Issue 55

Budget Study Centre   Issue 55
Dec 12, 2019


Fortnightly Budget News Alerts

Jul-Nov FY20: Pakistan’s trade deficit shrinks 33% to $9.7b

The Express Tribune (Dec 12, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s trade deficit shrank one-third to $9.7 billion in first five months of the current fiscal year on the back of compression of imports as growth in exports remained tepid, which may again result in missing the annual target. Trade figures that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released on Wednesday showed that exports fell in November … Read More

‘India’s economic recovery critical for oil in 2020’

The Express Tribune (Dec 12, 2019)

LONDON: India’s economy is suffering its worst cyclical downturn for more than a decade, which is weighing heavily on global oil consumption, and until the economy improves, prices are unlikely to see a sustained increase. If the monetary and fiscal stimulus succeeds in pushing the economy out of its current trough, faster growth would play an important role in rebalancing the oil market … Read More

Asian Development Bank says Pakistan’s economy is showing signs of stability

The News (Dec 11, 2019)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday said signs of economic stabilisation were emerging in Pakistan during the ongoing fiscal year 2019-20. The ADB, in its Asian Development Outlook 2019 Supplement, said that inflation in Pakistan for the first three months of the ongoing fiscal year averaged 10.1 per cent despite “tight monetary policy… Read More

These bugs are eating into Pakistan’s already fragile economy

The Print (Dec 11, 2019)

Karachi: Pakistan’s efforts to turn around its economy after winning bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund face a new threat — from crop-eating pests. Swarms of locusts are fanning out through the South Asian nation, gorging on wheat, cotton, mustard and other crops. That, together with unseasonal rain and a scourge of low quality seeds, has hit major crops in the country’s largest… Read More

ADB, Pakistan sign $1.3 billion loan agreement

The Daily Times (Dec 10, 2019)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Pakistan on Monday struck a loan agreement of $1.3 billion for budgetary support and reforms of the country. This will help stabilise the foreign exchange reserves of the country, and strengthen Pakistan’s slowing economy.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar was present on the occasion, while Economic Affairs Division Secretary… Read More

Russia keen to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan’s economy

Daily Business Recorder (Dec 10, 2019)

A new chapter of economic relations between Pakistan and Russia are on the brink of a new beginning, with a 64-member Russian high-level delegation present in the country keen to invest up to $10 billion in Pakistan. As per local media reports, the Russian companies are looking to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector. The companies seek a $2.5 billion gas pipeline project from Karachi to Lahore … Read More

Pakistan, Qatar to sign trade pacts soon

The Express Tribune (Dec 09, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Qatar have agreed in principle on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) and a free trade agreement (FTA) to enhance bilateral trade. The agreements will soon be signed after necessary formalities. Pakistan has also offered to establish a plant in Qatar to manufacture footballs for the FIFA World Cup 2022 as well as subsequent football tournaments… Read More

Russia pledges to invest heavily in Pakistan’s defence, industrial projects

Daily Pakistan Today (Dec 09, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Russia has signed a new trade deal with Pakistan, pledging to invest heavily in the country’s industrial sector. According to government officials, Russia would provide financial assistance worth $1 billion for the rehabilitation of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). Moreover, Moscow would also invest a hefty amount to enhance the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries. “Russia’s … Read More

Iran unveils budget of ‘resistance’ against US sanctions

Daily Pakistan Today (Dec 08, 2019)

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday presented to parliament what he called a “budget of resistance” against crippling sanctions imposed by arch-enemy the United States.
“Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions,” Rouhani told parliament in remarks broadcast on state radio. “This budget …
Read More

Cashless economy for Pakistan: challenges and way forward

The Daily Times by Syed Shujaat Ahmad (Dec 08, 2019)

Cashless economic system describes an economic state where financial transactions are not conducted with money in the form of physical banknotes or coins, but rather through the transfer of digital information between the parties. Societies of such form have existed from the time when human society came into existence, based on barter and other methods of exchange and such forms have also become… Read More

Russia to develop stakes in Pakistan economy in big way

The Gulf Times (Dec 07, 2019)

Internews/ Islamabad: Russia has decided to develop its stakes in Pakistan’s economy in a big way and to this effect a 64-member delegation headed by Minister for Trade and Industries for the Russian Federation Denis V Manturov is visiting Pakistan for four days from today to December 11 to attend an Inter-Governmental Commission. Russia contributed a lot towards… Read More

ADB okays $1.3bn loans for Pakistan

The Dawn (Dec 07, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved $1.3 billion in loans for Pakistan for emergency budgetary support, chiefly through a relatively expensive crisis response facility. The Manila-based lending agency announced that its board of directors had app¬roved two loan progra¬m¬mes to help Pakistan build foreign exchange…Read More

China’s defence budget increases 850 per cent over 20 years: Top Pentagon official

The New Indian Express (Dec 06, 2019)

WASHINGTON: China’s defence budget has grown 850 per cent in the last 20 years from USD 20 billion to USD 170 billion in 2018, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers on Thursday. China possesses one of the largest militaries in the world. It continues to add to its capabilities and is increasingly provocative, such as its activities in the South China Sea … Read More

ADB approves loan worth $1.3 bn for Pakistan’s budget support, energy sector reforms

The Daily Times (Dec 06, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved on Friday $1 billion in immediate budget support to Pakistan to shore up the country’s public finances and help strengthen a slowing economy besides approving $300 million to support energy sector reforms. The quick dispersing Special Policy-Based Loan is part of a comprehensive multi-donor economic reform program led by the… Read More

Inflation surges to nine-year high

The Dawn (Dec 05, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Inflation rose to 12.7 per cent year-on-year, the highest level in nine years mainly driven by an increase in prices of food items, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Wednesday. Inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), edged up by 1.3pc over the previous month after the PBS revised its calculation methodology by setting the new base year 2015-16… Read More

Borrowing soars to $10.4b in PTI’s first year in power

The Express Tribune (Dec 05, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government took $10.4 billion worth of foreign loans in its first year in power and 46% of these were short-term expensive commercial lending, secured at up to 5.5% interest rate. The most expensive commercial loans were obtained from Chinese banks that were contracted at six-month Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor) plus 2.5%, according … Read More

IMF dismisses proposal of tax relief for builders

The Express Tribune (Dec 04, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has shot down Pakistan’s proposal to introduce a special income tax regime for builders and developers and urged the authorities to bring equity in the distorted tax system. The government shared a draft of the presidential ordinance with the IMF in the recently held talks aimed at treating the… Read More

Rs3.225b for non-salary budget for schools released

The News (Dec 04, 2019)

LAHORE:Finance Department Punjab has released non-salary budget (NSB) amounting to Rs 3.225 billion for public schools across the province. These funds have been transferred into Special Drawing Accounts (SDAs) jointly operated by Chief Executive Officers of District Education Authorities (DEAs) and District Education Officer (DEOs) of the districts. School Education Department has directed the CEOs… Read More

Pakistan makes $1 billion foreign debt repayment

The Express Tribune (Dec 03, 2019)

KARACHI: Pakistan has successfully made a foreign debt repayment of over $1 billion, shaking up the country’s foreign currency reserves on the day Moody’s rating agency upgraded Islamabad’s credit rating outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’. “We paid over $1 billion including interest payment at the maturity of a Sukuk today (Monday),” State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) official confirmed … Read More

Moody’s upgrades Pakistan’s economic outlook

The Dawn (Dec 03, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: New York-based credit rating agency Moody’s on Monday raised Pakistan’s economic outlook from negative to stable on the back of the country’s reforms supported by an IMF programme, but kept its credit rating unchanged at B3. “The change in outlook to stable is driven by Moody’s expectations that the balance of payments dynamics will continue to … Read More

PM satisfied with economic progress

The Pakistan Today (Dec 02, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed satisfaction over Pakistan’s current economic situation, saying that progress on development projects would accelerate the growth process. Presiding over an important meeting of the economic team, PM Imran said that economic stability and creation of jobs for youth were among the priorities of the government …Read More

Moody’s upgrades Pakistan’s outlook to ‘stable’, affirms B3 rating

The Pakistan Today (Dec 02, 2019)

As a sign of improving economy, Moody’s Investors Services have upgraded the country’s outlook from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’, reaffirming the country’s rating of B3, the agency announced on Monday. Moody’s had downgraded Pakistan’s ratings outlook to negative last year in June, citing heightened external vulnerability risk due to depleting… Read More

Positive signals rising from Pakistan’s economy

The Express Tribune (Dec 01, 2019)

Dramatically rising from the ashes of its predecessor, a phoenix, in ancient Greek mythology, is a bird reborn after a catastrophe with more strength and power. After posting 49 months of back-to-back current account deficits, Pakistan’s economy suddenly posted a surplus. The stock market rose by over 8,000 points in the last few weeks. One billion dollars of hot money … Read More

Govt controls soaring budget deficit despite facing shortfall in tax collection

The Nation (Dec 01, 2019)

ISLAMABAD: The government has successfully controlled the soaring budget deficit during first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year despite facing shortfall in tax collection. Pakistan’s budget deficit was recorded at Rs286 billion during July to September period of the year 2019-20. In terms of GDP, the country’s budget deficit was recorded at 0.7 percent … Read More

Economy of BRI’s countries including Pakistan gets boost with enhanced Chinese investment: Su Wei

The Daily Times (Nov 30, 2019)

China’s outbound investment has boosted the economic development of countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) and brought tangible benefits for local peoples, said Su Wei, Deputy Secretary General of China’s National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC). Su made the remark at the opening ceremony of 11th China Overseas … Read More

Once the world’s fastest growing economy, India faces a slowdown

The Al-Jazeera (Nov 30, 2019)

New Delhi, India – The Indian economy expanded at its weakest pace in more than six years, according to official data released on Friday, adding pressure on a government that is already dealing with a sputtering economy. The economy grew at 4.5 percent for the three months ending September, down from 5 percent in the previous quarter and… Read More

Sri Lanka’s central bank holds rates watching tax cuts, budget deficit

The Economy Next (Nov 30, 2019)

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is holding policy rates at current levels, amid a widening the budget deficit so far this year and recent tax cuts announced to stimulate economic activity, which need clarity, the central bank said.
“…[R]ecent tax revisions would support lower inflation and higher economic growth in the short term, but was of the view that greater clarity with regard to the medium term fiscal … Read More

Effects of Azadi March on Pakistan Economy

The Nation (Nov 29, 2019)

Antigovernment Azadi March set out on Sunday afternoon from Karachi towards Islamabad. Thousands of people including seminary students, are participating in the march. Thousands of protesters in Pakistan are marching to the capital of Islamabad, calling on prime minister Imran Khan to resign over the weak economy and corruption claims. While … Read More