Connect with us


EU slashes eurozone growth forecast on US trade war tensions



Italy threatens EU funding in migrant row

BRUSSELS: The EU on Thursday slashed its growth forecast for the eurozone in 2018, warning that the rising trade tensions with the United States were hitting the economy.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the 19-country single currency bloc would expand by 2.1 percent in 2018, lower than the 2.3 percent forecast just weeks ago in early May. “Our forecast is for a continued expansion in 2018 and 2019, although a further escalation of protectionist measures is a clear downside risk,” said EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici in a statement. “Trade wars produce no winners, only casualties,” he added.

The commission added that the economy in the eurozone would expand by 2.0 percent in 2019, the same forecast as in May. The worry about the European economy stems from the ongoing trade dispute with the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has now threatened to impose tariffs on European auto imports, with German auto giants the intended target.

If confirmed, the policy would be one of the most aggressive transatlantic blows since the Great Depression and risks bitterly splitting the allies amid divisions over the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. The threat by Trump comes after the mercurial leader already slapped 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on imports from Europe and other key allies.

“First and foremost, if trade tensions with the US were to escalate further, this could dampen confidence more permanently, … likely disrupting the current global (economic recovery),” the commission said in its forecast report. The commission also pointed to “political and policy uncertainty in a number of EU countries” as an important downside risk to the forecast, which included the fallout of stalled Brexit talks.

This also included heavily-indebted Italy, after a far-right/populist coalition formed a government on the promise to break EU budget and spending rules. The commission said higher oil prices, which have spiked partly due to growing tensions over Iran, were also a negative factor.

Continue Reading


ADB to provide $7.528 bn to Pakistan



ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has planned to support Pakistan with lending of $7.528 billion for various development projects during the next three years.

In its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Pakistan 2019-21 revealed on Thursday, the ADB has proposed a sovereign lending program for next three years worth $7.528 billion, consisting of $5.37 billion from regular Ordinary Capital Resource (OCR) lending and $2.158 billion from Concessional COR Lending (COL). COL includes a carryover of $600 million from 2018. The non-lending program for 2019–2021 is $21.7 million, including transaction technical assistance for various pipeline projects. An amount of $2.245 billion in ADB loan financing is allocated for the energy sector, which is 29.8 percent of the total pipeline for 2019–2021.  

The pipeline includes a multi-tranche financing facility for Transmission Strengthening (tranche 1) for National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Hydropower Development Project for Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and support for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline Project. For the transport sector, some $1.394 billion of ADB loan financing for the sector (18.5% of the total pipeline) have been allocated for the transport sector.  The pipeline includes the Sustainable National Highway Project and the Sindh Hyderabad Southern Bypass Project.

ADB also proposes support for the revitalization of Pakistan Railways to improve transport sector sustainability, including exploring non-conventional financing arrangements. For agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, ADB has allocated $794 million in loan financing to the sector (10.6% of the total pipeline).  The pipeline includes the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project, the Kurram Tangi Water Resources Project, and the Smaller Cholistan Water Resources Development Project. Similarly, for water and other urban infrastructure and services, the ADB has allocated $470 million in ADB loan financing (6.2% of the total pipeline).  The pipeline includes a cross-sector project readiness facility for Punjab and the Punjab Cities Improvement Project. ADB has also allocated $2.4 billion in loan financing to the finance and public sector management sectors (31.9% of the total pipeline).

The COBP, 2019-2021, includes new projects such as trade and competitiveness program (subprogram 1) in 2019; financial markets development in 2020; infrastructure financing and PPPs in 2021; as well as the second phase of support for the Benazir Income Support Program in 2020. The education and health sectors pipeline includes $225 million in loan financing (3.0% of the total pipeline). ADB’s re-engagement in education and health sectors includes $175 million for projects on secondary education in Sindh and improving workforce readiness and skills development in Punjab, and $50 million projects to improve quality of health care services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

ADB will also provide technical assistance across sectors to help project implementation and to generate and disseminate knowledge products to support policy and project development, as well as to enhance project quality and readiness. Pakistan, a group B developing member country, is eligible for regular OCR lending and concessional OCR lending (COL).  The indicative resources available during 2019–2021 for sovereign operations amount to $5,712 billion, comprising $4.29 billion for regular OCR lending and $1.422 billion for COL. The final allocation will depend on available resources, project readiness, project performance and debt distress rating of the country among others. ADB’s non-sovereign operations will supplement these resources.  ADB will also explore co-financing from other sources and seek financing from the regional pool under concessional resources and regular OCR for regional cooperation and integration.

Continue Reading


Improving ease of doing business



Imran Khan on solution to poverty

ISLAMABAD: PM has today directed Board of Investment (BoI) chairman to present a comprehensive plan, listing all the issues in various sectors and their sub-sectors and how the processes could be streamlined to simplify procedures related to government approvals, addressing taxation issues, dispute resolution and facilitating investors/businesses. 
He said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on improving ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment to facilitate the conversion of interest of the local as well foreign investors into actual investments in the country. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif, federal secretaries and senior officials. 
BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif while briefing the prime minister about the steps taken so far said the Board would be serving as an agent of change for facilitating business transactions, removing impediments in the way to the materialization of investors’ interest into actual investments and smooth functioning of the businesses in the country. He also briefed about various issues being faced by the business community including taxation, access to finance, regulation and policy issues and red-tapism.
He said the BoI was also actively working with the provinces and relevant ministries for removing barriers in the way of establishing Special Economic Zones.  He said special efforts were being made to bridge the gap between private and public sector and to reach out to the private sector to revive their confidence in government policies and put in place a framework that facilitates business community in its business pursuits.  The BoI chairman also briefed about Naya Pakistan Diaspora Fund which was being set-up to promote SMEs and rural development in key areas of education, health, and infrastructure development.
He also apprised the prime minister of the investment framework which had been structured for attracting and materializing investment from UAE, KSA, China, Japan, and Malaysia.   It was decided during the meeting that the prime minister would chair a review meeting every month on ease of doing business in the country.

Continue Reading


Export of surplus wheat from Pakistan!



Export of surplus wheat from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: According to a notification issued by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research modalities had been devised apropos export of surplus wheat from Pakistan.

The notification reads: “In compliance with the ECC Decision…and thereby ratification of the Cabinet Division…regarding Export of Public Sector’s Surplus Wheat/Products, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research devised modalities. In consultation with the Ministries of Finance and Commerce, for the export of 0.5 million tons of surplus wheat/products of the public sector. Details of modalities are given below:

  1. The Provincial Governments and PASSCO shall process export of wheat by placing the tenders in the tune of 0.5 million tons of wheat with the following break-up:
  • PASSCO-0.10 million tons
  • Punjab – 0.250 million tons
  • Sindh-0.150 million tons.
  1. PASSCO and Governments of Punjab and Sindh are allowed to export 0.50 million tons of wheat and wheat products [Flour (Aata) Fine Suji and Maida.
  2. The successful bidder will provide a performance a guarantee of 120% of the amount of difference between the issue price of wheat (to flour mills) and the bid price, which may be released on submission of an export document’s within 90 days.
  3. The export of wheat and wheat products should be completed before 30th April 2019, while the export process should be completed up to 30th June 2019. In order to facilitate the exporters for completing their codal formalities.
  4. The freight support for the export of wheat in respect of PASSCO will be paid by the Federal Government, while Government of Punjab and Sindh shall bear freight support charges for their respective exports.
Continue Reading

News Pakistan Trending