Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pakistan Economy & Budget; NIA Pathankot Report; Hillary v Trump

How’s Pakistani economy doing? Is it gaining strength? How are the major economic indicators looking? What are Nawaz Sharif government’s economic priorities? How has it allocated spending in budget 2016-17 presented to National Assembly by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar? Why does Pakistan rely almost entirely on indirect taxation to raise revenue? Why is there such disproportionate burden for revenue placed on the poor and the middle-income Pakistanis? Why is the taxation system in Pakistan so regressive? What needs to be done to broaden the tax net to increase revenue and make the taxation system more fair. What should the provincial governments do? Should they impose at least a modest agriculture income tax and various service taxes to raise revenue?

How did the Indian National Investigation Agency conclude that Pakistan and its agencies had no role in Pathankot incident in India? Why are they now backtracking from this conclusion? What evidence of India-Pakistan border breach do they have to implicate Pakistani nationals in the incident? Or is it just Indian media hype, part of the Indian government propaganda by some elements to unfairly malign Pakistan?

What are Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton's strategies for the general elections in November 2016? Can Trump win by attacking minorities and women? Why the did Trump so personally and viciously attack US Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez? Will Hillary’s strategy of questioning Trump’s temperament to be US president work? Will she use fear of mercurial Trump’s potential actions as president with his finger on the nuclear button to scare off voters from the Republican candidate?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Pakistan Economy & Budget; NIA Pathankot Report... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Pakistan Economy & Budget; NIA Pathankot Report; Hillary v Trump from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan FDI Soaring as CPEC Gets Underway

Pathankot Attack in India

Trump Phenomenon

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Anonymous said...

What am i missing ? India said pathankot not a state sponsored incident. It does not mean the terrorists are not pakistanis.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "What am i missing ? India said pathankot not a state sponsored incident. It does not mean the terrorists are not pakistanis."

Where's the evidence that they crossed the border into India from Pakistan? Did they find any evidence of border breach? They did not.

BSF finds no sign of how Pathankot infiltrators entered - See more at:

A BSF team seeking to establish how the Pathankot attackers entered Punjab has found no breach in the fence along the border with Pakistan, nor any sign of infiltration through rivers or nullahs. It has found no tunnel — and no evidence either that the terrorists came from Jammu and Kashmir. - See more at:

Anonymous said...

The right question is "how did Pakistan media conclude that India has concluded that Pak has no role in the pathankot terrorism".

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "The right question is "how did Pakistan media conclude that India has concluded that Pak has no role in the pathankot terrorism"."

No, the right question is :"how did Indian media and some of its hardliners in government conclude that Pakistan is guilty without evidence?"

Not only did NIA not find any evidence of Pakistani government 's involvement in Pathankot incident, the Indian BSF said it found no evidence of any border breach that would indicate anyone from Pakistan entered India for the attack.

In other words, it's just another piece of false propaganda by Indian hardliners to try to implicate Pakistan in an Indian domestic terror case.

It's reminiscent of the shameful hanging of Afzal Guru upheld by Indian Supreme Court.

The Indian supreme court judgment acknowledged the evidence against Guru was circumstantial: "As is the case with most conspiracies, there is and could be no evidence amounting to criminal conspiracy." But then, it went on to say: "The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation, and the collective conscience of society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender." This shameful Indian Supreme Court verdict to approve Guru's execution is a great miscarriage of justice with few precedents in legal annals.

Riaz Haq said...

Top 3 #EmergingMarkets to Place Money on: #Pakistan, #India, Central & Eastern #Europe Now via @barronsonline

INVESTORS SHOULD POKE AROUND for opportunities in these markets in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe rather than in Latin America.

Pakistan: MSCI says it will announce a decision this month on reclassifying Pakistan from a frontier market to emerging market. Its GDP is expected to grow at a 4.7% clip in the 2016 fiscal year, and its leaders are discussing economic progress with the International Monetary Fund as a $6.6 billion loan package expires this year. The Global X MSCI Pakistan ETF (PAK), while up 13% this year, is down about 5% over the past 12 months.

India: The health of the economy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to visit the U.S. this coming week, defies anxiety about bad bank loans and doubts about India’s recalibrated GDP calculations. Standard & Poor’s lowered its credit ratings on Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of India last week, but expects the government to continue to infuse state-run banks with capital. The Reserve Bank of India recently eased restrictions on foreign ownership of private lenders, which should help weaker banks. We reiterate our February recommendation, HDFC Bank (HDB), up 6% this year.

Central and Eastern Europe: These economies are likely to see 3% annual growth and outpace Russia, where the economy is set to slowly recover over the next year, according to Capital Economics. The firm expects Romania’s economy to be among the region’s best performers in 2016. Poland may grow at a 3% clip this year, but political turmoil and inflation bear watching. The SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (GUR) is up 13% so far this year, despite a heavy dose of Russian and Turkish assets.

Where is caution appropriate? Argentina. Wells Fargo last week suggested avoiding Argentina’s stocks and bonds as the economy contracts under the weight of needed economic reform. The country devalued its currency, inflation spiked, and agricultural exports are suffering, with customer Brazil in sorry shape. The Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (ARGT) is up 17% in 2016.

Of course, all emerging assets will suffer if investors make a fast exit from developing-country bond markets, which have grown exponentially since previous cycles. But it’s likely the Fed’s trumpets have already heralded that move.

Riaz Haq said...

Growing fear inside #GOP about #Trump reminiscent of loss of #USCongress after #Goldwater's 1964 defeat @CNNPolitics

The GOP's deepest fear: A Barry Goldwater effect that could last far longer than Trump's political aspirations.
Goldwater, the Arizona senator who was the 1964 GOP nominee and a leader of the conservative movement, alienated a generation of African-American voters by opposing the Civil Rights Act -- opening the door for Democrats to lock in their support for decades. Republicans fret that Trump could similarly leave a stain with Latino voters.

"I am concerned about that," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Sunday.
"America is changing. When Ronald Reagan was elected, 84% of the electorate was white," McConnell said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "This November, 70% will be. It's a big mistake for our party to write off Latino Americans. And they're an important part of the country and soon to be the largest minority group in the country."
"I hope he'll change his direction on that," said McConnell, who first made the Goldwater comparison last week in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper.
That hasn't happened yet. In interviews Sunday, Trump wouldn't back away from his assertion that Curiel's parents' birth in Mexico has left the judge angry over Trump's proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and biased in the legal case over Trump University. Trump even went further, saying on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he'd have similar concerns over a Muslim judge, since he has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump's remarks led to condemnations from the same leading Republicans that in recent weeks have embraced him -- and accepted that the party's fate in November is inextricably linked to his.
"I don't agree with what he had to say," McConnell said.

"This is a man who was born in Indiana," McConnell said of Curiel. "All of us came here from somewhere else. Almost all Americans are either near-term immigrants like my wife, who came here at age 8 not speaking a word of English, or the rest of us whose ancestors were risk-takers who came here and made this country great. That's an important part of what makes America work."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, just a day after announcing his endorsement of Trump, bashed him on a Wisconsin radio station.
"Look, the comment about the judge, just was out of left field for my mind," Ryan said Friday on WISN in Milwaukee. "It's reasoning I don't relate to, I completely disagree with the thinking behind that."
The criticism from McConnell and Ryan was predictable: Both preside over GOP majorities that are threatened thanks to competitive races in Latino-heavy states like Arizona, Nevada and Florida.
More surprising was the condemnation from Gingrich, who has transparently jockeyed for a spot on Trump's ticket.
"I don't know what Trump's reasoning was, and I don't care," Gingrich told The Washington Post. "His description of the judge in terms of his parentage is completely unacceptable."
Gingrich was even sharper on "Fox News Sunday," calling Trump's remarks "inexcusable."

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan farms in crisis as crop prices & farmers' incomes fall. #water #agriculture #economy -

Farmers’ incomes have fallen more than 25 per cent in the financial year to the end of June, according to projections by the country’s central bank. While partly due to a global plunge in commodity prices, critics say the problem has been exacerbated by the failure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to step in with support, and that the latest incentives for farmers are inadequate.
Meanwhile, the volume of Pakistan’s cotton crop has crashed by almost 30 per cent, spurring the first contraction in the value of the country’s agricultural output for more than two decades. At least 60 per cent of Pakistan’s 200m people rely directly or indirectly on farm incomes.
“The main issue has been a major drop in prices of crops,” Abida Hussain, a farm owner and former MP, told the Financial Times. “To stabilise agriculture, a way has to be found to deal with that fundamental issue.”
One western economist in Islamabad, who declined to be named, warned that a degraded irrigation network and dysfunctional research community was also hampering Pakistan’s agricultural sector.
“The irrigation system in places is so bad that farmers haven’t received even a drop of water from a canal just a few miles away,” he said. “The management is terrible”.
The focus on farm incomes comes just ahead of the conclusion of an IMF programme this year and despite an economic recovery that has seen gross domestic product growth rise to a forecast 4.7 per cent this year, up from an annual average of about 3 per cent during the five years to 2013.
Helped by a global drop in oil prices and increases in domestic electricity and gas tariffs, Mr Sharif’s government is expected to bring its annual fiscal deficit to about 5 per cent of GDP this financial year, down from 8.8 per cent when the government took charge in 2013. But analysts warned that the budgetary discipline enforced by the IMF may be jettisoned when the loan programme ends in September.
“The government has some of the right numbers for the moment,” said Sakib Sherani, a former adviser to the finance ministry. “But the budget could change after September and the government could adopt populist measures ahead of 2018.”

Ahmed Q said...

Defense budget is als increasing which means less money available for social programs, health and business schemes. Long term 5-10 years may not reach even 5% GDP growth even with CPEC.

Javed R. said...

For its 3.1% figure for GDP growth, SPDC's analysis cites shrinking agri and only 2% growth in electric consumption but ignores contributions of several thousand megawatts of captive power in manufacturing industries such as textile and cement.

Anonymous said...


The applause Modi received in the US congress was, even grudgingly admitted by myself, something no Pak leaders can ever get. We are paying a heavy price for all wrong things we are doing.


Riaz Haq said...

Ali: "The applause Modi received in the US congress was, even grudgingly admitted by myself, something no Pak leaders can ever get. We are paying a heavy price for all wrong things we are doing."

Times have changed. But still, Modi's reception pales in comparison to what a Pakistani leader got during the Cold War.

In 1961, when Pakistani President Ayub Khan visited the United States, he and his daughter were received by President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacki Kennedy at the Andrews Air Force Base where President Ayub Khan's jet landed.

Then Ayub Khan and JFK rode in an open top car as people cheered them along the route.

There was a state dinner in Ayub's honor hosted by President and Mrs. Kennedy at the historic residence of US founding father and 2nd president Thomas Jefferson.

Ayub was also given the privilege of addressing a special Joint Session of the US Congress where he received standing ovation.

Later, he rode an open top car in a ticker-tape parade in New York City with tens of thousands of Americans lining the parade route and cheering him.


Watch this video:

Riaz Haq said...

#Obama Endorses #HillaryClinton for President, Urges #Democrats to Unite. #BernieSanders #Trump #GOP #Elections2016

President Obama on Thursday formally endorsed Hillary Clinton and called her the most qualified candidate to seek the White House, imploring Democrats to come together to elect her after a bruising party primary.

In a video posted on Mrs. Clinton’s Facebook page, Mr. Obama said, “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

Mr. Obama is impatient to begin playing an active role in the race to succeed him.

White House officials had been discussing an endorsement with Mrs. Clinton’s camp for days, but they kept the precise timing of the announcement under wraps, in part as a gesture of respect for Senator Bernie Sanders and his highly motivated coalition of progressive supporters. The president met with Mr. Sanders on Thursday morning.

Mr. Obama recorded the Facebook message on Tuesday, aides said.

The president had been circumspect about declaring the race finished, even after Mrs. Clinton captured sufficient delegates in primaries on Tuesday to clinch the Democratic nomination. On Thursday, he congratulated her on “making history” and said he had personally witnessed her qualifications for the Oval Office.

“I have seen her judgment, I’ve seen her toughness, I’ve seen her commitment to our values up close,” the president said.

Mr. Obama also praised Mr. Sanders — who left the White House about 90 minutes before the video was posted — for what he called an “incredible campaign.” He said the Vermont senator’s emphasis on addressing income inequality, reducing the influence of money in politics, and bringing young people into the political process would strengthen the party.

“Embracing that message is going to help us win in November,” Mr. Obama said.

He also said that he knew how hard being president can be, and that Mrs. Clinton was up to the job. “She’s got the courage, the compassion, and the heart to get the job done,” he said.

“I’m with her, I am fired up, and I cannot wait to get out there to campaign for Hillary,” Mr. Obama said.

The Clinton campaign then announced that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would campaign together in Green Bay, Wis., on Wednesday.

Riaz Haq said...

Dailytimes | #Pakistan cement industry focusing on captive power generation plants & sell excess - via @Shareaholic

The cement industry of Pakistan is turning towards power generation, which would not only cater to their needs but would also supply electricity to the national grid.

The outlook for the Pakistan cement industry is positive with expansion expected over the next few years. Key reasons include improved sector fundamentals backed by higher demand, cost efficiencies driven by lower international coal prices and captive power generation reducing energy costs, capacity expansions and low to minimal risk of cement price destabilisation. As a result, cement demand is forecast to grow by at least eight percent over the next five years (FY16-21) on the back of an average GDP growth of 4.7 percent.

The Invest and Finance Securities Limited, while reviewing the performance of seven local cement companies, stated that on the flip side, weakening exports (16 percent of total cement dispatches during 9MFY16) and electricity/gas tariff hikes have marginally impacted the industry dynamics. As part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative and an increased focus on infrastructure spending by the Pakistani government, around $44 billion in transport infrastructure and energy-related construction in the next 15 years - cement demand is predicted to be robust.

Pakistan currently has a cement production capacity of about 45Mta (with current capacity utilisation rates at 83 percent), which is expected to rise to around 52.5Mta
by FY19. Lucky Cement is setting up a 2.4Mta plant in Punjab, reflecting an investment of around Rs 21 billion. Acquisition of land and supplier confirmation is expected to conclude by the end of FY16. The expansion would take the company's existing capacity to over 10Mta. It would also bring a further 10MW waste heat recovery (WHR) power plant online by the end of 2016 besides expanding its international footprint in Congo and Iraq.

Meanwhile, DG Khan Cement is currently undertaking expansion in the southern zone with a 2.6Mta cement plant that is expected to come online in FY19. The company would also bring a 30MW coal-fired power plant and pursue further expansion in the south by FY18. Maple Leaf Cement, which has a cement production capacity of 3.4Mta in Iskanderabad District, Mianwali, is expected to bring a 40MW coal-fired power plant online by the end of FY17.

Fauji Cement Company's 3.4Mta plant is situated near Jhang Bahtar village, tehsil Fateh Jang, District Attock. The company started power generation from its 12MW WHR plant back in May 2015 and would reduce the cement producer's reliance on the national grid for its power supplies.

Cherat Cement Company Limited is currently carrying out a 1.3Mta expansion at its 1Mta plant at Lakrai Village, Nowshera. Following commissioning in FY17, the project would take the total nameplate capacity to 2.3Mt. In addition to its existing 6MW WHR plant, the company is undertaking installation of another 6MW WHR plant at its new production site.

Pioneer Cement Limited announced plans to install a 12MW plant at Chenki, Khushab, which would have an installed capacity of 2Mt. The company announced its plan to install a 12MW WHR plant at an estimated cost of Rs 1.5bn. The plant is expected to meet around 38 percent of the company's total electricity requirement resulting in enhancement of the margins.

Riaz Haq said...

#MSCI Emerging Index Adds #Pakistan, Snubs #China A-Shares from Mainland markets #EmergingMarkets … via @barronsonline

Stock indexer MSCI said Tuesday it won’t include mainland-Chinese A shares in its key emerging market index.

MSCI also said that Pakistan would be reclassified as an emerging market, coinciding with MSCI’s May 2017 semiannual review.

The Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares exchange-traded fund (ASHR) slipped 2% after hours after rising more than 1% in regular trading Tuesday. The iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), the largest U.S. ETF invested in Chinese equities, was also lower, down 0.5%. The Global X MSCI Pakistan ETF (PAK) was not moving after hours. The A-shares ETF is down 17% this year, while the larger China Large-Cap fund is down more than 6%. Pakistan stocks have rallied on the potential for inclusion, with a 12% rise so far this year.

Riaz Haq said...

Surging #California #economy grew 5.7% to $2.46 trillion making it the world’s 6th largest in 2015.

California, along with Oregon, had the nation’s highest rate of economic growth in 2015 and has vaulted to sixth largest economy in the world.

The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis says that California’s economy expanded by 5.7 percent in 2015, second only to Oregon’s 5.9 percent in nominal terms and tied with Oregon at 4.1 percent in constant dollars.

The BEA pegged the state’s economic output last year at $2.46 trillion and with several of its international rivals, particularly Brazil and France, experiencing slumps, that would place California at sixth place, behind only the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. The state had been the eighth largest economy, and passed France and Brazil with the release of the latest report.

The BEA data were released just as Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators are finalizing a 2016-17 budget that’s based, in part, on recent declines in revenue growth and Brown’s oft-voiced warnings that the state is overdue for recession after a very long recovery from last decade’s Great Recession.

“The next recession is getting closer,” Brown warned in his revised budget last month, “even if we cannot tell exactly when it will hit.”

Brown’s warning is rooted, in part, on a global economic slowdown because the state’s economy is highly interconnected with that of other nations.

The most recent estimates of global economic trends say that while the U.S. and China both saw gains in 2015, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom faded slightly, and the economies of France, Italy and Brazil dropped sharply – in Brazil’s case by nearly 30 percent. In 2014, California and Brazil were virtually tied, but by 2015 California’s economy was more than a third larger.

In broad BEA categories, California’s finance and insurance sector was the largest in 2015 at $535 billion, with government at $300 billion and manufacturing at $278 billion following. Agriculture, once an economic mainstay, was just $39 billion.

Read more here:

Riaz Haq said...

Terrorism deaths, 2015.

Iraq: 6932
Afghanistan: 5292
Nigeria: 4886
Pakistan: 1081
Egypt: 656
India: 289
Philippines: 258

(US State Dept.)

Riaz Haq said...

U.N. Warns #Trump May Be 7 Months Away From Acquiring #Nuclear Weapons. Poses #Global Risk via The Onion

According to an alarming new global risk report published Tuesday by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump may be just seven months away from acquiring nuclear weapons. “A year ago, the threat didn’t seem great enough to warrant serious concern, but at this moment, a nuclear-capable Trump is now a very real and very imminent possibility,” said UNODA high representative Kim Won-soo, adding that the agency’s current projections showed Trump potentially procuring nuclear weapons, as well as advanced ballistic missile technology, as early as January of next year. “The longer we wait to act, the closer he comes to obtaining a nuclear arsenal. The final red line for preventing him from acquiring this devastating capability comes in early November. If he is not properly dealt with before then, there will be no way to stop him from going nuclear.” While U.N. officials said the international community should prepare for the destabilizing effects of Trump acquiring such weapons, they still held out hope that citizens of his nation might yet rise up against him and topple the extremist before he posed a global existential threat.

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims and #Mexicans join hands, break bread in Orange County, to defeat #Trump

The event had the look of feel-good cultural diplomacy. Rida Hamida, a Muslim of Syrian descent, led about 30 Latinos on a tour of Anaheim’s Little Arabia.

They cracked jokes, sipped Arabic coffee from tiny cups, asked about hookah bars, and broke bread – or sangak – over their cultural similarities and differences.

But the gathering organized by Hamida in late spring had a more practical purpose: It was an effort by local Muslims to make inroads with another, much larger group that often finds itself in the political crosshairs.

As Donald Trump has risen to become the presumptive Republican candidate for president, Muslims and Mexicans have been a constant subject of his speeches as he talks about barring refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries and building a wall along the Mexico border.

At a San Diego rally last month, Trump accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a class-action lawsuit filed against his real estate investing program, Trump University, of being biased because he’s of “Mexican” heritage. Curiel was born in Indiana. Shortly after, Trump suggested a Muslim judge would probably also be biased toward him.

“These are dark days for our community,” Hamida said. “Trump is rising while we’re being demonized. Muslims are told they can't enter the country. Latinos are accused of being criminals. But if we come together for a movement, we can stay strong.”

In Orange County, immigrants who trace their roots to the Middle East and other predominantly Muslim countries number about 25,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But Latinos make up more than 1 million of the county’s roughly 3 million residents.

And over the years, Latinos have built up a much wider network than Muslims, Asian Americans and other minority groups – not including the black community – for flexing political muscle.

“We are natural allies. Our numbers are going to matter together,” says Ada Briceno, interim director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD). “More than ever, it's necessary to join forces because this kind of election rhetoric is disgusting.”

Jose Moreno, a longtime Anaheim resident who heads Los Amigos, a countywide alliance focusing on politics and civil rights, said the Latino community in Orange County knows “what it means to be targeted with hate,” particularly in the past, when it was much smaller. But even though most Latinos in the country were born in the U.S., “we’re still treated like newcomers.”

In past years, Latino activists reached out to Arab Americans after suing the city of Anaheim to allow district-based elections, in which council members must live in the area they represent. Officials promised to put a measure on the ballot allowing both communities to collaborate, drawing district maps, and promoting Little Arabia. It passed last year.

Moreno, Hamida and other Muslims and Latino residents showed up at an Anaheim council meeting in May where leaders debated a resolution to condemn Trump’s rhetoric.

Lou DeSipio, a political science professor at UC Irvine specializing in ethnic politics, said different ethnic and racial groups have long banded together at times when they feel discriminated against by the government, society or both.

In the 1920s, Polish, Italian, Greek and Eastern European Jewish immigrants made alliances, he said.

And Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans joined blacks in the 1960s in the run up to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

“This is something that goes back decades for people who feel excluded or who realize that shared interests can create something more meaningful,” DeSipio said. “Would they have been as successful working individually? Probably not.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan repaid $4.3bln in foreign #debt July-March. But external debt to GDP ratio up to 24.6% from 23.3% last yr.

It's only marginally higher than India's external debt to gdp ration is about 24%

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's #cotton imports to hold near record 4 million bales as farmers plant less & output dwindles via @Reuters

* Area under cotton down 15 pct despite efforts to boost output

* Output seen below local demand for 2nd straight year in 2016/17

* Supply crunch an opportunity for India to export more

By Rajendra Jadhav

MUMBAI, June 29 Cotton imports by Pakistan are expected to remain near record-high levels in the year to July 2017, as erratic weather forces farmers in the world's fourth-biggest producer to trim area under the crop, industry officials said.

A supply crunch in Pakistan, at a time when back-to-back droughts have taken a toll on output at top producer India, could boost global cotton prices from their current near 11-month highs. The two countries have already taken turns this year to buy from each other to fill shortages at home.

"Cotton area in Pakistan is down around 15 percent. Despite the government and industry's efforts, farmers in top-producing Punjab have reduced area," said Saleem Saleh, acting secretary general of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).

Unpredictable weather, such as floods late last year as well as poor rainfall in recent months, and the resultant uncertainty about yields is putting many farmers off cotton, stymieing Pakistan's efforts to boost local output.

"Farmers are finding other crops profitable," said Shahzad Ali Khan, chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginner's Association.

The country's cotton output fell by a third to 9.7 million bales in 2015/16, forcing it to import a record 4 million bales in the year, up from 1.2 million a year ago, according to APTMA. Pakistan annually consumes around 15 million.

Even for the season starting Aug. 1, weather has not been supportive and the crop in Punjab has already been hurt by poor rains in May and June, said Khan. Cotton sowing in Pakistan starts from April and harvesting begins in July.

While the country has set a production target of 14.1 million bales for the new season, industry officials say output will fall short and that rainfall over the next few weeks will be crucial in determining yields.

"Import requirement is rising as local consumption is rising, but production is stagnant. This year imports jumped due to crop failure. Next year also imports would remain around this year's level. Actual number depends on production," Saleh said.

Typically lower output in Pakistan implies an exporting opportunity for neighbouring India. In fact, the latter shipped out about 6.5 million bales this season, with Pakistan taking nearly 2 million.

"India has freight advantage over other suppliers. Naturally India will be the preferred choice for buyers in Pakistan whenever they start imports," Cotton Association of India President Dhiren Sheth said.

However, India's move to contract 20,000 bales from Pakistan for import this month indicates supply at the top producer is also running thin

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan meets #tax revenue target of Rs 3 trillion (US$30 billion) for first time in 10 years - The Economic Times

Pakistan collected 3,104 billion rupees ($29.7 billion) in taxes in fiscal year 2015/16, the finance ministry said on Friday, the first time it has met its tax revenue target in a decade.

Last year, the government collected 2,588 billion rupees in taxes but missed its target by 9 percent.

Tax collection has been one of the biggest challenges facing successive governments who have promised to rein in tax evaders but faced fierce resistance to change, including from the ..

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's Liquid Foreign Reserves position: US$21.7 Billion

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at US$21,765.8 million on June 24, 2016, said weekly forex reserves report issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) here on Thursday.

The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under:-

Foreign reserves held by the SBP:US$ 16,819.6 million, Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks:US$ 4,946.2 million, Total liquid foreign reserves: US$ 21,765.8 million.

During the week ending June 24, 2016, SBP's Liquid FX Reserves increased by US$ 4 million to US$16,820 million, compared to US$16,816 million in the previous week.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's high import tariff prevents #wheat imports. Government's high procurement price prevents exports

Pakistan procured 6 million tonnes of wheat from the recently concluded wheat harvest, significantly lower than the 7.05 million tonnes target that was announced prior to the onset of harvest, but approximately 1 million tonnes higher than a year ago. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in a July 1 report. Total procurement is just 24% of the estimated total crop. At this point, Pakistan is effectively cut off from the international wheat market as high procurement prices make exports uncompetitive and a high tariff prevents imports.

Over the past four years, public sector wheat procurement has ranged between 5 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes annually. With around 4 million tonnes in carryover stocks this year’s procurement will boost public stock levels to around 10 million tonnes shortly after the start of the marketing year, similar to the levels reached during the past two years.

The estimate of 2016 wheat production is unchanged at 25.3 million tonnes. About 25% of Pakistani wheat growers produce a marketable surplus that amounts to an estimated 50% of the crop or 12 million tonnes to 13 million tonnes. The government and private sector typically split the surplus with each purchasing about half of the marketed crop, although, as mentioned above, government procurement was just 24% of the crop this year. The balance of the crop remains on farm for local consumption. The government’s role in the procurement of the harvest is generally sufficient to influence market prices, creating an effective price floor in the domestic wheat market.

Pakistan, through the provincial food departments and the federal Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO), procures wheat from farmers at the support price and then releases wheat for sale to flour mills at the government’s fixed issue price. The system aims to protect farmers from price fluctuations and ensure a minimum return to farmers and encourages wheat production. The Pakistani government maintained the wheat support price for the market year 2016-17 crop, at 1,300 rupees per 40 kilograms ($310 per tonne). The government spent approximately $1.8 billion for wheat procurement this year, much of it financed through loans that will be paid back when the wheat is sold to the private sector. Some wheat stocks are used to feed communities that have been displaced from their homes due to conflict and some is sold as flour at reduced rates to consumers via low-priced, government-run utility stores.

As global wheat prices have declined, Pakistan’s high sales price for publicly-held stocks has resulted in limited export buyer interest. In January 2015, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved a subsidy of $55 per tonne for Punjab and $45 per tonne for Sindh for Islamabad three months to cover exports of up to 1.2 million tonnes of wheat. The deadline was extended twice until Sept 30, 2015. ...

Afghanistan has been the main wheat export market for Pakistan for many years mainly due to easy accessibility and traditional trade linkages between the two countries. Given the present trend, Pakistan’s market year 2016-17 wheat flour exports to Afghanistan are forecast to be 700,000 tonnes (wheat equivalent).

The domestic wheat market has been insulated from imports by a 40% regulatory duty. With a high tariff and high domestic prices, Pakistan continues to be isolated from the international wheat market. The tariff is well below Pakistan’s bound tariff rate (the maximum tariff rate Pakistan can establish) for wheat of 150%. Consequently, Pakistan is not likely to import any significant quantity of wheat during market year 2016-17.

Riaz Haq said...

Increase in Pakistan’s energy consumption depicts higher economic activities

Pakistan's primary energy consumption increased by 5.9 percent to 78.2 million ton oil equivalent (MTOE) in 2015, compared with 73.2MTOE in 2014 depicting higher economic activities.

According to the statistical data of British Petroleum on energy use around the world, the primary energy consumption in China grew by 1.12 percent from 2014 to 2015 that has resulted in slowdown in China’s economy. India’s primary energy consumption increased by 5.1 percent during the same period which is lower than that of Pakistan. Indian GDP growth, though highest in the world remains much below the peaks it attained at the start of this decade.

The fuels consumed for producing primary energy show that in 2014, Pakistan consumed 22.8MTOE of oil that increased to 25.2MTOE in 2015. Its natural gas use also increased from 37.7MTOE in 2014 to 39.0MTOE in 2015. The consumption of coal remained the same at 4.7MTOE in both years.

According to the report, electricity consumption in Pakistan increased from 96.2 terawatt-h in 2008 110.0 terawatt-h in 2015. The increase was restricted to 99.3 terawatt-h till 2012; showing cumulative increase of 4 percent only, but in the next three years the consumption cumulatively increased by 10.7 percent of which 2.7 percent increase was in 2015 over 2014. Indian electricity consumption in comparison increased more robustly being 833.4 terawatt-h in 2008 that increased to 1,304.8 terawatt-h in 2015.

India produces 45.5MTOE from natural gas, 407.2MTOE from coal that is 100 times more than the primary energy that Pakistan derives from coal. Its hydro electric generation is 8.6MTOE. It derives 15.5MTOE from renewable that is 30 times more than what Pakistan obtains from renewable. The primary energy obtained by China from natural gas is 177.6MTOE, from coal it is a whopping 19,203MTOE. Its hydro electric energy amounts to 254.9MTOE, nuclear 38.6MTOE and renewable 62.7MTOE. The renewable energy extracted by China is equivalent to 60 percent of the total energy produced in Pakistan.

Bangladesh in 2008 consumed only 34.2 terawatt-h electricity that was almost 1/3rd of the power consumption in Pakistan. In 2015 the gap was reduced to 60 percent of the power consumed in Pakistan. Bangladesh is exporting much more than Pakistan despite low power use because it adds high value to its apparel. The power requirement of the garment industry is nominal when compared with spinning, weaving and processing that produce low value-added textiles exported by Pakistan. The electricity consumption in China increased to 5,810 terawatt-h in 2015 compared with 3495 terawatt-h in 2008.

Coal, wind and solar energy are the cheapest source of energy around the world. Wind and solar along with hydro electricity are the cleanest energy fuels. China fulfilled 1,920MTOE of its energy needs from coal, India 388.7MTOE, and Pakistan only 4.7MTOE. Coal use for energy production is confined only to the private sector in Pakistan. Around 3,000MW coal based power plants are expected to be commissioned by 2019 after which share of coal in the energy mix would substantially increase. Wind power consumption in China was 41MTOE in 2015, it was 9.4MTOE in India and only 0.1MTOE in Pakistan. Solar power production in 2015 was 8.9MTOE in China, 1.5MTOE in India and only 0.3MTOE in Pakistan. Pakistan is also on the course to double its hydro electric production to over 16,000MW by the end of 2021.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi blames #Pakistan for #Kanpur #train tragedy when NIA investigators silent : Uttar Pradesh News - #India Today

While the investigators have been cautious in blaming Pakistan or its intelligence agency ISI for Kanpur train tragedy, PM Modi told an election rally at Gonda in UP that the derailment was a conspiracy hatched across the border.

Addressing an election rally at Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today blamed Pakistan for Kanpur train derailment. About 150 people had lost their lives in the train tragedy November last year.
Modi stated that the Kanpur train derailment was a conspiracy hatched across the border. He said that the people of the city need to elect those who were full of patriotism.
The Kanpur train derailment case is being investigated by multiple agencies including the National Investigation Agency. The investigators involved with the case have, however, stayed away from naming ISI or confirming a foreign hand behind the derailment.

An informed source, privy to probe details, said, "The investigation is in nascent stage."
PM Modi was addressing a poll rally at Gonda, which will go to poll in the fifth phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh. Gonda is close to the Indo-Nepal border and the PM expressed concerns about its safety.
"A rail accident happened in Kanpur, few people have been caught. Police found out that it was a conspiracy from across the border. If such people, who will help (conspirators), get elected from here, will Gonda be safe? Will nation be safe then," asked PM Modi.
PM Modi's comment is in sharp contradiction to investigations so far by UP police, central railway board and even National Investigation Agency (NIA). These agencies are yet to draw any conclusion on a Pakistan link to Kanpur train derailment. A senior officer of the NIA refused to comment on the issue.
The probe conducted by three agencies did not pick any forensic evidence of explosives. The recovery of technical evidence in the form of audio clips is still being examined. A team of NIA has gone to Nepal to make further probe. But no strong leads have emerged so far.
However, a clear Pakistani ISI link emerged to Ghorasahan in East Champaran district of Bihar, where an IED was discovered in October last year.
Bihar Police had arrested three murder case accused identified as Moti Paswan, Umashankar Prasad and Mukesh Yadav, who spilled beans of ISI link. They told the Bihar Police that the ISI had planned the derailment of Indore-Patna Express in November last year.
Moti Paswan told the police that he visited Kanpur rail track before the train derailment. Police also recovered two WhatsApp audio clips from the phone of one of the accused. Two suspects could be discussing Kanpur derailment.
Paswan is said to have confessed to having been involved in the train derailment along with two others including Zubair and Ziaul, who have been arrested in Delhi.
The NIA earlier this month said that Dubai-based Shamshul Huda was the "mastermind" for the Ghorasahan sabotage behind the Indore-Patna Express train accident in Kanpur on November 16 last year. But, a similar link has not been confirmed by the NIA.
Intelligence agencies suspect that Shamshul Hoda could be behind the derailment as he is said to have extensive network of sleeper cells in Delhi, Kanpur, Patna and Nepal. Hoda is further understood to have been in touch with one Sheikh Shafi in Pakistan. Sheikh Shafi is believed to be one who gives regular instructions through Hoda on how to carry out terror attacks in India.