that owing to these reforms, the current account deficit shrank by 35 percent as it came down from $9 billion to $5.7 billion in first quarter of financial year 2019-20.The fiscal deficit also witnessed 35 percent reduction in first-three months of current financial year due to the steps taken by the government and it also came down from Rs 738 million to Rs 436 billion, he added.Hafeez Shaikh said that revenue collection had witnessed about 16 percent growth during the period under review, adding that the government had not borrowed any money from the State Bank of Pakistan nor released any supplementary grant in order to ensure strict adherence of fiscal discipline.The non-revenue income also registered about 40 percent growth compared to the same period of last year and achieved Rs 406 billion, adding that non-revenue income was expected to reach at Rs1,600 billion as against the set targets of Rs1,200 billion.Dr Shaikh said that billions of dollars were wasted in past in order to artificially keeping the exchange rates stable.He said that the present government had introduced market based exchange rates and due to which it was stable from last three months and foreign reserves had witnessed significant increase.The net portfolio investment was increased by $340 million which had also help in restoring the confidence of foreign investors, he told and added that exports which were stagnant from last 5 years had also started growth.He said that overseas employment witnessed increase of over 150,000, as during last year from January-August, about 224,000 Pakistanis went abroad as against the 373,000 during current year.He said that the investors' confidence were also restored in stock market, as it had showed 22 percent growth and the index had reached to 34,000 points.Dr Shaikh said all the measures that have been introduced by the government aiming at to bring the prosperity and welfare in the life of a common man and the results of all these measures would ultimately benefit the common man in the country.Replying to a question, he said that the government has also made appropriate releases for the developmental projects under PSDP and released extra funds as compared to last year.To another question, he said that small and medium enterprises sectors was vital for economic development of the country, adding that the government would introduce SME policy during next two weeks and announce facilities for small and medium enterprises.Country to come out of FATF gray list soonRegarding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Adviser said that all the national institutions were making their all possible efforts for making the full compliance of FATF as it was in the larger interest of country.He said that measures have been taken to make full compliance of all the points of FATF and most of those have already done and the country was determined to come out form the gray list as soon as possible.Recalling the economic challenges, Dr Hafeez said that when the government assumed powers, the country was passing through crucial economic challenges.The national debt swelled to Rs30,000 billion and it was facing the historic current account deficit with unstable exchange rates, he added.In such a time, the government had introduced the economic reforms agenda and under its reforms measures, the defense expenditures were freezed, expenses of the civil government cut down by Rs 40 billion and expenditures of the Prime Minister Office slashed down, he added.Besides, he said that the government entered into agreements with friendly countries and raised its foreign exchange reserves up to $7 billion for strengthening its foreign exchange reserves.He said that other measures took to enhance revenues and about 800,000 new taxpayers were brought under the tax compliance net.Meanwhile, the government had also introduced measures for local industry to enhance the local exports and provide special subsidy on electricity and gas that would help in industrial growth, producing the export surplus and help in job creation, he added.'Negotiations with UAE for identification of tax -payers'Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman FBR informed that fruitful negotiations with the Ministry of Finance of UAE was held that would help in identification of potential tax payers in the country.He informed that negotiations with traders were in progress, adding that so far over 40 meeting had taken place and all the issues would be addressed amicably. Sat, 12 Oct 2019 18:01:00 +0500 Alternate Text
More companies back away from Facebook´s Libra coin SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook´s digital currency alliance lost more companies on Friday amid heavy criticism from regulators around the world on the planned Libra global cryptocurrency.Credit card giants Visa and Mastercard, online marketplace eBay and digital payments firm Stripe each announced they had changed their minds about being founding members of the Libra Association assembled to promote the digital currency."Mastercard has decided it will not become a member of the Libra Association at this time," the company said in an emailed statement."We remain focused on our strategy and our own significant efforts to enable financial inclusion around the world. We believe there are potential benefits in such initiatives and will continue to monitor the Libra effort."A Visa spokesperson offered a similar statement, indicating the company was dropping out of the alliance but could rejoin in the future."We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the association´s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations," Visa said.Silicon Valley-based eBay said: "We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member."Stripe also said it will follow the progress of Libra and remain open to working with the association at a later date."Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world," Stripe said. "Libra has this potential."The moves come after US senators sent letters to several financial firms noting that they could face "a high level of scrutiny from regulators" if they participated in the new currency plan.Last week, digital payments firm PayPal said it was quitting the alliance of companies and organizations promoting Libra.The Libra Association did not immediately return a request for comment.The move comes with Facebook´s planned digital coin Libra facing heavy criticism from regulators and lawmakers in the United States and Europe.Facebook executives have claimed the new digital coin could help lower costs for global money transfers and help those without access to the banking system.French economy and finance minister Bruno Le Maire has warned that under current circumstances, Libra posed a threat to the "monetary sovereignty" of governments and could not be authorized in Europe.Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify October 23 hearing in the US House of Representatives on the Libra plan. Sat, 12 Oct 2019 05:09:19 +0500 Alternate Text
US-China trade talks ´going very well´: Trump WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Thursday hinted at progress in his high-stakes trade battle with China, saying talks with Beijing´s envoy had gone well.The remarks added to an atmosphere that had grown warmer during the day after Trump announced he would grant an audience at the White House to top Chinese trade envoy Liu He."I will say I think it´s going really well," Trump told reporters, offering no details. "We had a very, very good negotiation with China."The new signs of comity were an abrupt improvement after a week in which Washington blitzed Beijing with aggressive policy measures and talks appeared headed for a dead end, just days before US duties on $250 billion in Chinese imports are due to rise.Wall Street closed higher, with investors buoyed by hopes that at least escalation might be averted even if an overarching resolution was beyond reach.But pressure on the two sides to defuse the confrontation has mounted in recent weeks as signs have grown increasingly clear the trade war -- now more than a year old -- poses a mounting danger to the global economy.China this year balked at Trump´s demands for a profound transformation to the way it manages its economy and analysts say Beijing is unlikely to adopt economic reforms that could undermine the Communist Party´s political power.Speculation has instead focused on the possibility the two sides will seek to seal an incremental deal this week as a confidence-building measure.Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, told reporters on Thursday he had spoken with both sides and that an agreement on currency could emerge this week."I think that could lead to a decision by the US administration not to put forward a tariff rate hike on October 15," he said.The US Treasury in August branded China a currency manipulator, accusing Beijing of deliberately weakening the RMB to gain an unfair trade advantages, making good on a Trump campaign pledge.Media reports early in the week had also said the Chinese side was preparing an offer that falls short of addressing Trump´s core grievances but would increase purchases of US farm exports and make smaller concessions in return for a pause in tariff increases.- ´More and more friction´ -Both sides were due to dine together on Thursday evening. Still, there was no hiding the recent sharp deterioration in relations.Just since Monday, Washington has imposed visa restrictions on senior Chinese officials and blacklisted more than two dozen Chinese firms, accusing them of persecuting ethnic Uighur Muslims in China´s western Xinjiang region.The measures have outraged Beijing and in the process penalized major players in the artificial intelligence sector, an area where the United States and China are intense rivals.Trump has both accused China of dragging its feet in the talks and said his economic pressure leaves Beijing with little choice but to seek a bargain.But his attitude toward the process is subject to the churning pressures now competing for his attention.He faces an intensifying impeachment probe by Democrats and stinging bipartisan criticism for allowing a Turkish assault on Washington´s Kurdish partners to go forward by pulling American forces away from the border in northeast Syria.Washington accuses China of attempting to dominate global industry through massive state intervention in markets, theft of intellectual property, hacking and subsidies, accusations shared by Europe and Japan.And, while the mood had improved on Thursday, US officials are reportedly studying ways other than tariffs that they can increase pressure on Beijing to overcome its reluctance to address these complaints.The New York Times said Thursday that coercive measures under consideration included limiting Chinese companies´ access to capital markets as well as exposing Chinese companies to greater criminal liability under US law, heightened regulatory scrutiny and blocking some US pension investments in China.Meanwhile, US central bankers and others believe the trade war is raising the chances the United States could slip into recession."We all know the next round of tariffs is going to hurt the United States as much or more than China," Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, told AFP."I think neither side will admit it but I think they´re both under pressure to find a way to forestall the next set of tariff increases," she said."Every month that these trade talks continue, there´s more and more friction in the relationship." Fri, 11 Oct 2019 03:43:48 +0500 Alternate Text
All Pakistan Traders Association call for protest on Oct 28-29 as talks with FBR fail APTA talks wit FBR fail — File photoISLAMABAD: The talks between All Pakistan Traders Association and Federal Bureau of Revenue failed on Wednesday, following which the traders called for a shutter down protest on October 28 and 29.According to APTA President Ajmal Baloch, that the prerequisite of the Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) for purchase is unacceptable, adding that the government may go ahead with whatever action they want.The traders’ fraternity gathered earlier in the day outside the office of the FBR to protest.The members of the organisation said that they are paying taxes but are against the documentation.Earlier this month, Shabbar Zaidi said the condition of CNIC for purchase of over Rs50,000 could be relaxed for one month, but it will never be withdrawn. Wed, 09 Oct 2019 21:48:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Asian Development Bank says will provide $2.5 billion financing to Pakistan ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $2.5 billion in approved financing to Pakistan in 2019, it said in a tweet on Wednesday.“ADB will provide $2.5 billion in approved financing to Pakistan in 2019, and recently approved Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) 2020-2022 will increase average lending to $2.4 billion a year - a record increase over the $1.4 billion average from 2015 to 2018," the bank said.In addition, ADB will leverage lending through the mobilization of co-financing and funding from other sources, including regional concessional resources.The new COBP will support Pakistan’s development goals and complement efforts by other development partners, it added. Wed, 09 Oct 2019 19:50:38 +0500 Alternate Text
Trade wars lose US its competitiveness top spot: WEF GENEVA: The United States fell to second place behind Singapore in the World Economic Forum´s flagship Global Competitiveness Report, with the slippage linked in part to President Donald Trump´s trade wars.The Forum, organisers of the glitzy annual gathering of business and political elite in Davos, have released an annual competitiveness report since 1979 that assesses which economies are well placed to see productivity and long-term growth.While the report noted that the US "remains an innovation powerhouse" and the world´s second most competitive economy, some trouble signs have emerged, the Forum said."There are no two ways (about) it. It is important to ensure the countries are being open to trade," said Saadia Zahidi, a Forum managing director, when asked to comment on the impact of the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.She noted the lack of "hard data" on the impact of US tariffs imposed on several of its main economic partners, as the set of products impacted remains limited compared to overall trade.But, she said, "the sentiment" surrounding investing in the US "has been going down," she told reporters in Geneva."That will end up impacting long-term investment; that will end up impacting how decision makers are thinking; that will end up impacting the view of non-American business leaders (of) the United States. So it does matter in the long-term," she added.The Forum´s competitiveness report relies in part of executive surveys, in addition to hard economic data.Zahidi said that the US had also fallen in the rankings because healthy life expectancy in the country was now lower than in China.In data published last year, the World Health Organization said that a newborn in China could expect 68.7 years of healthy living, compared to 68.5 for American newborns.- Singapore surge -The report measures competitiveness on a scale of zero to 100 based on factors that include infrastructure, health, the labour market, the financial system, quality of public institutions and economic openness.Singapore scored 84.8 out of 100, but the Forum noted that the country had benefited from trade diversion through its ports triggered by the tariff battles between the world´s top economies.At 83.7 the US slipped from a score of 85.6 in 2018.Hong Kong rose four spots to claim third place with a score of 83.1, but the Forum said the data used in the report was collected before waves of pro-democracy protests began shaking the financial hub.The Netherlands finished fourth -- up two slots from last year -- while Switzerland came in fifth place. Wed, 09 Oct 2019 06:35:02 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks tumble as hopes dim for latest trade talks NEW YORK: wall Street stocks tumbled Tuesday as heightening tensions between Beijing and Washington dimmed hopes for much-anticipated trade talks later in the week.US markets were in the red the entire session after the Commerce Department late Monday announced new restrictions on 28 Chinese entities over human rights violations, drawing an angry rebuttal from China.Stocks took another leg lower during the afternoon after the US State Department announced new visa restrictions Chinese government and Communist Party officials alleged to have persecuted Muslims in China.The moves come ahead of major high-level trade talks between the United States and China that are set to begin on Thursday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 26,164.04, down 1.2 percent.The broad-based S&P 500 slumped 1.6 percent, closing at 2,893.06, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 1.7 percent to 7,823.78.Besides the new US sanctions, there were also fresh reports citing unnamed Trump administration officials that the White House is mulling new measures to curtail US investment in China."It´s not a good sign to see these type of measures being put in place just before the trade negotiation resumes," said Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management."The market is skeptical that anything good can come out of the negotiations this week."Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell offered a fairly upbeat appraisal of the US economy, saying policymakers still "continue to see a sustained expansion" and that the outlook on jobs and inflation are "favorable."Powell´s remarks suggest the case for further cuts to the Fed´s benchmark lending rates could be weakening, with employment data now showing the US jobless rate fell to its lowest level in 50 years in September.However, futures markets overwhelmingly continue to expect the Fed to cut interest rates later this month. Wed, 09 Oct 2019 02:28:07 +0500 Alternate Text
PM Imran meets top executives of Chinese conglomerates BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday held meetings with top officials of Chinese companies who expressed keen interest in investing in various sectors in Pakistan. The prime minister arrived in Beijing earlier today on a two-day official visit on the invitation of Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang.PM Imran is scheduled to have bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. A number of agreements/MoUs are expected to be signed at a ceremony to be witnessed by the two prime ministers, the Foreign Office said in a statement. China Gezhouba GroupChairman China Gezhouba Group, Lyu Zexiang called on PM Imran Khan and expressed keen interest in exploring new business avenues in the country especially in energy sector.Founded in 1970, the China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), is one of the most competitive listed companies with very strong financing capabilities. Orient Holdings GroupChairman of Board, Orient Holdings Group Limited Jiang Xueming met with the premier along with a high-level delegation in Beijing.Orient Holdings Group, a trans-regional and cross-industry stock holding investment group, has business areas involving infrastructure construction, real estate development, construction materials, chemical fibre, mining, e-commerce, new materials and intelligent manufacturing, etc.Long March Tyre CompanyCEO of Long March Tyre Company, Li Qingwen also called on the prime minister. Chaoyang New Longmarch Tyre Co. Ltd. is a member of the Lianoning Tyre Group and is one of the best tyre manufacturers.Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, SAPM Nadeem Babar and Chairman BOI Syed Zubair Haider Gillani were present during the meetings. Tue, 08 Oct 2019 12:16:00 +0500 Alternate Text
US prefers a 'big deal' with China: Trump WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Monday he would prefer to strike a comprehensive trade bargain with China, in comments days before top US and Chinese officials are due to resume trade talks in Washington.But with little sign the two sides have made progress in bridging the distance between them, speculation has mounted in recent months they may reach a deal which addresses only some of Washington´s extensive grievances."I think it´s not what we prefer at all. My inclination is to get a big deal," Trump told reporters when asked if he could accept a partial deal."We´ve come this far. We´re doing well. I would much prefer a big deal and I think that´s what we´re shooting for," he added.But he acknowledged that his preferred outcome is not certain."Can something happen? I guess. Maybe. Who knows. But I guess it´s unlikely."With eight days to go before the next round of punitive tariffs is due to hit, Beijing´s top trade envoy Liu He will meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin beginning Thursday, the White House said in a statement.- No linkage. Guaranteed. -Liu has said privately he will make a proposal that makes no commitments addressing the far-reaching reforms to Chinese industrial policy or subsides that Washington is seeking, Bloomberg reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source.Lower-level talks have been underway since last month.The discussions will focus on areas where Washington has made far-reaching demands since last year: intellectual property rights, the forced transfer of proprietary technologies, agriculture and enforcement, the White House statement said.The next round of US tariff increases is set to take effect October 15, as US duty rates on $250 billion in Chinese goods rise to 30 percent.Trump has claimed China´s weakening economy puts Beijing under pressure to make a deal.But he also has said in recent months Chinese officials are dragging their feet in hopes of continuing negotiations with another administration should Trump fail to win reelection in 2020.White House economic aide Larry Kudlow Monday denied that recent economic data showed the lingering trade war has damaged the US economy, saying the effect had been "minimum," a position most economists dispute.Unemployment in September fell to its lowest level in 50 years but US manufacturing has fallen into recession, and GDP growth is forecast to slow considerably.Trump is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry by congressional Democrats after pressuring Ukrainian authorities earlier this year to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden and son Hunter, whom Trump accuses of financial wrongdoing.Trump last week raised the stakes by openly calling on Beijing to do likewise.But Kudlow told reporters there was no connection between the trade talks and Trump´s call for China to investigate the Bidens."There´ll be no linkage," he said. "I guarantee it." Tue, 08 Oct 2019 03:58:12 +0500 Alternate Text
US, Japan ink trade agreements on farm, digital exports WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday hailed a banner day for American farmers, announcing two trade agreements with Japan that he said would deepen economic ties in agriculture and digital commerce.The trade deals, which were formally unveiled last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, come as Trump renews far more fraught negotiations later this week with China.Trump´s trade wars have since last year profoundly disrupted trade ties for US farmers, who have borne the brunt of China´s retaliation.US soybean exports to China have risen in recent weeks, however."These deals are a tremendous victory for both our nations," Trump said Monday of the new US-Japan agreements."We love our farmers and our ranchers. We have been working hard on this."Under the agreement, Japan will cut tariffs for $7 billion in US farm exports, including beef and pork, while reducing mark-ups on purchases of American wheat and barley.In return, Washington has agreed to cut US tariffs on $40 million in Japanese agricultural goods and to ease tariff rate quotas on the country´s beef, allowing Japan to compete for a greater share of the US market.In a separate agreement, US and Japanese officials have also agreed to eliminate duties on digital products like videos, music and ebooks as well as to ensure cross-border that data transfers are barrier-free.Japanese officials also said last month that Washington had promised not to impose tariffs on Japanese auto exports, a threat Trump has held over major trading partners since last year.The White House announced earlier Monday that the US-China trade talks were due to resume on Thursday, when Beijing´s top trade envoy Liu He is due to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Tue, 08 Oct 2019 01:48:33 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks end lower as market awaits trade talks NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished lower on Monday following a choppy session as the market fluctuated with shifting signals on the direction of US-China trade talks.The latest round of high-level talks are due to begin Thursday, with Beijing´s top trade envoy Liu He meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House said in a statement.Briefing.com attributed a mid-afternoon surge and subsequent swoon in stocks to news reports that first talked up progress only to subsequently emphasize the gap between the two sides."The market is still in a wait-and-see period for more clarity with respect to US-China trade talks," said Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investments."People are hoping for a swift resolution but realistically they know that most likely they will kick the can down the road because they are still too far apart on several fundamental issues."The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4 percent to 26,477.75.The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.5 percent to 2,938.74, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 percent, closing at 7,956.29.Besides trade, investors await key data on consumer prices, as well as minutes from last month´s Federal Reserve meeting. The market is also beginning to think about third-quarter earnings season, which begins this week and gets going in earnest next week.Among individual companies, General Motors fell 0.6 percent after the United Autoworkers said the two sides remain far apart on a new contract as a strike dragged into a fourth week.General Electric slipped 0.1 percent as it announced a number of changes to its retirement program to save money and reduce debt, including freezing pension plans for about 20,000 US employees. Tue, 08 Oct 2019 01:21:25 +0500 Alternate Text
Japan to import skilled manpower from Pakistan ISLAMABAD: Japan has agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Pakistan for import of thousands of skilled labour to be inducted in multiple sectors.More: PM Imran says Pakistan ready to welcome Japanese businessesWhile talking to APP, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at Embassy of Japan in Pakistan Yusuke Shindo said the MoU could be signed between the two countries next month.Shindo said that Japan has decided to open the labor market in 14 different sectors, including construction, nursing care, agriculture, manufacturing and light engineering and some other sectors.Related: 'Japan may relocate automobile industry to Pakistan'The Japanese diplomat praised Pakistani workers who are working in Japan, saying they are more skilled and working with full commitment and honesty. Mon, 07 Oct 2019 11:20:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Asia stocks mostly up on US jobs but growth, trade fears persist HONG KONG: Most markets rose in Asia Monday after a mixed US jobs report eased worries about a recession in the world´s top economy by maintained expectations the Federal Reserve will press ahead with more interest rate cuts.However, there was some nervousness after reports said China had cut back on the number of areas it is willing to discuss at this week´s top-level trade talks with the US, rekindling concerns about the chances of any agreement between the two.After a string of below-par data last week that highlighted the impact of Donald Trump´s trade war on the key manufacturing and services sectors, Friday´s much-anticipated non-farm payrolls figures showed unemployment at a 50-year low in September.But the pace of job creation was the slowest in four months, wages fell and the manufacturing workforce also shrank for the second time this year.All three main indexes on Wall Street rallied more than one percent as dealers breathed a sigh of relief that the jobs figures did not miss badly, with most still expecting another Fed rate cut at its next meeting this month."As the US unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 50 years, worries over US recession eased, but at the same time expectations for further rate cuts remain untouched," Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities, said in a commentary.Most Asian markets followed the lead from New York.Sydney rose 0.4 percent and Singapore added 0.6 percent with Seoul gaining 0.1 percent, while Wellington and Taipei each put on 0.5 percent.Tokyo went into the break 0.3 percent down as the yen strengthened on bets for another Fed cut.Hong Kong and Shanghai were closed for a public holiday.- China´s ´calculation´ -Focus turns this week to the resumption of high-level trade talks between China and the United States in Washington.However, while there has been a broad expectation the two sides are coming together in some areas owing to their economies stuttering, reports said Beijing was looking to narrow the remit of any deal.Bloomberg News reported that top negotiator Vice Premier Liu He had said he would not put on the table reforms to Chinese industrial policy or government subsidies, a key source of anger within the White House.The story said Beijing had felt its hand had been strengthened by the beginning of impeachment proceedings against Trump as well as signs of slowing in the US manufacturing sector, which could hurt the president ahead of next year´s election.Chinese officials "are interpreting the impeachment discussion as a weakening of Trump´s position, or certainly a distraction", said Jude Blanchette, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Their calculation is that Trump needs a win" and could be open to some compromises, he added.Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said the news came as a surprise to traders."With the US economy taking a decisive turn for the worse, China may be borrowing a page out of the Trump trade policy book, which sees China now turning the screws on the US," he noted."However, at this stage, the market is still waiting for clarification, and if China walks down these innuendos."Unease about the trade talks and long-running concerns about the global economy were keeping oil prices subdued, with both main contracts down on Monday.- Key figures around 0230 GMT -Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 21,346.63 (break)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Closed for a public holidayShanghai - Composite: Closed for a public holidayEuro/dollar: UP at $1.0985 from $1.0979 at 2040 GMT on FridayPound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2332 from $1.2335Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.77 yen from 106.86 yenWest Texas Intermediate: DOWN 15 cents at $52.66 per barrelBrent North Sea crude: DOWN 24 cents at $58.13 per barrelNew York - Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 26,573.72 (close)London - FTSE 100: UP 1.1 percent at 7,155.38 (close) Mon, 07 Oct 2019 07:17:02 +0500 Alternate Text
Global stocks mostly rise as US unemployment hits 50-year low NEW YORK: European and US equities enjoyed strong gains Friday following American jobs data that eased recession fears even as investors continued to expect more Federal Reserve interest rate cuts to boost the economy.The report said the US added 136,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low. But the pace of job creation slowed and wages fell.Analysts described the report as a mixed bag."The unemployment rate may have dropped to its lowest level in 50 years but the labor market is weakening and not improving," said BK Asset Management´s Kathy Lien."The job market is still the strongest in decades, but there´s no question that it is in the midst of a slowdown."The jobs data came on the heels of weak reports on the manufacturing and services sectors that had amplified worries over the US economy.Analysts said the employment report was strong enough to mitigate talk of a possible recession but probably not good enough to deter the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates again as soon as this month."I think that there is enough uncertainty and we had enough comments from Fed governors today that suggested that they don´t want to wait until the last minute if there´s a problem," said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors. "We´ll probably get that cut in October."Futures markets are betting the Fed will cut interest rates later this month.But Lien said the central bank´s next step was still an open question, adding "we don´t believe US policymakers share the market´s eagerness for easing and data over the next month will dictate whether the market or the Fed changes their views."Major US indices gained more than one percent, leaving the Dow and S&P 500 narrowly in the red for the week, while the Nasdaq eked out a gain.Earlier, bourses in Paris, London and Frankfurt also advanced.But stock markets in Asia finished mostly lower, with Hong Kong marking the heaviest drop, shedding 1.1 percent as the city´s government announced the face mask ban as it looks to quell the demonstrations that have rocked the economy.There are worries that the rarely-used colonial-era emergency power could lead to further confrontations or more, stricter laws later.- Key figures around 2040 GMT -New York - Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 26,573.72 (close)New York - S&P 500: UP 1.4 percent at 2,952.01 (close)New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.4 percent at 7,982.47 (close)London - FTSE 100: UP 1.1 percent at 7,155.38 (close)Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 5,488.32 (close)Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 12,012.81 (close)EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,446.71 (close)Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 21,410.20 (close)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.1 percent at 25,821.03 (close)Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a public holidayEuro/dollar: UP at $1.0979 from $1.0965 at 2100 GMTPound/dollar: UP at $1.2335 from $1.2332Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.86 yen from 106.92 yenBrent North Sea crude: UP 1.1 percent at $58.37 per barrelWest Texas Intermediate: UP 0.7 percent at $52.81 per barrel Sat, 05 Oct 2019 06:50:47 +0500 Alternate Text
ePay Punjab: App launched to improve revenue collection LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday launched ePay Punjab, a mobile application, for all the Business to Government (B2G) and Public to Government (P2G) payments to facilitate the public and improve the revenue collection through easy payment collection.Also read:  Easy payment app to help improve revenue collectionPunjab Finance Minister  Hashim Bakht was guest of honor at the launching ceremony while  IT  Minister Raja Yasir and Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Azfar Manzoor  were also present.The application is jointly developed by the Punjab Finance Department and the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).The programme will allow the citizens of Punjab to pay their taxes using three different electronic payment channels namely Internet/Mobile Banking, ATM and through Over the Counter (OTC) banking transaction.The application will also allow the citizens of Punjab to generate a seventeen (17) digit unique PSID number that can be used to pay the necessary taxes thorough Internet/Mobile Banking, ATM or visit to any bank.Here is a collection of tweets  posted from the PITB  official account :  Fri, 04 Oct 2019 20:11:59 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistan's economy not shrinking: Finance Ministry ISLAMABAD: Finance Division has described as incorrect the impression what it said has been created by  a section of the media that the Pakistan economy is shrinking. In a statement, the Finance Division has asserted that the macroeconomic adjustment policies introduced by the government to support balance of payment and strengthen the market confidence will help achieve inclusive growth. "The contention of a section of the media talking about “shrinking economy” seems incorrect as the early signs of recovery of economic activities in fiscal year 2020 are very much encouraging," said the statement. Fri, 04 Oct 2019 19:55:32 +0500 Alternate Text
UAE to invest $5 billion in Pakistan refinery project soon: report ISLAMABAD: Talks between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates on an $5 billion oil refinery project have almost completed and the project would be launched by the end of this year, it emerged Friday.More: UAE energy firm eyes greater footprint in PakistanUAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi told Aran News that “we are going to launch one of the biggest investments in a refinery project in Hub very soon”.“It is going to be a $5 billion investment between Mubadala Petroleum Company of Abu Dhabi, Pak Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) and OMV [OMV Pakistan Exploration Gesellschaft],” the envoy quoted as saying.Al-Zaabi said the project was the result of extensive discussions between Mubadala Petroleum and Pakistan’s petroleum ministry along with PARCO and OMV.The project was finalised during Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Pakistan visit earlier this year.The discussion are ongoing on the minute details of the refinery project, the enjoy said adding that a delegation headed by Mubadala Petroleum chief, Musabbeh Al Kaabi, visited Pakistan and met with the chairman of board of investment chairman and petroleum minister. Fri, 04 Oct 2019 10:55:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Dubai seeks investment to bolster flagging economy DUBAI: With the highest tower in the world, grand commercial centres and artificial islands, Dubai projects an image of prosperity, even as the city-state races to court investors to bolster a flagging economy.Despite boasting the most diverse economy in the Gulf region, the emirate´s vital property, tourism and trade sectors have weakened in recent years.Real estate deals plunged 21.5 percent to $60.7 billion in 2018, according to government data, while the number of tourists visiting Dubai remained stagnant at around 16 million in the past two years."Dubai´s economic growth has been lacklustre... following a weak real estate market and subdued consumer spending," M.R. Raghu, head of research at Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz), told AFP.The emirate´s economy grew by just 1.94 percent last year -- almost half of its 2017 growth and just a notch above the 1.9 percent in 2010, when Dubai was still recovering from a recession due to the global financial crisis and its own debt problems.- Incentive measures -But Raed Safadi, chief economic advisor to Dubai Economy, the government agency responsible for promoting development, downplayed reports about the slowdown."We are still growing. Yes, it is not at 4.5 percent -- the average between 2012 and 2016 -- but given all the conditions around the world, it is healthy," Safadi told AFP.He expects growth to pick up to 2.1 percent in 2019 and rebound to as high as 3.8 percent next year.This prediction relies heavily on the Expo 2020 global trade fair that Dubai hopes will deliver an economic windfall and some 300,000 new jobs.Safadi said Expo 2020 is expected to add some $35 billion to the economy over the subsequent decade.But with the region´s most open market, Dubai is exposed to global trade tensions, regional slowdown and the economic downturn in Iran under tough US sanctions, according to the London-based Capital Economics."All of this will weigh on Dubai´s key logistics, tourism and manufacturing sectors," said James Swanston, an economist at Capital Economics.To preserve Dubai´s image as an economic hub, the city-state has implemented a raft of incentives.Months ago, the government started granting permanent residencies to big investors and allowed foreigners to have full ownership of businesses throughout the emirate, including outside free zones.Authorities also began offering long-term visas for foreign investors, students and talent, while revising fees on hundreds of services, freezing school fees and setting up a high-level committee to rebalance the property market.With a population of 3.3 million -- over 90 percent of them expats -- Dubai draws 70 percent of its revenue from fees on various transactions and around 24 percent from taxes and government company profits.Just six percent of its revenue comes from oil.- Public debt -Fahad al-Gergawi, CEO of Dubai Foreign Direct Investment, a public body, said reports of the downturn were exaggerated."The economic slowdown is not new to Dubai... but certain media reports highlight particular issues to show that Dubai is struggling," he told AFP on the sidelines of Dubai Investment Week held last week."We have passed through similar economic cycles in the past."Gergawi said Dubai has been among the top 10 cities in the world for attracting new investment in the past five years and among the top three cities for Foreign Direct Investment.The government announced on Sunday that in the first half of 2019, the emirate received $12.7 billion in FDI, an increase of 135 percent from the same period last year, surpassing even the $10.5 billion it received in 2018."In the medium term, spending related to hosting Dubai Expo 2020 and monetary easing measures would support growth. Furthermore, Dubai has been actively undertaking reform measures to boost the economy," Raghu said.But Dubai, one of seven Sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates, still faces high public debt of around $123 billion, or 110 percent of GDP, divided almost equally between the government and state-linked companies.About two-thirds of the debt of state-linked companies will mature by the end of 2023.But Swanston said a "total debt default" is unlikely as oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest emirate in the federation, "would come to the rescue" as it did when Dubai defaulted on its debt in 2009. Fri, 04 Oct 2019 06:48:51 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks gain as investors eye more Fed rate hikes NEW YORK: Following two straight days of routs on disappointing US economic data, Wall Street stocks pushed higher on Thursday as more weak data boosted expectations for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rate cuts.Stocks initially dove after the Institute for Supply Management said services sector activity in September fell to a three-year low. The report came on the heels of jobs and manufacturing data this week that exacerbated recession fears.But stocks quickly shook off that gloom as markets bet the Fed would step in, analysts said.Futures markets now overwhelmingly expect an interest rate cut later this month after being divided on that question earlier in the week.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 26,202.60, up 0.5 percent, after swinging more than 450 points during the session.The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 0.8 percent to 2,910.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.1 percent to 7,872.26.FTN Financial´s Chris Low, who has called for aggressive action from the Fed, said the weak ISM data on the services sector confirmed "serious" economic headwinds."The Fed missed their September opportunity, but it is not necessarily too late to act forcefully in October," Low said. "Keep kicking the can with timid policy responses for too long, however, and there will be a recession."Among individual stocks, Tesla tumbled 4.2 percent after it released third-quarter auto deliveries that lagged analyst expectations and raised doubts about the company´s prospects for meeting full-year targets.PepsiCo rose three percent after it reported better third-quarter earnings than expected thanks in part to strong sales of Gatorade sports drinks.Clorox dropped 1.5 percent as it slashed its profit and sales forecast, citing the hit from the strong dollar.Retailers were mostly higher as the National Retail Federation projected holiday sales would rise between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent this season due to solid employment trends and low gasoline prices.Target, Best Buy and Nordstrom were among the companies that advanced. Fri, 04 Oct 2019 01:51:08 +0500 Alternate Text
PIA to start flights operation for Malaysia from Oct 14 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines(PIA) has decided to resume Islamabad- Kuala Lumpur flights operation after Federal Ombudsman's intervention into the matter.According to a spokesperson of the Federal Ombudsman, a large number of complaints were filed to the Ombudsperson's office by the overseas Pakistanis seeking the restoration of the PIA flights, Radio Pakistan reported.He said PIA would start flight operation from Islamabad to Kuala Lumpur from 14th October this year. Thu, 03 Oct 2019 13:07:25 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks end sharply lower on deepening economic fears NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks tumbled Wednesday after lackluster US employment data deepened recession worries amid grinding trade conflicts.The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 26,078.62, down 1.9 percent or nearly 500 points, the second day in a row with a loss of more than one percent.The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.8 percent to close at 2,887.61, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.6 percent to 7,785.25.Payrolls firm ADP estimated the US added 135,000 private-sector jobs in September. The figures were below expectations and bolster anxiety following data Tuesday that showed the weakest manufacturing conditions since the Great Recession.Other factors behind the drop included fresh worries over a no-deal Brexit after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson´s latest plan drew a tepid response from Brussels and anxiety over potential new US tariffs on Europe following a World Trade Organization ruling on subsidies for Airbus that cleared the US to impose new levies.Shortly after the market closed Wednesday, senior US trade officials announced new punitive tariffs on the European Union starting October 18.Analysts also cited a drop in US Treasury yields, often seen as a harbinger of economic slowdown.Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said the market´s retreat reflects "intensifying recessionary fears," but added that the ADP jobs report still showed growth in most sectors.Stock losses were broad-based, with all 11 sectors in the S&P 500 finishing in the red and virtually all the blue-chip Dow index falling.Airline stocks were especially weak, with Delta Air Lines, United Continental and American Airlines all down more than four percent.General Motors sank 4.0 percent after third-quarter auto sales missed analyst expectations amid a United Auto Workers strike now in its third week. Fiat Chrysler and Ford also fell following auto sales reports. Thu, 03 Oct 2019 02:22:47 +0500 Alternate Text
WTO approves US tariffs worth $7.5 bn on EU goods in Airbus retaliation GENEVA: The World Trade Organization on Wednesday gave Washington the green light to slap annual tariffs on $7.5 billion (6.8 billion euros) worth of EU goods in retaliation for the bloc´s illegal support of Airbus.The ruling is the largest arbitration award in WTO history and a landmark moment in the Airbus-Boeing battle, which threatens to intensify already strained trade relations between the US and the European Union.In Washington, President Donald Trump hailed the decision, calling it a "big win" for the United States and claiming credit for the outcome of the 15-year-old case."We´re having a lot of wins at the WTO," Trump said. "All of those countries were ripping off the United States for many years and they know I´m wise to it."The EU immediately threatened to respond to any US move."If the US decides to impose WTO authorized countermeasures, it will be pushing the EU into a situation where we will have no other option than do the same," Brussels said in a statement.The case began in 2004, when Washington accused Britain, France, Germany and Spain of providing illegal subsidies and grants to support the production of a range of Airbus products.It has since been mired in the WTO´s complex dispute settlement system, which allows for a range of appeals.But Wednesday´s decision, which cannot be appealed, marks the first time the US has been cleared under international trade law to slap countermeasures on EU products. The sanctions could be in place by the end of the month.With its Brexit deadline less than a month away, Britain said in a statement that "it should not be subject" to any sanctions Washington imposes on the EU and that it was seeking confirmation from the WTO that it was fully compliant will all rulings related to Airbus.- Counter case -Brussels will also soon get the chance to impose its own WTO-approved tariffs.In a separate case launched in 2005, the EU alleged that Boeing had received $19.1 billion worth of prohibited subsidies from 1989 to 2006 from various branches of the US government.After earning a series of victories in that equally epic case, Brussels asked a WTO arbitrator to give it permission to slap retaliatory tariffs on $12 billion in US goods.The WTO is likely to decide on a lower number in a decision expected in about six months.The Europeans made a proposal in July to call a truce in which both sides would admit fault and figure out ways to curtail airline subsidies. The EU and US have reached such settlements in the past.EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said this week that there had not yet been a positive US response to that proposal but that the bloc would continue to pursue a deal that avoided further tariffs and a deterioration in transatlantic trade."Our readiness to find a fair settlement remains unchanged," the EU statement said, adding that the bloc had "shared concrete proposals with the US for a new regime on aircraft subsidies" but had not yet received a response.The Airbus-Boeing row is just one of several issues stoking transatlantic tensions that quickly descended into acrimony when Trump took office in 2017.Trump has embraced a protectionist agenda, slapping import duties on steel and aluminum from the EU and other allies, while also threatening tariffs on European cars.The US leader and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed in July 2018 to a cease-fire in the conflict and trade talks but they have so far led nowhere. Thu, 03 Oct 2019 01:04:32 +0500 Alternate Text
Soaring onion prices spark anger in Bangladesh after India ban DHAKA: A ban on onion exports by India has caused shortages, soaring prices and widespread anger in neighbouring Bangladesh, where the pungent bulb is used in almost all aspects of the national cuisine.The price of onions is a sensitive subject in South Asia, where shortages can trigger widespread discontent with political ramifications.About two-thirds of the demand for onions -- an essential ingredient in Bangladeshi cuisine -- is grown locally by farmers, with the rest mostly imported from neighbouring India, where heavy monsoon rains have reduced the crop.One kilogramme of the staple vegetable usually costs 30 taka (36 US cents), but has soared to up to 130 taka after India imposed the export ban over the weekend.Amid a public outcry, Dhaka quickly took steps to import the vegetable from Myanmar, Turkey, China and Egypt.The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is also selling onions at a discounted 45 taka per kilogramme in the capital Dhaka.But in the city of 18 million, only about 9,000 people -- limited to two kilogrammes per person -- are allowed to buy the vegetable at the subsidised rate each day."Our aim is to help the low-income people, although even middle income people are also buying onion from our trucks," TCB spokesman Humayun Kabir told AFP.The eye-watering prices have also forced some restaurants to chop the bulb from their menus."We used to give free onion with green salad to our customers. But we no longer do it," a Dhaka restaurant waiter told AFP.Meanwhile consumers have accused wholesalers of hoarding the vegetable to jack up prices, a charge they deny.Heavy monsoon rains in key onion-growing regions have been blamed for the current shortage in India.In an effort to arrest further price rises, New Delhi imposed the export ban and suppliers and distributors are blocked from stocking up.Some reserve onion stocks held by the national government are also being sold in several states at subsidised prices. Wed, 02 Oct 2019 19:52:28 +0500 Alternate Text
ECC approves power tariff hike of Rs0.30 per unit APP/FilesISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved a hike of Rs0.30 per unit in the power tariff, sources informed Geo News on Wednesday after the federal consultative forum held a meeting earlier in the day.The meeting was led by Prime Minister Imran Khan's adviser on finance and revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.Sources further said the ECC approved supplying wheat to Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) — 100,000 tonnes to the former and 150,000 tonnes to the latter — through the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO). Wed, 02 Oct 2019 19:15:16 +0500 Alternate Text
Nine Dutch companies willing to invest in Pakistan's poultry and livestock sectors ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research met the Dutch Ambassador Wouter Plomp on Wednesday. Matters relating to agricultural cooperation between the two countries came under discussion during the meeting. Pakistan is exporting rice, mango, sesame seeds, and spices to Netherlands, whereas Pakistan's imports from Netherlands are flower bulbs, potato seeds, vegetable seeds and cocoa powder. Pakistan has been importing most of the potatoes seeds from Netherlands. Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan told the ambassador "we have set an ambitious target of processing 30% of milk in next 5 years, which currently is only 5%".He added many Dutch dairy companies are already collaborating in the field and there is a great potential in the field and exchange of technology and expertise from Dutch companies. The Dutch Ambassador said that that 9 Dutch companies have shown interest for investment in Pakistan’s poultry and livestock sector. Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan said that Business to Business liaison between the exporters and importers of agro-commodities is imperative to further enhance bilateral trade activities between both the countries. He added that Pakistan is already importing Seed Potatoes from Holland but the current quantity is way less than the demand. "We would welcome Dutch companies to capture the potential marke," he said . He said Pakistan has bumper potato crop last year and it would welcome joint venture for potato value addition in Pakistan. Dutch Ambassador informed the federal minister that Dutch Agriculture Mission is planning a seminar in November, 2019 which would be a great opportunity for potential investors and experts and exchange of tangible proposals for cooperation in various sector including, dairy, poultry and horticulture. Wed, 02 Oct 2019 18:01:54 +0500 Alternate Text
Global stocks fall on weak US manufacturing data NEW YORK: Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic took a steep downward turn on Tuesday after a US survey pointed to the weakest manufacturing sector in a decade.Combined with a tepid inflation reading from the eurozone, and confirmation that British GDP contracted in the second quarter, the figures rekindled fears over worldwide growth.An index of US manufacturing activity fell to the lowest level since June 2009, according to the Institute for Supply Management, which pointed to trade conflicts as the biggest headwind."Global trade remains the most significant issue, as demonstrated by the contraction in new export orders that began in July 2019," Timothy Fiore, chair of ISM´s manufacturing survey, said in a statement. "Overall, sentiment this month remains cautious regarding near-term growth."The report came as the World Trade Organization on Tuesday cut its 2019 trade growth forecast to 1.2 percent, warning of an economic hit from tensions over international commerce."Trade conflicts heighten uncertainty, which is leading some businesses to delay the productivity-enhancing investments that are essential to raising living standards," Azevedo said.And he cautioned that job creation could also be threatened "as firms employ fewer workers to produce goods and services for export."Eurozone stocks, which had spent most of the session calmly tweaking portfolios at the start of the final quarter, suffered an abrupt fall to end the day.Wall Street, which had opened higher, fell quickly into the red and stayed down the rest of the day. Major indices ended down more than one percent.The ISM report was a "game changer," said LBBW´s Karl Haeling."There´s a growing recognition that the spread of negative economic impulses around the world is starting to land on US shores in a meaningful way."Analysts have pointed to upcoming trade talks between Beijing and Washington as critical to the market´s fortunes in the coming period.Other key potential catalysts include the third-quarter corporate earnings period and upcoming Federal Reserve meetings that could lead to lower interest rates.- Strike hits GM -Among individual companies, General Motors dropped 3.7 percent as a United Auto Workers strike further pinched operations.The company announced it will furlough 6,000 workers in Mexico due to the strike, while JPMorgan Chase estimated the strike has cost the company around $1 billion so far. Workers in Canada also were laid off temporarily.Shares of online brokerage firms plunged after Charles Schwab announced plans to eliminate commissions for many trades. Schwab fell nearly 10 percent, while Etrade sank 16.4 percent and TD Ameritrade nosedived 25.8 percent.US-listed shares of Credit Suisse dropped 2.7 percent following the resignation of chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee after an internal investigation into the bank´s decision to spy on a star banker who left for rival UBS.An internal probe exonerated chief executive Tidjane Thiam in the scandal, which has shaken the bank in recent weeks. Wed, 02 Oct 2019 02:20:54 +0500 Alternate Text
E-commerce policy framework given green signal in Cabinet session under PM The session of the federal cabinet was held under PM Imran today, where the policy framework was given green signal to regularise online shopping— File photoISLAMABAD: The federal Cabinet under Prime Minister Imran Khan gave in principle approval on Tuesday for implementing the framework of e-commerce policy.The session of the federal cabinet was held under PM Imran today, where the policy framework was given green signal to regularise online shopping.In the meeting today, the PM directed the concerned authorities to control the prices of wheat and also to rein in the endemic dengue disease.Sources said that the e-commerce policy, which was approved today, will help increase exports and strengthen digital economy.The trade ministry formulated the e-commerce policy after consulting the State Bank of Pakistan and Information Technology ministry, sources added.After the meeting, Special Assistant to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said that making changes in the ministry portfolios is the prerogative of the prime minister. Tue, 01 Oct 2019 23:31:54 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks end volatile Q3 on positive note NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks rose Monday on improved Chinese data and better sentiment on US-China trade talks, concluding a volatile third quarter on an upbeat note.The closely-watched Caixin manufacturing index in China rose in September to 51.4 from 50.4, despite a bruising US-China trade war that has raised uncertainty over investment.Analysts also cited comments from Trump administration officials that downplayed the likelihood of potential new US restrictions on Chinese investment. Stocks fell Friday following reports the White House was weighing a plan to delist Chinese companies from US stock markets.The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 26,916.69, up 0.4 percent.The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent to 2,976.71, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.8 percent to 7,999.34.Both the Dow and S&P 500 finished with modest gains for the quarter, while the Nasdaq edged lower.Stocks were battered in August after the US and China announced new tariff measures against each other, but markets rebounded in September amid more conciliatory messages from both sides.Investors are looking ahead to the resumption of talks between Beijing and Washington in October, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist of Prudential Financial.The talks are "clearly a positive for the markets because the effect it has on the world economy is paramount going into the last quarter," Krosby said.Among individual stocks, Apple jumped 2.4 percent after a note from JPMorgan Chase lifted its price target, arguing that the solid outlook for iPhone sales has been underestimated.US economic indicators this week include the Institute for Supply Management´s reports on manufacturing and services sector activity, as well as the September jobs report from the Department of Labor. Tue, 01 Oct 2019 01:15:57 +0500 Alternate Text
No reduction in fuel prices, as govt maintains rates for October Govt rejects OGRA summary for reduction in fuel prices. — File photoISLAMABAD: The federal government decided on Monday to continue with the regular petroleum prices, rejecting the summary sent earlier by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.According to an official notification today, the decision was taken in light of the rise in petroleum prices in international market.The finance ministry’s notification further said that the petroleum prices are expected to rise internationally from mid-December.It further said that the trend of rise in prices will continue until November.The OGRA had recommended a reduction in the fuel prices, with a proposal of a Rs2.55-a-litre cut in petrol, as per a summary sent to the Petroleum Division on Friday.Sources told that the OGRA recommended the per-litre prices of petrol, diesel, and light diesel oil to be reduced by Rs2.55, Rs3.23, and Rs2.41, respectively. Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:09:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Deadline to file 2019 income tax returns extended to Oct 31: FBR The News/FilesISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) extended the deadline to file income tax returns and statements for the tax year 2019, according to a circular released Monday, revising it from September 30 to October 31 instead.In its statement, the FBR said the people who, as of September 30, "failed to file their income tax returns/statements are hereby allowed to file their returns/statements by 31st October, 2019".Similarly, it added that companies that, as of September 30, "failed to file their income tax returns/statements, though have paid ninety five per cent of the admitted tax liability, are hereby allowed to file their returns/statements by 31st October 2019." Mon, 30 Sep 2019 22:37:18 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks fall on weak data, trade worries NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks fell Friday following lackluster US economic data and reports the Trump administration is weighing new restrictions on US investment in China.Stocks took a sharp drop after reports the White House is considering imposing limits on American investment in China and in Chinese assets, including delisting Chinese companies from US stock markets.In addition, data reports Friday showed a sharp decline in US consumer spending in August and weak demand for big-ticket manufacturing goods, suggesting a hit to the economy from President Donald Trump´s trade war with China.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 26,820.25, down 0.3 percent, after it recouped some losses from earlier in the session.The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.5 percent to close the day at 2,961.80, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.1 percent to end at 7,939.63.Equities have fluctuated this week following shifting signals from Beijing and Washington, falling after Trump took a strident line in a United Nations address, but rallying on more upbeat comments a day later and after China said it would buy US soybeans.But Hu Xijun, the editor of China´s state-controlled Global Times tabloid said in a tweet Friday that the agriculture purchases "signaled China´s goodwill, not concessions." And he warned that "real progress in trade talks" would be needed to sustain the purchases.The trade war has hung over stocks for more than a year.Gregori Volokhine, strategist for Meeschaert Financial Services, told AFP the reports of additional restrictions on China appeared to be part of the Trump administration´s bargaining strategy.Among individual companies, Micron Technology sank 11.1 percent after it projected earnings and gross profit margins well below analyst expectations. Some other large semiconductor stocks also fell.But Wells Fargo shot up 3.8 percent after tapping Charles Scharf to take over as its new chief executive. Scharf, currently chief of Bank of New York Mellon, previously worked as chief executive at Visa and in senior roles at JPMorgan Chase.Bank of New York Mellon tumbled 4.5 percent.US shares of Latam Airlines Group surged 31 percent after Delta Air Lines announced it would acquire a 20 percent stake in South American carrier Latam Airlines Group for $1.9 billion. Delta shed 0.9 percent. Sat, 28 Sep 2019 03:51:46 +0500 Alternate Text
Sales Professionals Forum holds discussions to help FBR resolve the CNIC issue KARACHI: Sales Professionals Forum is arranging discussions all over Pakistan in an effort to solve the CNIC registration issue plaguing the business community. The initiative is to bring the business community and FBR on the same page regarding the structural problems and reach a conclusive solution that will help businesses minimize losses and transition smoothly. The financial bill 2019 has brought in new regulations for the b2b sales and distribution industry in Pakistan. The move is a part of government reforms aimed toward proper collection of taxes and documentation of the economy.The bill has been received with speculation, resistance and defiance. Trade organizations, distributors, and shopkeepers have been vocal against the bill and have taken to roads to register their protests. Shopkeepers and wholesalers are refusing to give out their CNICs to distributors. The resistance is majorly coming from the small shops that make bulk of the business. Companies are grappling with these new regulations and have taken a loss of 25-30% in volumes and 60-70% in coverages since the release of the new bill. Government set an initial transition period for the process to take place but with limited resources, lack of structure and no formal body to overlook everything, the sales community is currently facing a lot of uncertainty and chaos.For the past few months negotiations have gone on between FBR, government representatives and trade bodies but the discussions have always ended in further aggravation on both sides.As Pakistan’s first and biggest sales platform, Sales Professional Forum is holding discussions all over Pakistan in an attempt to resolve the CNIC issue that has the whole business community within its hold. The step is being taken to make sure the promulgation of the bill is as smooth as possible.The first discussion kicked off in Karachi on 5th September, while the second was held in Lahore on 13th September, 2019. The sessions proved quite productive and were attended by prominent personalities from Nestle, Shan Foods, Unilever, National Foods, Shell Pakistan, Abbott and many others.The major points discussed in the sessions are as follows:--  FBR needs to provide clarification regarding tax laws because shopkeepers fear there will be new tax implications once they submit their CNICs to one or all distributors.--  The need for transparency. Shopkeepers are distrustful because of the lack of transparency that involves their documents. Until, we can create a concrete system of proof for the shopkeepers over submission of documents, invoice trails, and other cycles, the reservations will remain.--  There is no process in place for distributors. Distributors are currently utilizing different kinds of techniques to incentivize retailers to get on board with registration. Some of these are working, others not. FBR needs to establish a clear cut process that will not burden the distributors and will allow for a smoother registration process.-- We need to find a solution for the loopholes currently being exploited. Some distributors are passing contracts to sub-distributors who operate under the radar and do not follow protocol. This means while the distributor has legalized his transaction, the sub-distributors work under the law and are neither sales tax registered nor collecting CNICs for invoices. This further hampers our economy, and increases resistance against the movement.--  Wholesalers have a lot of influence with retailers. And because many of them are resistant to the CNIC idea, most small shopkeepers are following their example, further resisting the call for registration, despite talks and incentives.--  We need to follow in the footsteps of the telecom and banking industry because their method of conversion and registration is a tried-and-tested one. Here is what the founder of Sales professionals Forum and the Sales and Marketing Head of Parazelsus Pakistan, Muhammad Asif Khushnood had to say about the initiative, “we saw active participation from the sales community and have received positive feedback regarding the issues. We’ll now be holding events in Islamabad, Multan, and Faisalabad and will approach the FBR with a concrete plan. Pakistan Trade and Distribution Associations will also be in attendance in our upcoming sessions and we’ll try to bring our traders, retailers, sales and distribution stakeholders on the same page so we can all pitch in our suggestions for a conclusive, ubiquitous solution.We have seen a wave of ambiguity and lack of trust amongst our distributors and shopkeepers. Some of their biggest concerns right now are the lack of information and structure that has proceeded the bill. Shopkeepers don’t know what tax implications will follow post CNIC registrations. Any formal process for registration is missing forcing distributors to use different techniques to incentivize retailers. And most importantly, most retailers want a trade ID to be used for invoicing. We are going to try and bring in as many points of view as we can so when we sit down for talks with FBR in the 2nd week of October, we not only have the complete overview, but we also provide a solution that is practical and unopposable.” Here are the dates for the future discussions:Islamabad: 24th SeptemberFaisalabad: 25th SeptemberMultan: 26th SeptemberOur goal is to reach solid solutions and initiate talks with FBR so we can put a proper structure in place that will help all parties accept the new regulations and conduct their businesses in a healthy way. About Sales Professionals ForumSPF is the only platform in Pakistan that is focused on the development of the sales community nationwide. With over 2500 sales professionals from 100 companies, top sales management of the country, and top tier national trainers on-board, Sales Professionals Forum is an uplifting platform for the sales fraternity to empower them with global sales techniques and practical tips to boost their careers as well as sales for their organizations. Sat, 28 Sep 2019 01:14:42 +0500 Alternate Text
OGRA proposes petrol prices be reduced by Rs2.55 per litre Petrol is seen at a fuelling station, January 19, 2011. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/FilesISLAMABAD: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has recommended a reduction in the fuel prices, with a proposal of a Rs2.55-a-litre cut in petrol, a summary sent to the Petroleum Division on Friday said.Sources told The News that the OGRA recommended the per-litre prices of petrol, diesel, and light diesel oil to be reduced by Rs2.55, Rs3.23, and Rs2.41, respectively.The OGRA, however, recommended that the price of kerosene oil be hiked up Rs1.19 per litre.The revision in petroleum prices is expected to come into effect October 1, 2019. Fri, 27 Sep 2019 18:42:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistan among top 20 reformers in World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business 2020’ list ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been included in World Bank’s ‘Top-20 improvers in Doing Business 2020’ list.The WB on Friday issued a statement in this regard lauding the efforts by the concerned federal and provincial governments who made it possible“With 6 reforms, #Pakistan emerges among top 20 reformers globally in Ease of Doing Business. Rankings will be released on Oct 24. We laud the COLLECTIVE action of Federal, #Sindh & #Punjab Govts for an impressive feat. @investinpak @eodbpunjab @EODBSindh,” World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Patchamuthu Illangovan tweeted.According to World Bank, “Pakistan improved in six areas measured by Doing Business—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders—reflecting the country’s development of an ambitious reform strategy including the establishment of national secretariat and Prime Minister’s reform steering committee.” Pakistan made starting a business easier by expanding procedures available through the online one-stop shop, it added. “In addition to improvements in property registration, obtaining a construction permit became easier after the Sindh Building and Control Authority and the Lahore Development Authority streamlined approval workflows and improved the operational efficiency of their one-stop shops. The launching of online portals for new commercial connections made getting electricity easier, and tariff changes are announced in advance.” Moreover, the statement added, tax compliance has become easier through online payment modules for value added tax and corporate income tax, and a lower corporate income tax rate. The WB also appreciated ‘enhancing of the integration of various agencies into an electronic system’ and ‘improvement in coordination of joint physical inspections at the port’ which made trading across the borders easier.Pakistan made trading across borders easier by enhancing the integration of various agencies into an electronic system and by improving coordination of joint physical inspections at the port. Fri, 27 Sep 2019 15:58:54 +0500 Alternate Text
Dollar to PKR, USD to PKR Rates in Pakistan Today, Open Market Exchange Rates, 27 September 2019 The buying rate of the US dollar in the open market was Rs 156.00 while the selling rate of USD was Rs 156.50 in Pakistan.Below you can see the rates of the last seven days for the US dollar compared to the Pakistani Rupee.DateSymbolBuyingSelling26 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5025 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5024 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5023 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5021 September, 2019USD to PKR156.10156.6020 September, 2019USD to PKR156.10156.6019 September, 2019USD to PKR156.20156.70 Fri, 27 Sep 2019 10:05:08 +0500 Alternate Text
Global stocks mixed on Trump impeachment, trade news NEW YORK: Global stocks were torn on Thursday between the impeachment firestorm surrounding US President Donald Trump and encouraging signs that the US-China trade war is cooling off.Wall Street ended in the red after a day of intense political drama in which lawmakers released a whistleblower complaint accusing Trump of pressuring Ukraine´s new president to dig up political dirt on Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, prompting a White House cover-up.Karl Haeling of LBBW said the market´s response to the whistleblower complaint suggested the risk of impeachment could be somewhat higher than initially thought, but added that the modest losses showed markets remained "stable."Some analysts have described the market´s approach to the Ukraine case as wait-and-see.But European stocks rose after upbeat comments from Trump had lightened the mood, coming a day after he had unveiled part of a new trade agreement with Japan.- Sliver of optimism´ -China´s Commerce Ministry also cheered markets, saying Chinese companies bought "considerable" quantities of American pork and soybean exports as the two countries prepare to resume high-level negotiations next month.Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex trading group, said "investors chose to buy into Trump´s trade optimism, allowing the markets to push higher.""Investors have been ´trade war´ bearish for so long that any sliver of optimism is cheered," Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.The Japanese deal also "suggests the president is open to an ´interim´ trade deal, possibly signaling he is willing to negotiate one with China," Innes said.Asian markets also cheered Trump´s comments on trade.Meanwhile, crude prices were mixed after an unexpected rise in US inventories and a swift recovery in Saudi Arabia´s output following the September 14 attacks on its oil infrastructure. Fri, 27 Sep 2019 01:49:04 +0500 Alternate Text
Revamped Uber app adds transit options, passenger safety features SAN FRANCISCO: Uber on Thursday unveiled a revamped version of its smartphone app that weaves together services from shared rides to public transit schedules while adding more security features.The new app is intended to let Uber users see, and ideally tap into the company´s array of options for getting around or having meals delivered."We want Uber to be the operating system for your everyday life: however you want to move around your city, and whatever you need, we want Uber to be your go-to app," said Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi."Uber started with on-demand rides, but we´ve grown to offer access to everything from food delivery to electric bikes and scooters."Rides, Eats food delivery and other options are displayed side-by-side in the new application, which Uber said is being tested in hundreds of cities in the US and other countries.Uber also ramped up security features, adding an option for people awaiting rides to receive four-digit codes they can ask drivers to confirm to be sure the vehicle they are about to get into is indeed the one sent for them by the service.The new Uber app lets riders report safety issues to the company during their trips, or send a text message to police emergency dispatchers in cities that support the technology.Emergency text messages will be automatically loaded with details such as the model car, license number, and location, according to Khosrowshahi.Uber said it improved a "real-time ID check" system in the app, adding blinking, smiling and other movements to facial recognition technology designed to make sure the registered Uber drive is indeed the person behind the wheel.The move comes with rideshare firms under pressure to curb criminal acts including sexual assaults involving drivers and riders.- Road to profit? -Uber´s overhauled app should encourage more use but it is unlikely to cure the company´s inability to make a profit, Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey told AFP.Ramsey maintained that Uber may need to do more than promote only its own services on the application."What Uber is doing is a move in the right direction, but they need to give up the walled garden and put everyone on their platform," the Gartner analyst said."The closed ecosystem of point-to-point transportation is not going to work."Ramsey said Uber will be forced to put rivals such as Lyft and Lime on its platform, contending Apple or Google could launch services weaving together mobility apps, payments, passwords and more."The longer Uber closes the door to being one big app it leaves open a door to weird competitors like Apple or Google," Ramsey said.Technology analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group saw a risk that consolidating Uber offerings in the app might complicate life for users while not providing strong incentive to combine services.For example, someone hailing a car ride from Uber is more likely to be heading to a restaurant than interested in tapping into Eats food delivery.Someone looking for a shared electric scooter or bicycle would probably prefer one nearby, no matter the provider, instead of walking a while to use an Uber Jump offering, the analyst reasoned."There are very different goals for Uber´s different services," Enderle said."I don´t see the synergy between the offerings because I don´t see people moving from one to the other."- Luring drivers -The San Francisco-based company also said it is adding features intended to make it more tempting, and lucrative, to be an Uber driver.An "earnings estimator" will help drivers better project how much money they can expect to make, while new tools such as a "Demand Heatmap" will highlight areas where more people are seeking rides.The move comes after California enacted legislation aimed at requiring rideshare firms to treat contract drivers as employees, a measure that hits at the business model of companies like Uber and Lyft. Fri, 27 Sep 2019 01:08:55 +0500 Alternate Text
Dollar to PKR, USD to PKR Rates in Pakistan Today, Open Market Exchange Rates, 26 September 2019 The buying rate of the US dollar in the open market was Rs 156.00 while the selling rate of USD was Rs 156.50 in Pakistan.Below you can see the rates of the last seven days for the US dollar compared to the Pakistani Rupee.DateSymbolBuyingSelling25 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5024 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5023 September, 2019USD to PKR156.00156.5021 September, 2019USD to PKR156.10156.6020 September, 2019USD to PKR156.10156.6019 September, 2019USD to PKR156.20156.7018 September, 2019USD to PKR156.20156.70Check UK Pound to Pakistani Rupee Rates Here  Thu, 26 Sep 2019 13:26:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Indian auto giant Suzuki Maruti cuts car prices Maruti Suzuki logo. MUMBAI: India’s biggest maker of passenger vehicles Maruti Suzuki cut prices of some car models Wednesday in a bid to boost sales as the auto sector struggles with weak demand amid a wider economic slowdown.The price reduction for 10 models comes ahead of two of India’s biggest Hindu festivals, when automakers traditionally record their highest sales for the year.The lead-up to the festive season has sent shudders through the sector, with passenger car sales in India recording their 10th-straight month of falls in August.The government has announced a raft of initiatives in recent weeks to encourage consumers to open their wallets, and last week slashed corporate taxes to among the lowest in Asia.Welcoming the tax cut, Maruti Suzuki said it would "share the benefits... with its customers" by cutting prices by 5,000 rupees ($70) immediately.One of the basic models of the Swift Diesel usually retails for about 514,000 rupees.The announcement came as Bloomberg reported that US auto giant Ford was set to transfer most of its Indian assets to a joint venture with local behemoth Mahindra & Mahindra.The move, expected to be announced as soon as next week, will see Mahindra own 51 percent of the new entity, Bloomberg added.Ford, like other major foreign automakers, has sought to tap into India, the world’s fourth biggest car market but has struggled to boost its low market share in the price-sensitive South Asian nation.A Mahindra spokesman declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP. Wed, 25 Sep 2019 15:13:23 +0500 Alternate Text
Complete record of Rs500 banknote’s destruction available: SBP Karachi:  The State Bank of Pakistan has rejected  media reports   regarding unavailability of the record of old design Rs.500 banknotes demonetized in Oct 2012. " The SBP categorically denies and rejects the media reports regarding unavailability of the record of old design Rs.500 banknotes demonetized in Oct 2012," said a statement. It said the destruction of banknotes is an ongoing activity and is carried out across the country at field offices of SBPBSC. "The record for the same is available in respective field offices".The statement said,   "the audit team however, just visited SBPBSC Karachi and assumed that the record available at Karachi is the total record available  with the SBP, which is factually incorrect".The State Bank of Pakistan said the complete record of banknote’s destruction is available at SBPBSC field offices located in 16 cities across the country Wed, 25 Sep 2019 12:03:14 +0500 Alternate Text
Singapore firm to invest $10mln in Pakistani cos KARACHI: A Singapore-based leading Series A & B venture capital firm, Patamar Capital, has intended to invest at least $10 million in Pakistani companies in the next few years, a statement said on Tuesday.Patamar Capital and SEED Ventures, a leading impact investor and ecosystem development organisation committed to enhancing the impact and entrepreneurial landscape of developing economies, have joined hands by signing a partnership agreement, it added. Patamar is currently invested in a portfolio of early stage companies across South Asia and South East Asia out of multiple funds. Wed, 25 Sep 2019 09:17:38 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks fall as Congress opens impeachment probe of Trump; pound gains NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks fell Tuesday as congressional Democrats moved towards launching formal impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, while the British pound gained on a sweeping court ruling that dimmed the chances for a no-deal Brexit.Major US indices had opened higher, but tumbled into the red following weak consumer confidence data that showed Trump´s trade war with China and rising tariffs are undermining sentiment.Worries about trade were amplified when Trump, in a United Nations speech, adopted a hard line on China ahead of key trade talks next month.The US president found himself on the defensive as Democratic leaders signaled they expect to launch an impeachment investigation.After the market closed, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump.Democrats accuse Trump of an abuse of power in a reported attempt to pressure the newly installed president of Ukraine to open a corruption investigation into his lead challenger for the White House, Joe Biden, and Biden´s son Hunter.Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, said the push towards impeachment added to investor unease."The market doesn´t have a good template for what that means," Hogan said."Anything that might make a dent in consumer confidence would be a negative."- Unanimous ruling -Earlier, the British pound gained against the dollar and euro after Britain´s Supreme Court ruled Prime Minister Boris Johnson´s suspension of parliament was unlawful.Delivering the unanimous verdict of 11 judges, Supreme Court president Brenda Hale said the decision "was unlawful... because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions".The pound rallied as traders bet Britain would now more easily avoid a no-deal departure from the European Union on October 31, analysts said.Johnson, who took office on July 24, said he did not like the ruling but would go along with it.Most members of the House of Commons oppose Johnson´s threat to leave the EU next month even if he has not agreed exit terms with Brussels."Traders are wondering: ´What is next for UK politics?´" said CMC Markets analyst David Madden. "A general election seems like the next move."Market.com analyst Neil Wilson said, "It´s hard to see how this gets the UK and EU any closer to a deal that will be approved by MPs, but it does really deliver a massive blow to Boris Johnson.""It´s perhaps not fatal, but it´s not going to make life any easier and we are now faced with significant uncertainty of a different hue," Wilson said.- Key figures around 2050 GMT -New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 26,807.77 (close)New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,966.60 (close)New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 1.5 percent at 7,993.63 (close)London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,291.43 (close)Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 12,307.15 (close)Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 5,628.33 (close)EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,532.05 (close)Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,098.83 (close)Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 26,281.00 (close)Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 2,985.34 (close)Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.6% at $63.10 per barrelWest Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.2% at $57.29 per barrelPound/dollar: UP at $1.2493 from $1.2429 at 2100 GMTEuro/pound: DOWN at 88.19 pence from 88.45 penceEuro/dollar: UP at $1.1019 from $1.0993Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.09 yen from 107.55 yen Wed, 25 Sep 2019 02:35:48 +0500 Alternate Text
US stocks pause amid trade questions, Fed interventions NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks ended flat after a choppy session Monday amid lingering questions over trade and Federal Reserve interventions to ensure financial market liquidity.After three straight weeks of gains, major indices fell last week amid continuing worries over the US-China trade dispute and a spike in oil prices after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil assets that the US has blamed on Iran.Analysts said weak European manufacturing data weighed on sentiment somewhat, but "US stocks remain very strong in an international comparison," said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 26,949.99, up 0.1 percent.The broad-based S&P 500 ended essentially flat at 2,991.77, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.1 percent to 7,818.61.Analysts cited remarks late Friday from US President Donald Trump downplaying the odds of a China trade deal before the 2020 presidential election as adding downward pressure to markets.Investor confidence has also been challenged by sudden moves by the New York Federal Reserve to boost liquidity in the financial system and prevent short-term interest rates from rising too high.New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams defended the moves."We were prepared for such an event, acted quickly and appropriately and our actions were successful," Williams said.But he said it remains important to "examine these recent market dynamics" that led to the situations, and "we will continue to monitor and analyze developments closely."But St Louis Fed President James Bullard said there is a risk the economic slowdown will be "sharper than expected," and warned the trade uncertainty will be a feature for years ahead so the world "should prepare for a future with somewhat higher tariffs and non-tariff barriers." Tue, 24 Sep 2019 02:07:03 +0500 Alternate Text
New York Stock Exchange parent company introduces bitcoin NEW YORK: The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will from Sunday offer investors the option to trade Bitcoin, giving the pioneer cryptocurrency further mainstream recognition.Operations will begin at the opening of the electronic financial market at 8:00 pm in New York (0000 GMT).Brokers will then be allowed to trade futures contracts on one of the Intercontinental Exchange´s (ICE) platforms, by betting on increases or decreases in the currency´s value, just as with oil or gold.The cryptocurrency has been trading at around $10,000 per bitcoin.ICE´s virtual currency subsidiary, Bakkt, will lead the operation. Launched in August 2018, Bakkt was supposed to begin trading last November but the project was delayed.It was already possible to buy and sell Bitcoin directly on multiple smaller platforms, but those lacked the historic and official legitimacy of the ICE.Another major stock exchange -- the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) -- has since the end of 2017 also offered trading in cryptocurrency futures.About 7,000 such futures have been traded per day since the beginning of the year, worth a total of more than $350 million per day, at the current value.But when the CME´s futures contracts expire, clients receive the dollar equivalent of the Bitcoin value. The idea is to prevent investors from owning Bitcoins themselves.Bakkt´s products are different in that brokers receive Bitcoins directly. They can then decide whether or not to entrust the Bitcoins to Bakkt, in a sort of secure virtual warehouse."Providing a trusted ecosystem is our first objective," Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said in a mid-August statement just after American authorities gave final approval.Bakkt hopes to overcome the reluctance of institutional investors, who remain wary of highly volatile virtual currency.The company is launching its products before the arrival of Libra, the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency promised for 2020 that has sparked mounting international outcry among central banks, governments and regulators. Mon, 23 Sep 2019 06:45:09 +0500 Alternate Text