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British pound rises as markets await ECB decision

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NEW YORK: The British pound rose to two-month peaks against the euro and the dollar on Wednesday as traders girded for a likely dovish message from the European Central Bank.

Britain is still far from a deal with the European Union ahead of a March 29 deadline but currency traders continue to bet against a no-deal exit, seen as the worst outcome for the country.

The British currency fetched $1.3068 near 2120 GMT from $1.2954 the prior day, also advancing against the euro.

“The pound’s resilience suggests that markets see a greater chance of Brexit getting delayed beyond March or possibly being put to a second referendum,” said Western Union Business Solutions Senior Market Analyst Joe Manimbo.

Hopes “Britain might avoid an ugly, economy-throttling exit from the EU” overshadowed weak factory data, Manimbo added.

Analysts are not expecting any bombshells at Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting but chief Mario Draghi could acknowledge growing risks to the eurozone economy while sticking to the bank’s patient course.

The central bank is caught at an intermediate stage of withdrawing crisis-era stimulus, having wound up net purchases of government and corporate bonds — so-called “quantitative easing” — but seeing the economy still too fragile to lift interest rates from their historic lows.

Draghi said last month that QE had been “the crucial driver of recovery in the eurozone” since its introduction in 2015 — while insisting growth could continue after its withdrawal and blaming one-off factors for signs of weakening momentum.

Since then, new data “have done little to stop fears of a more prolonged slowdown,” ING-DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski said.

“Confidence indicators are still plunging, hard data remains weak and latest Brexit developments suggest that new turbulence in both financial markets and the real economy is still on the horizon.”

 

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Iran favors $5b trade volume with Pakistan

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TEHRAN: Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Reza Rahmani called for raising the volume of trade exchanges with Pakistan to $5 billion by 2021.

Addressing a ceremony marking Pakistan Day in Tehran on Wednesday, he hoped the goal will be materialized by establishing banking ties and finalization of free trade memorandum of understanding.

He said that Iran and Pakistan boast of numerous commonalities in various sphere including religion, culture and history.

“Iran-Pakistan ties as old as the country’s independence and the two regional big countries’ relations have always been friendly and excellent,” he said.

Iran was the first country which recognized independence of Pakistan and established embassy in Islamabad, Rahmani said, describing Pakistan as major gateway for Iran to enter to the East.

“Iran is also a country with numerous economic potentials,” he said, noting that Iran’s economy and market will not be ignored by the economic activists and political officials.

The two countries are able to develop collaboration in the fields of agriculture, foodstuff, tourism, pharmaceuticals and sports.

Ceremony marking Pakistan National Day attended by diplomats from certain countries including France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Armenia and Palestine was held in Tehran.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tokyo bourse opens modestly higher

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: The bourse opened here marginally higher today with help from a cheaper yen, but investors were cautious ahead of Easter holidays on overseas markets.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.05 percent or 11.42 points at 22,289.39, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.09 percent or 1.48 points at 1,632.16.

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Bahawalpur: FOB compiles reports for reforms

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BAHAWALPUR: The Secretary, Federal Ombudsman Secretariat and National Commissioner on Children have said that the office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib had compiled reports to recommend recommendations to bring reforms to address maladministration in government departments.
Secretary, Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, Dr. Jamal Nasir and Senior Advisor/ National Commissioner For Children, Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi were addressing a news conference at the regional office of Wafaqi Mohtasib here in Bahawalpur.
They said that following the Swedish ombudsman system, the office of Ombudsman was established in Pakistan to ensure the provision of relief to people in connection with their complaints against federal government departments.
They said that during the last few years, the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib disposed of 75,000 complaints/cases. “Most of the complaints were registered against Wapda, electric companies, Sui Southern and Sui northern gas companies and National Data Registration Authority.
They said that with reviewing the registered complaints, the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat had also been compiling reports to recommend recommendations for bringing reforms in federal government departments and agencies to address the issue of maladministration and corruption.
They said that the office of Federal Ombudsman had also powers to listen to complaints against National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
They, however, said that if applications/petitions were submitted in courts against NAB and FIA, then the courts would listen to those cases and would dispose of them.
They said that the Federal Ombudsman had powers of the judge of Supreme Court and he could take suo moto notice against any federal government departments and agencies. “The Federal Ombudsman after founding negligence of officials of federal departments can recommend inquiry and other departmental actions against them,” they said.
They said that 13 offices of the Federal Ombudsman were working in the country including Bahawalpur office which could listen to complaints against federal departments and agencies lodged by people of Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Lodhran and Bahawalnagar.
They said that Bahawalpur and other neighboring districts had populations in millions, adding that but, the average number of registered complaints with the local office of the Federal Ombudsman in Bahawalpur was 100 per month. They requested the media to highlight the importance and role of Federal Ombudsman so that maximum number of people could move to the local office of Federal Ombudsman in Bahawalpur to get relief on issues and problems pertaining to federal government and departments.
Meanwhile, according to a report issued by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Regional Office Bahawalpur, 624 applications/complaints were registered against federal government agencies including Multan Electric Company (MEPCO), Pakistan Post Office (PPO), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLICP) and others. The Bahawalpur office of Wafaqi Mohtasib had disposed of 602 of them.

 

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