Issue 20

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