Issue 11

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