Budget Study Centre Issue 23
Sep 13, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts


Govt aims to cut privileges in mini budget

The Express Tribune (Sep 13, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The government has postponed the National Assembly session that it had convened to present mini-budget till next week, amid plans to withdraw tax free privileges being availed by the president, governors and federal ministers. “The decision to present the revised Finance Bill in the National Assembly on Friday has been deferred due to the funeral of Begum Kulsum Nawaz,” Finance Minister Asad Umar told The Express Tribune .…Read More


Foreign investors seek review of CPEC, free trade deals

The Express Tribune (Sep 13, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: An advocacy group of multinational companies working in Pakistan has advised the government to review the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and free trade agreements (FTA) in order to provide a level playing field for all stakeholders. The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has made these recommendations to Finance Minister Asad Umar. Foreign investors have.…Read More


Business Advisory Council on the cards

The Express Tribune (Sep 12, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Asad Umar said on Tuesday that the government was holding consultation for setting up the Business Advisory Council to establish direct liaison between the government and business community in a bid to make Pakistan a regional hub for investors. Speaking to a delegation of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), led by its President Irfan Wahab Khan, Umar said latest.…Read More


Balochistan cabinet approves Rs8b plan to bloster levies

The Express Tribune (Sep 12, 2018)

QUETTA: The cabinet of Chief Minister Jam Kamal on Tuesday approved a Rs8 billion plan for the restructuring and strengthening of Levies Force, to be completed in four phases. The provincial cabinet took the decision after reviewing the recommendation made by the Levies DG. Briefing the cabinet members, the DG Levies said the force needed modern training to handle the security challenges, especially in the remote …..…Read More


Trade deficit shrinks as exports grow faster than imports

The Express Tribune (Sep 12, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s trade deficit shrank to $6.2 billion in first two months of the current fiscal year as the pace of growth in exports beat the increase in imports, indicating government’s administrative measures have started yielding results. The trade deficit for July-August was 1.3% lower than the deficit recorded in the same period of previous fiscal year, reported the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Tuesday.…Read More


Govt set to deprive salaried employees of tax relief in mini budget

The Express Tribune (Sep 12, 2018)

The government has decided to introduce a mini budget with the prices of several items expected to rise. It was decided that major amendments will be made to the finance bill in an attempt to increase revenue generation. The summary of the mini-budget has been prepared and is set to be presented during the federal cabinet meeting. After the approval of the summary, the mini-budget will be shared in the National Assembly on September 14.…Read More


French 2018 budget deficit to rise, but respect EU limit

The Business Recorder (Sep 11, 2018)

PARIS: France’s budget deficit will rise next year but stay below the European Union’s limit of 3 percent of economic output, according to figures given by Finance Ministry officials on Tuesday. Next year’s budget, which is due to be published at the end of this month, foresees the public deficit rising to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product next year after 2.6 percent this year, the ministry officials said. Respecting the EU deficit limit is the cornerstone of President …Read More


CPEC is Pakistan’s economic future, says Gen Qamar

The Express Tribune (Sep 11, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: A day after a controversial interview of a key government adviser cast doubts over future of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa assured the Chinese envoy that the CPEC is Pakistan’s economic future and its security will not be compromised. The assurance came during Gen Qamar’s meeting with the Chinese ambassador, who visited the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi …Read More


IMF’s staff-level team to arrive by month-end

The Express Tribune (Sep 11, 2018)

Prime Minister Imran Khan reconstituted the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on September 1 to resolve the economic crisis of the country. Chaired by the PM himself, the 18-member economic council aims to function as a regulatory body which will advise the government on both “short-term macroeconomic stabilisation interventions” and “long-term structural reforms for stable and sustained economic development”. …Read More

UK growth will slow to 1.3% amid Brexit uncertainty- KPMG

The Guardian (Sep 10, 2018)

A sharp fall in consumer spending and business investment is expected to drag Britain’s growth rate down to just 1.3% this year, dispelling hopes that the UK’s sluggish rate of expansion in the first six months will recover in the second half of the year. According to the consultancy KPMG, Brexit uncertainty will take a bigger toll on the economy than many forecasters, including the Bank of England, expect following a slump in consumer …Read More

Trump threatens new tariffs on $267bn of Chinese goods

The Guardian (Sep 8, 2018)

Donald Trump has said he has a new tranche of tariffs ready to place on virtually all Chinese goods, as Apple warned the trade war will make its products more expensive for American consumers. A package of tariffs was already close to being imposed on $200bn worth of Chinese goods imported to the US, Trump said, while suggesting a further package, worth $267bn, could also be imposed, which would sharply …. …Read More


Govt to revise ‘unrealistic’ annual budget

The Nation (Sep 7, 2018)

ISLAMABAD - In a major decision, the PTI-led federal government has decided to revise the annual budget for the ongoing fiscal year what the government termed unrealistic. The government disclosed it during a meeting of newly-formed Economic Advisory Council (EAC), which met under the chair of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The meeting was attended by independent economists as well as heads of economic ministries and…Read More


Italy’s top ministers look to reassure markets over 2019 budget

The Times of Malta (Sep 5, 2018)

Italy's top ministers issued a barrage of statements on Wednesday to reassure financial markets over the government's forthcoming budget, promising to keep state accounts in check and maintain economic stability. The concerted charm campaign helped push Italian bond yields to their lowest in almost a month, as hopes grew that the coalition, comprising the rightist League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, would respect European Union budget discipline. "Clearly we will not do everything …Read More


No woman made the cut for PM Khan’s economic advisory council?

The Pakistan Today (Sep 3, 2018)

Prime Minister Imran Khan reconstituted the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on September 1 to resolve the economic crisis of the country. Chaired by the PM himself, the 18-member economic council aims to function as a regulatory body which will advise the government on both “short-term macroeconomic stabilisation interventions” and “long-term structural reforms for stable and sustained economic development”. …Read More


US economy grows in Q2 at fastest rate in nearly four years

The Times of Malta (Sep 2, 2018)

US second quarter economic growth was stronger than previously estimated, as gross domestic product (i.e. the value of all goods and services produced across the economy) rose at a 4.2 per cent annual rate, according to a report by the Commerce Department. This marked the strongest growth rate in nearly four years. The agency had earlier estimated the second-quarter growth at a 4.1 per cent annual rate. Economists expected an unchanged …Read More


Deal on free trade pact likely in Nov

The Express Tribune (Sep 2, 2018)

SINGAPORE: Broad agreement is expected to be reached at a leaders’ summit in Singapore in November, the city-state’s trade minister said on Saturday. The 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which will cover about half the world’s population and a third of its GDP, has taken centre stage as Washington embarks on a unilateral, protectionist agenda. The RCEP is backed by China and notably excludes the US, which had been leading another.…Read More


FBR’s tax collection grows 14% to Rs506 billion

The Express Tribune (Sep 01, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected Rs506 billion in taxes in the first two months of the current fiscal year as the government scrambles to search for new avenues for revenue receipts in an attempt to reduce the projected budget deficit to less than 5% of the national economy. Provisional tax collection in July-August FY19 stood at Rs506 billion, according to FBR officials. It was Rs62 billion or 14% higher than the …Read More


Pakistan needs $9b for running domestic economy: Umar

The Express Tribune (Aug 31, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan needs $9 billion to run the country’s economic affairs, Finance Minister Asad Umar told the Senate on Friday He said Pakistan was facing an adverse economic situation because of flawed policies of previous governments. “We are deliberating on (various) options. We will map out a plan over the next few days and we will share it with the parliament,” the finance minister said. The parliament, he said, would decide whether or not the..…Read More


FBR reforms to be discussed in next cabinet meeting

The DAWN by Mubarak Zeb Khan (Aug 28, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The government is gearing up to launch a drastic reform plan for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) with the objectives of enhancing revenue collection and promoting equity and transparency in the tax machinery. Dawn has learnt that the plan is in advanced stages, but nobody at the FBR is aware of it. “We have moved a summary to the cabinet for introducing reforms in the FBR” Finance Minister Asad Umar told Dawn on Monday. The cabinet is.…Read More


Balochistan’s budget deficit quandary

The DAWN by Nasir Jamal (Aug 27, 2018)

FINANCING its large budget deficit of approximately Rs62 billion for the present financial year remains the main concern of the new Jam Kamal Khan government in Balochistan, says a senior provincial official. “We are facing a big hole in our planned public development investment for the ongoing fiscal year,” Qamar Masood, Balochistan’s finance secretary, told this correspondent from Quetta over the telephone. “We don’t have a solution.…Read More


Budget deficit widens to record Rs2.26tr in FY18

The Express Tribune (Aug 26, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan booked the highest-ever budget deficit of Rs2.26 trillion in the last fiscal year due to expansionary fiscal policies in an election year and poor performance of tax machinery, throwing the country into a deeper debt trap. In its annual consolidated federal and provincial budgetary operations report, the Ministry of Finance reported that the budget deficit widened to Rs2.26 trillion in fiscal year..…Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 22
August 23, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts


US and China escalate trade war as total sum levied reaches $100bn

The Guardian (Aug 23, 2018)

The US and China have escalated their ongoing trade war by implementing 25% tariffs on $16bn worth of imports on both sides, bringing the amount levied to a combined $100bn (£78bn) since July. Beijing began implementing the new tariffs on Thursday, when the US said it would begin collecting extra duties in retaliation for what it claimed were unfair Chinese trade practices. “China firmly opposes [the US tariffs] and has to continue to make…….…Read More


Current account deficit balloons by 14pc

The Nation (Aug 22, 2018)

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - The current account deficit of the country ballooned by 14 percent in July 2018. The current account deficit expanded to $2.2 billion in July 2018 as compared with the deficit of $1.93 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. During 2017-18, the current account deficit amounted to $18 billion. As a percentage of GDP, current account deficit stands at a negative 8.6% of the GDP, while during the same month last year, current account deficit accounted for a negative 7.1% of the GDP. …Read More


US-Turkey feud: Trump vows no concessions as lira stays under

The Express Tribune (Aug 22, 2018)

ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira weakened against the dollar on Tuesday after US President Donald Trump said he would give Ankara no concessions in return for the release of a detained American pastor, the latest salvo in a worsening rift between the Nato allies. In an interview with Reuters, Trump criticised Turkey on Monday over the detention of evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Brunson and said he was not concerned that his tough stance against Turkey could end up …Read More


Germany’s current account surplus hits global high

The Daily Star (Aug 21, 2018)

Germany's current account surplus is set to remain the world's largest this year despite increased trade tensions, the Ifo institute said on Monday, in an estimate likely to renew criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's fiscal policies. The International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have for years urged Germany to do more to lift domestic demand and imports as a way to reduce global economic imbalances and stimulate.…Read More


Rs1.9 trillion of liabilities & receivables would need restructuring by new govt: Report

The Pakistan Today (Aug 20, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) takes the reins of government this week, it is projected it would need to restructure Rs1.9 trillion worth of liabilities and receivables of government-owned entities. The new government, according to a senior government official would require making adjustments and administer write-offs besides employment various kinds of borrowing to clean the slate in terms of debt and liabilities of loss-making.…Read More


New govt has host of options to bridge financing gap

The Express Tribune (Aug 20, 2018)

LAHORE: After a round of political somersaults, the new government is in place. It is hoped that the picture gets clear and the government will follow its path in due course. The new political dispensation has inherited an economy which is in a better shape. However, the growing real economy requires huge financial doses since exports are unable to cover imports. Multilateral institutions, economists and media experts are coming up with their estimates.…Read More


Improving economy, living standards main mission for govt: Asad Umar

The Pakistan Today (Aug 19, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The nominated Finance Minister Asad Umer has said that improving the living standards of people and the economy is the main mission of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) democratically elected government. Talking to a news channel, he said it was a big challenge for the PTI government to ensure the provision of all basic amenities of life to the masses. “We will have to create job opportunities for unemployed youth, “ he ..…Read More


Circular debt of Rs1.1tr passed on to new govt

The Express Tribune (Aug 18, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Though the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government claimed to have brought about improvement in power production, it still passed on a gigantic circular debt of Rs1.148 trillion to the new government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which faces a bumpy road ahead. The PML-N had come up with a slogan in 2013 that it would bring load-shedding to an end during its five-year tenure. It solely focused on setting up thermal…..…Read More


Pakistan asked to make terror financing money laundering extraditable offences

The Express Tribune (Aug 18, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering on Wednesday urged Pakistan to enact appropriate laws, enabling local officials to act upon requests of foreign countries to freeze illegal assets and making terrorism financing and money laundering extraditable offences. Pointing out deficiencies in Pakistan’s legal framework, the visiting APG team pointed out that this could hamper Pakistan’s effective response on requests. …Read More

Could Turkey’s financial crises have a snowball effect on world markets?

The Washington Post (Aug 17, 2018)

Investors might be watching the financial crisis in Turkey and wondering: How could it affect me? An economic virus spreading outward from Turkey and through other markets is unlikely, experts say, but it could happen. In one scenario, European banks that had lent money in the Turkish public and private sectors would face a credit squeeze if Turkey could not make its loan payments. The Turkish lira, its currency, would continue to drop in value against …Read More

Pakistan foreign debt and liabilities surged 14 percent in FY18, touch $95.097 billion

The Pakistan Today (Aug 16, 2018)

KARACHI: Pakistan’s foreign debt and liabilities surged 14 percent, touching $95.097 billion for FY18, data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed. At end of FY17, the external debt and liabilities had been recorded at $83.431 billion, as the country faces problems to meet its external financing requirement, reported The News. During FY18, Pakistan paid off $7.479 billion in external debt servicing, falling 8.19 percent from FY17. In FY17, the foreign debt servicing in …Read More


Pakistan’s debt, liabilities swell 83% to Rs 30tr.

The Express Tribune (Aug 16, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s debt and liabilities rose sharply to nearly Rs30 trillion or 87% of total size of the economy at the end of previous fiscal year, largely due to the last government’s expansionary fiscal policies and its failure to reform tax administration. Statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday showed that in the last five years, the country’s total debt and liabilities increased Rs13.5 trillion or 82.8% to stand at Rs29.9 trillion. …Read More


India’s July trade deficit widens to more than five year high of $ 18.2 billion: Trade ministry

The Hindustan Times (Aug 14, 2018)

India’s trade deficit widened to a more than five year high of $18.02 billion in July, the trade ministry said on Tuesday, driven largely by a surge in oil imports. Though merchandise exports rose 14.32 percent year-on-year in July, the trade deficit widened as oil imports surged 57.41 percent to $12.35 billion. In June, the trade deficit stood at $16.6 billion. Merchandise exports last month rose to $25.77 billion from a year ago, while imports rose 28.81 percent to …Read More


Why has the Turkish lira slumped to a record low?

The Independent (Aug 14, 2018)

The Turkish lira has slumped to a record low against the US dollar this week. On Friday it was down by as much as 17 per cent before recovering slightly. What’s driving it down? And what does it mean for Turkey and others? At one stage on Friday afternoon one dollar bought 6.9 lira. In January a dollar bought just 3.7 units of the Turkish currency. That means it has lost around 44 per cent of its value against the dollar this year. The lira is now the world’s worst …Read More


German economy accelerates in second quarter

The Wall Street Journal (Aug 14, 2018)

FRANKFURT—Germany’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter, ensuring the eurozone as a whole avoided a slowdown, but economists said global trade tensions and a currency crisis in Turkey are clouding the outlook for businesses. Germany’s gross domestic product grew at a quarterly rate of 0.5%, or 1.8% in annualized terms, the Federal Statistical Office said Tuesday. It also raised its first-quarter growth estimate to an annualized 1.5%.. Read More


Italy PM, ministers discuss 2019 budget, agree it must cut debt

The Times of Malta (Aug 14, 2018)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his top ministers discussed the 2019 budget on Monday and agreed that it would preserve the stability of state finances and lower the public debt, the prime minister's office said. Conte assessed the economic situation and the budget with Economy Minister Giovanni Tria and the heads of the League and the 5-Star Movement, the two parties that make up the ruling coalition, the statement said. The budget, …Read More


India’s July trade deficit widens to more than five year high of $18.02 billion: Trade ministry

The Hindustan Times (Aug 14, 2018)

India’s trade deficit widened to a more than five year high of $18.02 billion in July, the trade ministry said on Tuesday, driven largely by a surge in oil imports. Though merchandise exports rose 14.32 percent year-on-year in July, the trade deficit widened as oil imports surged 57.41 percent to $12.35 billion. In June, the trade deficit stood at $16.6 billion. Merchandise exports last month rose to $25.77 billion from a year ago, while imports rose 28.81 percent to …Read More


Turkish financial crises sends fear through global financial markets from India to Hong Kong

The Independent (Aug 14, 2018)

Turkey’s descent into economic crisis roiled global financial markets on Monday. The lira slumped to as low as 7.19 to the dollar on Sunday, down from from 6.4 at the end of last week, when the US hit the country with a doubling of steel tariffs. On Monday morning the Turkish currency was still trading at only 6.84, more than 25 per cent lower than seven days earlier and around 45 per cent down since the start of the year. The country’s …Read More


PTI insist IMF is a ‘fallback’

The DAWN by Nasir Jamal (Aug 13, 2018)

ASAD Umar, the man expected to get the most important job of bringing the faltering economy back on its feet in the incoming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, views an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout as a “fallback option”. He does not rule out the possibility of knocking at the door of the lender for its dollars to prop up the depleting foreign currency reserves and avert the impending balance-of-payment crisis, …Read More


German industrial output declines in June

The Times of Malta (Aug 12, 2018)

German industrial production declined in June by slightly more than expected, led by a sharp drop in construction output. Total industrial output (which comprises output in manufacturing, energy and construction) fell by 0.9 per cent from May, according to the German economics ministry. Economists had expected a 0.4 per cent decline. However, compared with the same month last year, total production rose by a calendar-…....Read More


Agriculture sector will need Rs 1.52tr in FY19: SBP

The Express Tribune (Aug 12, 2018)

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has estimated that the agriculture sector would require Rs1.52 trillion during the current fiscal year and has assigned banks to lend at least Rs1.25 trillion in FY19. “The overall disbursement target of Rs1,250 billion has been assigned to banks, which is 82% of the total estimated agri-credit requirement of Rs1,519 billion,” SBP said in a statement on Saturday. Banks must overcome their infrastructure.…Read More


Agriculture sector will need Rs 1.52tr in FY19: SBP

The Express Tribune (Aug 12, 2018)

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has estimated that the agriculture sector would require Rs1.52 trillion during the current fiscal year and has assigned banks to lend at least Rs1.25 trillion in FY19. “The overall disbursement target of Rs1,250 billion has been assigned to banks, which is 82% of the total estimated agri-credit requirement of Rs1,519 billion,” SBP said in a statement on Saturday. Banks must overcome their infrastructure.…Read More


Remittances surge 25%, amount to $1.93b

The Express Tribune (Aug 11, 2018)

KARACHI: In a positive development, the remittances received from overseas Pakistanis rose markedly in July 2018, according to data released by the central bank on Friday. Remittances stood at $1.93 billion in the first month of fiscal year 2019, up 25.17% compared to $1.54 billion in the same month of previous year. The inflows were 21.03% higher than the money remitted in June 2018. Remittances touch seven-month high at $1.77 billion in March.…Read More


Forex reserves stand at $17b

The Nation (Aug 10, 2018)

KARACHI - Total liquid foreign reserves of the country stand at $17 billion, says State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). According to SBP's weekly statement issued on Thursday, the foreign reserves held by the State Bank on August 03, amounted to $10,369.1 million. Whereas, the net foreign reserves with commercial banks were $ 6,635.9 million. During the week ending August 03, SBP's reserves increased by $19million to $10,369 .….Read More


Overseas Pakistanis remit $1.93 billion in the first month of FY19

The News (Aug 10, 2018)

KARACHI: The Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $ 1929.76 million in the first month of FY19 as compared with US $ 1541.67 million received during the same period in the preceding year. A report issued by State Bank Pakistan (SBP) here Friday, said that during July 2018, the inflow of worker's remittances amounted to $1929.76 million, which is 21.03 percent more than June 2018 and 25.17 percent more than July 2017.The country wise details for….Read More


Wheat worth $236.3 million exported in FY 2017-18

The Daily Times (Aug 09, 2018)

About 1.189 million metric tons of wheat worth $ 236.339 million were exported during 12 months of fiscal year 2017-18 as compared the exports of 3,937 metric tons valuing $ 1.038 million of corresponding period of lat year. During the period from July-June,2017-18, local export of wheat witnessed about 22,668.89 percent growth as compared the exports of the same period of last year, according the data of Pakistan .…Read More


Pakistan plans to borrow $4bn loan from IDB: Report

The News (Aug 09, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is planning to borrow over $4 billion from Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to bail out its economy, which is facing a balance-of-payments crisis. Financial Times reported that Saudi-backed IDB has agreed to make a formal offer to lend Pakistan the money after formation of new government. According to the report, Pakistan moves to restore its currency reserves when prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan takes over.…Read More


‘GDP growth likely to decline if Pakistan leaves IMF programme’

The Daily Times (Aug 09, 2018)

KARACHI: Pakistan will possibly suffer if it leaves International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme given the multifarious economic difficulties to balance macro and micro situation on more than one count. Asad Umar, the next proposed finance minister of the country, had already indicated that it was inevitable to go for an IMF bailout package to around $15-$20 billion in order to support shambling economy on immediate basis. Also, interim Finance.…Read More


Japan’s economy revs up again after stalling

The Wall Street Journal (Aug 09, 2018)

TOKYO—Japan returned to solid growth in the April-June quarter, a trend economists said was likely to continue on the back of higher wages and consumer spending unless trade conflicts with the U.S. worsen. The world’s third-largest economy expanded at an annualized pace of 1.9% in the second quarter of 2018 after a revised 0.9% contraction in the first quarter, which ended the longest stretch of growth in 28 years..…Read More


Budget Study Centre Issue 21
August 08, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts


Pakistan defends its economic partnership with China

The News (Aug 08, 2018)

Islamabad - Pakistan Wednesday defended its economic partnership with China, amid fears that the terms of opaque multi-billion dollar investments by Beijing could be exacerbating Islamabad's economic woes as it considers a fresh IMF bailout. "We have noted recent media reports questioning the viability of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), claiming that it would create an unbearable debt burden for Pakistan,".…Read More


Brazil July inflation slows as impact of truckers’ strike fades

The Business Recorder (Aug 08, 2018)

BRASILIA: Inflation in Brazil slowed for the first time in two months in July as the impact of a May nationwide truckers’ strike dimmed, reinforcing the view that a recent price spike would not last long. Consumer prices tracked by the benchmark IPCA index rose 4.48 percent in the 12 months through July, government statistics agency IBGE said on Wednesday, slightly above the median 4.40 percent forecast of economists in a Reuters poll. That is a bit ……Read More


Pakistan to decide whether to seek IMF bailout ‘by September’

The Daily Times (Aug 08, 2018)

Pakistan must decide by the end of September if it will go to the IMF to bail out its economy, which is facing a balance-of-payments crisis, the likely new finance minister Asad Umar said Tuesday. “By the end of September, we should make our decision,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said. Umar, who is widely tipped to become the next finance minister, reiterated his stance that Pakistan was examining other options as well as the.…Read More


Turkey under pressure to raise interest rates as economic crises looms

The Guardian (Aug 07, 2018)

Turkey is facing mounting pressure to announce an emergency rise in interest rates as rampant inflation, a plunging currency and American sanctions pushes one of the world’s key emerging market countries to the brink of crisis. Analysts said Turkey’s central bank would have no choice but to increase borrowing costs aggressively in the coming days to stem the fall in the lira, which is down by almost a third against the US dollar in the …Read More


Yuan weakens 3.4% in July

The China Daily (Aug 04, 2018)

BEIJING - China's yuan weakened more than 3 percent against a basket of currencies in July, according to a China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) index. The CFETS RMB Index, which measures the yuan's strength relative to a basket of currencies, came in at 92.41 at the end of July, a 3.4 percent decline from a month ago, CFETS said. The index compares the yuan to the value of 24 currencies, including the US dollar, euro and Japanese …Read More


Budget 2018-19 is a ‘farce’ says finance minister

The Daily Times (Aug 03, 2018)

Islamabad: Interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar on Thursday termed the Budget 201819 presented by the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government “unrealistic”. Speaking to media, Akhtar said that facts and figures in the budget were a matter of “concern”. She also commented on the prevalent economic conditions, saying that work on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) project was underway and the incoming government...…Read More


Sri Lanka secures $1 billion Chinese loan

The News (Aug 03, 2018)

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka´s central bank on Friday announced it had secured a $1 billion Chinese loan as the island, a key link in Beijing´s ambitious Belt and Road initiative, develops closer relations with Asia´s largest economy. Central bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that first half of the loan will be released later this month and the balance will be received in October. "During consultations (with the Chinese over the loan) it was clear that they ……Read More


Bank of England raises interest rates to 0.75%

The Guardian (Aug 02, 2018)

The Bank of England has raised interest rates above the emergency level introduced after the financial crisis despite mounting fears about the economic impact of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal. Citing concern that the lowest unemployment rate since the mid-1970s risked re-igniting wage pressure, Threadneedle Street raised interest rates to 0.75% from 0.5% – the level they were dropped to in March 2009 as the economy lurched ……Read More


Inflation touches 45-month high at 5.8%

The Business Recorder (Aug 02, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Inflation has touched a high of three years and nine months at 5.8% in July with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) remaining unable to introduce a new more representative methodology of prices due to lack of administrative approvals. Measured by the Consumer Price Index, the average rate of increase in prices of 40 dozen items stood at 5.83% in July, reported the national data collecting agency on Wednesday. It is the highest....…Read More

Circular debt has soared to Rs 566bn, senate body told

The Daily Times (Aug 02, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: A legislative body of the Upper House of parliament was informed on Wednesday that circular debt of the country had soared to Rs 566 billion. Technical and distribution losses, less recovery, nonpayment of subsidies and K-Electric payment were few reasons for accumulation of the circular debt, the Senate Special Committee on Circular Debt, which meet under the chairmanship of Senator Shibli Faraz, was told. Shibli Faraz said that. Read More

Foreign exchange: In a major relief, SBP’s reserves surge 15% to $10.35b

The Express Tribune (Aug 02, 2018)

KARACHI: In an interesting turn of events, the foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank have increased by a massive 14.86% on a weekly basis, according to data released on Thursday. The development came after China announced that it would immediately give a $2-billion loan to Pakistan, a move meant to arrest the slide in official foreign currency reserves and provide much-needed breathing space to the new government. Read More


US opposes IMF bailout for Pakistan

The Express Tribune (Aug 01, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: A day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against any International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout that helps China, Pakistan has vowed that ‘third parties’ cannot weaken its resolve as it undertakes its biggest infrastructure and energy development plan with the help of Beijing. The $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one of Beijing’s undertakings in its aggressive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has seen China extend ...…Read More


India’s April-June fiscal deficit at 68.7pc of FY target

The Business Recorder (July 31, 2018)

NEW DELHI: India reported on Tuesday a fiscal deficit of 4.29 trillion rupees ($62.57 billion) for April-June, or 68.7 percent of the budgeted target for the current fiscal year compared with 80.8 percent a year ago. Net tax receipts in the first quarter of 2018/19 fiscal year that ends in March 2019 were 2.37 trillion rupees, government data showed. India expects to trim the deficit to 3.3 percent of GDP this fiscal year, after meeting an upwardly revised fiscal deficit...…Read More


Dist council approves Rs 1.5bn budget

The DAWN (July 31, 2018)

OKARA: The district council in its annual budget session for 2018-19 approved annual estimated budget worth Rs1.5 billion, including expected income of Rs800.34 million as well as previous year’s balance of Rs250 million. These estimates also comprise provincial grant worth Rs480.8 million under Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Award and local income of Rs272.5 million. The annual expected expenditures is Rs1.3 billion, including ...…Read More


Deficit reaches €142m in first six m

The Times of Malta (July 27, 2018)

The deficit reached €141.9 million in the first six months of the year, with the government spending considerably more than the additional revenue it received. In June 2017, the deficit was €92 million. Revenue went up by 3.8 per cent to €1.89 billion, mostly due to higher income from income tax and social security. However, total spending went up by 6.2 per cent to €2.04 million, spread across both recurrent expenditure.…Read More


Budget Study Centre Issue 20
July 26, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts


Value of Japan’s ‘sharing economy’ estimated at over ¥500 billion in 2016

The Japan Times (July 26, 2018)

Japan’s so-called sharing economy was estimated to be worth over ¥500 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2016, according to government data, reflecting the rise of peer-to-peer services. Such services, which are not included when calculating gross domestic product, would boost Japan’s ¥548.7 trillion economy by tens of billions of yen, according to a Cabinet Office report released Wednesday. The report breaks the sharing economy down into four categories.…Read More


Will the heat wave help or hurt the UK economy?

The Independent (July 26, 2018)

Figures from Nielsen released this week pointed to the strongest UK grocery sales in five years thanks to the heatwave. Separate data from the Kantar Worldpanel also showed supermarket sales spiking over the 12 weeks to the 15 July, with credit given to “the prolonged hot weather”. Yet official data from the Office for National Statistics showed an unexpected fall in retail sales volumes in June, with the agency saying that “consumers.…Read More


US want to reduce trade deficit with India soon: Official

The Economic Times (July 26, 2018)

The US wants to reduce its trade deficit with India as quickly as possible, a senior official told lawmakers here, asserting that the Trump administration is aggressively pushing New Delhi on the issues of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, dairy products and agriculture. "The President wants fair and reciprocal trade...when we look at India, there are three sectors where, I think, we can get a significant boost in our trade," Alice G Wells, Principal .…Read More


Is change possible for Argentina’s economy?

The Times of Malta by Maria Fenech (July 26, 2018)

Within three months, it was seen that the Argentine peso lost a third of its value relative to the US dollar - nothing new there. Argentina has addressed its social and economic problems with immense state interventionism and deficit spending for seven decades, funded by their printing press. The overall result has always been the same - economic sluggishness and inflation. Now, Argentina has one of the least free economies in the world and some of the world's most..….…Read More


Foreign exchange: SBP’s reserves drop by another $53m, stand at $9.01b

The Express Tribune (July 26, 2018)

KARACHI: The size of Pakistan’s economy stood at $313.13 billion at the end of June, 2018, according to provisional figures released on Thursday by the country’s central bank, as a weaker currency took toll on gross domestic product (GDP) in dollar terms. Pakistan’s GDP stood at $304.97 billion at the end of June, 2017, and the economy registered a 13-year high GDP growth rate of 5.8% in FY18. That said, the size of the economy shrunk in dollar terms……Read More


Saudi wholesale price index rises 15% in June-GASTAT

The MUBASHER (July 25, 2018)

Riyadh – Mubasher: Saudi Arabia's Wholesale Price Index (Inflation) jumped 15.4% year-on-year during June, General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) said. The state-run statistics agency attributed the rise to the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT), in addition to adjusting fuel prices as of January 2018. The growth occurred after prices in other goods section surged 34.5% as refined petroleum products’ prices soared 93.9%, while……Read More


How the Trump tax cut is helping to push the federal deficit to $1 trillion’

The New York Times by Jim Tankersley (July 25, 2018)

The amount of corporate taxes collected by the federal government has plunged to historically low levels in the first six months of the year, pushing up the federal budget deficit much faster than economists had predicted. The reason is President Trump’s tax cuts. The law introduced a standard corporate rate of 21 percent, down from a high of 35 percent, and allowed companies to immediately deduct many new investments.……Read More


PSB’s bad loan rise to 15% of gross advances in FY 18: Govt

The Economic Times (July 24, 2018)

The gross bad loans of public sector banks (PSBs) hit 15 per cent of advances in 2017-18, government said in Parliament today. The gross non-performing assets (NPA) ratio for PSBs stood at 14.6 per cent in 2017-18, minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said in Parliament citing data from the Reserve Bank. IDBI Bank topped the list in terms of gross bad loans at 28 per cent of gross advances followed by Indian Overseas Bank (25.3 pc); UCO BankNSE……Read More


Bitcoin surpasses $8,000 to hit two-month high

The Hindustan Times (July 24, 2018)

London: Bitcoin, the world’s best-known cryptocurrency, shot past $8,000 on Tuesday for the first time in two months on signs of growing institutional interest in virtual coins. Recent reports about impending approval in the United States for a cryptocurrency exchange traded fund (ETF) have helped bolster demand recently, as have comments by BlackRock’s Chief Executive Larry Fink last week that the world’s biggest investment…Read More

IMF praises Saudi economic reforms

The MUBASHER (July 24, 2018)

Riyadh - Mubasher: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expecting Saudi Arabia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 1.9% in 2018, with non-oil growth strengthening to 2.3%. Growth is expected to pick-up further over the medium-term as the reforms take hold and oil output increases, the IMF said in a report issued on Monday. Risks are balanced in the near-term, as the employment of Saudi nationals has increased, ….…Read More

Money kept by Indians in Swiss banks fell by 34.5% in 2017: Piyush Goyal tells Parliament

The Hindustan Times (July 24, 2018)

New Delhi: Indian deposits in Swiss banks fell by 34.5% in 2017 and by 80% since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday, citing data from the global body of central banks, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He said this in Parliament rebutting last month’s reports, which quoted the Swiss National Bank, the country’s central bank, as saying in its annual report that…….Read More


There is no boom or bubble: Bank of England deputy governor defends QE

The Telegraph (July 23, 2018)

Share prices have seen no boom and the housing market has had no hint of a bubble, the Bank of England’s deputy governor has argued. Popular wisdom suggests financial markets have exploded in recent years, pumped up by quantitative easing and ultra-low interest rates. But Ben Broadbent has argued that markets look relatively flat. Instead he believes QE stopped a collapse in prices, rather than forcing them skyward. Average UK house prices on a………..Read More


IMP, finance ministry way off on Pakistan’s economic misery

The Express Tribune (July 21, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan’s finance ministry have failed to make accurate forecasts about the country’s external sector for the last fiscal year, putting a question mark over the capability of both institutions. Projections of the Washington-based lender for the current account deficit and gross official foreign currency reserves for fiscal year 2017-18 were missed by a huge margin. Its first Post Programme…….Read More


HDFC Bank posts 18.02% rise in net profit in first quarter

The Hindustan Times (July 21, 2018)

New Delhi: HDFC Bank Ltd posted a 18.2% rise in first-quarter profit on Saturday on higher interest and fee income, though it missed analysts’ estimates. Net profit rose to 46.01 billion rupees ($669.43 million) for the quarter ended June 30, from 38.94 billion rupees a year ago, India’s second-biggest lender by assets said in a statement. Analysts had on average expected a net profit of 47.66 billion rupees for the bank that has the highest market ..…Read More


Japan’s core inflation rate hit 0.8% in June on higher energy costs

The Japan Times (July 20, 2018)

The country’s underlying inflation rate edged up in June amid rising energy costs, government data showed Friday, though it continued to fall short of the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent target. The nationwide core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 0.8 percent in June from a year earlier, picking up from a 0.7 percent rise in May to match market forecasts. The index rose for the 18th consecutive month, up to 101……Read More


Pakistan’s borrowing soars to record high at $11.4b

The Express Tribune (July 20, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s borrowing from foreign sources hit a record high at $11.4 billion in fiscal year 2017-18, which broke a one-year-old record, as reliance on external creditors grew due to mounting debt and a steep decline in foreign exchange reserves. The loans of $11.4 billion, acquired from July 2017 to June 2018, included $500 million in cash injection by China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said officials in the...…Read More


Trump threatens to hit all $505bn of Chinese imports with tariffs

The Guardian (July 20, 2018)

Donald Trump escalated economic global tensions on Friday, lashing out a range of targets that included the European Union, the Federal Reserve and China, indicating that he is prepared to raise tariffs on Chinese imports from $34bn to cover the entire $505bn of Chinese imports. “I’m willing to go to 500,” he said during a taped interview with the business channel CNBC, an escalation he was prepared to make because it “was the right thing to do for …Read More


Size of Pakistan’s economy is $313.13 billion’s says SBP

The Express Tribune (July20, 2018)

KARACHI: The size of Pakistan’s economy stood at $313.13 billion at the end of June, 2018, according to provisional figures released on Thursday by the country’s central bank, as a weaker currency took toll on gross domestic product (GDP) in dollar terms. Pakistan’s GDP stood at $304.97 billion at the end of June, 2017, and the economy registered a 13-year high GDP growth rate of 5.8% in FY18. That said, the size of the economy shrunk in dollar ….…Read More


Brexit plan to cost importers £700m a year at the border, HMRC bosses warn

The Telegraph (July 19, 2018)

Importers can expect to be £700m worse off each year because of administrative costs at the border under the Government’s latest Brexit proposals, HMRC bosses have warned. Extra costs will apply to those bringing in goods from outside the EU as they have to choose between paying EU tariffs - for goods going on to the other 27 nations - or UK taxes for products going to British customers. But they will dodge the estimated £17bn to £20bn….…Read More


UK interest rate rise in doubt as inflation stays at2.4%

The Guardian (July 18, 2018)

The chances of a rise in interest rates in August have dipped after British inflation remained at a one-year low last month, triggered by the summer sales. Confounding expectations for the return of higher rates of inflation in June fuelled by the rising price of petrol, the Office for National Statistics said the consumer price index remained unchanged at 2.4% from the Although the cost of gas and electricity increased and the price at the pump hit the highest…Read More


FBR gets details of Pakistani assets in Britain

The Express Tribune (July 17, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: In a desperate effort to reinvigorate the lackluster offshore tax amnesty scheme, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) claimed on Monday it will proceed against individuals who own immovable properties in the United Kingdom but did not disclose them yet. “The FBR obtains information in respect of immovable properties owned by Pakistanis in the United Kingdom with the assistance of OECD (Organization for Economic …Read More


China’s economy slows as trade war with US intensifies

The Hindustan Times (July 16, 2018)

China’s economic expansion slowed in line with expectations, signaling broadly stable output as the trade conflict with the US intensifies. Gross domestic product increased 6.7 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. That was the slowest pace since 2016 and down slightly from the 6.8 percent pace in the previous quarter. Investment growth and industrial output also slowed in June. Industrial output rose 6 percent last month from .....…Read More


Rupee falls 57pc against dollar in inter bank trade

The DAWN (July 16, 2018)

The Pakistani rupee lost 5.7 per cent of its value against the US dollar in inter bank trading on Monday, with the greenback being traded at Rs128.50 in the market towards day's close. Meanwhile, the selling rate in the open market climbed up to Rs130 while the greenback remained short in supply. On Saturday, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa had denied any move for devaluation. On the same day, caretaker Finance Minister ……......…Read More


EU lower Eurozone 2018 GDP forecast

The Times of Malta (July 15, 2018)

The European Commission trimmed its growth forecast for the euro area this year to 2.1 per cent, downwards from the previous 2.3 per cent projection. Growth of two per cent is now expected for next year. Economic momentum moderated in the first half of 2018 after five straight quarters of vigorous expansion. This slight downward revision compared to spring reflects the impact on confidence of trade tensions and policy uncertainty, ....…Read More


Global markets feeling the heat as Trump tax cuts set US economy on fire

The Telegraph (July 14, 2018)

The current heatwave isn’t the only thing that’s causing some discomfort in financial markets. It is clear that the US economy is not only also suffering from a heatwave, but is metaphorically on fire also. Soaring small business confidence, corporate tax cuts fuelling surging company profits, and a labour market that is not only continuing to create jobs but is drawing people back into the workforce as the participation rate rises. And while more company.....…Read More


ICCI shows concern over all time high trade deficit of over $37 billion

The Daily Times (July 14, 2018)

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has shown great concerns over the all-time high trade deficit that has touched US$ 37.7 billion during the fiscal year 2017-18 as it would put more pressure on the forex reserves and create many problems for the struggling economy. Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that as per recent figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan’s.....…Read More


India’s exports up 17.57% in June, trade deficit widens to 43-month high

The Hindustan Times (July 13, 2018)

Exports grew by 17.5% to $27.7 billion in June on account of healthy growth in sectors such as petroleum and chemicals but trade deficit widened to a 43-month high of $16.6 billion due to costlier crude oil imports. Imports rose by 21.31% to $44.3 billion during the month, according to the data released by the commerce ministry. The trade deficit in June 2018 is the highest since November 2014 when the gap was $16.86 billion. The deficit in June 2017 .....…Read More


China trade surplus with US hits record $29bn high

The Guardian (July 13, 2018)

China’s trade surplus with the US widened to a record in June, risking further escalation of a bitter trade dispute with Washington. The difference between China’s exports to the US and its imports from the world’s largest economy expanded to a monthly high of $29bn (£22bn), up from $24.6bn in May. China’s exports to the US jumped by 13.6% in the first half of 2018 from a year earlier, while its imports from the US rose 11.8% in the same period. .....…Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 19
July 17, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

55,000 people avail amnesty scheme thus far

The DAWN (July 12, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Nearly 55,225 people have filed returns declaring their Rs577 billion worth of foreign assets and Rs1,192bn domestic assets under the tax amnesty scheme, new data released by the finance division on Wednesday shows. The declarants have paid around Rs97bn in taxes thus far with more in the pipeline. The break down showed that the government received a tax amount of Rs36bn on whitening of foreign assets and Rs61bn………Read More

SBP sees gloomy growth for Pakistan in FY19

The Express Tribune (July 12, 2018)

KARACHI: Pakistan is unlikely to achieve the growth target of 6.2% in the current fiscal year amid an increase in the number of challenges facing the economy, wrote the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in its quarterly report on the state of the economy. After achieving a 13-year high growth of 5.8% last fiscal year, the government set a growth target of 6.2% for 2019. However, depleting foreign exchange reserves and a weaker rupee stifle growth………Read More

Public debt rises 11 percent, touches Rs23.769 trillion during July-May FY18

Pakistan Today (July 10, 2018)

LAHORE: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday released data pertaining to central government debt which rose to Rs23.769 trillion during first 11 months (July-May) of FY18, registering an 11 percent increase during this period. At the end of FY17 (June 2017), the debt was recorded at Rs20.767 trillion, posting an increase of Rs3.002 trillion till May 2018 largely driven by rising domestic and foreign borrowing amidst increasing twin deficits………Read More

IMF bailout on the cards for Pakistan’s next government: analysts

The DAWN (July 09, 2018)

RAWALPINDI: The country's next government, to be chosen in the July 25 general elections, faces growing fears of a balance of payments crisis with speculation it will have to seek its second IMF bailout in five years, analysts say. The central bank is running down its foreign reserves and devaluing the currency in a bid to bridge a yawning trade deficit, and the winners of the election will have “limited time” to act, Fitch ratings agency said on July 2.…Read More

China and Germany swear to keep trade free

The Times of Malta (July 09, 2018)

Germany and China signed a raft of commercial accords worth some €20 billion on Monday, with their leaders reiterating commitments to a multilateral global trade order despite a looming trade war with the United States. The deals, involving German industrial giants such as Siemens, Volkswagen and BASF, come with the two leading exporting powerhouses being forced into an unlikely alliance in defence of the open global trade on …Read More

Egypt expects 9.8% deficit in FY 17/18 budget-MOF

The MUBASHER (July 05, 2018)

Cairo – Mubasher: The Egyptian finance ministry forecasts fiscal year 2017/2018 budget deficit to reach 9.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Revenues in the last fiscal year budget are expected to hit EGP 989 billion ($55.47 billion), of which Egypt will repay EGP 817 billion in interests and debt installments, finance minister Mohamed Maait said. The minister has noted that the North African country will announce the,...…Read More

Inflation touches 44-month peak at 5.2%

The Express Tribune (July 05, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The inflation rate rose 5.2% in June, which was its highest level in the past 44 months, as an increase in prices of petroleum products and sharp depreciation of the rupee started impacting every household adversely. Measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the average increase in prices of 40 dozen items was calculated at 5.2%, reported the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday. It was the highest level since .…Read More

GST: India’s big reform paying off, but budget hole fears stay

The Economic Times (July 03, 2018)

One year after India introduced a consumption tax, the results have been mixed. Hailed as one of the biggest reforms by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the goods-and-services levy has helped increase tax collections in a country where compliance is historically low. While monthly receipts have picked up after a chaotic rollout, they are still not strong enough to meet the government’s annual tax target. GST brought in an average….…Read More

The role of Civil Society Organization is very vital to improve the governance issues. CNBA

News Room (June 29, 2018)

Quetta: The role of Civil Society Organizations is very vital they can watch the Budget Making Process to improve the governance issues at Provincial level said Raja Shoaib Akbar, Senior Program Manager Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) Islamabad. In 2 Days workshop organized by CPDI, Citizen Network for Budget Accountability (CNBA) raised the demand to ensure the participation of local population in budget making process .…Read More

Civil society organizations raise demand to ensure participation of local population in budget making process at district level.

The Balochistan Point (June 29, 2018)

QUETTA: The civil society organizations can watch the budget making process to improve governance issues at provincial level, said Raja Shoaib Akber, senior program manager Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) Islamabad. While addressing the participants of two-day workshop in Quetta, senior program manager CPDI emphasized the vital role of   civil society organizations for improving governance challenges and budget ….…Read More

Caretakers increase government employees’ salaries, pension in Punjab

The Express Tribune (June 26, 2018)

LAHORE: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved a four-month budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19. The meeting approved the proposal of a 10% increase in the salaries of government employees, besides approving to review the house rent. It also gave approval of a 10% increase in the pension of retired government employees. The caretaker government gave approval to the development budget for four months for the new Fiscal Year 2018-19. The meeting also .…Read More

Pakistan’s foreign borrowing surges to $10b in 11 months

The Express Tribune (June 26, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has received nearly $10 billion in foreign loans in the past 11 months, and almost three-fourths have been utilised for budgetary support and meeting external financing requirements, underscoring that the amount cannot be returned without resorting to fresh borrowing. The total loan disbursement from July through May of fiscal year 2017-18 stood at $9.98 billion, reported the Economic Affairs Division on Monday. The 11-month....…Read More

Civil society organizations can watch budget making process: Manager CPDI

Onlineindus News (June 23, 2018)

KARACHI: June 23, 2018: Civil Society Organizations can watch the Budget Making Process to improve the governance issues at Provincial Level Said Raja Shoaib Akber, Senior Program Manager Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) Islamabad. Citizens’ Network for Budget Accountability (CNBA) raised the demand to ensure the participation of local population in budget making process at district level. CPDI’s …………Read More

Budget Study Centre   Issue 18 June 26, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Current account deficit rises to $16bn

The Dawn (June 21, 2018)
KARACHI: The current account deficit rose to $16 billion in the first 11 months of this fiscal year, an increase of 43 per cent from the same period last year, according to data released by the State Bank on Wednesday. According to SBP the deficit rose to $15.961bn during the July-May period of 2017-18 against $11.14bn in the corresponding period last year. As a percentage of GDP, the current account deficit rose to 5.5pc from 4pc of GDP in the same ... Read More

Circular debt swells Rs40 billion in just three weeks

The Express Tribune (June 21, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The circular debt has grown Rs40 billion in first three weeks of the current caretaker government, reaching close to Rs550 billion. “The circular debt stood at Rs507 billion on May 31, the last day of the previous government, but it increased Rs40 billion to Rs547 billion in June,” revealed Hub Power Company Chief Executive Officer Khalid Mansoor while briefing the Senate special committee on circular debt ... Read More

Uncertainty results in currency plunging to Rs 125 in open-market

The Express Tribune (June 21, 2018)
KARACHI: Speculation and uncertainty over Pakistani rupee’s value against the US dollar has pushed currency dealers to sell it a record rate of Rs125 on Wednesday, widening the spread with the inter-bank market. As Pakistan desperately moves to arrest the slide of its foreign exchange reserves, the rupee has lost value in both inter- bank and open markets, with the spread between the two going as high as Rs3.52 as currency dealers remained worried over its ... Read More

EU set to push for WTO reforms to ease global trade tensions

Business Recorder (June 19, 2018)
Japan left unchanged its assessment that the economy is gradually recovering, showing policymakers remain confident of a moderate upturn after a contraction in the first quarter. “Japan’s economy is gradually recovering,” the Cabinet Office said in its monthly economic report for June on Tuesday. That was unchanged from the previous month. There was also no change to its assessment that consumer spending is “recovering” and its view that ... Read More

Japan sticks with assessment economy is ‘gradually recovering’

The Daily Times (June 20, 2018)
BRUSSELS: European Union countries will commit to drive reform of the World Trade Organization to ensure trade is both free and fair, assuming their leaders adopt draft conclusions prepared ahead of next week’s EU summit. EU leaders will meet in Brussels on June 28-29 to discuss a range of issues, including migration and security as well as trade, which has taken on added importance after US President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs on EU steel ... Read More

Finance minister seeks support for success of amnesty scheme

The Express Tribune (June 19, 2018)
KARACHI: The caretaker government, with its limited mandate to fix the faltering economy, has urged bankers and stockbrokers to play their role in making the tax amnesty scheme successful and the first dollar-based savings certificates for overseas Pakistanis to shore up the critically low foreign currency reserves. To make the scheme successful, the government is ready to make amendments to relevant laws in order to remove the emerging..... ... Read More

Trump sets $50bln in China tariffs; Beijing wows to strike back

The News (June 16, 2018)
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said he was pushing ahead with hefty tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports on Friday, and the smoldering trade war between the world's two largest economies showed signs of igniting as Beijing immediately vowed to respond in kind. Trump laid out a list of more than 800 strategically important imports from China that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff starting on July 6, including... Read More

Budget deficit widens to Rs2.1tr, far exceeding FY18 target

The Express Tribune (June 14, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The budget deficit is estimated to have widened to roughly Rs2.1 trillion in 11 months of the current fiscal year, of which nearly 30% was recorded in last two months of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, indicating negligence of the finance ministry. Initial estimates of fiscal operations suggested that the budget deficit from July through May of fiscal year 2017-18 could have shot up to Rs2.1 trillion or 6.1% of ... ... Read More

Pakistan braces for higher inflation as rupee weakens

The Express Tribune (June 13, 2018)
KARACHI: Contrary to the previous two rounds of rupee devaluation, this time the KSE-100 Index underwent a rather subdued ride when the currency weakened against the US dollar. Analysts say the third round of rupee weakening, which came against expectations and assurances given by the PML-N government, has left investors bewildered at the extent of the plunge, sending them ducking for cover as macroeconomic……..... ... Read More

No mandate to seek IMF package, says finance minister

The DAWN (June 13, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Highlighting serious issues relating to current account and fiscal deficit, caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar on Tuesday said the interim government had no mandate to sign any new agreement or start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, stressing that any decision to that effect should be taken by the upcoming elected government. She also said that market forces should decide the ….. ... Read More

Pakistan’s trade deficit widens to $34 billion

Daily Times (June 12, 2018)
KARACHI: Pakistan’s trade deficit in eleven months of outgoing fiscal widened to $33.88 billion from the $29.88 billion reported in corresponding period of last fiscal, official data showed on Monday. The overall trade deficit widened by 13.40 percent in July-May period of Fiscal Year 2017-18 (FY18) as compared to the same period of FY17, reported the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The overall exports in eleven months of FY18 increased by 15.28 percent ... Read More

Overseas Pakistanis remit $18 billion in 11MFY18, up by2.95%

Daily Times (June 12, 2018)
KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $18028.24 million in the first eleven months (July to May) of FY18, showing a growth of 2.95 % compared with US $17511.12 million received during the same period in the preceding year. According to State Bank of Pakistan, during May2018, the inflow of worker’s remittances amounted to US $1771.24 million, which is 7.30% higher than April 2018 and 5.13%lower than May2017. The country wise details for the ... Read More

Pakistan uses Chinese trade finance to repay foreign debt

The Express Tribune (June 10, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has largely exhausted a Chinese trade financing facility to repay its foreign debt as the finance ministry struggles to find another source to finance the current account deficit in June in a bid to keep foreign currency reserves at current levels and prevent them from falling further. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has largely tapped $1.5 billion in additional trade financing facility available under the China-Pakistan currency swap ... Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 17 June 8, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Public enterprises eat up 3.5pc of GDP in debts

The DAWN (June 7, 2018)
KARACHI: The public sector enterprises’ (PSEs) debt has almost soared to Rs1 trillion at the end of third quarter of FY18, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported in its latest issue of Statistical Bulletin for June. The outgoing government could not resolve the growing problem of PSEs’ debts and it failed to address the issue of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) loaded with huge loans....…Read More

World Bank sees Pakistan growth slowing down next

The DAWN (June 7, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has forecast Pakistan’s economic growth in next fiscal year to slow down owing to higher than expected oil prices. Growth in the Pakistani economy is expected to slow to 5pc in 2018-19 from expected growth of 5.8pc in the outgoing fiscal year, reflecting tighter policies to improve macroeconomic stability, says the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects Report for 2018.……....…Read More

GDP woes over, Indian economy to grow at 7.3% in 2018-19, says World Bank

The Business Today (June 6, 2018)
Indian economy is likely to regain its pace in the current fiscal and once again become the fastest growing emerging economy, a World Bank report said. The Global Economic Prospects report released by the World Bank on Tuesday projects that India will see its gross domestic product (GDP) grow at a rate of 7.3 per cent during the ongoing fiscal and at 7.5 per cent in the two succeeding ones. "Growth in India is projected to accelerate to 7.3 percent in.…Read More

External financing to reach over $11.6bn in 2018-19

Pakistan Today (June 6, 2018)
KARACHI: The total inflows of external financing are expected to the tune of over $11.653 billion during the upcoming fiscal year (2018-19). “Total inflows of external financing are expected to be $11,653.9 million during 2018-19 with project loans worth $4,835.2 million and programme loans worth $1,818.6 million,” said sources in the Economic Affairs Division. According to figures, the country would receive financing of $3130.8 million from …....…Read More

British taxpayer set to lose in $3.5bn RBS sale

The DAWN (June 5, 2018)
LONDON: Britain is selling some of its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland for about 2.6 billion pounds ($3.5bn), although it will realise a significant loss as it unwinds its holding and returns the bailed-out lender to private hands. The government said on Monday it would sell about 7.7 per cent of RBS, which was rescued in a 45.5bn pound bailout at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, reducing its overall stake to 62pc. Britain will make a loss on that ……....…Read More

Rupee weakens to record low as dollar flow slows down

The Express Tribune (June 2, 2018)
KARACHI: With a persistent decline in Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves that were not enough to bear the cost of two months of imports, the rupee weakened to a record low of Rs119.35 to the US dollar in the open market on Friday. During the day, the currency also hit a new all-time intra-day low of Rs119.80 to the US dollar, according to Dollareast Exchange Company’s website. On Thursday, the rupee had closed at Rs119.10 to the greenback, .…Read More

‘With political instability, economic activities sinking’

The Express Tribune (June 2, 2018)
LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged political parties to show maturity and safeguard the interests of the country. In a statement issued on Friday, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said due to political instability trade and economic activities were sinking and appealed to protesters to stay away from such politics because the country was facing huge economic losses only because of irrational.…Read More

Indian economic growth hits highest rate in almost two years

The DAWN (June 1, 2018)
NEW DELHI: The Indian economy grew 7.7 per cent year-on-year in January-March, its quickest pace in nearly two years driven by higher growth in manufacturing, the farm sector and construction. The figure surpassed China’s growth rate of 6.8pc in the January-March quarter, confirming India as the fastest growing major economy. For the fiscal year that ended March 31, the Ministry of Statistics reported growth of 6.7pc, down.…Read More

Rs31.3bn released hours before government’s term ends.

The DAWN (June 1, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government on Thursday paid Rs31.3bn sales tax refunds to traders and exporters a few hours ahead of completion of its five-year term of government while leaving behind massive shortfalls in revenue collection. The Ministry of Finance has asked Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to prepare a list of claimants who will be issued a refund. The list was completed in a very short time and the full amount will reach taxpayers’.…Read More

With the end of PML-N’s term, SBP’s reserves stand at just $10.03b

The Express Tribune (May 31, 2018)
KARACHI: Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) remained under pressure, falling 2.78% on a weekly basis, according to data released by the central bank on Thursday. With the PML-N’s tenure ending today (Thursday, May 31), the country’s foreign exchange reserves stand depleted, sparking concern over Pakistan’s ability to meet future payment obligations and manage a bulging current account deficit.…Read More

Circular debt at Rs573 billion influential people major defaulters

The Express Tribune (May 30, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy (Power Division) acknowledged on Tuesday that the circular debt had reached Rs573 billion – a massive amount that undermines efforts made to improve power production and transmission. Briefing the Senate special committee on circular debt, chaired by Shibli Faraz, the joint secretary of Power Division said out of the circular debt of Rs573 billion, running defaulters, who were very influential, had to…Read More

Pakistan, WB sign two financing pacts of $400m

The Nation (May 30, 2018)
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Tuesday has signed two financing agreements worth $400 million with the World Bank including Punjab Cities Programme ($200 million) and Punjab Green Development Programme ($200 million). Economic Affairs Division Secretary Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani signed the financing agreements on behalf of the Government of Pakistan while representatives of Government of Punjab signed their respective .…Read More

Govt borrowed $9.6 billion in 10 months

The Nation (May 29, 2018)
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has borrowed $9.6 billion from external sources only in ten months of the current fiscal year increasing the overall debt of the country that has already surged to $91.8 billion. Pakistan has received $1.6 billion in new foreign loans during the month of April only, as major part of the borrowing $1.2 billion was through the commercial banks. The government has already breached the limit of annual foreign borrowing of $8 billion, as the …Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 16 May 24, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Govt hires UAE banks to raise $200m loan

The DAWN (May 24, 2018)
DUBAI: The Government of Pakistan is raising a $200 million syndicated loan with three United Arab Emirates (UAE) banks, banking sources familiar with the matter said, as Islamabad clings to external funding to stave off the pressure on balance of payments. The loan, with a one-year maturity, is being arranged by Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates NBD, and Noor Bank, said the sources. Pakistan needs to raise funds to offset a drop in international ….Read More

Pak, UK merchandise trade increased to over £1.93bn

Business Recorder (May 23, 2018)
LONDON: The merchandise trade volume between Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK) during the calendar year 2017 has increased to over £ 1.93 billion showing an increase of 8 percent when compared to last year (2016), Commercial Counsellor Pakistan High Commission London, Sajid Mehmood Raja, said Tuesday. “During the year 2017 Pakistan’s total exports to the United Kingdom reached over £ 1.24 billion which also showed an….Read More

Sindh Assembly approves budget for fiscal year 2018-19

The Express Tribune (May 23, 2018)
KARACHI: Despite protests from the opposition benches, the government passed on Tuesday the Rs1.44 trillion budget for the financial year 2018-19 in the Sindh Assembly by approving Rs110 billion supplementary grants for the outgoing year 2017-18. After the eight-day debate on the budget, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of the finance ministry, moved a motion to pass the annual and supplementary budget. Opposition ….Read More

German economy still booming but has lost some momentum-Bundesbank

Times of Malta (May 22, 2018)
Growth in the German economy, Europe's biggest, remains robust but the underlying momentum has likely weakened and the risk of a global trade war remains, the Bundesbank said on Tuesday in a regular monthly economic report. Much of the first-quarter dip in growth was due to exceptional factors so a rebound is still likely, even if the overall growth momentum has also softened somewhat, the Bundesbank said. "We expected that the boom in ….Read More

Exports likely to cross $5billion

The Express Tribune (May 22, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is expected to become an outsourcing destination by 2020, and is likely to increase IT and ITES exports to the $5-billion mark, after launching strategic initiatives along with tax holiday and capital repatriation incentives for the private sector. There are tremendous opportunities for Pakistan as its IT and ITES-Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) exports are estimated to have crossed $3 billion already this year. A ministry official….Read More

Pakistan’s budget deficit soars to record Rs.1.48 trillion

The Express Tribune (May 22, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The government that once took pride in ensuring fiscal discipline is now on a path of compromising Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability as it has booked a record high budget deficit of Rs1.481 trillion for nine months of the current fiscal year, which is even higher than the annual target. The overall budget deficit – the gap between income and expenditure – widened to 4.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) or …….Read More

Provincial Budget 2018-19: Gree and gloom in Balochistan agri budget

The DAWN by Mohiuddin Aazim (May 21, 2018)
THE fact that the there was no mention of the proposed Balochistan Bank in the provincial budget for the next fiscal year might have disappointed agriculturists, particularly small farmers. In his budget speech for the current fiscal year delivered on June 15, 2017, Aslam Bizenjo, the then adviser to the Balochistan chief minister, announced an allocation of Rs10 billion for the proposed provincial bank. But when the current adviser, Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi, presented the next fiscal …….Read More

AJK govt presents over Rs 108bn budget for next fiscal year

Business Recorder (May 21, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir government presented over Rs 108 billion budget for the fiscal year 2018-19. According to Radio Pakistan Minister for Finance Dr. Najeeb Naqi presented the budget in the House on Monday. Presenting the budget he said over Rs 25 billion have been allocated for the development sector showing an increase of ten percent as compared to recurrent budget. Over Rs 82 billion have been proposed for the non-development expenditure... Read More

US and China put trade war ‘on hold’

The Guardian (May 20, 2018)
America has pulled back from launching a trade war with China that could have destabilised the global economy, by agreeing to put proposed tariffs on Chinese imports “on hold”. The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Sunday that negotiations with Chinese officials have borne fruit, meaning Washington and Beijing can step back from imposing punishing tariffs on each other’s exports. Xi strikes conciliatory tone on trade but offers few concessions …….Read More

World Bank to invest $460m in road from Peshawar to Afghan border

The Express Tribune (May 20, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: After marked improvement in the security situation, the World Bank has decided to invest $460 million to build a new road from Peshawar to Afghanistan border aimed at bolstering trade between the two nations and creating job opportunities in war-torn federally administered tribal areas (FATA). The board of directors of the World Bank is likely to approve the $460-million loan next month for Peshawar-Torkham Expressway …….Read More

Pakistan’s current account fedicit widens to record high

The Express Tribune (May 19, 2018)
KARACHI: Pakistan’s current account deficit has widened 50% to a record high of $14.03 billion in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year 2018, reported the central bank on Friday. The deficit stood at $9.35 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The deficit increases woes of the country’s economic managers as a widening current account takes toll on foreign exchange reserves that ……Read More

Argentina forced to seek IMP aid over fears for economy

The Guardian (May 18, 2018)
Argentina’s struggle this week to prevent a collapse in its currency and soaring interest rates from destabilising its ailing economy appeared to have ended in failure on Friday, leaving it to seek financial aid from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF, the lender of last resort to nation states, said the South American country had formally requested an “exceptional access standby arrangement” that would allow Argentina to pay its foreign bills ……Read More

Pakistan’s external debt soars to record $91.8b

The Express Tribune (May 17, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities have soared to a record $91.8 billion, showing an increase of over 50% or nearly $31 billion in the past four years and nine months, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has reported. The external debt and liabilities of $91.8 billion as of March-end suggest that the figure may touch $100 billion very soon as the country faces grave challenges in meeting growing external financing requirements. Pakistan is scheduled to……Read More

Budget 2018-19: Ismail unveils new relief measures in windup speech

The Express Tribune (May 16, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail on Tuesday announced new relief measures for middle and upper-income groups in his budget windup speech, but turned down proposals that were aimed at giving concessions to non-filers of income tax returns. While ending the debate in the lower house of parliament, the finance minister announced additional measures which would appease sitting ……. Read More

German Economy Loses Luster as Global Tensions Bite

The Wall Street Journal (May 15, 2018)
FRANKFURT— Europe’s largest economy cooled sharply in the first quarter amid a drop in government spending and weak exports—a sign that a stronger euro and global tensions are beginning to leave a mark on the German economy. Germany’s annualized growth rate slowed to 1.2% from 2.5% in the fourth quarter of last year, the Federal Statistical Office said Tuesday. This means that the German economy was growing more slowly than the U.S., which …Read More

To service maturing debt, Pakistan to borrow Rs22 trillion in 2018-19

The Express Tribune (May 15, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: As the country falls deeper into payments obligation, the federal government has sought the National Assembly’s approval to borrow a record Rs22 trillion in the next financial year to service its maturing public debt, an amount 44% or Rs6.7 trillion higher than the figure for the ongoing year. Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail asked on Monday for the National Assembly’s stamp for a record high borrowing of Rs22 trillion …Read More

The UK economy’s slowdown is clear to all. Except the Bank of England

The Guardian (May 13, 2018)
Mark Carney is not so much an unreliable boyfriend as a schoolboy who keeps getting his homework wrong. The Bank of England governor gave his quarterly review of the economy last week and yet again confounded earlier expectations that he would increase the cost of borrowing. Whereas in the past Carney has confidently predicted that the economy is robust and capable of absorbing increases in interest rates, only to find plausible …Read More

Punjab to present over Rs 155b supplementary budget Monday

The Nation (May 12, 2018)
LAHORE - The Punjab governor has summoned the session of the Punjab Assembly on Monday, 14 May 3pm to present the Supplementary Budget for the financial year 2017-18 worth over Rs155 billion. Gazette Notification to this effect has been issued by the Assembly Secretariat. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan will preside this 36th session of the assembly. It is to be noted that Sindh government unveiled the budget for the fiscal year …Read More

Overseas Pakistanis remit $16.25b in ten months

The Nation (May 11, 2018)
KARACHI - Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $16257 million in the first ten months (July to April) of FY18, showing a growth of 3.92 percent compared with US $15643.97 million received during the same period in the preceding year. During April 2018, the inflow of workers’ remittances amounted to $1650.59 million, which is 6.89 percent lower than March 2018 and 7.25pc higher than April 2017. The country-wise details for the month of April …Read More

Sindh unveils Rs1.14 trillion deficit budget

The Nation (May 11, 2018)
Karachi - Pakistan People’s Party led Sindh government on Thursday unveiled its sixth and last budget of the expiring tenure with a total outlay of Rs1.14 trillion and Rs20.45 billion deficit. The budget comprised estimates for the whole year but Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced that they would authorise only its part pertaining to first quarter of Fiscal 2018-19. The opposition parties however were not satisfied with the government figures and staged protest….…Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 15 May 15, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

CM Murad to present Sindh budget today

The News (May 10, 2018)
KARACHl: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah will present a record over Rs 1 trillion budget for the financial year 2018-19 today (Thursday). Earlier, Sindh government had announced to present the budget on May 5, however government had to backtrack from its decision, now the government is all set to unveil budget for the financial year 2018-19 today. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of the finance, will present the budget ………..Read More

Senate body finalizes budget proposals

The Express Tribune (May 10, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The Senate, where the opposition enjoys a majority, on Wednesday implicitly accepted the government’s right to present the next fiscal year’s budget, as it withdrew a recommendation that sought to limit the PML-N government’s right to present the new budget to only four months. The Senate unanimously adopted a report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Finance Bill 2018 and the Annual Budget…..Read More

LHC moved to declare PML-N’s sixth budget illegal

The Patriot (May 05, 2018)
Lahore: a petition seeking to declare unlawful the presentation of the full-year budget 2018-19 by the Pakistan Muslim League Mawaz (PML-N) government is closing weeks of its five years term was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday. The petitioner has pleaded with the high court to strike down the budget for what he said being unlawful and unconstitutional. He argued that PML-N government was not entitled to unveil a …..…Read More

California’s economy passes UK’s to become world’s fifth biggest

The Guardian (May 04, 2018)
California’s economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth largest, according to new federal data made public on Friday. Despite having a population of only 40 million compared with the UK’s 65 million people, California’s gross domestic product of $2.7tn has overtaken the UK’s $2.6tn. The so-called Golden State’s GDP rose by $127bn in the period from 2016 to 2017, while the UK’s economic output fell ………Read More

Pakistan’s macroeconomic outlook, weak balance of trade, and current account deficit

Pakistan Today (May 01, 2018)
LAHORE: As a country divided over its economic policies, embroiled in political infighting and flaky governance along with a longstanding trend of borrowing from internal and external sources to sustain the economy, Pakistan continues to surprise with figures indicating growth and potential to grow even further. The recent announcement of the budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 has been praised by the business community,….…Read More

K-P Health dept wants Rs 4b more

The Express Tribune (April 30, 2018)
PESHAWAR: Following directions from the apex court, the provincial health department has sought additional funds from the government to provide critical equipment to health facilities around the province. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, while presiding over a division bench at Supreme Court registry, had ordered the provincial health department to submit a report on the necessary facilities provided to health centres across .…Read More

Experts term budget 2018-19 as non-conventional budget

Pakistan Today (April 30, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: This year the budget 2018-19 is non-conventional as compared to the last four year’s budgets, where the government presented a popular budget with an eye on the upcoming general elections. There is a need to understand the budget in totality and need to have informed criticism and praise of the budget. Whereas, the opposition political parties have to present their shadow budget that should give the formula to reduce the tax rate, reduce …Read More

Indonesia officials laud country’s financial stability

The Wall Street Journal (April 30, 2018)
JAKARTA—Indonesia’s financial system is well and under control despite the recently increased pressure on the financial markets, authorities said Monday. “The stability was supported by Indonesia’s strong economic fundamentals, improving performance of financial institutions, and the companies listed on the local stock exchange,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said in a press conference after a monthly joint meeting with Bank .………Read More

‘K-P ignored in new finance bill’

The Express Tribune (April 30, 2018)
The chief of a major party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday rejected the federal budget announced on Friday, flaying the federal government for ignoring the province. The comments echo those of traders in the province who have similarly expressed their dissatisfaction with the budget. Education survey: Primary enrollment gets a boost Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, while addressing ………Read More

PML-N government announces populist budget: CPDI

The News (April 29, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The government has announced one of the most populist budgets in the history of Pakistan giving relief to almost all the sectors of the society. Giving populist budget is not a negative point as government is duty-bound to maximise the welfare of citizens. But without an alternate programme to offset the loss of tax revenue that will occur as a result of tax relief, the future government may be in trouble to get revenue and expenditure targets. The ….Read More

India likely to clock 7.5 percent growth in FY19: Deutsche Bank

India Today (April 29, 2018)
The Indian economy is witnessing a "cyclical upswing" and the country is likely clock a GDP growth of 7.5 per cent this financial year, says a Deutsche Bank research report. "Our current growth forecast for 2018-19 is 7.5 per cent (RBI estimate is 7.4 per cent), which will mark an improvement from the 6.7 per cent likely outturn in 2017-18," the global financial services major said. The Reserve Bank expects India's economic growth rate to strengthen to…Read More

Water sector budget gets 56pc boost

Express Tribune (April 29, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: For the first time during its five-year tenure, the PML-N government has increased the budget for water sector by 56%. The water sector allocation has been increased from Rs36.75 billion in the outgoing financial year 2017-18 to Rs64.62 billion for FY2018-19. The proposed amount is one-tenth of the proposed size of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) authorised by the finance ministry. During…Read More

Budget 2018: PML-N eyes next elections in sixth budget

The News (April 27, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Amid lingering controversy over the legality of federal budget 2018-19, the ruling PML-N government unveiled its sixth consecutive budget in the National Assembly at the twilight of its constitutional tenure. Miftah Ismail, who was appointed as federal minister hours earlier, presented the budget proposals eyeing the forthcoming elections. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed ……Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 14 April 26, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Rupee depreciates to all-time high of Rs 119.50 against US dollar in kerb market

Pakistan Today (April 26, 2018)
KARACHI: The rupee further depreciated to an all-time high of Rs119.50 against the US dollar in the kerb market on Wednesday. It comes merely days after the central bank had held an emergency meeting with currency exchange companies in which their heads were requested to arrange an adequate supply of dollars in the kerb market, reported an English daily. Separate meetings of two representative bodies of the currency exchange operators were held with….. Read More

Chinese project financing will dip to $906m in FY2018-19

Express Tribune (April 26, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Project financing from China is expected to dip by more than half to only $906 million during the next fiscal year due to completion of work on some major China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and a snail’s pace progress on other schemes. “As against revised estimates of slightly over $2 billion Chinese project loans for CPEC and non-CPEC projects in the outgoing fiscal year, the government has estimated receiving only $906 million in……… Read More

Getting budget passed a daunting task for PML-N

Express Tribune (April 26, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The government may face a major challenge in getting the upcoming federal budget passed through the National Assembly as the opposition has conveyed it to the rulers that it will support the Finance Bill 2018 only if they say yes to the opposition’s nominee for the post of caretaker prime minister. With the new budget just around the corner and several names under consideration for appointment as caretaker PM, the …..…Read More

Federal Budget 2018-19 to be more responsible: Miftah Ismail

Business Recorder (April 25, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail Tuesday said that the government was set to present a balanced, responsible, and low deficit Federal Budget for the year 2018-19 on Friday (April 27). “We will present a responsible budget that will be acceptable to any upcoming government,” he said while talking to a private news channel. To a question regarding opposition’s demand for presenting the budget for …..…Read More

Govt to announce tax relief of Rs. 80bn in next budget: Rana Afzal

Business Recorder (April 25, 2018)
SLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Tuesday said that the government would announce in the up coming budget 2018-19, a tax relief of around Rs 80 billion for salaried class of the country. From July 1, 2018, the people who have income of less than Rs 100,000 per month, will be exempted from any tax, while tax ratio for those who have monthly income of over Rs 100,000 per month is also being cut significantly, Rana Afzaal said ..…Read More

CPEC provides base for economic growth: Zubair

DAWN (April 25, 2018)
KARACHI: Sindh Governor Muham¬mad Zubair has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided a great opportunity for sustainable economic growth for the next 10 to 20 years which Pakistan badly needed. Addressing the concluding ceremony of the two-day CPEC Summit 2018 organised by the Dawn Media Group and the Ministry of Planning and Development with the participation of the Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce..…Read More

Annual Plan 2018-19 projects 6.2 percent economic growth rate & 6 percent inflation

Pakistan Today (April 25, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The Annual Plan 2018-19 approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi projected a 6.2 percent economic growth rate for the upcoming financial year (FY 2018-19). Also, the inflation rate for FY 2018-19 was set at 6 percent and the projected economic growth rate of 6.2 percent is a touch higher than the provisional rate of 5.8 percent for current FY 2017-18, reported Express Tribune. The Asian.…Read More

UK economy grew slower in first quarter of 2018 than last quarter of 2017

The Guardian (April 23, 2018)
The UK economy is set for another year of uninspiring growth in 2018, according to the latest forecasts from the EY Item Club. This week’s first-quarter GDP figures are expected to show growth of just 0.2%-0.3%, according to EY Item Club economists, mainly due to the severe weather the hit the country at the end of February and beginning of March. This compares to quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.4% in the final three months of 2017.…Read More

Budget 2018-19 to be announced on May 8: CM Bizenjo

Express Tribune (April 22, 2018)
QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has said that the budget 2018-19 will be announced on May 8, a month ahead of schedule, as the provincial assembly will stand dissolved on May 31 in the wake of general elections in July. “The development funds will be frozen from April 27,” said CM Bizenjo while addressing a session of the Balochistan Cabinet. Balochistan unveils Rs328.5b budget Sources privy to the development……Read More

Demand: “Kalabagh dam should be included in budget 2018-19”

Express Tribune (April 20, 2018)
LAHORE: Kalabagh dam should not be ignored in the federal budget 2018-19 at any cost as water scarcity is heading towards the point of no return, said Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javaid in a statement issued on Wednesday. “Those opposing the Kalabagh Dam are unaware of the ground realities,” added Javaid. “How can a mega water project be harmful for an agrarian country?” The ……Read More

Govt aims for large hike in current expenditures in its last budget

DAWN (April 18, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) for next fiscal year envisaging Rs1.1 trillion for defence, Rs1.6tr for debt servicing and 5.3pc fiscal deficit in the absence of any foreign aid for budgetary support. Presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the meeting also approved revised estimates for current fiscal year because of some key slippages on the expenditure side including 5.5pc fiscal deficit for ………Read More

Defence, debt to eat up half of proposed Rs.5.237 trillion budget for 2018-19

Express Tribune (April 18, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has approved an expansionary fiscal policy that offers little for development but gives away more than half of the estimated budget of Rs5.237 trillion for new fiscal year to meet the growing needs of defence as well as debt servicing. The cabinet on Tuesday approved Rs1.1 trillion for regular defence budget and another Rs100 billion for Armed Forces Development Programme (AFDP) – a sum of Rs1.2 trillion that ………Read More

Pakistan plans to borrow record $13b next fiscal year

Express Tribune (April 15, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has planned to borrow a record-breaking $13 billion in the next fiscal year alone, nearly 63% higher than the outgoing fiscal year’s original estimates, meant largely to repay previously obtained loans and stabilise nose-diving foreign currency reserves. The provisional estimate to borrow $13 billion has been prepared for the budget 2018-19 the PML-N government wants to unveil on April 27, said sources at the Ministry of Finance. If the plan materialises,..Read More

Govt set to approve 6.2% GDP growth target for next year

Express Tribune (April 14, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: As the federal cabinet’s approval of the Budget Strategy Paper remains pending, the government is set to approve next fiscal year’s macroeconomic framework, which envisages 6.2% economic growth rate and 6% inflation targets. The Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) will approve fiscal year 2018-19’s macroeconomic framework and federal Public Sector Development Programme on Monday. ……Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 13 April 16, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

PM’s aide going to attend IMF meetings just days before budget

The Express Tribune (April 12, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has decided to send his finance aide to attend spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a bid to assess the mood in Washington before Pakistan makes a decision on whether to seek another bailout. The decision to send Dr Miftah Ismail, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, to Washington hardly 10 days before the announcement of budget signifies the importance of the move. Ismail … Read More

Govt unable to meet saving and investment targets

The Express Tribune (April 11, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Two key structural problems of Pakistan’s economy – low investment and saving rates – remained unaddressed during the five-year PML-N tenure, as the government again missed both these critical targets in the outgoing fiscal year, showed official statistics. By the end of fiscal year 2017-18, private investment has been projected to fall to the lowest level in five years, despite the bonanza of the China-Pakistan Economic …….… Read More

China to further open its financial market to the world

China Daily (April 11, 2018)
China central bank governor Yi Gang announced on Wednesday a slew of detailed measures to further open up the financial market, including erasing the capital cap on foreign-owned banks and wealth management firms operating in China, as well as easing equity restrictions on foreign securities and fund companies within this year. China expects most measures to open financial market will be in place by June 30, Yi said at a … Read More

Growth to hit 11-year peak

DAWN (April 10, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government on Monday announced that the economy is going to grow at 5.79 per cent, slightly lower than the target of 6pc for 2017-18, but highest in the last 11 years. In the meeting of National Accounts Committee (NAC), only 15 out of 20 key growth indicators were found to be on target. The growth rate, however, is provisional as final numbers for the full year will firm up later. The per capita income calculates to Rs180,204 for … Read More

Deficit to top $1 trillion per year by 2020, CBO says

The Washington Post (April 09, 2018)
America’s deficit is rising sharply and will surpass $1 trillion per year by 2020, a gap that has grown since Congress cut taxes and increased spending, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday. The federal deficit — the gap between how much the government takes in and how much it spends — will hit $804 billion in fiscal 2018, up 21 percent from 2017, the CBO said. “The federal budget deficit grows substantially over the next several years,” CBO Budget …… Read More

Hungary posts 345.3bn forint March budget deficit

Business Recorder (April 09, 2018)
BUDAPEST: Hungary’s 2018 budget deficit widened by 345.3 billion forints ($1.36 billion) to 871.9 billion forints in March, the Economy Ministry said on Monday, affirming its 2.4 percent of gross domestic product full-year deficit target. The gap was widened by the financing of European Union-sponsored projects as well as spending on urban development projects, the ministry said. It said one-off pre-election food vouchers provided to pensioners also … Read More

Work on budget well under say

Express Tribune (April 07, 2018)
QUETTA: Adviser to Balochistan Chief Minister on Finance Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi has said useful suggestions are being taken from stakeholders, budget experts and finance department officials regarding the budget 2018-19. She said this while addressing a seminar on Governance and Policy Project (GPP) organised by the finance department on Thursday. On the occasion, Additional Chief Secretary Naseebullah………. Read More

Trump proposes $100 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese products

CNBC News (April 06, 2018)
President Donald Trump on Thursday said he has instructed the United States Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China. "In light of China's unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs," Trump said in a ……….Read More

Shortest discussion on budget since 2000

The Economic Times (April 04, 2018)
NEW DELHI: Budget session 2018 has a dubious distinction — it will have approved a Budget of over Rs 24 lakh crore with members of Parliament spending less than a day of discussion on it. In this Budget session, conducted in two phases, MPs in Lok Sabha spent only 14 and half hours debating the Budget while Rajya Sabha spent even less — 10.9 hours. It’s the least amount of time spent by Parliament deliberating the Budget since 2000, for…... Read More

Inflation eases to 3.2pc

DAWN (April 03, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Inflation, measured through Consumer Price Index (CPI), eased to 3.2 per cent in March from 3.8pc in the previous month, mainly driven by a drop in prices of perishable eatables. The CPI-based inflation has decelerated for the third consecutive month after it reached peak of 4.6pc in December 2017. The CPI tracks the prices of around 480 commodities every month in urban centres across the country, according to data released by …. Read More

Planning Ministry want Rs 1.1 trillion as development budget

Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (April 03, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: As budget meetings begin in earnest to assess financial needs of various arms of the government, the planning ministry has demanded Rs1.1 trillion for upcoming fiscal year’s development budget, which is 37.5% higher than the ceiling indicated to it. The Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform is not satisfied with the finance ministry’s decision to allocate only Rs800 billion for Public Sector Development Programme …. Read More

Upcoming Punjab budget to be agriculture friendly

Pakistan Today (March 31, 2018)
LAHORE: Punjab’s finance minister Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha on Friday told journalists that its forthcoming budget for financial year 2018-19, would raise quotas for agricultural and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sectors. Ms. Pasha said the provincial government was removing general sales on electric tube wells to decrease input costs for farmers and over 35,000 farmers have been granted concessional loans, reported……Read More

Development budget to take hit from cuts.

Express Tribune (March 23, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The finance ministry has proposed Rs800 billion development budget for the next fiscal year, which is one-fifth less than the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for this year and would affect physical progress on almost 1,100 schemes. The finance ministry on Thursday formally informed the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform about its intentions to allocate Rs800 billion for fiscal year 2018-19, said sources in the ……Read More

Budget preparation: NFC meeting convened to allot provinces’ share

Express Tribune (March 22, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has summoned a meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) by the end of March in order to discuss forthcoming Federal Budget 2018-19 likely to be announced by the end of April. “The CCI and the meeting on National Finance Commission (NFC) Award are to be held on March 27, 2018 to discuss and resolve various issues related to the federating units,” official sources in the finance ministry told ……Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 12 March 26, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

China will safeguard national interests in response to US trade probes

Daily Times (March 22, 2018)
New Delhi: China will actively take steps to safeguard its interests as well as those of its industries, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said, in light of what he described as acts of trade protectionism on the part of the United States. The US decision to launch trade investigations is a unilateral act of protectionism, the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, citing a speech by Wang in New Delhi. President Donald Trump is.….. Read More

Govt borrowed $7.6b in 8 months

The Nation (March 22, 2018)
ISLAMABAD - The federal government borrowed $7.6 billion in eight months (July to February) of the ongoing financial year, which further increased the overall external debt of the country. The government has borrowed 94 percent of the annual borrowing in just eight months to sustain the foreign exchange reserves. The country’s reserves are depleting due to widening of current account deficit and repayment of previous loans. For the.….. Read More

Current account deficit widens 50% in July-February

Express Tribune (March 21, 2018)
KARACHI: Pakistan’s current account deficit shrank 26% on a month-on-month basis to $1.24 billion in February 2018, compared to $1.67 billion in January 2018, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday. However, in the first eight months (Jul-Feb) of the fiscal year 2017-18 (FY18), the country’s current account deficit widened by 50% to stand at $10.83 billion, compared with $7.22 billion in the same period of previous year.….. Read More

Pakistani rupee weakens sharply in likely devaluation

Khaleej Times (March 21, 2018)
Reuters/ Islamabad/ Karachi: Pakistan's rupee weakened sharply against the dollar on Tuesday in what appeared to be a currency devaluation by the central bank, traders said, the second such intervention in less than four months. The apparent devaluation comes at a time when Pakistan's nearly $300 billion economy is showing signs of vulnerability despite surging growth rates. The rupee plunged to about 115.5 per dollar in early trading from 110.5 at Monday's close, which is 31….. Read More

Budget 2018-19: PSX proposes rationalization of CGT rates

Express Tribune by Salman Siddiqui (March 20, 2018)
KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has proposed to the government to rationalise Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the transaction of shares, as the management seeks measures to boost the KSE-100 Index that has retreated close to 18% since it hit a record high of 52,876.46 in May 2017. Presenting budget proposals to Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail, a PSX delegation, under chairperson Muneer Kamal, recommended to rationalise …. Read More

Financial Year 2018 review: States not to revert to fiscal deficit below 3 pct.

Financial Express (March 19, 2018)
New Delhi: With the UDAY burden off, state governments in aggregate were expected to revert to well below 3% fiscal deficit in the current financial year, but an analysis by FE of 14 state budgets presented recently suggests they might not. As the year is drawing to a close, seven of these states have revised their FY18 fiscal deficits to be higher than projected a year ago, with the slippage ranging from a marginal 0.1 to profligate 4.63 percentage points. Unless the other states... Read More

Govt. plans modest hike in tax target for 2018-19

DAWN (March 18, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government is set to propose nearly Rs4.5 trillion revenue collection target for its sixth and final budget with several measures to facilitate its realisation. Top tax men have been tasked to prepare the first draft of tax relief and revenue measures in the next couple of weeks. The government has already set April 27 for the announcement of the Federal Budget 2018-19 to be followed by provincial ones. An official.…Read More

Pakistan’s external debt to climb to $103b by June 2019: IMF report

Express Tribune (March 16, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has assessed Pakistan’s gross external financing needs at a record $27 billion for the next fiscal year, but warned that arranging the financing at favourable rates will now be a challenge due to risks to the country’s debt sustainability. In its post-programme monitoring report, the IMF also forecast that due to additional borrowings, Pakistan’s external debt would jump to $103.4 billion .…Read More

PM directs for making last budget ‘extraordinary’

The Nation (March 14, 2018)
ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday directed his cabinet members to prepare an ‘extraordinary’ budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 before the government completes its term, sources said. Abbasi chaired the federal cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office. A federal minister who attended the meeting told The Nation that the premier asked the ministers to work together to present a budget that could give relief …Read More

US Budget Deficit Jumped to $215.2Billion in February

The NY Times (March 12, 2018)
WASHINGTON — The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $215.2 billion in February, up significantly from a year ago as the impact of the GOP tax cuts passed in December begin to surface. The Treasury Department said Monday that the February deficit was 12.1 percent higher than a year ago, reflecting in part a drop of $5 billion in individual withholding taxes paid last month compared to a year ago. In February, employers started using tax…Read More

Outlook for UK financial services brightens, assets set to reach £1.5 trillion by 2020, EY finds

BBC News (March 12, 2018)
A well-managed Brexit and stronger than expected economic performance will boost the financial services sector in the year ahead, according to an analysis from EY Item Club. The outlook for the UK financial services sector is better than many had hoped, the findings showed, but challenges remain in the the consumer credit, residential mortgage and business lending markets. Equity markets should still perform well in the year ahead, despite, …Read More

Florida Legislature OKs $88.7 billion budget end 2018 session

MyPalmBeachPost (March 11, 2018)
TALLAHASSEE —The Florida Legislature wrapped up the end of an extended 2018 session Sunday with the passing of a budget that pushes hundreds of millions of dollars toward spending on K-12 and higher education, improving school safety and battling the opioid crisis. Approved by a 95-12 vote in the House and 31-5 vote in Senate, the $88.7 billion budget also includes $100 million for the Florida Forever program, which allows the state , …Read More

Federal Budget 2018-19 to be announced on April 27: Miftah

DAWN (March 09, 2018)
The federal government will present the budget for fiscal year 2018-19for approval from the National Assembly on April 27, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail said on Friday. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Ismail said that the government has taken all political parties into confidence about the budget, which he said would be presented on April 27 before the five-year. ……Read More
Budget Study Centre Issue 11
March 8, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

IMP concerned at Pakistan’s weakening economy

DAWN (March 8, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday expressed concern over Pakistan’s weakening macroeconomic situation, including widening external and fiscal imbalances, reduction in foreign exchange reserves and emerging risks to economic and financial outlook. The IMF executive board asked the government to immediately refocus on near-term policies to preserve macroeconomic stability and get back to.…….Read More

Government plans to cut duties on solar batteries

Express Tribune (March 8, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The government is working on a plan to slash duties on the import of lithium batteries in a bid to promote its usage in solar power plants. At present, 25-30% in duties are charged on the import of lithium batteries and a higher 55% duty is collected on the import of solar AGM and GEL batteries. As a result, the cost of solar batteries has now become double than the price of solar panels because of a 50% dip in prices of the latter over the past.…….Read More

Govt. committed to an economically strong Pakistan: Ahsan Iqbal

Pakistan Today (March 7, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Dr Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday said the government was committed to create an economically strong Pakistan and provide a secure future to the youth. He was speaking at the inaugural session for the establishment of Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Pakistan Planning and Management Institute here. He said Pakistan had been left behind a lot of other countries due to instability and…….Read More

Global growth, domestic demand to lift FY19 GDP to 7.5%: Crisil report

First Post (March 7, 2018)

Mumbai: The economy will grow up to 7.5 percent in FY19, supported by domestic consumption, policy push, and synchronised global growth, says a report. In the current fiscal, GDP growth is expected to be 6.5 percent. The Economic Survey 2018 has pegged FY19 growth at 7-7.5 percent. "After two sub-par years, interjected by demonetisation and rollout of goods and services tax (GST), growth is seen recuperating to a respectable 7.5 percent next fiscal," …….Read More

Pakistan’s exports fell by 20 percent in last six years: WB

Daily Times (March 7, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: A poor business environment, an overvalued exchange rate, relatively weak trade facilitation and infrastructure and lack of value chains inclusion in trade policy lead Pakistan’s exports decline by 20 percent over the period, FY11-17. These startling facts were revealed by World Bank’s Lead Country Economist, Enrique Blanco Armas, while speaking at roundtable meeting titled “Public-Private Policy Symposium of achieving export …….Read More

China keeps growth target at 6.5 percent

Daily Times (March 6, 2018)

BEIJING: China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5 percent this year, the same as in 2017, while pressing ahead with its campaign to reduce risks in the financial system, Premier Li Keqiang said Monday. The goal was kept unchanged even though the economy grew 6.9 percent last year and exceeded the government’s target. Sources previously told Reuters that China will maintain its growth target at “around 6.5 percent”. Economists …..…Read More

Bangladesh and Vietnam aim to raise trade to $2bn by 2020

Business Recorder (March 6, 2018)

DHAKA: Bangladesh and Vietnam aim to raise their two-way annual trade to $2 billion over the next three years from nearly $1 billion, a business association official said on Monday. “We had a meeting with the visiting president of Vietnam today and focused on trade and investment,” Mohammad Shafiul Islam, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, told Reuters. Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang …..…Read More

‘America First’ policy to have direct implications for Pakistan economy

The Express Tribune (March 5, 2018)

ISLAMABAD: The Trump administration is trumpeting a new role to play in the world with the “America First” slogan. The White House is releasing executive orders which are bound to reverse the globalisation process and domestic social-sector reforms undertaken by former president Barack Obama. The very first victim of Trump policies is the immigrants. The health care bill has extensively been debated and the Trump administration…Read More

Freezing weather costs UK economy £1bn a day

The Guardian (March 3, 2018)

Gridlocked motorways, empty restaurants and idle diggers seen across Britain last week cost the economy at least £1bn a day and could halve GDP growth in the first three months of the year. Analysts said the impact of the “beast from the east” sweeping in from Siberia and the arrival of Storm Emma hitting the south coast was likely to be the most costly weather event since 2010, when freezing temperatures and snow brought the economy to a standstill a …….Read More

Govt will have to pay IMF $3bn by June, claims Rana

DAWN (February 28, 2018)

KARACHI: Pakistan will have to pay $3 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before June and for this funds will have to be raised from the international market, Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan said on Tuesday. The figure given by the minister is at odds with what the State Bank says Pakistan owes on its external debt service obligations till end of fiscal year. According to the central bank, the total amount Pakistan will …Read More

Moody’s says India recovering from demonetisation, GST; forecasts 7.6% growth rate

The Hindustan Times (February 28, 2018)

New Delhi: Moody’s Investors Service said on Wednesday Indian economy is starting to recover from the negative impact of demonetisation and disruption caused by GST roll out, but kept GDP growth estimates unchanged at 7.6% for 2018. In its global growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019, Moody’s said the Budget for fiscal year beginning April 1 (2018-19) includes some measures to stabilise rural economy that was…Read More

Japan grants &7.7 million for development projects in FATA

Express Tribune (February 27, 2018)

PESHAWAR: Japan announced on Tuesday to fund two projects for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) as per an agreement signed between the ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Takashi Kurai and the FAO Representative in Pakistan Minà Dowlatchahi in the presence of Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan. According to a statement issued …Read More

German inflation slows more than expected in February

Business Recorder (February 27, 2018)

BERLIN: German inflation slowed more than expected to hit a 15-month-low in February, data showed on Tuesday, suggesting that price pressures in Europe’s largest economy are muted despite a robust upswing, rising wages and unprecedented monetary stimulus. German consumer prices, harmonised to make them comparable with inflation data from other European Union countries, rose by 1.2 percent year-on-year after an increase of 1.4 percent in the …Read More

Federal Reserve chairman tell congress US economy ‘remain storing’

The Guardian (February 27, 2018)

The US economy “remains strong”, the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, told Congress on Tuesday as he signaled the central bank is on course to carry on gradually increasing interest rates in the coming months. In his first congressional testimony since his appointment, Powell painted an upbeat picture of the country’s economic health and dismissed recent wobbles in the stock market. “Some of the headwinds the US economy faced in previous years have ……Read More

Bank of Korea keeps interest rate steady at 1.5%

CNBC (February 26, 2018)

CNBC: Bank of Korea left its key interest rate unchanged on Tuesday, as expected, taking note of muted inflationary pressure and showing caution ahead of any further monetary tightening from the U.S Federal Reserve's policy meeting on March 20-21. The Monetary Policy Board voted on Tuesday to keep the seven-day repurchase rate at 1.50 percent in the last rate decision before Governor Lee Ju-yeol's term ends in March. In a conference…Read More

Reserves decline to $18.8bn

DAWN (February 23, 2018)

KARACHI: The foreign exchange reserves of the country fell by $139 million to $18.829bn during the week ended Feb 16, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Thursday. The foreign exchange reser¬ves have been taking a toll each successive week, posing the risk they could fall below the critical level that requires the country to have forex holdings to cover at least three months’ imports. The reserves held by the SBP also dropped to $12.704bn, …Read More

Budget Study Centre   Issue 10 February 28, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Next 10 years crucial for Pakistan’s economy: WB

DAWN (February 22, 2018)
MURREE: “Next 10 years are crucial for Pakistan to set a higher growth trajectory, with challenges arising on the economic front, due to lack of political consensus,” said the Country Director, World Bank, Patchamuthu Illangovan, on Wednesday. Addressing participants of an economic conference, Illangovan pointed out that Pakistan’s economy is facing short-term issues in the wake of rising external account deficit. “The government had held back …..Read More

UK borrowing at lowest level since financial crises

BBC News (February 21, 2018)
UK borrowing for the year to date is at its lowest level since the financial crisis, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, fell to £37.7bn between April and January, down £7.2bn on the comparable period. It is the lowest figure for the period since January 2008, the ONS said. It added that it is investigating the impact of Carillion's collapse on public sector finances. At the Budget in November, …..Read More

From tax year 2013 tp 2017: Except from salaried class, number of tax return filers shrinks

Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (February 21, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: In a disclosure that confirms the hollowness of tax base, the number of income tax return filers from all main sectors of the economy has contracted in the past five years and the only exception is the salaried class. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday presented sector-wise income tax return data of the last five years to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance. The data was nothing less than an admission of failure on the part of tax …..Read More

Provincial govt launches “Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project”

Pakistan Observer (February 21, 2018)
LAHORE: The Punjab government Planning & Development Department has launched “Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project”. The project launch ceremony was held at the newly restored Wazir Khan Mosque courtyard in the Walled City of Lahore. The launch ceremony marked the Planning & Development Department’s five-year (2017-2022) collaboration with the World Bank Group to develop Punjab’s tourism sector …..Read More

Fiscal deficit widens to 2.2pc in first six months

Pakistan Today (February 20, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The debt-ridden government of Pakistan spent Rs 796.3 billion, which is 2.2 per cent of the nation’s GDP, more than it earned during the first six months of the current financial year ending June, according to a report the ministry of finance placed on its website Tuesday. The government of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was able to collect taxes worth Rs 2.39 trillion during first six months of the current fiscal year through…Read More

Federal budget 2018-19 to be business friendly: Afzal

Pakistan Observer (February 19, 2018)
Faisalabad: State Minister for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan on Saturday said the federal budget 2018-19 will be business-friendly and utmost efforts would be made to make it tax free. He was addressing a function at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) in which draft of budget proposals were presented to him. The minister said that no doubt the government was facing multiple challenges but our effort was... Read More

Argentine economy grew close to 2.8pc in 2017-Treasury advisor

Business Recorder (February 19, 2018)
BUENOS AIRES: The Argentine economy grew “close to 2.8 percent” last year, Guido Sandleris, head of the advisory body to the Treasury Ministry, told a gathering of Japanese business leaders on Monday. The data, according to Sandleris, shows a clear recovery of the third-largest economy in Latin America after a contraction of gross domestic product of 2.2 percent in 2016. “Last year the Argentine economy grew close to….. Read More

US inflation rises faster than expected in January

Times of Malta (February 18, 2018)
A much anticipated report on US inflation showed that consumer prices rose faster than expected in January, a sign of firming inflation that bolstered expectations of higher interest rates. The Labour Department reported last week that the consumer price index grew by 0.5 per cent in the first month of the year against forecasts of a 0.3 per cent rise. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the so-called core measure of inflation increased by 0.3 per cent ….. Read More

France to reduce debt burden in 2018-Finance Minister

Times of Malta (February 15, 2018)
France's government would take measures this year to reduce its debt burden in anticipation of higher interest rates, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday. Le Maire told a conference at the Finance Ministry that there was no doubt that interest rates would rise by the end of the year and the only question was by how fast. "We have to reduce our debt because it exposes us to an increase in interest rates ... and we will take a certain number of measures in.…Read More

Japan economy grows for 8th straight quarter, longest since 1980s

Business Recorder (February 14, 2018)
TOKYO: Japan’s economy grew for the eighth straight quarter at the end of 2017, government data showed Wednesday, its longest period of expansion since the “bubble” boom days of the late 1980s. Gross domestic product figures fell short of expectations and represented a slowdown from the previous quarter, but analysts forecast continued growth nonetheless. GDP expanded just 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2017, the Cabinet Office said, …Read More

India’s retail inflation slightly eases in January

Business Recorder (February 12, 2018)
NEW DELHI: India’s retail inflation slightly eased in January from a 17-month high in December but remained above the 4 percent medium-term target of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the third straight month. India’s measure of consumer price inflation, the CPI index, rose 5.07 percent in January from a year earlier, data released by the Ministry of Statistics showed on Monday. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted January’s rate would ease to …Read More

Provinces to get CPEC revenue through NFC

The Nation (February 11, 2018)
ISLAMABAD - The federal government would distribute the income generated by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects among the provinces through National Finance Commission (NFC) Award. "Any increase in income generated by cpec projects will come into Federal Consolidated Fund for further distribution between Federation and provinces . Therefore, the impact of income generated by cpec projects will have positive impact… Read More
Budget Study Centre   Issue 9 February 1, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Govt plans to unveil budget 2018-19 in second week of May

Pakistan Today (February 8, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The government is considering to unveil next financial year’s 2018-19 budget in the second week of May, as no major changes on taxation are expected to be pushed via Finance Bill 2018. As the incumbent government’s tenure nears its conclusion, it has sought go-ahead for budget from the National Assembly by end of May, as Senate approval needs 15 days for concluding its recommendations, reported ………Read More

DPC from WB, policy loans of ADB under threat in lieu of IMP report

Pakistan Today (February 8, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Development policy credit (DPC) from World Bank and program loans from Asian Development Bank (ADB) are under threat as IMF’s upcoming report loom and questions over Pakistan’s ability to keep forex reserves over 2.2 months of import bill continue. Persisting slide in forex exchange reserves was increasing the risk on the external front and could stop the WB’s DPC and program loan in coming months, official ………Read More

European stock markets recover after sharp losses

The Guardian by Phillip Inman and Nick Fletcher (February 7, 2018)
European stock markets have rallied after sharp losses earlier in the week, with London’s leading share index gaining almost 2%. The FTSE 100 index of the most valuable companies listed in London rose 138 points to 7,279 on Wednesday, still well below its all-time closing high of 7,779 on 12 January. In New York, where the market rout began on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average appeared on track for a second day………Read More

Russian inflation slows to 2.2pc y/y in Jan

Business Recorder (February 7, 2018)
MOSCOW: Russia’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.2 percent in January in year-on-year terms after rising 2.5 percent in the previous month, the statistics service said on Wednesday. Month-on-month inflation was at 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent in December. The year-on-year increase in the CPI was slightly below the Reuters poll of analysts who predicted a rise of 2.3 percent.…Read More

Business Plan and Budget for 2018 approved

Business Recorder (February 1, 2018)
K8MUZAFFARABAD: The services of Bank of Azad Jammu and Kashmir were appreciated in its 31st board meeting held here on Wednesday and approved Business Plan and Budget for the year 2018. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Ejaz Muneer, Chief Secretary Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, who is also the chairman of the bank’s board of directors. Imran Smad, Managing Director of the Bank while initiating the proceedings…....Read More

Economic growth depends on private sector progress: Ayesha

Pakistan Observer (February 1, 2018)
LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Finance Dr Aisha Ghous Pashsa said that Punjab government was determined to make Pakistan a developed country by enhancing the growth rate by improving the security and energy conditions for creating conducive environment for the private sector through providing them ease of doing business by integrating more departments in the portal. The economic growth depends on the progress of private sector…....Read More

IMF sounds the alarm on NFC award

DAWN (January 31, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The Internat-ional Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to consider drastic changes to the next National Finance Commission (NFC) award due to the serious pressure it is placing on the federal government finances, as well as the macroeconomic imbalances that are arising from its implementation. In 2009, the PPP government passed the 7th NFC award that devolved the highest ever proportion of the funds in the federal …....Read More

Business community hails inauguration of Gawadar Free Zone, Expo

Pakistan Observer (January 30, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Business community Monday hailed formal inauguration of the Gwadar Free Zone and Expo 2018 and urged the government to take steps for technology transfer in order to promote and develop the local industrial sector. They said the project was initiated under multi-billion dollars’ China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and inauguration of the first phase of Gwadar Free Zone would further help in promoting.....Read More

US GDP growth slowed to 2.6pc Q4, bringing growth in 2017 to 2.3pc

Business Recorder (January 26, 2018)
WASHINGTON: The world’s largest economy cooled in the final quarter of last year but 2017 still saw faster growth than 2016, according to government data released Friday. After two quarters of expansion above three percent, GDP slowed to 2.6 percent in the October-December period as business inventories fell while imports rose, according to the first estimate from the Commerce Department. That was slower than analysts expected and meant ………Read More

Budget 2018-19: Govt may tweak income tax slabs, EY Survey finds

The Hindustan Times (January 22, 2018)
New Delhi: The government is likely to tweak income tax slabs and rates in Budget 2018-19 to bring down the burden on individuals, while there is unlikely to be any change in the current taxation of dividends, according to a survey by EY. In a pre-budget survey by tax consultant EY, a wide majority of 69% of the respondents felt that the threshold limits for taxation would increase further in order to boost disposable income in the.…..Read More
Budget Study Centre Issue 8
January 24, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

PM announces one-time amnesty scheme on offshore assets

Express Tribune (January 18, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced on Wednesday that a one-time tax amnesty scheme on offshore assets will be offered to Pakistanis, while also saying that tax rates on personal income will be lowered amid his disapproval of the Federal Board of Revenue's (FBR) performance. The premier's dissatisfaction was not only limited to the tax machinery, as Abbasi also refrained from talking confidently about overall economic ... Read More

Modi launches $6.8bn refinery in Rajasthan

Dawn (January 17, 2018)
BARMER: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched the construction of a $6.8 billion refinery in the western state of Rajasthan, in the hopes of meeting the rising fuel demand. By 2030, India's demand for petrol and diesel is expected to go up by two-thirds to 170bn litres, as an expanding middle class spends on cars and air travel. The 180,000-barrel-per-day refinery and petrochemical ... Read More

Foreign direct investment drops 3pc despite growing inflows from China

Dawn (January 17, 2018)
KARACHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 2.8 per cent to $1.38 billion in the first half of 2017-18, although inflows from China rose 2.4 times, the State Bank of Pakistan reported on Tuesday. Data showed the pattern of inflows significantly changed recently. China now dominates FDI with a share of more than two-thirds in total investments. Beijing emerged first as the largest trading partner of Islamabad and now it has become the top foreign ... Read More

Government lowers additional borrowings to Rs 20,000 crore this fiscal

Times of India (January 17, 2018)
NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday lowered the additional borrowing requirement for the current fiscal to Rs 20,000 crore from Rs 50,000 crore estimated earlier. "Government has reassessed additional borrowing requirements taking note of revenue receipts and expenditure pattern. Requirement of additional borrowing being reduced from Rs 50,000 crore as notified earlier to Rs 20,000 crore," Economic Affairs ... Read More

Eurozone inflation revised up to 0.2% in November

Times of Malta (January 17, 2018)
Eurozone inflation was revised up to 0.2 per cent in November, rising slightly more than expected mostly because of a slowdown in the decline of energy prices, the EU statistics agency said yesterday. Eurostat previously estimated inflation at 0.1 per cent last month in the 19 countries sharing the euro. The monthly consumer price change was -0.1 per cent, slightly higher than the expected -0.2 per cent. The revision ... Read More

France's 2017 state budget deficit lowest since 2008

Business Recorder (January 16, 2018)
budget ministry said on Tuesday. The deficit came to 67.8 billion euros ($82.99 billion) last year, marking an improvement of 1.5 billion euros from 2016, the budget ministry said on Tuesday. The deficit came to 67.8 billion euros ($82.99 billion) last year, marking an improvement of 1.5 billion euros from 2016, the ministry said. It was also better than the 69.3 billion euros originally budgeted by the previous Socialist government ... Read More

First ever citizen's budget of District Charsadda presented

The Statesman (January 14, 2018)
CHARSADDA: Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) launched the first-ever Citizens' Budget of District Charsada with support of Saiban Development Organization. Jamshed Tariq, Project Coordinator CPDI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said this is for the first time in Pakistan that citizens' budget was developed at district level. For the understanding of budget allocations, a citizens' budget is developed in jargon free and easy to ... Read More

World Economic Forum ranks India 30th on global manufacturing index; Japan Tops

Hindustan Times (January 14, 2018)
Press Trust of India: New Delhi/Geneva: The report, which analyses development of modern industrial strategies and urges collaborative action, has categorised 100 countries into four groups -- Leading (strong current base, high level of readiness for future); High Potential (limited current base, high potential for future); Legacy (strong current base, at risk for future); or Nascent (limited current base, low level of readiness for future). ... Read More

CPDI launches 'Citizens Budget' for Charsadda

Express Tribune (January 13, 2018)
CHARSADDA: Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) launched a first-ever Citizens' Budget of District Charssada with support of Saiban Development Organisation. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CPDI Project Coordinator Jamshed Tariq said this is for the first time in Pakistan that citizens' budget was developed at district level. For the understanding of budget allocations, a citizens' budget is developed in easy to ... Read More

Chinese economy grew "around 6.9%" in 2017: premier

Daily Times (January 12, 2018)
Agencies: China's premier expects economic growth of around 6.9 percent for 2017, as he saw a "better than expected" outlook for the world's second-largest economy, state media said Thursday. The authorities will release official gross domestic product figures next week but Premier Li Keqiang has given his own forecast. "Over the past year, the Chinese economy has been on a stable and favourable development path, with its overall circumstances better excess ... Read More

Pak growth rate to reach average 5.9pc: WB Report

Business Recorder by Parvez Jabri (January 10, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB), in its recent report, has predicted that Pakistan economic growth would reach at an average 5.9 percent a year over the medium term on the back of continued robust domestic consumption, rising investment, and a recovery in exports. "In Pakistan, growth is forecast to pick up to 5.5 percent in FY2017/18, and reach at an average 5.9 percent a year over the medium term on the back of continued ... Read More

India to be fastest growing economy again in 2018: World Bank

Hindustan Times (January 10, 2018)
After conceding the top spot in economic growth among major economies to China for a year in 2017, India is likely to regain the position in 2018 with growth expected to accelerate to 7.3% in the year, according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects released on Tuesday. The World Bank report projected China's economy to further slow down to grow at 6.4% in 2018 from 6.8% in 2017. The multilateral institution ... Read More

Pakistan procured $40 billion loans in last four years

Pakistan Today (January 08, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan procured $40 billion of loans during PML-N's four-year tenure till end of October 2017. The figure is $6.2 billion higher than the one shared with the National Assembly last month, reported Express Tribune. As per data shared by Economic Affairs Division (EAD) with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, gross foreign loan procurement from July 2013-October 2017 was recorded at $34.2 billion. This $34.2 ... Read More

Most Asian markets rise as 2018 rally extends

Daily Times (January 06, 2018)
The equity rally that has kicked off 2018 continued on Friday, with Asian markets picking up the baton from another set of records on Wall Street. Dealers are now turning their attention to the release later in the day of key US jobs data, which is expected to show the world's top economy continuing to improve. A forecast-smashing reading Thursday on private take-ups boosted optimism, which had already been bolstered by US tax cuts, healthy ... Read More

Canada trade deficit swells in November on surge of imports

Business Recorder (January 05, 2018)
OTTAWA: Canada's trade deficit grew to C$2.54 billion ($2.03 billion) in November from C$1.55 billion in October as imports posted their biggest surge in more than eight years and far outpaced the growth of exports, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The deficit far exceeded the C$1.20 billion shortfall estimated by analysts in a Reuters poll. Exports grew by 3.7 percent, the most in a year, on higher shipments of motor vehicles and consumer ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 7
January 16, 2018


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Trump's growth boast in reach as factories boom, GDP could have topped 4% in best year since 2004

The Times (January 4, 2018)
The American economy is showing signs that it could hit President Trump's ambitious growth target after a report indicated that factories in the United States had enjoyed their best year since 2004. Manufacturing activity in the world's largest economy came in well ahead of economists' expectations last month, a closely watched report showed, suggesting that growth could have surged above 4 per cent in 2017, much faster than previously ... Read More

Economic indicators stay positive, LSM, exports witness growth

Business Recorder (January 4, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Despite challenges, the performance of various sectors of economy showed impressive growth as depicted by different economic growth indicators. During the first five months of the current fiscal year, the exports have witnessed a growth of 10.49 percent over the corresponding period of Fiscal year 2016-17, while during the month of November, the exports increased by 12.35 percent compared to the exports of November ... Read More

US aid cut worries economists; souring ties with foreign donors feared

The News by Erum Zaidi (January 4, 2018)
KARACHI: US government's decision to wean Pakistan off its financial aids may sour the country's ties with international financial intuitions and could throw a spanner into much-needed foreign inflows, economists said on Wednesday. A former finance minister said the US decision seems to influence the various multilateral agencies/creditors, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Asian Development ... Read More

Turkey inflation still stubbornly high in December

Business Recorder (January 3, 2018)
ANKARA: Inflation in Turkey eased slightly in December after reaching the highest rate in 14 years the month earlier, but remained stubbornly high at almost 12 percent, in a continued headache for policymakers, according to statistics released Wednesday. Consumer prices rose by 11.92 percent year-on-year in December, the Turkish statistical institute said, down slightly from 12.98 percent in November, which was the highest ... Read More

Britain wants financial services included in EU Trade deal-Davis

Times of Malta (January 3, 2018)
Britain wants to include financial services in a trade deal with the European Union that covers a full sweep of economic areas, Brexit minister David Davis said on Tuesday.Davis said that any deal that left finance out would be "cherry picking", after the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier cast doubt on the inclusion of financial services in a free-trade deal. “We are looking at the full sweep of economic cooperation that currently exists and ... Read More

FBR on target to achieve annual collection target of Rs 4013 bln this year

Pakistan Observer (January 2, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue remains on track to achieve annual collection target of Rs 4013 billion. During first half of the current financial year, Federal Board of Revenue has recorded provisional net revenue collection of over Rs. 1722 billion as against Rs. 1466 billion collected during the same period of the previous fiscal year, by recording an increase of around 17.5% over the revenue collected during the ... Read More

Inflation spikes 4.6% in Dec 2017, hits 8-months high

The Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (January 2, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the past eight months, the inflation rate spiked 4.6%, showing the effect of government's policies including the increase in prices of petroleum products for end-consumers and levy of regulatory duty. "The impact of government's decision to devalue the rupee against the US dollar by about 7.2% is also expected to appear after a lag of a couple of months," said State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa. Measured by the ... Read More

Singapore's economy grew 3.5 percent in 2017: PM Lee

Business Recorder (January 1, 2018)
SINGAPORE: Singapore's economy grew 3.5 percent in 2017 on the back of improved productivity as well as a pick-up in the global economy, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday. Singapore’s trade-reliant economy has enjoyed a boost this year from an improvement in global demand, particularly for electronics products and components such as semiconductors. "Our economy grew by 3.5 percent ... Read More

Bond float not enough, Pakistan going to be IMF's customer again

Express Tribune by Jazib Nelson (January 1, 2018)
ISLAMABAD: Popular view of Pakistan's economy was quite optimistic at the start of 2017. Positive developments including successful completion of the $6.6-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, decent progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and emerging market status for the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) were behind the optimism. Government officials claimed at almost every ... Read More

The making of shadow budget

The News by Mustafa Nazir Ahmad (December 31, 2017)
The preparation of shadow budgets by opposition parties, think tanks and civil society organisations has become a norm in the developed world over the last quarter of a century. These alternative budgets offer analysis and perspective on what the government budget should contain in terms of spending and revenue generation. In short, a shadow budget offers an alternative vision to deal with the macroeconomic challenges ... Read More

Hungary's economy projected to grow by 4.3pc in 2018

Business Recorder (December 28, 2017)
BUDAPEST: Hungary's economic growth is expected to come in at 4.1 percent this year, and will accelerate to 4.3 percent next year, the Economy Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The ministry said that this year’s GDP growth was largely driven by a rise in investments, due to a pick-up in housing construction increasing use of development funds coming from the European Union and capacity expansion by large corporates ... Read More

'Foreign loans compromise sovereignty' says Rabbani

The DAWN By Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana (December27, 2017)
KARACHI: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said on Tuesday foreign loans come with strings as lenders' lconditions infringe upon national sovereignty. If a nation has a choice, then it should opt for increasing exports by promoting the indigenous industry and making it competitive, he said while addressing the 41st Export Awards ceremony of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). "I'd suggest that if we have a choice ... Read More

The fall and fall of Pakistan's economy in 2017

The Express Tribune by Arsalaan Asif Soomro (December 26, 2017)
Whether this is due to Mr Ishaq Dar being pre-occupied during the year, trying to save himself and his boss from the aftermath of the Panama leaks, or merely because the anticipated growth of imports was foreseen in a naive manner, is a question that is behind us for now. With the grip on currency loosening, the picture alas seems to slowly be moving towards equilibrium. When the currency started slipping in December, there was no "inquiry" ... Read More

Govt. asked to announce PFC award without delay.

DAWN (December 25, 2017)
SWABI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been asked to announce the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Award 2017-18 under the Local Government Act, 2013, without further delay to give financial responsibility and authority to elected representatives of local bodies. The demand was made by members of Samaji Bahbood Rabita Council (SBRC) and Good Governance District Coalition (GGDC)" ... Read More

Venezuela: Economy shrank 16.5% in 2016: report

Express Tribune (December 24, 2017)
WASHINGTON: Venezuela's economy shrank a massive 16.5% in 2016, according to an official government filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The oil-rich but impoverished country attributed the collapse to a contraction of 9.9% in the oil sector and 16.1% in the non-oil economy. The 150-page report, received on Thursday by the SEC, also reported inflation at 274.4%, and an unemployment rate of 7.5% in the calendar ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 6
December 28, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Current account deficit increases to $6.4 billion

Daily Times by Khursheed Ahmad (December 21, 2017)
KARACHI: Pakistan's external financial position continues to deteriorate due to rising import bill as the country's current account deficit rose to $6.4 billion in the first five months of the fiscal year. The deficit was $3.3 billion in the same period last year. The current account deficit has increased to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The deficit increased by $1.4 billion in November. The increase in October was $1.2 billion, mainly due ... Read More

China shrugs off debt worries as Xi Takes firmer economic grip

NY Times (December 20, 2017)
SHANGHAI - It's Xi Jinping's economy now, and he isn't too worried about debt. China signaled its economic priorities on Wednesday at the end of a meeting of top Communist Party economic leaders with a statement indicating that President Xi is fully in charge. Labeled "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialist Economy With Chinese Characteristics," the statement called for trimming industrial overcapacity, controlling the ... Read More

Revenue collection, tax returns show growth, FBR Chief Tells Businessmen

Daily Times (December 20, 2017)
Karachi: federal board of revenue (fbr) chairman tariq mahmood pasha said on tuesday said that fbr had witnessed growth in revenue collection and returns filed so far, which increased by 26 percent to 1,075,000, as on december 19, 2017, compared to last year. Speaking at an interactive session during his visit to the karachi chamber of commerce and industry (kcci), he said that the credit for this growth ... Read More

Pakistan attracts $1.1bn foreign investment in 5M FY18

Daily Times by Khursheed Ahmad (December 16, 2017)
Karachi: Foreign Direct investment FDI continued to show encouraging growth as in the first five months of current fiscal year (July-November), 5MFY18, FDI posted substantial growth of 57 percent to $1,146.4 million as compared to $729.4 million invested during the same period of the previous fiscal year, FY16, State Bank of Pakistan data shows. China emerged as the single largest foreign investor in Pakistan with ... Read More

Country's direct investment surges by 57.2pc to $1.146.4bn in July-Nov 2017

Pakistan Today (December 15, 2017)
KARACHI: The country has received an amount of $ 1.146 billion in the head of foreign direct investment (FDI), up by 57.2 per cent or $ 417 million during first five months of the current fiscal year compared to $ 729.4 million in the same period last year. Out of the total investment, Chinese companies invested $ 840.6 million in Pakistan during last five months. In November 2017, the country has received ... Read More

Will America's economy overheat in 2018?

The Economist (December 14, 2017)
WASHINGTON DC: USUALLY politicians pretend that good economic news on their watch is no surprise. But America's recent growth figures have been so positive that even the administration of President Donald Trump has allowed itself to marvel. "It's actually happening faster than we expected," mused Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget chief, in September, after growth rose to 3.1% in the second quarter. (Mr Trump in fact ... Read More

Federal Reserve raises interest rates as attention turns to 2018

Independent by Howard Schneider (December 13, 2017)
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, but has left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged even as policymakers project a short-term acceleration in US economic growth. The move, coming at the final policy meeting of 2017 and on the heels of a flurry of relatively bullish economic data, represented a victory for a central bank that has vowed of continue ... Read More

ADB lowers India's GDP forecast for FY-18 to 6.7%

The Times of India (December 13, 2017)
NEW DELHI: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday lowered India's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) forecast for the current fiscal by 0.3 per cent to 6.7 per cent, attributing it to tepid growth in the first half, demonetisation and transitory challenges of tax sector reforms. It has also revised downward the GDP outlook for next fiscal beginning from March 2018 to 7.3 per cent from 7.4 per cent mainly due ... Read More

Remittances decline 2.57% to $1.7b in November

The Express Tribune (December 12, 2017)
KARACHI: Pakistan received remittances amounting to $1.576 billion in November 2017, which is 2.57% lower compared with $1.618 billion the country received in the same month of the previous year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday. Overall, overseas Pakistani workers remitted $8.021 billion in the first five months (July to November) of fiscal year 2018, up 1.28% compared with ... Read More

$14.6tr was the impact of violence on global economy in 2016

Express Tribune by Tahreem Hussain (December 11, 2017)
NORTHAMPTON: Global peace is the need of the hour. It has been estimated that more than 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by violent conflict and the gap between those countries which enjoy relative peace and those afflicted by conflict seems to be growing. Conflicts and resulting violence have a deep-rooted impact at all levels of the society. Although the human cost of being affected by ... Read More

Govt. looks to squeeze oil and gas sector to meet revenue target

Express Tribune by Zafar Butta (December 10, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: The Finance Division has tightened its noose around the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) to collect Rs392 billion from the oil and gas sector to meet the budget target for financial year 2017-18. Sources said that following pressure, the Petroleum Division was forced to impose a petroleum levy not only on locally produced liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but on imported LPG as well in a bid to collect Rs2 billion in ... Read More

Meeting discusses budget awareness

Express Tribune (December 08, 2017)
JHELUM: While devising the budget, it is imperative that requirements of transparency, public consent are met while rules and regulation are adhered to. This was stated by Jhelum District Finance Officer Sarfaraz Khan while speaking at a budget consultation programme. The programme organised by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and CRG in Jhelum. Network for Budget Accountability ... Read More

LGs flayed over budget rules' violations

The Nation (December 08, 2017)
JHANG - The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a non-profit organisation, demanded adherence to the Punjab Local Governments (Budget) Rules 2017, transparency and citizens' participation in the budget making process at district level. Addressing in district level budget consultation at Jhang, its local office-bearers said that first draft of the district budget be presented in April to ensure timely input ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 5
December 12, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

K-P revenue authority generates Rs34b in Taxes

Express Tribune (December 7, 2017)
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA) has generated Rs34 billion in tax collections since its inception in 2013, according to KPRA Director General Tahir Aurakzai, adding this amounts to 56% of provincial tax revenue collected in 2016 and 2017. Speaking at a multi stakeholder's awareness and sensitization session on the revenue generation by KPRA, Aurakzai ... Read More

40 percent growth witnessed in company incorporations during November 2017

Pakistan Observer (December 6, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) during the month of November 2017 registered 881 new companies. As compared to the corresponding month of last financial year, it represents a growth of 40 percent. The new incorporation raised the total number companies registered with SECP to 84,201. The massive increase in number ... Read More

US tax overhaul will increase debt and interest costs

Pakistan Today (December 5, 2017)
WASHINGTON: A U.S. tax overhaul will increase the government's need to issue more Treasuries as interest costs on the country's debt become a larger drain on the budget. The U.S. Senate on Saturday approved a tax rewrite, which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would double the deficit over the coming decade to around $2.8 trillion. That would add to the worsening ... Read More

Canada economic growth slows to 1.7pc in 3Q

The Nation (December 4, 2017)
OTTAWA - Canada's economy grew at a much more modest annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the third quarter, as Canadians curbed their spending, the government statistical agency said. Exports fell while imports were flat, business investment weakened, and household outlays pulled back slightly from the previous quarter said Statistics Canada. The figure was close to the 1.6 percent growth ... Read More

Pakistan's economy has a bumpy ride ahead but the future is bright, study says

The DAWN by Afshan Subohi (December 4, 2017)
PAKISTAN'S future holds promise despite all what people experience, read and hear in a country that seems to fray at the edges. It would sure be a bumpy ride ahead but there is slim chance of a derailment, a study says. The picture 'Pakistan State of Future Index' paints is not a grim one, and, with right adjustments, the chances are real that the country could become a fairly stable, growing state ... Read More

FBR notches 20pc increase in revenue collection for July-November 2017

Pakistan Today (December 2, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Tax collection went up by 20 per-cent during July-November period of financial year 2017-18 touching Rs1.302 trillion, the Federal Board of Revenue revealed on Thursday. During November, FBR collected Rs270 billion, rising 24 per-cent compared to same period last year (SPLY) but still recording a deficit of Rs24 billion, reported Express Tribune. Tax refunds of Rs13 billion were ... Read More

Study urges involvement of all stakeholders in budget preparation

The News (December 1, 2017)
PESHAWAR: A study conducted by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) suggested that there was a dire need to discuss the district budgets with citizens groups, civil society and media for achieving the local development agenda. 
It said there were several lacunae in the district budgets due to the absence of planning officers. The study said the local body ... Read More

India's economy rebounds from three-year low

Business Recorder by Parvez Jabri (December 1, 2017)
NEW DELHI: India's economy picked up in the second quarter, official data showed Thursday, rebounding from a sharp slump in the wake of government reforms that dragged growth to three-year lows. Figures from the Central Statistics Office showed Asia's third-largest economy accelerated after five quarters of slowing growth, as the impact of a sudden cash ban and launch of a nationwide tax receded. GDP ... Read More

With fiscal deficit at 1.2pc, first quarter shows strong financial performance

Business Recorder by Fawad Maqsood (November 29, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: With fiscal deficit recorded at 1.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the federal government's financial operations and debt statistics for first quarter of the current fiscal year show strong performance and prudent expenditure. On one hand, revenue collection, especially tax revenue collection, registered a strong growth of over 20 per cent during the first quarter ... Read More

Govt. puts ADB's $990-million smart-meters project on hold

Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (November 29, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: In a development that may affect relations with a Manila-based lending agency, Pakistan has decided to put on hold a $990-million (Rs105 billion) smart metering project that was meant to introduce advanced infrastructure in power distribution companies. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) wanted Pakistan to implement the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, but the Ministry of Power and ... Read More

Tackling trade deficit by facilitating exports

Express Tribune by Aadil Nakhoda (November 27, 2017)
KARACHI: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported that the trade balance deficit in FY17 stood at $32.6 billion. This was an increase of more than 36% over the value reported in FY16. Imports increased by more than 18%, while exports decreased by 2%. Although the relative decline in exports is marginal, it is disconcerting that exports are currently at $20 billion. On the other hand, imports have increased ... Read More

Concerns over delay in PFC award

Dawn (November 24, 2017)
TOBA TEK SINGH: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has expressed concerns over a delay in the announcement of Punjab Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) award. In a press conference here on Thursday, CPDI District coordinator Muhammad Shahid said the process of devolution was incomplete without a formula to share the provincial divisible pool among the local ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 4
November 23, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Singapore economy grows 5.2% in Q3, fastest in nearly 4 years; 2017 forecast raised to 3-3.5%

Strait Times (November 23, 2017)
SINGAPORE - Singapore's economy performed much better than expected this year due mostly to a strong showing in electronics, prompting the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to upgrade its 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) forecast on Thursday morning (Nov 23). Full-year GDP growth is now expected to be 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent. This is up from an earlier estimate ... Read More

Budget 2017: EU finally takes Britain off list of countries with excessive budget deficits

Independent by Jon Stone (November 23, 2017)
The European Commission has given a Budget Day boost to Philip Hammond, announcing that it will be taking the UK off the list of countries with too-large spending deficits. Naming the Chancellor personally, Pierre Moscovici, the EU finance's commissioner, told reporters in Brussels that the UK would be removed from the EU's Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). The economics chief said the UK had ... Read More

Rs 15bn spent on development Projects in Tharparkar

Daily Times (November 23, 2017)
MITHI: Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani, a provincial legislator associated with Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said that the PPP government was committed to improve living standard of the people of Tharparkar and had spent Rs 15 billion in development projects in the last nine years. He expressed these views while speaking with a delegation from Pakistan Federal Council of Columnists, visiting Mithi ... Read More

Widening UK budget deficit hands Hammond a headache

The Guardian by Richard Partington (November 21, 2017)
Britain's deficit unexpectedly widened in October, handing Philip Hammond disappointing news on the eve of the budget.  Public sector net borrowing last month excluding the nationalised banks, grew by £500m to £8bn compared with October a year ago, according to the office for National Statistics (ONS). City economists expected the deficit, which is the gap between government spending and tax receipts, to improve by £500m to stand at £7bn ... Read More

Pakistan hasn't defaulted once on its debts since independence

Pakistan Today (November 21, 2017)
LAHORE: Pakistan joined the fray of six other nations susceptible to possible risk of defaulting on its debts as its credit-default swaps increased in October and are near its highest levels since June. Interestingly, Pakistan hasn't defaulted even once on its debts since independence in August 1947. Last week, Bloomberg reported about risk-premium on emerging market sovereign bonds decreased seven basis points ... Read More

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

AFP DAWN (Sunday November 19, 2017)
BRUSSELS: An EU 2018 budget deal was announced Saturday that cuts funds destined to Turkey, citing doubts about Ankara's commitment to democracy and human rights German Chancellor Angela Merkel had led calls for a cut to the funds, which are linked to Turkey's stalled bid to join the bloc, following mass-scale arrests in the country since the failed July 2016 coup. MEPs and member states have agreed to reduce the ... Read More

National debt may increase in FY 2018, says Moody's but will improve after

Press Trust of India (Sunday November 19, 2017)
New Delhi: Lower taxes and higher public expenditure could widen budget deficit in 2017-18, but steps taken by the government to broaden the tax base and improve spending efficiency would help in narrowing it going forward, US-based rating agency Moody's said. In an interview to PTI, Moody's Investors Service V-P (Sovereign Risk Group) William Foster said the agency believes that the government's commitment to fisca ... Read More

Only 6% of return filers pay most of direct taxes

The Express Tribune by Shahbaz Rana (Saturday November 18, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: About 65,000 Pakistanis, constituting hardly 6% of the income tax return filers in tax year 2016, paid 79% of direct taxes, exposing the shallowness of an already narrow tax base, according to statistics of the tax directory. Contrary to a mushroom growth in posh housing societies and luxury cars on roads, only 2,455 Pakistanis paid more than Rs10 million in income tax in 2016 ... Read More

Hammond's budget big five: cuts, pay, housing, roads and students

The Guardian by Phillip Inman (Saturday November 18, 2017)
Philip Hammond will face his toughest test as chancellor on Wednesday when he stands up to deliver his third and most important budget statement. By comparison, the  2016 tasked with formulation of annual budget do not bother to conduct pre budget consultative sessions with public and their representatives. The seminar was organized by citizen network for budget accountability (CNBA) with the support of partner organizations ... Read More

Peoples participation in budget making process urged

Frontier Post (November 17, 2017)
LAKKI MARWAT: Speakers at a seminar have stressed the need for ensuring people's participation in budget making process, saying that the quarters concerned tasked with formulation of annual budget do not bother to conduct pre budget consultative sessions with public and their representatives. The seminar was organized by citizen network for budget accountability (CNBA) with the support of partner organizations ... Read More

Transparency & citizens participation in budget making process sought

The News (November 15 2017)
PESHAWAR: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has launched “Study of Budget Making Process at District Level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa" which called for transparency and citizens' participation in the entire exercise. The study revealed transparency and citizens participation in budget making process was found lacking at district level. in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. ... Read More

Cabinet allows $3b borrowing through Sukuk, Eurobonds

Express Tribune (Tuesday 14 November 2017)
The federal cabinet has allowed immediate borrowing of up to $3 billion from international debt markets by floating three sovereign bonds and has also waived a dozen taxes to make deals attractive for investors. Instead of tabling a summary in a cabinet meeting, the finance ministry got approval of the cabinet by circulating the summary among its members earlier this month. This is surprising as the federal cabinet meets every week. Pakistan ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 3
November 09, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

The budget will show whether the Tories really care about 'just managing' families

Frances Ryan (Thursday 9 November 2017)
In politics, there are some ideas that are good in theory but don't work in practice. Then there are those that were always going to cause harm but turn out to be more damning than even the policy's architects could have imagined. Increasingly, the benefit freeze is the poster child for the latter category. The government is rightly coming under increasing pressure to halt the roll-out of universal credit. ... Read More

NDAA busts budget caps with $626 billion for defense

By Scott Maucione (November 8, 2017)
An authorization for a nearly $700 billion defense budget, a new commercial marketplace for the Pentagon to buy from and a bigger military end strength may become a reality as the House and Senate finished negotiations of the 2018 defense authorization bill this week. The bill will now go to the House and Senate for amendments and passage before being signed into law by the president. The bill includes $692.1 billion ... Read More

Iraq cabinet plans to cut Kurdistan share in 2018 federal budget

The Reuters (November 6, 2017)
BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's cabinet proposed on Sunday to slash the Kurdish share of the country's revenue in the 2018 federal budget, a move that Kurdish officials said was aimed to further punish them for a Sept. 25 referendum on independence. A Kurdish man sells banners supporting the referendum for independence for Kurdistan in Erbil, Iraq September 21, 2017. ... Read More

Bountiful Budget to spur activities in 2018

The Borneo Post (November 5, 2017)
Specialists and industry leaders were optimistic following Budget 2018's announcement which allocated a sum of RM280.25 billion centered on improving the lives of Malaysians while ensuring that it covers all sectors of the economy. With overall spending allocated on areas of the economy ranging from education, agricultural, tourism, social subsidies to business incentives, OCBC Bank Treasury Research ... Read More

NHC approves budget for 5-year development plan, reviews ongoing projects

Daily Times (November 3, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Communications Minister Hafiz Abdul Karim on Thursday presided over a meeting of National Highway Council (NHC), at the Ministry of Communications. Communications Minister of State Muhammad Junaid Chaudhry,Communications secretary, National Highway Authority chairman and other members of the council participated in the meeting. The meeting gave approval ... Read More

Budget office sees higher deficit than Liberal government's forecast

CBC news (November 1, 2017)
The parliamentary budget overseer is predicting a budget deficit in the current fiscal year that's almost $2 billion higher than was forecast in the government's fall fiscal update last week. The latest report from the parliamentary budget officer says the deficit this year will be $20.2 billion, while Finance Minister Bill Morneau's last prediction was $18.4 billion. (Morneau's economic update also included a $1.5 billion ... Read More

How economic slowdown is weakening India's armed forces

The dailyo (October 31, 2017)
The debate about the turbulence in India's economic health is worrisome for defense procurement plans. The defense budget has been declining over the past decades, with this year's allocation at a record low of 1.56 per cent of the GDP. With the RBI's latest report marking down the overall GDP figure for FY 2017- 18, the amount available in the government's kitty for the next fiscal would be even lower-especially considering ... Read More

Germany to confirm size of expected budget surplus next month

The Reuters (October 30, 2017)
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany expects a budget surplus in 2017, but will not know its full extent until Nov. 9 when the finance ministry gets a new assessment of expected tax revenues, acting Finance Minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday. A long-exposure picture shows a container ship, at a loading terminal, in the harbor of Hamburg, Germany April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer Altmaier declined to ... Read More

Government proposes $6B budget for 2018

The Phonm penh post (October 30, 2017)
The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a national budget for next year that calls for more than $6 billion in spending, the largest increase ever proposed for the Kingdom, with big boosts for education, defense and the arts. In an executive summary of the draft law released on Friday, the Council of Ministers proposes raising the budget by nearly $1 billion, stating that the budget increases are necessary to run ... Read More

EU Says Concerned Over Italy's 2018 Budget, Adding to Government's Woes

The New York Times (October 27, 2017)
BRUSSELS - The European Commission sent a letter on Friday to Italy's finance minister urging clarifications over the country's planned budget for 2018, adding to Rome's headaches ahead of elections due by next May. The move could force Rome to cut expenditures or raise taxes to comply with EU fiscal rules. Both are unpalatable measures before elections planned by May and amid deepening political divisions ... Read More

Liberals table budget bill to join China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The Globe and Mail (October 27, 2017)
The Liberal government has introduced a second large budget bill that includes a new law establishing Canada's participation in the Beijing- based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Bill C-63, Finance Minister Bill Moreno's second budget bill of the year, enacts a wide range of measures related to his March budget. Like the first budget bill, it is more than 300 pages, repeating a practice that has faced opposition ... Read More

GB Council approves Rs 2.4b budget for 2017-18

The Nation (October 26, 2017)
SKARDU - The Gilgit-Baltistan Council on Wednesday approved a budget with a total outlay of about Rs 2.4 billion for financial year 2017-18 to Gilgit- Baltistan. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is also the Chairman of the Council, chaired the meeting. The Prime Minister in his remarks at the meeting said that the PML-N government was committed to the ... Read More

Lockheed CEO warns of potential order hit if US 'budget constraints' are not fixed

CNBC (October 24, 2017)
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson warned Tuesday of potential order impacts if there are federal budget constraints beyond Dec. 8. A measure passed last month keeps the government operating through early December but also impacts the Pentagon's spending. The defense giant's CEO also urged Congress to address the budget caps to allow for more defenses spending that she sees as "vital to ... Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 2
October 24, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

BRAZIL: Government to Send Congress Changes To The 2018 Budget Bill

The financial Tribune (October 22, 2017)
(RTT News) - The Brazilian government will send to Congress the changes to the 2018 budget bill by the end of next week, Planning Minister Dyogo Oliveira said Thursday after a meeting with the Senate's speaker Eunício Oliveira. "The speaker asked about the deadline for sending the complementary piece of the budget, and I said we are preparing everything to send it by the end of next week...Read More

Women farmers present 'charter of demand' to minister

The Business Recorder(October 21, 2017)
Oxfam Pakistan and Indus Consortium organized a rural women's convention where over 80 women farmers from five districts of Punjab, presented a "charter of demands" to the Minister Environment Protection Zakia Shah Nawaz.The charter demands the approval of the Climate Change Policy with proper resource allocation for smallholder women farmers and their participation in budget decision making. The convention...Read More

Budget Deficit Hits $666 Billion, an $80 Billion Spike for the Year

The flathead Beacon(October 20, 2017)
WASHINGTON - The federal budget deficit rose to $666 billion in the just-completed fiscal year, a spike that comes as Republicans are moving to draft a tax code rewrite that promises to add up to $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the coming decade. The sobering deficit numbers, released Friday by the Treasury Department and the White House budget office, followed Senate passage Thursday night of a 10-year budget...Read More

Academics want bigger budget for education sector in 2018

New Straits Times (October 19, 2017)
KUALA LUMPUR: Public universities will attract the cream of the crop when there is more money pumped into the sector. National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said more allocation for public universities would mean better quality teachers and ultimately higher standards of instructions provided in schools.He said a larger budget for both the Education and Higher Education...Read More

Zimbabwe Says to Slash Budget Deficit despite Looming Elections

New York Times (October 18, 2017)
HARARE - Zimbabwe plans to cut its budget deficit by half next year to 4 percent of GDP, the national Treasury said, an ambitious goal at a time when the country is expected to hold a presidential vote that veteran President Robert Mugabe is set to contest. The southern African country has over the last four years failed to cut its deficit despite promises to do so, mainly due to high government spending on public sector...Read More

Colombia's Congress Approves $80 Billion Budget for 2018

US News (October 18, 2017)
BOGOTA (Reuters) Colombia's congress approved an $80 billion budget for 2018 on Wednesday, in a bid to retain the country's 'BBB' credit rating, and the finance minister said the government would not issue more international bonds. Policymakers have been grappling for over two years with the twin pressures of a weak economy, caused by the global drop in oil prices, and inflation...Read More

Financing Framework for dealing with climate change unveiled

The Dawn (October 17, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) unveiled on Monday a 'Climate Change Financing Framework' (CCFF) structured to respond to climate change and promote rationalizing climate finance, starting from the planning stage and creating a robust monitoring system that can gauge the adequacy and effectiveness of financing. The framework aims to make existing responses to the...Read More

Greek January-September Government Budget Surplus Slightly Below Target on Lower Revenues

The New York Times(October 16, 2017)
ATHENS- Greece's central government attained a primary budget surplus of 4.5 billion Euros (£4 billion) in the first nine months of the year, slightly below target due to lower tax revenues, finance ministry data showed on Monday. The government's target was for a primary budget surplus - which excludes debt-servicing costs - of 4.556 billion Euros for the January-to-September period, meaning the surplus missed the...Read More

J&K government issues guidelines to accelerate development works, streamline budget spending

The Indian Express (October 16, 2017)
To streamline departmental spending in order to accelerate the pace of development works in the state, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday told all its department heads that all unutilized funds above 30 per cent of their respective budgetary allocation would get automatically forfeited after December 31...Read More

The Republican budget is a gift to billionaires: it's Robin Hood in reverse

The Guardian (October 16, 2017)
After failing to pass a "healthcare" bill that would have thrown up to 32 million Americans off of health insurance, a bill that was more unpopular than the Wall Street bailout, Donald Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress are back. Now, they are pushing one of the most destructive and unfair budget and tax proposals in the modern history of our country - a plan that would do incalculable harm to tens of millions...Read More

Speakers for educating on Budget tracking process

DAWN News(October 16, 2017)
SWABI: Speakers at a workshop here on Sunday said that it would be difficult to use the available resources for solution of people's problems without educating them on budget tracking process and enabling them to play their role in utilization of funds. The workshop was organized by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) under the European-funded project titled...Read More

State budget compromise remains elusive

The CT post(October 14, 2017)
HARTFORD - Legislative leaders say they are making steady, if slow, progress in negotiations on the long-stalled state budget for the two fiscal years that started July 1.Gov. Dannel P. Malloy isn't so sure. The governor is concerned that a compromise document on which he might be asked to sign off before an anticipated special session during the week of October 23 may contain unacceptable...Read More

Portugal draft budget sees 2018 growth of 2.2 pct

Kitco News (October 13, 2017)
LISBON, (Reuters) - Portugal's Socialist government expects economic growth to slow to 2.2 percent in 2018, down from 2.6 percent this year, the government's draft budget showed on Friday. The document forecast the budget deficit to fall to 1 percent of gross domestic product next year from 1.4 percent this year...Read More

Budget 2018 criticized for leaving Louth citizens with disabilities behind

Dundalk Democrat (October 12, 2017)
"The report revealed that according to summary results by the Central Statistics Office, based on last year's census, there are as many as 20,662 citizens or 13.6% of the population of Louth/East Meath recorded as having a disability."As the number of people affected by specific types of disabilities is not currently available - (this data from the 2016 census is expected in early November)-the Oireachtas Library used data...Read More

Gross debit to soar to 68.7 percent of GDP in 2018: IMF

The Business Recorder (October 12, 2017)
The International Monetary Fund has projected an increase in Pakistan government gross debt - by 0.7 percent - to 68.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 against 68 percent in 2017. According to the IMF "Fiscal Monitor, tackling inequality," it has been projected that the government gross debt would rise to 68.7 percent of the GDP in 2018 and then decline to 68.2 percent in 2019...Read More

Ahead of elections: Pakistan restricts deficit, sparking hopes of fiscal discipline

Express Tribune (October 11, 2017)
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has managed to restrict the overall budget deficit to Rs324 billion in the first quarter in the wake of strict controls over federal development spending, giving early hopes of fiscal discipline in an election year. In July-September quarter of the current fiscal year, the budget deficit of Rs324 billion was equal to...Read More

Budget Deficit Reduced to 0.9% of GDP-First Quarter FY18

The Research Snipers (October 10, 2017)
Last year Pakistan's budget deficit of the first quarter (July-September) of the financial year was noted at the number of rupees 438 billion whereas the recordings of this year are at rupees 324 billion. This year's budget deficit is because of the vigorous tax collections and minimum spending.Talking in terms of GDP the deficit generally decreased to 0.9% during the July to September quarter of the running financial year as compared to the...Read More

Delia: Budget confirms the government 'has no plan'

Malta Today (October 09, 2017)
Budget 2018 did not adequately address pensions, traffic and infrastructure, tourism and education, according to Opposition leader Adrian Delia in his first official reaction follow the budget presentation. On pensions, Delia said the government did not focus on the second pillar of healthcare. "The government left them where they were. The Nationalist party will see that pensioners are treated as a resource, not a burden...Read More

PN: Budget shows government lacks a plan

The times of Malta (October 09,2017)
The Opposition is ready to help the government because it is showing it has no plan for today, tomorrow or the future, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said in an initial reaction to the Budget. "If you were stuck in traffic today, you will still be stuck in traffic tomorrow. If you cannot make ends meet today, you will be in the same position tomorrow. If you have poor working...Read More

Budget Study Centre Issue 1
October 12, 2017


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Trump's New Budget Threatens to Kick Millions Off Food Stamps

The Root (October 09, 2017)
Although Donald Trump ran as a champion of the poor and working class (and many whites in those socioeconomic groups voted for him), the only thing the "president" seems to be draining is the federal budget for his golf outings. Adding insult to injury, a new budget resolution put forth by Trump and passed by the House of Representatives this week will push millions off of food stamps, leaving our most vulnerable-children and the elderly-food insecure, or even hungry. Newsweek reports that over $150 ... Read More

CSOs & citizens trained in skills to improve local governance

The News (October 07, 2017)
PESHAWAR: Members of several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and citizens were trained in leadership and advocacy skills, citizen report card and budget tracking at a capacity building workshop arranged here to improve local governance. The Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) arranged the workshop under a European Union-funded project. Titled "Democratic Local Governance for Development in Pakistan", the project is jointly implemented by CPDI and Friedrich ... Read More

CBO: Federal budget deficit rises to $668 billion

The Spokesman (October 06, 2017)
WASHINGTON - The federal government ran a $668 billion budget deficit for the just-completed 2017 fiscal year, according to a new government report. That's $82 billion more red ink than the government produced last year. The Congressional Budget Office based its findings on preliminary Treasury reports. The worsening deficit picture comes as Congress digs into its pockets for tens of billions of dollars more for hurricane relief. Lawmakers are also working toward a round of tax cuts that ... Read More

Budget plan sets the stage for Republican tax reform

The CS Monitor (October 06, 2017)
Washington - The House has passed a $4.1 trillion budget plan that promises deep cuts to social programs while paving the way for Republicans to rewrite the tax code later this year. The 2018 House GOP budget reprises a controversial plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program for future retirees as well as the party's efforts to repeal the "Obamacare" health law. Republicans controlling Congress have no plans to actually implement those cuts while they pursue their tax overhaul. That's especially so in ... Read More

House Approves Budget Plan that Would Cut Federal Employee Benefits

Government Executive (October 05, 2017)
House lawmakers voted 219-206 Thursday to approve a resolution outlining the body’s fiscal 2018 budget priorities, which include a number of controversial cuts to federal employees’ retirement and benefits programs. The House’s budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 71) asks 11 committees to come up with a total of $1.5 trillion in spending cuts through budget reconciliation, setting the stage for Republicans' ... Read More

Morneau prepares fall update as PBO report shows improving federal finances

The Globe and Mail (October 06, 2017)
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is preparing a fall update that is expected to show the federal fiscal landscape is improving along with the strengthening economy. Mr. Morneau met with private-sector economists Thursday in Toronto to hear their assessments and recommendations. While they did not release their numbers, the consensus forecasts for GDP growth have increased to about 3 per cent for 2017, up from the ... Read More

CPEC toll income to be thrice the budget of Pakistan: BoI

The News (October 05, 2017)
LAHORE: Only the toll income generated by the route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), after the completion of the project by 2030, will be three times of the national budget of Pakistan, an official said on Wednesday. “It is on top of the business, economic, and employment creating activities of special economic zones (SEZs), and other industries,” Zulfiqar Ali, director Board of Investment (BoI) said while briefing Lahore Economic Journalist ... Read More

Senate Budget Committee advances 2018 budget plan

Washington Times (October 05, 2017)
The Senate Budget Committee advanced its 2018 fiscal blueprint on Thursday, moving forward on Republican plans to fast- track a tax reform package hours after the full House passed its own 2018 spending outline. The approximately $1 trillion spending plan for 2018 that advances to the Senate floor projects a $641 billion deficit for the current fiscal year, but ... Read More

Lawmakers Urge Cuts That Have Least Impact on Services

The US News (October 05, 2017)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A legislative committee is asking Montana's governor to make budget cuts that have the least impact on services to vulnerable citizens. The Legislative Finance Committee met this week to review $227 million in proposed cuts ... Read More

House Passes Budget Blueprint, Taking Step Toward Tax Overhaul

The New York Times (October 05, 2017)
WASHINGTON - The House took the first major legislative step Thursday toward enacting a promised overhaul of the tax code, approving a budget blueprint that would allow a future tax bill to pass Congress without any Democratic votes. ... Read More

Karak nazmi's claims of budget approval contested

The Dawn (October 04, 2017)
KARAK: District nazim Dr Umer Daraz Khattak on Tuesday claimed that a provincial committee headed by local government minister Inaytullah Khan had accorded approval to the budget of Karak for 2017-18 ... Read More