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Hurriah Sunday, November 16, 2008 05:04 AM

[CENTER][B][SIZE="4"]Businessmen urged to set up new industrial units [/SIZE][/B][/CENTER]

(November 16 2008)[/B]

The anti-industry regulatory framework has kept the potential investors away who could have established new industry in the country but they opted investment in real estate, capital market or other sort of businesses for short-term gains.

"Unfortunately our economic managers have not right approach to accelerate industrialisation without which Pakistan can not survive in the longer run", said Engineering Consultant and Founding Chairman of the Pak-China Economic Relations Standing Committee of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Siddiq ur Rehman Rana.

Rana, who was the key player in preparing 5-year Pak-China Economic Co-operation Plan to enhance balance trade between the two countries to $15 billion, said, "I am contesting the LCCI election from corporate class with the objective to execute plan through public-private partnership without further delay.

To a question, he said that under Free Trade Agreement, Pakistan has real potential and can export about 1700 non-traditional items. Fortunately, about 350 commercial value herbs including 56 high value herbs can be exported to China, which is currently importing these herbs from other countries, he added.

Talking to Business Recorder, he said our businessmen need to change their investment priority because the real estate or capital market are no more viable and profitable in the long-run rather they should set up new industrial units to make the country economically strong.

"It is right time to take rational and prudent decisions to ensure conducive industrialisation environment because growth of industry and Greenfield investment is the solution to present economic crises" he maintained.

Interestingly, no province, except NWFP, has department of Science and Technology that reflects the government priority, he said. He suggested that the government should immediately set up Real Economy Development Boards at district level, which could provide guidance and help setting up of new industrial units in different sectors.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

Restoration of investor confidence vital to economy [/SIZE][/B][/CENTER]

(November 16 2008)[/B]

Speakers at an investment forum said that the nation would come out of depression and successfully put the economy at right track. However, they said, restoration of investors and general public confidence is necessary for economic revival. The one day investment forum on "Investing in Change: Pakistan and World" was organised by BMA Funds at a local hotel here on Saturday.

Speaking on this occasion, former Governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Director of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Dr Ishrat Hussain said that Pakistan should go to IMF without wasting time. He said that Pakistan had a growth rate of 1.8 per cent in 2000, when it entered into IMF programme. After entering into IMF program the country achieved an average GDP growth of seven per cent.

The IMF programme helped country back on track and Pakistan established access to international markets. Pakistan also launched European Bond and Islamic Sukuk. According to him the poverty reduced to 25 per cent from 33 per cent and the unemployment rate slashed to 6.2 per cent from 8.5 in the same period after entering into the IMF programme.

He said that increase in discount rate is one of the measure to control inflation. He was of the view that government should not borrow from the central bank. S. Ali Raza, President, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), said that the banking system in the country is standing on strong footing.

Tariq Iqbal Khan, Chairman NIT, said that the investment are always made on expectations of good returns. Waqar A. Malik, President, OICCI; Farrukh H. Khan, CEO, BMA Capital; Muddassar Malik, CEO, BMA Fund; Tawfiq A. Hussain, President, Samba Bank and others also spoke on this occasion.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

Hurriah Saturday, November 22, 2008 11:38 PM

[B][CENTER][SIZE="3"]China gives $500 million to Pakistan: envoy [/SIZE][/CENTER][/B]

(November 22 2008)[/B]

China has handed over $500 million to Pakistan, a private TV channel reported on Friday. Talking to a private TV channel, Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan said $500 million have been handed over to Pakistan to stabilise its foreign exchange reserves.

He said Pakistan and China enjoys deep and friendly relations and China would take more steps in future to maintain the same relations. He said China has provided $1.5 billion to Pakistan since 1998.

[B][CENTER]Copyright News Network International, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]Foreign investors withdraw $4.434 million [/SIZE][/CENTER][/B]

(November 22 2008)[/B]

The outflow of portfolio investment from the country's equity market continued as the foreign investors withdrew another $4.434 million during the outgoing week ended November 21. "The offshore investors remained cautious over the deteriorating economic condition and uncertainty over removal of price floor mechanism and opted to offload their holdings", analysts said.

Due to unavailability of buyers at current levels, off-market trading also continued with an average discount of around 25 per cent during the week. According to the National Clearing Company of Pakistan data, the cumulative outflow of portfolio investment has increased to $8.761 million in the current month from November 01 to November 21.

The cumulative figure of this mod of investment was recorded at negative $354.220 million in the period from January 01, 2008 to November 21, 2008. The week started on a negative note and an outflow of $272,471 was witnessed on the first day of the week. This trend continued as the foreign investors withdrew another $2,018,232 on Tuesday. An inflow of only $60 was witnessed on Wednesday. The foreign investors once again opted to offload their holdings and an outflow of $1,565,989 was witnessed on Thursday and $550,606 on Friday.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

[CENTER][B][SIZE="4"]Inflation surges by 29.02 percent [/SIZE][/B][/CENTER]
(November 22 2008)[/B]

The Inflation measured through SPI has surged by 29.02 per cent on week ending November 20 over the same period of last years on the back of rising prices of 17 essential commodities, according to Federal Bureau of Statistics. The data released on Friday showed that combined SPI has surged from 27.91 per cent from last week to 29.02 per cent on November 21, showing 0.92 per cent increased during the week.

With this increase in the SPI, the dearness for the low income group of Rs 3000 monthly income was recorded 29.33 per cent, followed by 29.74 per cent for families of Rs 3001-5000 monthly income. The dearness was 30.06 per cent for monthly income of Rs 5001-12000 and 28.56 per cent for above Rs 12000 income group.

The data on SPI released by the FBS showed an increase in the prices of 17essential commodities, decline in 18 whereas prices of 18 commodities remained stable during the period under review. The price of kilogram tomatoes have increased during the week to Rs 35.71 from Rs 31.57, onions per kilogram to Rs 25.02 from Rs 22.34, chicken (Farm) Kg. to Rs 98.22 from Rs 92.33.

Electric charges 1-100 unit to Rs 3.22 from Rs 3.07, telephone local call to Rs 2.42 from Rs 2.31, egg hen (Farm) doz. to Rs 65.83 from Rs 64.22, tea packet 250 gram. to Rs 106.47 from Rs 104.71, Electric bulb 60wats each to Rs 13.91 from Rs 13.74, bread plain mid size each to Rs 23.97 from Rs 23.68, potatoes kg to Rs 27.53 from Rs 27.22, firewood 40 kg to Rs 265.06 from Rs 263.98, mash pulse washed kg to Rs 74.82 from Rs 74.59, bananas doz. to Rs 31.86 from Rs 31.78.

Shirting meter to Rs 79.06 from Rs 78.91, mutton kg to Rs 256.51 from Rs 256.20, beef kg to Rs 142.20 from Rs 142.13, Masoor Pulse Washed kg to Rs 129.28 from Rs 129.26. According to the FBS, the prices of 18 essential commodities remained stable during the week. However, a comparison with the same period of last years showed that majority of them increased in double digit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

Hurriah Wednesday, December 31, 2008 05:34 AM

[CENTER][B][SIZE="4"]Inter-corporate debt rises to over Rs 300 billion [/SIZE][/CENTER]


ISLAMABAD (December 31 2008)

The inter-corporate circular debt has risen to over Rs 300 billion in November against Rs 175 billion in June, State Bank quarterly report based on data available till end December 2008 revealed. This, argue experts in the Ministry of Finance on condition of anonymity, will severely compromise the government's ability to formulate a plan that envisages elimination of the debt by the end of 2009.

The Letter of Intent submitted to the International Monetary Fund, agrees to formulate a plan with a timeframe by March 2009 to eliminate inter-corporate circular debt. Inter-corporate debt has risen by over 71 percent in spite of the decline in the international price of oil. The circular debt is a three-edged phenomenon that has led to severe energy shortages even during the winter months when demand is considerably lower.

The SBP said that the issue of inter-corporate debt, which emerged in financial year 2008, became large and more complex during the initial months of the current fiscal because the information collected from selected corporate entities showed that it sharply increased during the first five months of current fiscal and rose to over Rs 300 billion.

The issue of inter-corporate debt, according to the SBP rose mainly as the government was providing subsidy on fuel prices to domestic consumers and power utilities faced losses. The oil prices have come down sharply during the last few months while subsidy on electricity is restricted to the life line consumers. The resolution of inter-corporate debt is critical otherwise the energy crisis will remain.

The delays in the settlement of oil price differential claims by the government and the utilities forced a few OMCs to borrow from banking system against the government guarantee in 2008. During the initial months of FY09, circular debt situation worsened despite the fact the government has phased out subsidy on fuel prices.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

[B][SIZE="4"]Non payment of trade license fee: shopkeepers, traders being issued arrest warrants [/SIZE][/CENTER]

KARACHI (December 31 2008)

Shopkeepers and traders of 17 towns of the city continue to receive summons and arrest warrants from judicial magistrates for not paying the trade license fee for the last three years. According to a Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) report, the City District Government of Karachi (CDGK) had introduced trade license fee three year back.

Depending on the category of business the government had fixed the amount a minimum Rs 100 to Rs 2000 as maximum as license fee. The government justified the fee would be impose on those businesses which fell in the category of dangerous trade like cloth, paper, wool, chemicals, plastic, furniture, electronic items, rubber, toys, shows, leather, paints tents etc, as these items may lead to fire or fatal accidents. Prior to introducing the fee the CDGK issued advertisement in newspapers seeking suggestions from the trade bodies about the move, but the traders gave a very poor response while other trade associations totally rejected the fee.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

[SIZE="4"]LTIA industrialists to close down their units [/SIZE][/CENTER]

LAHORE (December 31 2008)

The industrialists of Lahore Township Industrial Area (LTIA) have decided to close down their industrial units to protest against the anti-industry behaviour of Lesco authorities. The decision to this effect was taken at an emergent meeting of Lahore Township Industrial Association held under the chairmanship of LTIA chairman Baber Mehmood Chaudhry.

Among others, LTIA vice-chairmen Chaudhry Zaheer Bhutta and Wasimuddin Chughtai also attended the meeting. Addressing the meeting, Baber said that despite an agreement with the Lesco authorities that they would ensure continuous supply of electricity to the industrial units during day timings, long duration unscheduled power outages have become order of the day in the industrial estate.

He said that there are a number of industrial processes that require continuous supply of power but it seems that the Lesco authorities are least concerned to realise the gravity of situation. He appealed to the Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to look into the matter and direct Lesco authorities for continuous supply of electricity to he industrial area.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2008[/CENTER][/B]

arsa Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:15 PM

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="5"][COLOR="Black"]The Economy Is in a Depression[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="3"][COLOR="Black"]Prof. Peter Morici
The Labor Department reported on Jan. 9 that the economy lost 524,000 payroll jobs in December, and average employment was 1.3 million lower in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter. I believe the economy is already in the jaws of a depression.

Companies have shed 2.6 million jobs since December 2007 as the full weight of the banking crisis, trade deficit with China and burdens imposed by high-priced imported oil are bearing down on manufacturing, construction and the broader economy with unrelenting pressure.

Unemployment increased to 7.2% in December. However, factoring in discouraged workers, unemployment is closer to 9.4%. Add workers in part time positions that cannot find full time employment and the hidden unemployment rate is 14.5%.

Recession or Depression?

The economy contracted at about a 5% annual rate in the fourth quarter. This looks worse than a recession to me.

Recessions are like stock market corrections -- after a time, equity prices rebound without government intervention. Federal Reserve interest rate cuts and stimulus tax rebates and spending have shortened the lives and eased the impact of post-World War II recessions, but those policies did not end them. The economy self-corrected.

A depression is not self-correcting. Roosevelt administration stimulus packages -- huge deficit spending -- eased the pain but failed to end the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s policies did not put the U.S. economy on a sustainable growth path because New Deal policies worsened structural problems that pulled the economy down in the first place. For example, the New Deal proliferated monopoly pricing, extended the life of undersized farms, raised structural savings rates, and created a system of home lending too dependent on federally sponsored banks.

The challenges facing President-elect Barack Obama could not be clearer. The current economic slowdown has two structural causes -- bad management practices at the large money center banks and the huge foreign trade deficit. These problems are not self-correcting.

The economy will not recover without fundamental changes in banking and trade policy. A large stimulus package, though necessary, will only give the economy a temporary lift. Then unemployment will rise again and continue at unacceptable levels indefinitely without successively larger stimulus packages and huge federal budget deficits. The economy is in a depression, not a recession

Obama must ensure that the banks use the trillions of dollars in federal bailout assistance to renegotiate mortgages and make new loans to worthy homebuyers and businesses. Obama must make certain that banks do not continue to squander federal largess by padding executive bonuses, acquiring other banks and pursuing new high-return, high-risk lines of businesses in merger activity, carbon trading and complex derivatives.

Industry leaders like Citigroup have announced plans to move in those directions. Many of these bankers enjoyed influence in and contributed generously to the Obama campaign. Now it remains to be seen if a President Obama can stand up to these same bankers and persuade or compel them to act responsibly.

In addition, Obama must address the huge cost of imported oil and the trade deficit with China. Otherwise any effort to resurrect the economy is doomed to create massive foreign borrowing, another round of excessive consumer borrowing, and a second banking crisis that the Treasury and Federal Reserve will not be able to reverse.

Ultimately, reducing the oil import bill will require higher mileage standards for automobiles and assistance to automakers to accelerate the build-out of alternative, high-mileage vehicles. Fixing trade with China will require a tax on dollar-yuan transactions if China continues to refuse to stop subsidizing dollar purchases of yuan to prop up its exports and shift Chinese unemployment to the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Near term, a stimulus package focused on infrastructure is critical for resuscitating growth. The recent round of tax rebate checks ended up in savings accounts or spent at the Wal-Mart on Chinese goods, and did little to create jobs or accelerate growth. Whereas projects to repair roads, rehabilitate schools and refurbish public buildings would create high-paying jobs at home and provide a legacy in capital improvements that assist growth now and in the future.

But without fixing the banks, energy and trade with China, the lift provided by the stimulus package will be temporary and unemployment will rise again. The economy would then require progressively larger stimulus packages -- and foreign borrowing to finance them -- to keep Americans employed. Eventually, the foreign line of credit would run out, and widespread unemployment, depression and economic decline would follow.

Politically correct promises to create millions of new jobs producing alternative fuels makes effective presidential campaign slogans, but realistic policies for governing require aggressive development of more conventional oil and gas, as well as non-conventional energy sources, and efforts to improve the energy efficiency of personal transportation. If the Democrats are not willing to drill for more oil off shore and take on the automobile industry’s resistance to significantly higher mileage vehicles, the U.S. economy will be even more indentured to Persian Gulf oil exporters at the end of President-elect Obama’s first term than it is today.

Finally, the dollar is too strong against the Chinese yuan, Japanese yen and other Asian currencies. The Chinese government intervenes in foreign exchange markets to suppress the value of the yuan to gain competitive advantages for Chinese exports, and the yuan sets the pattern for other Asian currencies. Similarly, Beijing subsidizes fuel prices and increasingly requires U.S. manufacturers to make products in China to sell there.

Ending Chinese currency market manipulation and other mercantilist practices are critical to reducing the non-oil U.S. trade deficit, and instigating a recovery in U.S. employment in manufacturing and technology-intensive services that compete in trade. Yet neither President Bush nor congressional leaders like House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer have been willing to seriously challenge China on this issue, and Sens. John McCain and Obama appeared comfortable with continuing their approaches during the campaign.

Now Obama must alter his position and get behind a policy to reverse the trade imbalance with China, or preside over the wholesale destruction of many more U.S. manufacturing jobs.

In the end, without assertive steps to fix trade with China, as well as fix the banks and curtail oil imports, the Bush years will seem like a walk through the park compared to the real income losses Americans will suffer during the Obama years.

The choices for the incoming president are simple. It’s either recovery or depression. Fix the banks, energy policy and the trade situation with China or become America’s Nero[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

arsa Monday, January 12, 2009 10:53 PM

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="3"][COLOR="Black"]
[SIZE="4"]Bush Auto Plan Will Test Obama's Union Loyalties [/SIZE]
Prof. Peter Morici

President Bush has agreed to lend GM and Chrysler $17.4 billion on the condition these firms complete a plan to accomplish financial viability.

The agreements set goals for automakers: converting two-thirds of their debt into equity; paying company stock to fund one half of the Voluntary Employee Benefits Associations, which fund retiree health care benefits and remove these costs from future liabilities; aligning wages, benefits and work rules with U.S. Nissan, Toyota or Honda operations.

These goals are generally consistent with the conditions I outlined as necessary for the Detroit Three to achieve viability when I testified before the Senate Banking Committee on November 18. For example, laid off workers could no longer sit in the Jobs Banks collecting 90 percent of pay and benefits indefinitely and engaging in productive activities like pinochle.

Financial viability requires projecting a positive net present value, taking into account all current and future costs. It does not require a positive cash flow by March 31. In fact, wage and benefit cuts only need be accomplished by December 31, 2009.

Given the depressed auto market, a positive cash flow cannot be accomplished soon, and GM and Chrysler will be asking for more federal loans when they table their plans by March 31. If the auto market stays depressed into 2010, Ford will likely seek assistance. Given the likely duration of the recession, loans of well over $100 billion will be needed. Much of those could prove gifts, with the loans never truly repaid.

Unless the automakers significantly reduce their debt, jettison retiree legacy liabilities, and align wages, benefits, work rules with those of Japanese transplants, they simply cannot hope to be consistently profitable.

Yet, the agreement permits the automakers to vary from those conditions if they can still demonstrate a net positive present value. Enter the accounting magicians

UAW contracts are exceedingly complex. GM and UAW leaders have mastered obfuscating the consequences of their pay structure and work rules. Calculations of net present value will importantly hinge on forecasts of future car sales and wages paid by Toyota, Nissan and Honda. A few quick pen strokes and a lousy business plan can be made a winner, with costs to taxpayers in unpaid loans only becoming apparent years later.

Barack Obama owes organized labor a huge debt for his November victory. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger can be expected to try to sell Obama labor agreements that appear to create more concessions than are real and leave the Detroit Three in the red going forward.

Fooling Obama would create loans the Detroit Three never can really repay. The government could force payment at the expense of the next creditors in line—the large U.S. banks—but the federal government is already subsidizing their losses.

One way or the other ordinary citizens who don’t earn nearly the pay and benefits autoworkers receive would be paying taxes to subsidize their rather generous lifestyles, much as taxpayers are financing the bloated bonuses at large New York banks requiring federal dole to stay afloat.

President Bush has punted the auto mess to his successor, and one of three outcomes is possible.

President Obama can require the automakers and UAW to come up with a contract ordinary mortals can understand, eliminate all the foolish job classifications and work rules, and establish pay rates that make the Detroit Three competitive.

Obama can push the automakers into a prepackaged Chapter 11, perhaps by providing some financing to ensure suppliers are paid and companies can continue to operate, and let a bankruptcy judge impose the essential conditions of the Bush agreement.

He can let the Detroit Three continue their profligate behavior, providing subsidies masquerading as loans.

Obama faces the same kind of tough choice Bush did when he lavished generous subsidies on agriculture at the beginning of his presidency. If Obama caves to union pressures and chooses to subsidize the automakers, other unionized industries will line up. Market discipline will not apply to the eight percent of private workforce represented by unions, and damn the majority that really elected him.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

arsa Saturday, January 17, 2009 06:09 PM

U.S. Economy Records Huge Trade Deficit
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="3"][COLOR="Black"]Prof. Peter Morici
Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported the November trade deficit was $40.4 billion. This was down from $56.7 billion in October, largely because oil prices fell and the recession is curbing demand for imported consumer goods and petroleum.

To the extent stimulus packages expected to be enacted in the United States, Europe and China lift the global economy, the reduction in the trade deficit will reverse. Oil prices will rise again, and with China increasing subsidies on exports, U.S. imports of consumer goods will soar. The trade deficit will emerge as a major drag on the demand for U.S. made goods and services, and pull the U.S. economy back into recession as the effects of stimulus spending wear off.

At 3.4 percent of GDP, the huge trade deficit indicates Americans continue to consume much more than they produce and borrow too much from the rest of the world, especially China and the Middle East oil exporters.

The huge trade deficit is nearly entirely by trade with China, imports and automobiles and parts. These are caused by a combination of an overvalued dollar against the Chinese yuan and Chinese protectionism, a dysfunctional national energy policy that increases U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and the competitive woes of the three domestic automakers. Together, the trade deficit with China and on petroleum and automotive products account for virtually the entire deficit on trade in goods and services.

To finance the trade deficit, Americans are borrowing and selling assets at a pace of about $400 billion a year. U.S. foreign debt exceeds $6.5 trillion, and the debt service comes to nearly $2,000 a year for every working American.

The trade deficit will make the recession longer and deeper, and lessen the positive benefits of President-elect Obama’s proposed stimulus package. If Obama does not fix the banks and significantly reduce the trade deficit, stimulus spending will not permanently pull the economy out of recession, and the economy will slip into a prolonged malaise or depression.

Simply, money spent on Middle East oil, Chinese televisions and coffee markers, Japanese and Korean cars can’t be spent on U.S. made goods and services, unless offset by a comparable amount of exports. Since U.S. imports exceed exports by 3.4 percent of GDP, the trade deficit creates an enormous drag on demand for U.S.-made goods and services. Along with the credit crisis and resulting slowdown in new housing and commercial construction, the banking crisis and trade deficit could push unemployment above 10 percent for a long time.

The trade deficit imposes a significant tax on GDP growth by moving workers from export and import-competing industries to other sectors of the economy. This reduces labor productivity, research and development (R&D) spending, and important investments in human capital. In 2009 the trade deficit is slicing $400 billion to $600 billion off GDP, and longer term, it reduces potential annual GDP growth to 3 percent from 4 percent.

Cutting the trade deficit in half would pull the country out of recession and get the economy on a stable growth path. A fiscal stimulus package, increasing the federal budget deficit by two or three percent of GDP, will make things much better for a period of time; however, successive stimulus spending and permanently larger federal budget deficits will be needed to sustain the GDP and employment gains. Whereas, cutting the trade deficit in half would yield lasting benefits for U.S. GDP and employment growth, far transcending any fiscal stimulus in its permanent effects. Cutting the trade deficit would substantially increase tax revenues and reduce the federal budget deficit.

Each dollar spent on imports that is not matched by a dollar of exports reduces domestic demand and employment, and shifts workers into activities where productivity is lower. Productivity is at least 50 percent higher in industries that export and compete with imports, and reducing the trade deficit and moving workers into these industries would increase GDP.

Were the trade deficit cut in half, the movement of workers and capital into more productive export and import-competing industries would increase by at least $400 billion or about $2500 for every working American. Workers’ wages would not be lagging inflation, and ordinary working Americans would more easily find jobs paying higher wages and offering decent benefits.

Manufacturers are particularly hard hit by this subsidized competition. Through recession and recovery, the manufacturing sector has lost more than 4 million jobs since 2000. Following the pattern of past economic recoveries, the manufacturing sector should have regained at least 2 million of those jobs, especially given the very strong productivity growth accomplished in durable goods and throughout manufacturing.

Longer-term, persistent U.S. trade deficits are a substantial drag on productivity growth. U.S. import-competing and export industries spend three-times the national average on industrial R&D, and encourage more investments in skills and education than other sectors of the economy. By shifting employment away from trade-competing industries, the trade deficit reduces U.S. investments in new methods and products, and skilled labor.

Cutting the trade deficit in half would boost U.S. GDP growth by one percentage point a year, and the trade deficits of the last two decades have reduced U.S. growth by one percentage point a year.

Lost growth is cumulative. Thanks to the record trade deficits accumulated over the last 10 years, the U.S. economy is about $1.5 trillion smaller. This comes to about $10000 per worker.

Had the Administration and the Congress acted responsibly to reduce the deficit, American workers would be much better off, tax revenues would be much larger, and the federal deficit could be eliminated without cutting spending.

The damage grows larger each month, as the Administration and Congress dally and ignore the corrosive consequences of the trade deficit. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

Hurriah Tuesday, January 20, 2009 02:43 PM

[B][SIZE="4"][CENTER]Netherlands to reinforce trade ties with Pakistan[/CENTER][/SIZE]

SIALKOT (January 20 2009)[/B]

Strenuous efforts would be made for reinforcement of bilateral trade between Netherlands and Pakistan as both are enjoying very friendly and cordial relations since long and with the passage of time these ties would be further cemented.'

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Pakistan, T Jeerd De Zwaan said. Addressing the members of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Monday, he said that Netherlands under the Co-operation Plan 2008-2011, would invest in the fields of education, water, sanitation and environment in Pakistan. The Netherlands was the third largest investor after the United Kingdom and United States of America in Pakistan, he revealed.

The Netherlands Ambassador further stated that buyers had become more conscious about the quality control and issues pertaining to labour and it is high time that business community of Pakistan should concentrate on these issues and ensure hurdle free exports to their foreign buyers.

The President SCCI, Hassan Ali Bhatti in his welcome address urged the need of further strengthening the bilateral trade ties between the two friendly countries. He also invited Dutch business tycoons to invest in the second biggest Export Processing Zone of Pakistan adding that the zone provides extraordinary facilities and benefits to both foreign and local investors.

Bhatti pointed out that there was unlimited scope of expanding trade ties between Pakistan and Netherlands and suggested active involvement of Netherlands Chambers, which could serve as resource for exchanging information about trade. He also viewed that exchange of trade delegations and holding of joint trade exhibitions would further help in promoting bilateral trade.

The SCCI Chief proposed that Centre for the Promotion of Import (CBI) should hold training course on export marketing at SCCI for providing tailorised training for the exporters. 'The SCCI would provide all necessary help and support for holding the training course,' he added. Earlier, the Ambassador visited surgical and sports industrial units of Sialkot.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

[B][SIZE="4"][CENTER]Italian envoy praises potential of local business community [/CENTER][/SIZE]
ISLAMABAD (January 20 2009)[/B]

Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Vincenzo Pratis expressed his confidence on the potential of Pakistani entrepreneurs to bail out the country from current economic crisis, saying business community of Pakistan has the capacity to earn more space in international market and bring the country out of crisis.

The trade volume of Pakistan and Italy reached at $700 million per annum and there are possibilities to take it to new heights with mutual co-operation, the Italian envoy said while talking to President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Syed Asad Mashhadi and other senior executives of the chamber on Monday.

The envoy visited RCCI and exchanged views with business leaders of the region for increasing the bilateral trade between the two countries. He said that Italian investors take keen interest in investing in different sectors in Pakistan and they found the atmosphere cordial for their investment. There are many sectors of economy in Pakistan where foreign investors want to invest, he said. "There are more than 90,000 Pakistani expatriates working in Italy, who are playing a good role in economic development of Italy, besides sending a huge amount of foreign exchange to Pakistan as remittances", he said.

Italian envoy said that after construction of Gwadar Port, Rawalpindi region has emerged as gateway to Central Asia, Afghanistan and China and the business community of Rawalpindi has a great role in economic stability of Pakistan. "Italy is producing best machinery to be used in different sectors and Pakistan manufacturers must get benefits by using this machinery", he added.

Earlier, in his welcome address Syed Asad Mashhadi said that besides Germany, France, Netherlands and China, Italy is one of the biggest business partners of Pakistan. "We have a huge potential to increase the trade volume between Italy and Pakistan and it is the responsibility of private sector of two sides to explore these vistas", he added.

He said that the exports of Italy to Pakistan during last fiscal year were 3.76 per cent of total exports while the import was 1.78 per cent of the total. Italian investors will find infrastructure, agriculture, transport, leather, textile and marble attractive sectors to invest and they will get good profit in these sectors here, he added.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

[SIZE="4"][CENTER] Rs 20 billion uplift projects for Islamabad planned: Babar[/CENTER][/SIZE]

ISLAMABAD (January 20 2009)[/B]

Federal Government has planned mega development projects costing Rs 20 billion for infrastructure development in capital and its rural areas, said Baber Awan, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, here on Monday. The objectives of the projects are to facilitate people of Islamabad and adjacent rural areas by providing them high standard health, education, water, sanitation and other recreational facilities, he added.

He was addressing a public rally after inaugurating a bridge at Golra Sharif, a sub-urban area of the federal capital. He said that the government is ready to execute these mega projects this year and people will get benefits of these soon. He said that mega projects including hospitals and schools would start this year to facilitate the people of Islamabad and of the adjacent urban areas. He said that Golrra Sharif is an historic place and to maintain its glory, more developmental projects for health and education would be started very soon.

He said that there is full harmony and unanimity of views between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani on all matters. "People talking about any differences between these two top leaders are living in fools' paradise", he added. Regarding repealing 17th amendment, he said PPP is committed to uphold supremacy of constitution and rule of law and it will support the bills moved in Parliament to repeal the 17th Amendment.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009

Hurriah Thursday, February 12, 2009 01:19 PM

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]Economy suffers over $35 billion loss due to Afghan turmoil [/SIZE][/CENTER][/B]

[B]LAHORE (February 12 2009)[/B]

Business community on Wednesday urged Obama's special representative, Richard Holbrooke who is currently visiting Pakistan, to help provide direct access to Pak products in US markets as Pak economy has so far suffered irreparable huge loss of $35 billion direct and indirect due to turmoil in Afghanistan.

Founder chairman Pak-US Business Council and VP Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Iftikhar Ali Malik while talking to APP here, said that "we entire business community welcome Richard on exploratory visit to Pakistan". He said it is on record that Pakistan is the only country in the world which has not only suffered tremendous economic loss but also huge human loss in war against terror.

Iftikhar said that more than three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan were also posing security risk. He said that entire Pakistani nation including business community, all political parties under the dynamic leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and guidance of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, people from all strata of the society stand united against the menace of terror and fully committed to defeat it as Pakistan has always been an active US associate against the menace of terror.

He said due to war on terror, Pakistan's national economy is exclusively suffering a net loss of $6 billion annually as a fallout of the war against terror, which has displaced thousands of people and endangered security in the country.

In the prevailing scenario, United States must provide direct market access to Pak products on zero rate duty to help stabilise the country's bleak economy in the wake of the war against terror.

Iftikhar who is also co-chairman businessman panel, the largest alliance of chambers in the country and ruling group in FPCCI on behalf of entire business community again urged for US assistance to Pakistan to help overcome the economic crisis, by restoring the quota for Pakistan at par with all other under developed countries.

"The US should buy back products from industrial zones in Pakistan and help strengthen the existing industrial zones with the provision of modern infrastructure", he said, adding that proper and timely American assistance will help ensure durable peace and stamp out terrorism, besides strengthening the democratic government in Pakistan.

Observing that due to the unrest and turmoil in a neighbouring country, he said a major chunk of Pak food stock is smuggled to Afghanistan, which ultimately leads to acute foodgrain scarcity within Pakistan. The current economic crisis looming world-wide has especially impacted the poor countries, he added.

He said there is vast scope for US private sector investors in every sphere of life, particularly in the agro power and IT sectors, adding that the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) can play a pivotal role in promoting bilateral trade relations.

"Pakistan is an emerging market rich in opportunities for American investment, while the US is already an important trading partner" he said. Malik urged the need to restore relations to the pre-9/11 level, adding that good relations between the US and Pakistan, and the Muslim ummah will help restore confidence and attain world peace. "With South Asia becoming the hub of international economic activity, restoration of peace in the region is all the more necessary," he observed.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]Most of industries in Site stopped working due to low gas pressure [/SIZE][/CENTER]

KARACHI (February 12 2009)[/B]

Most industries in the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (Site), Karachi, largest industrial area in Pakistan, have come to a grinding halt due to low pressure of gas. Engr M.A.Jabbar, Chairman, Site Association of Industry (SAI) has expressed grave concern over this development which would result in production and exports losses running into millions of rupees.

He told Business Recorder: "It is regrettable that despite hectic calls, none of the officials are responding to explain the situation. The industry is at a standstill but I cannot be connected to the SSGC Managing Director as his secretariat's usual reply is that he is busy in a meeting."

In a letter sent to Umair Khan, Managing Director, Sui Southern Gas Co Ltd (SSGC) on February 11, his attention has been drawn to the prevailing situation of depression and fluctuation of gas pressure supply in whole Site industrial estate for the last few days. "Site is the biggest industrial area of Pakistan providing sizeable contribution to GDP and exports and as such it is the biggest purchaser of utilities, including gas, from your esteemed company," he said.

The SAI Chairman expressed surprise that the situation that affected industrial output has remained non-notified to the Association. "In the industrial area we are confronted with daily explanations sought by our members as to what is happening in SSGC, vis-à-vis low gas pressure supply. De-stability of your system should have been brought to your notice prior or immediately upon development of the adverse situation for member industries to adjust to its economics of working in the absence of proper gas supply," he said.

Textile processing units which are export oriented, committed to meeting export targets are suffering badly, he said, adding that some of SAI's valued members, consuming a considerable quantity of gas have complained of losses that can not be retrieved due to interruption of process.

There was need for developing better relationship and apprising "us as to what was going on with gas load management. How many more days it will take to restore the gas supply to normal contracted values and how do you defend the company as having not put the industry to notice prior to development of present situation."

Copy of the letter has also been sent to Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources, Islamabad, and Chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, (Ogra), Islamabad.

Jabbar said that the industry is cheated on recurring basis by SSGC through overcharged bills. In major industries the metering is based on no pressure correction recording and as such the low pressure registers over-billing. "We have repeatedly drawn SSGC's attention to refunding the amount charged to customers on account of low gas pressure supply. They keep silent on this issue because the 17 percent return on the assets give them all the luxury of enjoying the price and perks of theirs, which do not change or are reduced even if the industry is closed or is subject to heavy losses on account of low gas pressure supply," he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]PEW stresses need for plan to control inflation [/SIZE][/CENTER]


ISLAMABAD (February 12 2009)[/B]

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) has stressed the need of a systematic plan of action to bring inflation under control as it is threatening some most critical sectors of the economy, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President of PEW, here on Wednesday.

Talking to a delegation of industrialists, he said that the State Bank of Pakistan seems very concerned about inflation, as everything has become more "valuable", except rupee, and it seems that efforts to bring down inflation are increasing unemployment as industrial, manufacturing, exports and other sectors are making downsizing.

"The survival of manufacturers, exporters and millions of employees is at stake due to cost of credit," he said, adding that industrial units are closing down in large numbers, which is sending wrong signals.

He said that many industrial units are not viable anymore, but the owners are running them to remain in business, keep presence in international market or preserve family honour. "There must be some missing links in the monetary policy; everything cannot be compromised just because some policymakers feel strongly about progressive price increase", he added.

"Suppressing inflation is not the only obligation of the regulators", he said. "Who will frame policies to boost or at least maintain domestic production which is sliding at a fast pace threatening whole system?" Dr Mughal asked. He said: "We have developed the habit of obeying every demand of the international lenders, except for taxing the sacred cows," he said, adding that the tendency was an obstacle in achieving the tax-to-GDP ratio.

He stressed the need for concrete plans to revive the ailing economy, saying that one of the highest interest rates, widening trust deficit and uncertainty touching skies, "we should have a strategy to bail out the country". Inflation, he said, "is not the only threat to economy; we should also take sliding savings and revenue collections into account. Consumer finance conditions or banks needs to be made stringent to block unplanned expansion and avoid any crisis".

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

Hurriah Saturday, February 14, 2009 01:20 PM

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]Japan pledges $27 million aid to overcome economic woes [/SIZE][/CENTER]
ISLAMABAD (February 14 2009)[/B]

The government of Japan on Friday pledged grant of around 27 million dollars (Japanese yen 2.5 billion) to assist Pakistan through non-project grant aid (NPGA). Japanese Ambassador Chihiro Atsumi on behalf of the government of Japan and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Farrakh Qayyum on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan signed the official exchange of notes (EoN).

The grant aid aims at support and contribution to the promotion of the economic structural adjustment efforts by the government of Pakistan as well as mitigation of Pakistan's economic difficulties. The grant will be used for the purchase of products from the eligible source countries to be mutually agreed upon between the authorities of the two governments and services incidental to such products.

Pakistan and Japan will consult each other about the detail of the utilisation of the funds. The grant will be used to purchase commodities and machineries for contributing to economic and social activities such as oil, medicine, fertiliser and tractors, which are listed in the signed agreed minutes.

The Pakistan government will then deposit all the proceeds from sales and lease of purchased commodities and machineries in Pakistani currency called "Counter Value Fund". The money in the Counter Value Fund is expected to be utilised from economic and social development in the border region of Pakistan. The Counter Value Fund has already accumulated about Rs 2.8 billion in the accounts of National Bank of Pakistan.

NPGA is an important assistance that can be delivered quickly and is representing the long-term commitment of the Japanese government for the development of Pakistan as well as the stability of the region. Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Farrakh Qayyum said that Pakistan and Japan had long history of co-operation and Japan had supported Pakistan in different sectors, including social sector, education and health to improve the living standards of the people.

He said that the grant extended by Japan would help improve the social sector and overcome the energy crisis in Pakistan. He said that it would also improve the living situation of the people and reduce the poverty in the country. He thanked the Japanese government for extending the grant to Pakistan.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]Economic indicators showing positive trend: Prime Minister [/SIZE][/CENTER]

ISLAMABAD (February 14 2009)[/B]

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that economic indicators are showing positive trend, and pledge to provide relief to the masses. He was talking to newsmen after taking a briefing from the Planning Commission (PC) about its strategy towards overall development in the country. He said that the financial meltdown had hit the entire globe and not only Pakistan.

About reduction in petroleum products prices, he said that the government for the first time in Pakistan's history had reduced the prices. About Swat situation he said that military action alone was not the solution to the problem. Pakistan has met International Monetary Fund (IMF) targets, he added. Meanwhile, a statement said that the Prime Minister underlined the need for all-out efforts to ensure merit and transparency in every area of national development.

He said that no country could make progress without good governance as this is the key to success and without observing these norms it is not possible to achieve the desired results. He said the people have given the party the mandate for change and there is huge responsibility lying on it to come up to their expectations.

The Prime Minister said this while chairing a meeting to review the performance of the Planning Commission and progress of various projects at the planning commission. The Prime Minister directed the Planning Commission to incorporate nine-point economic agenda in the planning fold which had already been approved by the Cabinet taking all the stakeholders on board for ensuring better co-ordination and implementation.

He said that he would hold a quarterly meeting to review the status of the projects. He also directed that all future planning should focus on areas which could bring about positive change in the lives of the people through socio-economic development. The Prime Minister also directed the Planning Commission to adopt proactive approach while envisaging various projects for securing more FDIs for infrastructure development with a view to alleviating poverty from the country.

He further directed for close co-ordination with all ministries while monitoring of the GOP projects and underscored the need to avoid duplication and overlapping of work as it would not only prove counter-productive but would also cause waste of public money.

He directed the Planning Commission to induct a woman as member in the task force to ensure representation of this important segment comprising over 50 percent of the population. The Prime Minister said that foremost priority areas before the government are to address law and order situation and the economic crisis as both are interrelated.

He said that more funding was being earmarked for infrastructural development and poverty alleviation in the country. He also asked the Planning Commission that it should formulate policies which have the capacity to absorb both internal and external shocks at the time of crisis. He said despite global economic recession, Pakistan's economy has now started showing positive results. He said that not only the inflation has reduced but other economic indicators were also showing improvement. He said that this became possible only due to prudent economic policies introduced by the present government.

Adviser to PM on Finance Shaukat Tareen told the media that the government had taken some tough decisions for betterment of the economic situation. These measures would take some time to bring about improvement in the economy, he added.

Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Assef Ahmed Ali later told reporters that the Prime Minister was briefed about the Rs 600 million National Human Resource Development program aiming at training around 0.25 million highly skilled technicians annually. He replied in the negative about any cut in the Public Sector Development Program and said that projects worth Rs 100 billion would be thrown forward under the rationalisation program.

[CENTER][B]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/B][/CENTER]

[B][CENTER][SIZE="4"]Health ministry allows increase in drug prices [/SIZE][/CENTER]

ISLAMABAD (February 14 2009)[/B]

The Ministry of Health has allowed increase in the prices of some drugs from 15 to 45 percent adding to the miseries of the poor people who are already depressed with high food inflation. Talking to Business Recorder, the officials of the Ministry of Health on Friday said that the increase in the cost of the manufacturing of drugs has pushed the prices of medicines.

"The increase came into affect after persistence appeal by some of the pharmaceutical companies as they warned of a severe shortage of medicines including life saving drugs," officials added. The manufacturers were finding it difficult to bear the massive increase in raw and packaging material rates, majority of which was imported, therefore they demanded of the government to take this initiative. The survey conducted by the Business Recorder reveals that there has been a substantial increase in the prices of various medicines.

It includes, Augmentin 625 mg (06 tablets), price has increased from Rs 99 to Rs 120, Evion Capsules (10), price increased from Rs 26 to Rs 44, Xavor (10 tablets) for the cure of blood pressure, prices has increased from Rs 120 to Rs 140, Risek (14 tablets) for ulcer patients, price has increased from Rs 140 to Rs 180, Phenergan anti-allergy syrup, price has increased from Rs 16 to Rs 27, Calpol syrup, Rs 19 to Rs 25, Nivaquine syrup, price has increased from Rs 14 to Rs 20, CAC (10 tablets), Rs 48 to Rs 55, Folic acid (100 tablets), Rs 12 to Rs 20 and Xynosine (nasal drops), Rs 18 to Rs 23, etc.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

[CENTER][SIZE="4"]Railways plan to launch 13 new cargo trains [/SIZE][/CENTER]

KARACHI (February 14 2009)[/B]

Pakistan Railways (PR) plans to launch 13 new cargo trains soon for upcountry to improve its financial condition. At present, there were only three cargo trains running between Karachi and Peshawar with a recent addition of one more train, Peer Muhammad Khaskhaili, Divisional Superintendent (DS) PR Karachi told Business Recorder on Friday.

"As PR track has the capacity to accommodate 13 more trains for upcountry and this is our target to start the service soon to boost the income. This is the only way to minimise the economic crisis of the railways," he said.

He said that all cargo trains, to be added to the already existing cargo service, would be made locally through repairing the old engines and bogies, and there was no plan to import spare parts. In reply to a query, Khaskhaili said that private firms were given only some bogies in different trains and for this service these companies were paying railways handsome.

According to sources Pakistan Railways (PR) has for the first time earned record additional revenue of Rs 3.402 billion during the current financial year - July 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009. The railways had earned a revenue of Rs 10.4 billion during this period last year and it rose to Rs 13.805 billion during the period under review.

They said the increased revenue was achieved due to its commitment to the clients for safe delivery and control on ticket less travelling. On the freight side, the railways loaded 6000 additional wagons as compared to last year's number. Last year railways had loaded 176,989 wagons and this number stood at 182,839 wagons in the current financial year.

However, some other sources said that railways had never taken its cargo service sector serious. They said only three stations currently covered by PR like Faisalabad, Peshawar, and Multan were not enough to improve the cargo service as most of the small stations were being covered by private companies.

Chenab Express and Super Parcel Express (SPE), the mail trains of 10 bogies, were being used for forwarding goods by private companies, they added. Despite depriving itself from freight fares, as the sources said, PR had also stopped the "To-pay" (the fare to be paid by the parcel receiver) facility in which ultimately caused economic loss to the railways.

There were also many other issues like unwillingness by railway staff to improve their customer service. "Though the government had promised to improve the cargo sector of PR, but so far nothing tangible the crisis has been done," they added. In Pakistan 70 percent earnings of PR come from passenger and only 30 percent from the mail or cargo service.

[B][CENTER]Copyright Business Recorder, 2009[/CENTER][/B]

Zeeshan Inayat Monday, February 23, 2009 09:24 PM

Exports grow by 35.7 per cent
[B][SIZE="3"]Exports grow by 35.7 per cent[/SIZE][/B]
submitted 1 day 22 hours ago
[SIZE="2"][COLOR="Blue"]ISLAMABAD (APP) - Exports during July-January, 2008-2009 totalled Rs.837,430 million as against Rs.617,129 million during the corresponding period of last year, showing an increase of 35.70 percent.
Exports from Pakistan during January, 2009 amounted to Rs.107,609 million as against Rs.103,468 million in December, 2008 and Rs.91,320 million during January, 2008 showing an increase of 4 percent over December, 2008 and of 17.84 percent over January, 2008, according to Federal Bureau of Statistics data..
Main commodities of exports during January, 2009 were Bedwear (Rs.11,104 million), Knitwear (Rs.11,039 million), Cotton cloth (Rs.9,812 million), Readymade garments (Rs.8,341 million), Cotton yarn (Rs.6,131 million), Rice others (Rs.5,701 million), Rice basmati (Rs.4,183 million), Towels (Rs.3,997 million), Made up articles (excl towels, bedwear) (Rs.3,573 million) and Cement (Rs.3,080 million).
Imports during July-January, 2008-2009 totalled Rs.1,665,093 million as against Rs.1,249,566 million during the corresponding period of last year showing an increase of 33.25 percent.
Imports into Pakistan during January, 2009 amounted to Rs.199,965 million as against Rs.167,864 million in December, 2008 and Rs.220,097 million during January, 2008 showing an increase of 19.12 percent over December, 2008 but a decrease of 9.15 percent over January, 2008.
Main commodities of imports during January, 2009 were Petroleum products (Rs.23,476 million), Petroleum crude (Rs.20,474 million), Power generating machinery (Rs.10,931 million), Iron & steel (Rs.10,106 million), Plastic materials (Rs.7,425 million), Palm oil (Rs.7,314 million), Electrical machinery and apparatus (Rs.6,239 million), Other apparatus (Telecom) Rs.5,193 million),Iron and Steel Scrap ( Rs.4,864 million) and Aircrafts, ships & boats (Rs.4,481 million).[/COLOR][/SIZE]
[B]Sources...... THE NATION[/B]

05:24 PM (GMT +5)

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