Business News

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Pakistani rupee plunges to Rs153 against US dollar KARACHI: Pakistani rupee  plunged  to a new all time-low in the interbank and open market on Tuesday as it   continues to lose value against US dollar. The greenback saw an increase of Rs1.36, touching Rs151. In the open market, the rate increased to Rs153.In the last four business days, the dollar has risen by Rs9.60 against the Pakistani rupee.The rupee has been falling against the dollar following an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $6 billon loan with expected strict conditions including a “market determined” exchange rate. Tue, 21 May 2019 11:52:31 +0500 Alternate Text
US tech firms to take hit from Huawei sanctions WASHINGTON: The tough sanctions imposed on Huawei by President Donald Trump could deal a blow to the many US firms that make up the Chinese tech giant´s supply chain.American firms last year sold an estimated $11 billion worth of components to Huawei, which was put on a blacklist last week by Washington over national security concerns as trade frictions grow between the US and China.Trump´s executive order could effectively ban makers of US hardware and software from selling to Huawei by requiring a special license from Washington.The Commerce Department on Monday delayed the sanctions on Huawei for 90 days, saying the additional time was needed to allow for software updates and other contractual obligations.The agency said it was granting Huawei a "temporary general license" through August 19 allowing for transactions "necessary to maintain and support existing and currently fully operational networks and equipment, including software updates and patches, subject to legally binding contracts and agreements" signed before May 16.Hardware and software  US-based chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx have indicated they would halt shipments to the Chinese firm which is the world´s number two smartphone maker and a leader in telecom infrastructure and super-fast 5G networks.Google said it would comply with the US order, leaving Huawei without access to critical services for the Android operating system such as Gmail and Google Maps.Microsoft, which supplies the Windows operating system for many Huawei devices, did not respond to an AFP query on how the order might impact the Redmond, Washington-based firm.Bob O´Donnell of the consultancy Technalysis Research said any ban would almost certainly affect Microsoft."If it affects Google I don´t see why it wouldn´t affect Microsoft," O´Donnell said."Any version of Windows comes from Microsoft, since there is no open-source version."Moving toward independence Roger Kay, founder and analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the ban is likely to accelerate efforts by Huawei and other Chinese firms to develop their own sources of microprocessors and other components."The short-term effect on both American and Chinese companies are inevitably negative," Kay said."The longer-term effect is that Huawei and other Chinese companies turn away more sharply from American suppliers."Neither Intel nor Qualcomm responded to queries on how they would respond to the order on Huawei.Avi Greengart, founder of the research firm Techsponential, said a ban on sales to Huawei could hit a wide range of large and small US firms including Corning, which makes the popular Gorilla Glass for smartphones, and Dolby, a producer of video and audio software for handsets."When you think about all the software and hardware components you get a pretty big list," Greengart said."The US is a big part of the global supply chain."Few firms offered public comments on their response to the Huawei executive order.But one, California-based Lumentum Holdings, a maker of optical and laser applications, said it would comply with the executive order and that Huawei accounted for 15 percent of its revenue so far in the current fiscal year.Risks to Apple Greengart said Apple could also suffer from any protracted crisis over Huawei, estimating the iPhone maker gets about 17 percent of its revenues from China.Even though Apple might benefit in the premium smartphone market in Europe, "I think the risks are higher than the rewards for Apple," Greengart said."If there is a backlash against Apple in China, that could have damaging long-term effects."Greengart said that Google might not see a major impact for the moment."Ironically (the ban) won´t affect Google much because Google doesn´t make money selling Android."Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights & Strategy, said he sees a limited impact on US firms in the short run."The impact to the US companies depends on the length of the ban but also how indexed they are in sales to Huawei," Moorhead said."Neither Intel, Google or Nvidia do more than three percent of their business with Huawei, so short-term, it shouldn´t be an issue."O´Donnell said a bigger risk is that Huawei and other Chinese firms step up efforts to develop software and hardware that allows them to break free from Silicon Valley."The longer-term question is: does this drive Huawei to develop a third mobile platform?" O´Donnell said."China is already developing its own technology infrastructure, and this plays into the whole notion of a separate internet in China, which would be a big deal." Tue, 21 May 2019 03:39:17 +0500 Alternate Text
IMF aid programs mostly help but need fine-tuning: report WASHINGTON: Three-quarters of International Monetary Fund aid programs over a six-year period attained their goals fully or partially but there were some failings, including rose-colored growth forecasts, the fund said Monday.Between 2011 and 2017, the IMF oversaw 133 economic aid programs for member countries, according to a review, the results of which were released Monday by the fund."The review found three-quarters of IMF programs were successful or partially successful in achieving their objectives, such as resolving balance of payments problems and fostering economic growth," the review´s authors said in a joint blog post.Martin Muehleisen, head of the department which conducted the review, Petya Koeva Brooks, the deputy director, and economist Chad Steinberg, said this was the first time such a review of IMF programs had been carried out since the global financial crisis, "a period of unexpectedly slow economic growth."The review showed that member states turn to the IMF when they are already facing major threats to economic and financial stability.As a result, IMF programs often serve as "shock absorbers," allowing countries to meet their immediate financial needs while considerably softening blows to their economies, they said.Furthermore, aid served as a catalyst, helping recipients to obtain financing from other official lenders and donors, according to the report, which was presented to the IMF´s board early this month."This helps protect the countries´ economies from even greater disruption."The report found that for the most part members were able to spare social spending from cuts. This was because more than a third of programs, mainly intended for countries with little revenue, promoted spending to boost growth and reduce poverty.On the other hand, aid packages faced obstacles, such as economic growth forecasts that proved too optimistic.As a result, the review´s authors recommend more cautious use of such forecasts and deeper analysis of the effects the fund´s programs can have on growth.Moreover, a "more careful diagnosis" is essential when considering how to restructure debt burdens and a better grasp of a countries institutions and political capacities can help avoid "aiming at unrealistic targets."The authors also called for more effective communication with the general public, saying this was an "underappreciated aspect" of success. Tue, 21 May 2019 00:40:49 +0500 Alternate Text
SBP increases interest rate by 150 basis points to 12.25 percent KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has increased interest rate by 150 basis points (bps) to 12.25 per cent from 10.75 per cent effective from May 21, 2019.The SBP increased the policy rate while announcing its monetary policy for next two months.The State Bank, in its monetary policy statement, said “there have been three notable developments since the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in March 2019. First, the government of Pakistan has reached a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund for 39-month long Extended Fund Facility of around $ 6 billion. The program is designed to restore macroeconomic stability and support sustainable economic growth, and is expected to unlock considerable additional external financing. Second, trends in government borrowing reflect a widening fiscal deficit during the first nine months of FY19 when compared to the same period in FY18. In addition, a greater reliance on central bank financing of the deficit has acted to dilute the impact of previous monetary tightening. Finally, since the last MPC, the exchange rate has depreciated by 5.93 percent to PKR 149.65 per USD, at the close of 20th May 2019, reflecting a combination of underlying macroeconomic factors and market sentiment considerations.” SBP’s estimates show that economic growth is expected to slow in FY19 but rise modestly in FY20. This slowdown is mostly due to lower growth in agriculture and industry. Going forward, some gradual recovery in economic activity is expected on the back of improved market sentiment in the context of the IMF supported program, a rebound in the agriculture sector and government incentives for exportoriented industries.In SBP’s view, the recent movement in the exchange rate reflects the continuing resolution of accumulated imbalances of the past and some role of supply and demand factors. SBP will continue to closely monitor the situation and stands ready to take measures, as needed, to address any unwarranted volatility in the foreign exchange market.The government borrowed Rs 4.8 trillion from SBP during 1st Jul to 10th May FY19, which is 2.4 times the borrowing during the same period last year. A major portion of this borrowing from the SBP (Rs 3.7 trillion) reflects a shift away from commercial banks which were reluctant to lend to the government at prevailing rates, the statement said.Taking into account the above considerations and the evolving macroeconomic situation, the MPC noted that further policy measures are required to address underlying inflationary pressures from (i) higher recent month-on-month headline and core inflation outturns; (ii) recent exchange rate depreciation; (iii) an elevated fiscal deficit and its increased monetization, and (iv) potential adjustments in utility tariffs. In this context, the MPC decided to increase the policy rate by 150 bps to 12.25 percent effective from 21st May 2019. Mon, 20 May 2019 16:49:46 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 20 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Monday, May 20, 2019. Mon, 20 May 2019 16:02:03 +0500 Alternate Text
Google's restriction forces Huawei to use open-source version of Android WASHINGTON:  US tech-giant Google has cut  Chinese telecom firm Huawei off from some updates to the Android operating system.The shocking development has come after the Trump administration added Huawei to a list of companies that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence.In a statement, Google said it was "complying with the order and reviewing the implications".The move by Google means Huawei loses Google's security updates and technical support, and any new devices would no longer have apps such as YouTube and Maps.However, Huawei can still use the version of the Android operating system available through an open source licence.Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is ready to deal with Washington´s crackdown and will reduce its reliance on US components, its founder told Japanese media.Several media outlets reported that The Chinese tech-giant Huawei has developed its own operating system that could replace Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows should it be barred from using American-made products.Huawei executive Richard Yu was reported to have said: "We have prepared our own operating system. Should it ever happen that we can no longer use these systems, we would be prepared." Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers. It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.Huawei is also the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei. Mon, 20 May 2019 07:54:27 +0500 Alternate Text
Saudi, UAE see sufficient oil supplies, rising stocks JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and key producer United Arab Emirates said Sunday oil supplies were sufficient and stockpiles were still rising despite massive output drops by Iran and Venezuela."We see that (oil) inventories are rising and supplies are plenty," Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters at the start of a key meeting for oil producers in Jeddah."None of us wants to see the (oil) stocks swell again. We have to be cautious."The United Arab Emirates´ energy minister said there was no need to relax an OPEC+ deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support prices."I don´t think... that relaxing the cuts is the right measure" based on prevailing market conditions, Suheil al-Mazrouei told reporters."We have seen inventory building. I don´t think it makes sense (to alter the existing deal)."The statements by the two ministers send a clear message that OPEC and its allies appear poised to roll over the output cuts deal for another six months.The OPEC+ producers, which include Russia, control more than half of the world´s crude oil production.Oil exporting countries have been under pressure from Washington to ramp up production to compensate for plunging Iranian exports amid US sanctions on Tehran, but are fearful that such a move could send prices plunging."The picture is foggy," warned Falih."It is crucial that we don´t take hasty decisions", he said. "We should keep inventories under control.""This complexity and intensity will continue to mount while the sheer range of issues impacting our business is pulling the oil market in multiple opposing directions," Falih said.Sunday´s meeting comes days after sabotage attacks against tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and the bombing of a Saudi pipeline -- the latter claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels."We have strong (oil) industry security... everybody is vulnerable to extreme acts of sabotage," Falih said.The meeting will not take decisions on oil output but will make recommendations to another crucial ministerial meeting set to take place in Vienna next month. Sun, 19 May 2019 21:37:23 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 18 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Sat, 18 May 2019 16:42:59 +0500 Alternate Text
KSE-100 index plunges by 804 points ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday witnessed bearish trend as KSE-100 index plunged by 804 points (2.43 percent) to close at 33,166 points.A total of 63,321,430 shares were traded, whereas the value of shares traded during the day stood at Rs 2.757 billion.Out of 305 companies, share prices of 32 companies recorded increase while 260 companies registered decrease whereas 13 companies remained stable in today’s trading.The three top traded companies were K-Electric Limited with a volume of 15,343,500 and price per share of Rs 4.00, Pak International Bulk with a volume of 5,603,500 and price per share of Rs 8.04 and Unity Foods Ltd with a volume of 5,198,000 and price per share of Rs 9.25. Fri, 17 May 2019 17:30:14 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 17 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Friday, May 17, 2019. Fri, 17 May 2019 16:39:13 +0500 Alternate Text
Rupee weakens further as dollar hits new high at Rs150 KARACHI: The rupee plunged to hit an all time low of Rs150/dollar  in the open market on Friday morning, Geo News reported.On Thursday, the dollar was traded at Rs147.The greenback gained by another Rs2.48 in the interbank market to reach the latest peak of Rs149. It is currently being bought for Rs147 in the interbank market. The rupee plunged around five percent in an intraday trade on Thursday to hit an all-time low of 148/dollar in an apparent devaluation by the central bank as a ‘prior action’ to satisfy the IMF to secure an approval of $6 billion bailout package, analysts said.The rupee, however, slightly recovered to close the day 3.6 percent weaker at 146.52 in the interbank market. The rupee closed 141.40/dollar on Wednesday.Analysts said the devaluation has added up around Rs667 billion in Pakistan’s external debt, and the forex reserves also dwindled accordingly. Fri, 17 May 2019 11:31:34 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 16 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Thu, 16 May 2019 16:56:52 +0500 Alternate Text
IMF agreement not reason behind increase in dollar price: Asad Umar Asad Umar on Thursday said increase in dollar price against  Pakistani rupee is not caused by the agreement which Pakistan and IMF reached recently.In an informal talk with the media, he said there was no such condition  attached to the agreement.He said the issue of rupee's decline will be raised in the Finance Affairs Committee.State Minister For Revenue Hammad Azhar said the issue of increase in dollar's value against rupee was related to the State Bank of Pakistan.Hammad AzharHe said the government has only one representative in the body that decides monitory policy.   Thu, 16 May 2019 15:09:29 +0500 Alternate Text
US dollar touches Rs147 Karachi: Pakistani  rupee continued to decline against US dollar in  interbank  as  it traded at Rs 147 on Thursday.The rupee saw a four percent decline of Rs5.61 during today's  trade. The greenback's buying rate was Rs145.On Wednesday, the US dollar bounced back to Rs144 after reaching an all-time high of Rs146.25 during the day in the open market.The dollar reached the all-time high after an increase of Rs2.25, following the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) securing a $6 billion bailout on Sunday.Open market rateAccording to Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP), the dollar was also being traded at Rs147 in the open market. Thu, 16 May 2019 12:47:00 +0500 Alternate Text
KSE-100 index bounces by over 400 points ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday witnessed bullish trend as KSE-100 index bounced by 406.56 points (1.20 percent) to close at 34,291.65 points.A total of 110,886,460 shares were traded, whereas the value of shares traded during the day stood at Rs 4.448 billion.Out of 327 companies, share prices of 219 companies recorded increase while 98 companies registered decrease whereas 10 companies remained stable in today’s trading.The three top traded companies were K-Electric Limited with a volume of 9,164,500 and price per share of Rs 4.22, Maple Leaf with a volume of 8,851,000 and price per share of Rs 21.33 and Bank of Punjab XD with a volume of 7,563,000 and price per share of Rs 11.42.The top advancer was Rafhan Maize XD with the increase of Rs 310 per share, closing at Rs 6510 while Philip Morris Pakistan was runner up with the increase of Rs 162.50 per share, closing at Rs 3649. The top decliners were Nestle Pakistan XD with the decrease of Rs 378.50 per share, closing at Rs 7191.50 and Shezan International with the decrease of Rs 23.69 per share closing at Rs 450.14. Wed, 15 May 2019 16:49:44 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 15 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Wed, 15 May 2019 16:32:10 +0500 Alternate Text
US dollar jumps to Rs146.25 in open market KARACHI: The rupee continued its declining trend against the dollar in the open market on Wednesday.The dollar reached the all-time high in Pakistan after an increase of Rs2.25 and was being traded at Rs146.25, according to the rates released by the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan on Wednesday.On Tuesday, the rupee closed at Rs144 against the greenback, 0.20 percent weaker from the previous closing of Rs143.70. Wed, 15 May 2019 14:00:59 +0500 Alternate Text
Tax Amnesty Scheme 2019: Assets Declaration Ordinance Islamabad: The cabinet on Tuesday approved   tax amnesty  scheme .The new scheme would be implemented through promulgation of a presidential Ordinance.The presidential ordinance can be promulgated within 24 hours after getting approval of the federal cabinet. Here is the Asset Declaration Ordinance 2019: Tue, 14 May 2019 16:29:15 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 14 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Tue, 14 May 2019 16:12:40 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistani stocks fall as investors fret over IMF deal KARACHI: Pakistani stocks fell on Monday, a day after the country received its 22nd bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as investors and analysts expressed doubt over the reported conditions of the deal.The benchmark KSE-100 index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) dropped by 816 points or 2.41 percent to close at 33,900 points."The investors have taken the IMF conditions as negative, especially with regard to free float of the rupee against the dollar and increasing the interest rate," Yawar Uz-Zaman, head of Research at Shajar Capital, a brokerage house in Karachi.Pakistan and the IMF on Sunday reached a new agreement securing a $6 billion bailout for the cash-strapped country, following months of painstaking negotiations between the two sides. The deal still needs approval from the IMF board in Washington.For more than a year now Pakistan has struggled to stave off a looming balance-of-payments crisis while its economy teeters due to low growth, soaring inflation, and mounting debt.Analysts have warned that any fresh IMF deal would likely come with myriad restrictions that could hobble Prime Minister Imran Khan´s grand promises to build an Islamic welfare state, as the country is forced to tighten its purse strings.Khan had long vowed not to go to the IMF, and his political opponents were quick to deride the announcement, with one particularly dark tweet from Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto."So who´s got our PM on suicide watch then? #PTIMF" he tweeted, using a hashtag to play on the name of Khan´s party -- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or PTI -- and the IMF.Some analysts suggested $6 billion would not be enough to pull the country back from the brink, with Zaman describing it as "insufficient".Mohammad Sohail, CEO of Karachi-based brokerage house Topline Securities, said they believe Pakistan´s annual foreign payments could be as high as $14 billion.If Khan´s government can secure more funding from donors including China and Saudi Arabia, from whom Khan has already raised billions, then it could be sufficient, he said. "If not, it would not be enough for the foreign payments."Salman Ahmed, head of institutional sales at Aba Habib Ali, a brokerage house in Karachi, said the amount was less important than the fact a deal had been struck at all."This will give the government a breathing space, and now it can look around for other sources of financing foreign debts," he said. Mon, 13 May 2019 21:05:36 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 13 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Monday, May 13, 2019. Mon, 13 May 2019 16:20:28 +0500 Alternate Text
Two Saudi tankers damaged in ‘sabotage attack’ off UAE Riyadh: Two Saudi oil tankers were damaged in a "sabotage attack" off the United Arab Emirates coast, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday, quoting the Saudi energy minister."Two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah, while on their way to cross into the Arabian Gulf," SPA cited Khalid al-Falih as saying.The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off Fujairah.The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States which has strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged threats from Tehran.It also comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Brussels to discuss Iran with French, British and German officials.Falih said the sabotage did not result in any casualties or an oil spill but "it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels."One of the two tankers was on its way to be loaded with crude oil from Saudi Ras Tanura oil terminal in the Gulf for customers in the United States, the minister said.UAE did not name who was responsible for the Sunday morning attacks on the vessels but warned that "carrying out acts of sabotage on commercial and civilian vessels and threatening the safety and lives of those on board is a serious development".No one was hurt and Abu Dhabi called on world powers to help keep maritime traffic safe.Fujairah port is the only terminal in the UAE located on the Arabian Sea coast, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, through which most Gulf oil exports pass, and which Iran has repeatedly threatened to close in case of a military confrontation with the United States.The small emirate has an oil terminal and a pipeline that delivers crude oil from Abu Dhabi which sits on the majority of UAE oil reserves.The Pentagon said Friday that it was deploying an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to bolster an aircraft carrier force sent to counter alleged threats from Iran.The increasing tensions come as Tehran said Wednesday it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a 2015 deal with major powers.Iran said it was responding to the sweeping unilateral sanctions that Washington has re-imposed since it quit the agreement one year ago, which have dealt a severe blow to the Iranian economy.iyadh: Two Saudi oil tankers were damaged in a "sabotage attack" off the United Arab Emirates coast, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday, quoting the Saudi energy minister."Two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah, while on their way to cross into the Arabian Gulf," SPA cited Khalid al-Falih as saying.The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels of various nationalities had been targeted by acts of sabotage off Fujairah.The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States which has strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged threats from Tehran.It also comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is headed to Brussels to discuss Iran with French, British and German officials.Falih said the sabotage did not result in any casualties or an oil spill but "it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels."One of the two tankers was on its way to be loaded with crude oil from Saudi Ras Tanura oil terminal in the Gulf for customers in the United States, the minister said.UAE did not name who was responsible for the Sunday morning attacks on the vessels but warned that "carrying out acts of sabotage on commercial and civilian vessels and threatening the safety and lives of those on board is a serious development".No one was hurt and Abu Dhabi called on world powers to help keep maritime traffic safe.Fujairah port is the only terminal in the UAE located on the Arabian Sea coast, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, through which most Gulf oil exports pass, and which Iran has repeatedly threatened to close in case of a military confrontation with the United States.The small emirate has an oil terminal and a pipeline that delivers crude oil from Abu Dhabi which sits on the majority of UAE oil reserves.The Pentagon said Friday that it was deploying an amphibious assault ship and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to bolster an aircraft carrier force sent to counter alleged threats from Iran.The increasing tensions come as Tehran said Wednesday it had stopped respecting limits on its nuclear activities agreed under a 2015 deal with major powers.Iran said it was responding to the sweeping unilateral sanctions that Washington has re-imposed since it quit the agreement one year ago, which have dealt a severe blow to the Iranian economy. Mon, 13 May 2019 10:15:17 +0500 Alternate Text
IMF approves $6 billion agreement with Pakistan for 3-years The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reached staff-level agreement on economic policies with Pakistan for a 39-month Extended Fund Arrangement (EFF) for about US$6 billion.The IMF, in its press release issued on Sunday, said that the Extended Fund Facility arrangement aims to support Pakistan’s strategy for stronger and more inclusive growth by reducing domestic and external imbalances, removing impediments to growth, increasing transparency, and strengthening social spending. It also said that an ambitious structural reform agenda will supplement economic policies to rekindle economic growth and improve living standards. Financing support from Pakistan’s international partners will be critical to support its adjustment efforts and ensure that the medium-term program objectives can be achieved, it added. The IMF mission, led by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, visited Pakistan from April 29 to May 11 to discuss IMF support for Pakistan’s economic reform program and in the end made the following statement: “The Pakistani authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff level agreement on economic policies that could be supported by a 39-month Extended Fund Arrangement (EFF) for about US$6 billion. This agreement is subject to IMF management approval and to approval by the Executive Board, subject to the timely implementation of prior actions and confirmation of international partners’ financial commitments. The program aims to support the authorities’ strategy for stronger and more balanced growth by reducing domestic and external imbalances, improving the business environment, strengthening institutions, increasing transparency, and protecting social spending. “Pakistan is facing a challenging economic environment, with lackluster growth, elevated inflation, high indebtedness, and a weak external position. This reflects the legacy of uneven and procyclical economic policies in recent years aiming to boost growth, but at the expense of rising vulnerabilities and lingering structural and institutional weaknesses. The authorities recognize the need to address these challenges, as well as to tackle the large informality in the economy, the low spending in human capital, and poverty. In this regard, the government has already initiated a difficult, but necessary, adjustment to stabilize the economy, including thorough support from the State Bank of Pakistan. These efforts need to be strengthened. Decisive policies and reforms, together with significant external financing are necessary to reduce vulnerabilities faster, increase confidence, and put the economy back on a sustainable growth path, with stronger private sector activity and job creation. “The EFF aims to support the authorities’ ambitious macroeconomic and structural reform agenda during the next three years. This includes improving public finances and reducing public debt through tax policy and administrative reforms to strengthen revenue mobilization and ensure a more equal and transparent distribution of the tax burden. At the same time, a comprehensive plan for cost-recovery in the energy sectors and state-owned enterprises will help eliminate or reduce the quasi-fiscal deficit that drains scarce government resources. These efforts will create fiscal space for a substantial increase in social spending to strengthen social protection as well as in infrastructure and human capital development. The modernization of the public finance management framework will increase transparency and spending efficiency. Provinces are committed to contribute to these efforts by better aligning their fiscal objectives with those of the federal government. “The forthcoming budget for FY2019/20 is a first critical step in the authorities’ fiscal strategy. The budget will aim for a primary deficit of 0.6 percent of GDP supported by tax policy revenue mobilization measures to eliminate exemptions, curtail special treatments, and improve tax administration. This will be accompanied by prudent spending growth aimed at preserving essential development spending, scaling up the Benazir Income Support Program and improve targeted subsidies, with the goal of protecting the most vulnerable segments of society. “The State Bank of Pakistan will focus on reducing inflation, which disproportionately affects the poor, and safeguarding financial stability. A market-determined exchange rate will help the functioning of the financial sector and contribute to a better resource allocation in the economy. The authorities are committed to strengthening the State Bank of Pakistan’s operational independence and mandate. “An ambitious structural reform agenda will supplement economic policies to rekindle economic growth and improve living standards. Priority areas include improving the management of public enterprises, strengthening institutions and governance, continuing anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism efforts, creating a more favorable business environment, and facilitating trade. To improve fiscal management the authorities will engage provincial governments on exploring options to rebalance current arrangements in the context of the forthcoming National Financial Commission. “The IMF team is grateful to the Pakistani authorities for open and constructive discussions and their hospitality.” Sun, 12 May 2019 22:31:12 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistan: Foreign remittances grow 8.45 percent to 17.9 billion in 10 months ISLAMABAD: Overseas Pakistani workers remitted US $17,875.23 million in first 10 months (July to April) of FY19, showing a growth of 8.45% compared with US $16,481.82 million received during the same period in the preceding year.During April 2019, the inflow of worker’s remittances amounted to US $1,778.90 million,which is 2% higher than March 2019 and 6% higher than April 2018, according to a data released by State Bank of Pakistan on Friday.The country wise details for the month of April 2019 show that inflows from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA,UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) and EU countries amounted to $427.82 million, $372.43 million, $269.56 million, $280.02 million, $175.44million and $48.19 million respectively compared with the inflow of $399.56 million, $362.40 million, $250.91 million, $245.85 million, $167.68 million and $54.75million respectively in April 2018. Remittances received from Malaysia, Norway,Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during April 2019 amounted to $205.43 million together as against $197.72 million received in April 2018. Fri, 10 May 2019 16:00:08 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 10 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Friday, May 10, 2019. Fri, 10 May 2019 15:52:55 +0500 Alternate Text
Pakistan growth to hit eight-year low as IMF bailout looms Discontent is already growing over the measures the government has taken to stave off the crisis (AFP Photo)ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's growth rate is set to hit an eight-year low, a government report predicted Friday, with all major indicators down as the country continues negotiating its 22nd bailout from the International Monetary Fund.A report by the National Accounts Committee, released late Thursday, forecast growth of a mere 3.3 percent in the current fiscal year against a projected target of 6.2 percent."These are provisional data, not final, but Pakistan's economy is witnessing a slowdown," Muzammil Aslam, an independent economist, said.The report came as an IMF mission to Pakistan was expected to conclude its visit Friday, where it has been holding negotiations over a long-delayed bailout to stave off a potential balance-of-payments crisis.A deal could be announced shortly, according to local media."We expect an IMF package similar to the one Pakistan obtained in 2008," Aslam, who heads Emerging Economic Research, said.Then, Pakistan got a $7.6 billion loan for five years to support its programme to stabilise and rebuild the economy.Analysts have warned that any fresh IMF deal could come with restrictions that would hobble Prime Minister Imran Khan's grand promises to build an Islamic welfare state.Discontent is already growing over the measures the government has taken to fend off the crisis, including devaluing the rupee by some 30 percent since January 2018, sending inflation to five-year highs."I had to halve my blood pressure medicine dose as we can't afford to buy expensive medicines," Shehla Samad, a 45-year housewife, told AFP in Karachi recently.The IMF has issued an even more grim forecast for Pakistan, predicting economic growth of 2.9 percent -- a 10-year low -- for the current fiscal year.Government officials said last month they have reached an "agreement in principle" with the IMF.But Khan's finance minister Asad Umar, who was leading negotiations, quit after a cabinet reshuffle last month."We need to take some difficult decisions and we need to show some patience.... Don't expect that there will be miracles and rivers of honey and milk," Umar warned after his resignation.The negotiations are now being led by Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, a former World Bank official who was Pakistan's finance minister from 2010-2013.The US has warned that it will be watching closely to ensure Pakistan does not use IMF money to repay debts to China, which has poured billions into the country for infrastructure projects under its Belt and Road Initiative.Pakistan, which joined the IMF in 1950, has had 21 bailouts since then. Its most recent loan was issued in 2013, worth $6.6 billion.The United Arab Emirates, Pakistan's largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major investment source, recently offered $3 billion to support the battered economy.Islamabad also secured $6 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia and struck a 12-month deal for a cash lifeline during Khan's visit to the kingdom in October. Fri, 10 May 2019 15:15:29 +0500 Alternate Text
50 US coal power plants shut under Trump WASHINGTON: Fifty coal-fired power plants have shut in the United States since President Donald Trump came to office two years ago, an environmental organization said Thursday.The Sierra Club counted 50 closures, along with 51 announcements of closure, since Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. The numbers are distinct because it sometimes takes years between an announcement and the actual shuttering.This week, the operators of two coal plants, one in Florida and the other in Utah, announced they would shut their doors within the next few years. In total, 289 have closed since 2010, comprising 40 percent of the US´s coal power capacity, while an additional 241 plants remain open.A coal power plant that began running in Alaska a few weeks ago is the only new installation to open since Trump took office, the non-profit said."We´re seeing a rush to the exit door from the coal industry and utilities, because the economics don´t work out," the Sierra Club´s Jonathan Levenshus told AFP.Despite the president´s pro-coal rhetoric, "what the Trump administration is offering is false promises," he added.Since the fracking boom began around a decade ago, coal has become more expensive to exploit than natural gas, which is experiencing strong growth in the United States and increasingly replacing coal.By this summer, coal is on course to provide only 25 percent of the US energy mix from its share of 35 percent in 2015.Meanwhile, natural gas will account for 40 percent of the power supply, according to an analysis published Thursday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). US coal production has fallen by a third since its peak in 2008, according to official energy statistics, and more than half of all mines have closed since that time. Fri, 10 May 2019 00:14:16 +0500 Alternate Text
Shabbar Zaidi is a regular tax payer, FBR record refutes social media reports ISLAMABAD: The newly appointed Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi is a regular tax payer and paid Rs 17.89 million (Rs17,897,927) in the tax year 2018. According to FBR documents, the new FBR Chief having the CNIC: 42301-1740521-7, paid Rs 15.36 million (Rs15,369,849) for tax year 2017; Rs 11.2 million (Rs11,206,943) for tax year 2016 and Rs 7.3 million Rs 7,369,820) for Tax year 2015. Contrary to the social media reports and the report by a news channel, the FBR record shows that Shabbar Zaidi has been filing his returns regularly.Shabbar also holds the coveted position of being the highest tax payer amongst the Chartered Accountants and was duly recognised by being given an award for being amongst the top tax payers. Thu, 09 May 2019 23:32:27 +0500 Alternate Text
KSE-100 Index closes 147.39 lower KARACHI: Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 shares index lost 0.42 percent or 147.39 points to close at 34887.64 points level on Thursday.The total turnover was 78,099,340 as compared to 113,235,730 on the last working day with Maple Leaf having the highest turnover of 7,229,000.Total 304 companies’ transacted shares in the Stock Market today (Thursday), out of which 139 recorded gains and 145 sustained losses whereas the share price of 20 companies remained unchanged. Thu, 09 May 2019 19:47:28 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 09 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Thursday, May 09, 2019. Thu, 09 May 2019 16:20:54 +0500 Alternate Text
Facebook introduces new tools for business Facebook announced two new advertising tools to help small businesses save time and resources so they can focus on growth: Automated Ads, Appointments and new video creative tools.With Automated Ads, the business owner is asked a few simple questions about their business and their goals to help develop a customized marketing plan for their business.Some of the most helpful features of Automated Ads include multiple versions of the ad.Business owners can create up to six different versions of their ads automatically. The automated ads solution will suggest call-to-action buttons, text and other creative details based on information from the business’ Page, and once the ad is active, the solution will automatically show the best-performing version.The tailored audience suggestion is the solution that will suggest audience options or recommendations based on information from the business’ Page.Recommended budget that generates results: The solution will recommend a budget most likely to get business results based on the goal. Businesses can also provide their own budget and the solution will share the estimated results that they can expect.Timely notification about your ads is also the feature. Businesses will receive notifications to help them understand how their ads are performing and how they can improve. These can include suggested changes like refreshing an image or notifications when the ad starts generating results like a lead or sale.Jordi Fornies, Director, Emerging Markets, APAC at Facebook said: “Small businesses in South Asia don't always have the time or resources to gain marketing expertise, but this shouldn't prevent them from creating ads that drive results. Our new Automated Ads solution takes the guesswork out of creating effective ads that can run on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network and make it easier for SMBs to focus on growth”.Facebook is also expanding its free tools for businesses, allowing them to book and manage appointments on Facebook. Businesses can use the appointments feature to enable new and existing customers to book services with their business. They can accept appointments online and send reminders to customers through Messenger or text message. They can also customize their business' menu of services, display availability and accept and manage all appointments directly from their business Page. And to keep things organized, they can also sync appointments with their personal calendar or another appointment management tool. Appointments on Facebook are free for all businesses on Facebook and Instagram, including SMS and Messenger reminders to customers to prevent no-shows.Facebooking is also introducing new ways to easily edit existing video with three new video editing tools: automatic cropping, video trimming and image and text overlays. These tools, available in both Ads Manager and Business Manager, can help reduce the resources needed to create compelling video content for SMBs.  Wed, 08 May 2019 16:27:48 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 08 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Wednesday, May 08, 2019. Wed, 08 May 2019 16:04:48 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 07 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Tuesday, May 07, 2019. Tue, 07 May 2019 16:19:28 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 06 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies in kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Monday, May 06, 2019. Mon, 06 May 2019 16:43:37 +0500 Alternate Text
Ramadan 2019: Banks to remain closed for public dealing tomorrow ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan will remain closed for public dealing on 1st Ramadan-ul-Mubarak (Tuesday), which will be observed as Bank Holiday for deduction of Zakat, as usual.All banks, Development Financial Institutions (DFIs), and Microfinance Banks (MFBs) will, therefore, remain closed for public dealing on 1st Ramadan-ul-Mubarak 1440 A. H, said a statement of SBP.However, all employees of the banks / DFIs / MFBs will attend the office on Bank Holiday treating it as normal working day (except for public dealing), the statement added. Mon, 06 May 2019 08:59:28 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 04 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of  US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham and other foreign currencies   in  kerb market, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan on Saturday, May 04, 2019. Sat, 04 May 2019 16:12:22 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 03 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of foreign currencies in kerb market issued by the Forex Association of Pakistan here on Friday May 03, 2019. Fri, 03 May 2019 16:48:43 +0500 Alternate Text
Rs.7,500 Prize Bond Result: 2 May 2019 List of Draw # 78 Rs.7,500 Prize Bond Results of Draw # 78 was announced on 2 May 2019 in Karachi. Prize bond #  313603 has won the grand prize of Rs. 15,000,000/- where as prize bond # 116024, 930589 & 938719  won 2nd prize of  Rs. 5,000,000/- each. There were 1,696 more lucky winners who have won Rs. 93,000 each.  List of these winners  from draw # 78 is given below. 001263 030735 064141 097810 135014 170235 199432 233046 256699 285165 311954001465 030753 064588 097970 135439 171273 199581 233159 256961 285296 312531001820 031379 064817 099553 135755 172915 200179 233632 257209 285350 312590001955 031575 065476 099697 136071 173689 203641 233799 257531 287800 312665002539 033183 065612 099898 136818 173832 203757 233804 258538 288375 312936002561 033185 068650 102062 137955 174495 204724 234852 259227 288570 313357003313 033378 070197 103113 138368 174528 204974 234873 259257 289664 315979003538 033897 070567 103982 139544 174586 205525 235232 259959 289707 316098004115 034417 071214 105372 139850 174665 205666 235451 260408 289841 316652004970 034669 071313 105625 139984 174895 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909423 937254 970973 xxxxxx709825 735426 761531 800051 821798 848760 881787 910553 937503 971300 xxxxxx Fri, 03 May 2019 16:14:10 +0500 Alternate Text
Rs. 25,000 Prize Bond Result: 2 May 2019 List of Draw # 29 Rs.25,000 Prize Bond by National Savings Pakistan. Results Announced for Draw # 29 on 2 May 2019.Rs.25,000 Prize Bond Results of Draw # 29 was announced on 2 May 2019 in Karachi.  According to National Savings Pakistan, First Prize of Rs.50,000,000/- was awarded to prize bond # 714078.  Second Prize of Rs.15,000,000/-  was given to 3 lucky winners with prize bond # 183190,  537634 & 663366 respectively. Third Prize consist of 1,696 lucky winners who won Rs.312,000/- Each. List of these prize bond winners from draw # 78 is given below. 000249 031105 070306 095331 125531 156296 182345 208258 236883 265146 302162000294 032026 070811 095549 125611 156400 182398 208382 237008 266417 302307000315 033056 071275 095671 126145 156464 183079 208485 237063 267049 303133001197 033343 071571 097323 126722 156526 183702 208534 237621 268037 303501001280 034074 072463 100447 127283 156840 184351 210735 238112 270936 303658001778 034519 072587 100945 128471 157015 184616 211000 238272 271850 303997002987 035704 072593 101072 129315 157783 185271 211663 238421 272228 304056003256 035976 072831 101313 129356 158183 185852 211852 238585 272534 304415003732 038102 074791 102731 129368 158793 186363 211857 238849 273481 305980003907 038727 075405 104092 129478 160181 186396 212507 239056 273879 306517004830 039221 075517 104099 131595 160237 187354 212977 239308 274005 306712004907 040750 075680 105637 131621 160510 187975 214473 240357 274362 306949005878 042059 075963 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IMF talks moving in positive direction: Hafeez Sheikh ISLAMABAD: Negotiations with IMF are moving in positive direction to reach a program that provides a platform for macro-economic development, Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh on Friday.Speaking at an Investment Conference, he said agreement with IMF will send a positive signal to other international financial institutions as well as countries regarding Pakistan's commitment to fiscal discipline.Sheikh  said the upcoming budget will include  steps aimed at addressing gaps in current account deficit and fiscal deficit for attaining sustainable economic growth. He said the government's measures have resulted in reduction in imports and increase in exports and remittances. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said steps have also been taken to decrease expenditures, and coordinated efforts are underway to increase revenue.  Fri, 03 May 2019 11:29:06 +0500 Alternate Text
Country’s exports stand at $11.462 bln in 6 months, Senate told ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan Thursday apprised the Senate that the country’s total exports and imports stood at $ 11.462 billion and $ 26.867 billion during the period from September 2018 to February 2019.Responding to a question of Senator Kalsoom Perveen, the minister said the trade deficit was recorded as $ 21.523 billion on March 1.To another question, the minister said various measures were taken to improve the balance of trade of the country which included revision of export enhancement package, reduction in the cost of production, economic package to support industrial growth, payment of sales tax refund, policy rate for export finance, market access by China on yarn, rice and sugar, market access to Indonesia etc.He said various measures were also taken to curtail imports which included imposition of regulatory duties, exchange rate rationalization and policy revision for the import of vehicles under transfer of residence personal baggage or under gift scheme etc.Responding to a question on behalf of minister for Climate Change, Ali Muhammad Khan said the Pakistan presently has 5.01% of the total land area under forest.Hence it is one of the 56 ‘Low Forest Cover Countries’ (LFCC) in which forest cover is less than 10 percent of total land area, he said.Forestry is a provincial subject under the constitution of 1973, hence directions to ensure specific percentage of their land under forest cannot be passed, he said.However, he said Federal Government supported provinces to improve forest cover and promote tree plantation in the country through national level mega projects that include Green Pakistan Programme, Sustainable Forest Management project and Sustainable Land Management Project to Combat Desertification. Thu, 02 May 2019 18:07:48 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 02 May 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of foreign currencies in kerb market issued by the Forex Association of Pakistan here on Thursday May 02, 2019. Thu, 02 May 2019 16:39:38 +0500 Alternate Text
Qualcomm to see at least $4.5 bn from Apple settlement SAN FRANCISCO: US mobile chipmaker Qualcomm on Wednesday said it expects a windfall of $4.5 billion to $4.7 billion this quarter from its recent settlement with Apple in a royalty battle.Qualcomm factored the additional revenue into a forecast in its latest earnings release, saying the money would be a payment "from Apple and the release of our obligations to pay or refund Apple and the contract manufacturers certain customer-related liabilities."The Southern California-based company also factored in revenue expected for new royalties from Apple and the makers of its devices.Qualcomm reported revenue of $5 billion in the recently ended quarter, while its forecast for the current quarter was from $9.2 billion to $10.2 billion in revenue.In April, Apple and Qualcomm announced an agreement to "dismiss all litigation" against each other worldwide in what had been a sprawling battle over royalty payments.The last-minute settlement cut short a courtroom clash between the tech giants just as it was getting underway in California. For two years, the companies had fought a multi-front brawl that could have required Qualcomm to pay billions."We entered into settlement agreements with Apple and its contract manufacturers to dismiss all outstanding litigation between the parties," Qualcomm said in an earnings release on Wednesday.The chipmaker added that it also entered into a six-year global patent license agreement with Apple that included an option for Apple to extend the deal for an additional two years.At the heart of the battle were the royalties Qualcomm charges for its patented chips, which enable smartphones to connect to mobile networks.Apple accused Qualcomm, which holds the most patents for chips, of taking advantage of its dominant position to charge exorbitant amounts for its chips or access to its patents.Qualcomm denied the allegations and accused Apple of abusing its position and of taking legal action to negotiate prices down.Several hours after the deal was announced, Intel said it was withdrawing from the 5G smartphone modem business, without indicating whether its decision was a cause or consequence of the agreement its rival signed with Apple.The stakes had been especially high for Qualcomm, given that it earns a significant chunk of its revenue from royalties paid by manufacturers for its patented technology.  Thu, 02 May 2019 08:27:19 +0500 Alternate Text
UK´s May sacks defence minister Williamson over Huawei leak LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday sacked Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson following a probe into the leak of news that Britain had conditionally allowed China´s Huawei to develop its 5G network."The Prime Minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of Defence Secretary and as a member of her Cabinet," said a spokeswoman from her Downing Street office.May said in a letter to Williamson that the investigation "provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure" from the April 23 meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), although he "strenuously denied" responsibility."No other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified," wrote May."This is an extremely serious matter and a deeply disappointing one," she added, with Williamson now facing the possibility of a criminal probe."This must now be referred to the Metropolitan Police for a thorough criminal investigation into breaches of the Official Secrets Act," said Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable.Williamson responded in a letter to May, saying he was "sorry you felt recent leaks" originated from the defence ministry."I strenuously deny that I was in any way involved in this leak and I am confident that a thorough and formal inquiry would have vindicated my position".He revealed that May had given him the chance to resign, but turned it down as it would have been an acceptance of guilt.Downing Street later announced that Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities, would replace Williamson and become Britain´s first female defence minister, while continuing in her current role.Britain´s already splintered government was rocked by the scandal last month over who leaked news that May was to let Huawei develop Britain´s 5G network.The bitterly disputed decision was reportedly made at the April 23 meeting of the NSC.NSC discussions are only attended by senior ministers and security officials who first sign the Official Secrets Act that commits them to keep conversations private or risk prosecution.But The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that May approved granting Huawei permission to build up "non-core" elements of Britain´s next-generation telecommunications network.- Political operator -The United States is adamantly opposed to Huawei´s involvement because of the firm´s obligation under Chinese law to help its home government gather intelligence or provide other security services when required.May told Williamson it was "vital" that members of the NSC... were able to have "frank and detailed discussions in full confidence" that they would not be made public.She added that she was "concerned by the manner in which you have engaged with this investigation", saying his conduct "has not been of the same standard" as other members of the NSC.British media reported that Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill -- the country´s most senior civil servant -- gave those present an ultimatum to deny responsibility for the leak. Williamson was one of the first to do so, calling it "completely unacceptable".His allies told Sky News reporter Kate McCann that they suspect Sedwill of engineering the sacking over historical disagreements between the pair.The 42-year-old was a trusted ally of the prime minister.He was May´s parliamentary campaign manager when she successfully ran to become Conservative Party leader, and was rewarded with the job of chief whip -- tasked with enforcing discipline for the Conservative Party in parliament.He was only elected to parliament in 2010, and was best known for keeping a pet tarantula, Cronus, in a glass-sided tank on his desk.May raised eyebrows when she appointed Williamson to the key defence job in November 2017 after previous incumbent Michael Fallon resigned over allegations of sexual harassment.The move raised questions about whether Williamson´s whips´ office had a role in preparing the dossier on ministers behind the scandal, and there were reports that Williamson advised May that Fallon may be facing further allegations."Make no mistake, Gavin Williamson wants to be prime minister. And he knows all the dirt on his colleagues," wrote Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times newspaper. Thu, 02 May 2019 01:25:22 +0500 Alternate Text
Apple rallies as new services offset slump in iPhone sales SAN FRANCISCO: Apple said that profits in the past quarter dropped amid falling iPhone sales, but the results were above Wall Street expectations and sent shares sharply higher.The California tech giant reported a 16 percent drop in profits in the just-ended quarter to $11.6 billion, as overall revenues dipped five percent to $58 billion.Apple shares rallied more than five percent in after-hours trade, with the results showing better-than-anticipated results from its new products and services in the fiscal second quarter to March 30."Our March quarter results show the continued strength of our installed base of over 1.4 billion active devices, as we set an all-time record for services, and the strong momentum of our wearables, home and accessories category, which set a new March quarter record," said chief executive Tim Cook."We delivered our strongest iPad growth in six years, and we are as excited as ever about our pipeline of innovative hardware, software and services."Apple has been scrambling to develop new revenue streams amid stagnant growth and increased competition in the smartphone market, which has been the company´s main profit driver.The latest quarterly results showed revenue from iPhone sales slumped 17 percent to $31 billion. Apple has stopped reported iPhone unit sales.But services revenue grew 16 percent to $11 billion, reflecting growth in music, Apple Pay and other new offerings from the firm.Apple also saw growth in its wearables -- which include its Apple Watch and earbuds -- and its smart HomePod speaker. Wed, 01 May 2019 02:20:38 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 30 April 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of foreign currencies in kerb market issued by the Forex Association of Pakistan here on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Tue, 30 Apr 2019 17:04:00 +0500 Alternate Text
Amazon workers including Pakistanis join forces in Berlin against US giant Berlin: Amazon worker representatives from 15 countries met in Berlin on Monday to coordinate their strategy against the US online retail giant, after years of individually battling against its often-criticised employment practices.More than 50 Amazon employees from as far afield as Egypt, Brazil and Pakistan, as well as neighbouring Italy, Poland and France, gathered in the German capital in a closed-door summit.The aim: to compare notes on working conditions in Amazon’s logistics centres around the world, the engine rooms that speed wares from the so-called "everything store" to customers’ homes."We learn that we’re not alone, that we’re facing some of the same challenges everywhere in the world," said Christy Hoffman, secretary-general of the international UNI Global Union.Alfred Bujara of Poland’s Solidarnosc union said that "we’re sharing information about the different rules and regulations, then we can use those in the negotiations," blasting Amazon’s expectations of "every movement measured in seconds".Amazon Logistics employees complain of such machine-like demands and resent the firm’s fine-grained surveillance of employees, as well as low salaries.They also hope for calmer dialogue with management.But European unions have struggled since 2013 to secure recognition from Amazon bosses, picking key days for online shopping like "Prime Day" or "Black Friday" to throttle package deliveries and draw public attention to their working conditions.In 2018, industrial action reached a new height as around 50 strikes were organised around Europe and, in a rare show of cross-border solidarity, some were coordinated to hit simultaneously in several countries."If we coordinate amongst ourselves, France, Italy, Spain, then Amazon reacts. If there’s a struggle, Amazon agrees to talks," said Stefanie Nutzenberger of German service workers’ union Verdi."We’re preparing for other conflicts and they will extend beyond our borders," she added. Tue, 30 Apr 2019 12:11:23 +0500 Alternate Text
Samsung Electronics 1Q net profit slumps 56.9 percent SEOUL: Samsung Electronics, the world´s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, reported a slump in first-quarter net profits Tuesday, in the face of a weakening chip market.Net profits in the January-March period were 5.04 trillion won ($4.3 billion) -- the lowest since the third quarter of 2016 -- it said, down 56.9 percent year-on-year.The firm is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate business in the world´s 11th largest economy, and it is crucial to South Korea´s economic health.It has enjoyed record profits in recent years despite a series of setbacks, including a humiliating recall and the jailing of its de facto chief.But now the picture is changing, with chip prices falling as global supply increases and demand weakens.It also has to contend with increasingly tough competition in the smartphone market from Chinese rivals like Huawei -- which in 2017 surpassed Apple to take second place -- offering quality devices at lower prices."Mobile displays suffered slower demand and intensifying competition with LTPS LCDs," the company said in a statement."Large displays also took a hit from a continued decline in LCD panel prices amid weak seasonality."Samsung launched its top-end S10 5G smartphone earlier this month, after South Korea won the global race to commercially launch the world´s first nationwide 5G networks.But last week it made a high-profile decision to delay the release of its $2,000 foldable smartphone after reviewers provided with early devices reported screen problems within days of use.While Samsung´s device was not the first folding handset, the smartphone giant was expected to help spark demand and potentially revive a sector that has been struggling for new innovations.Samsung supplies screens and memory chips for its own smartphones and Apple, and server chips for cloud companies such as Amazon.The figures come after South Korea´s SK Hynix, the world´s second-largest memory chip maker, also saw operating profits plunge more than two-thirds in the first quarter. Tue, 30 Apr 2019 07:31:08 +0500 Alternate Text
K-Electric announces 700MW Power Project at Port Qasim Karachi: K-Electric has signed an agreement with the state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) for the development a state-of-the-art 700MW IPP based power project at Port Qasim, Karachi.Construction of the plant is expected to commence in the first quarter of next fiscal year. Once the project comes online it will not only help meet the growing power demand in Karachi and its adjoining areas but will also allow KE to diversify its fuel mix.The project was formally announced at the Pakistan Trade and Investment Forum held alongside the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China. The project agreement and contracts were signed by Moonis Alvi, Chief Executive Officer K-Electric and Zhang Chun, Chairman CMEC in the presence of Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production and Investment. This is a milestone project in the economic cooperation between China and Pakistan and will directly benefit Karachi, Pakistan’s economic hub.Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production and Investment shared, “I am sure that this is just one of a series of joint endeavors in the future that will translate into a win-win for shared prosperity in the region and beyond. Stable electricity supply infrastructure is critical for the country’s sustainable progress, trade and industries and I urge all stakeholders to work together for its early completion to maximize the benefits to Karachi and Pakistan.Speaking at the signing ceremony Moonis Alvi, CEO KE said, “The current project is one more in a series of investments from K-Electric to further strengthen the city’s power infrastructure and brings us yet another step closer to our long-term commitment to enable Karachi to fulfill its economic potential. KE has invested more than $ 2.1 Billion in infrastructure upgrades across the energy value chain over the last 9 years and plans to invest $ 3bn over the next few years. We are committed to increase generation as well as to upgrade Karachi’s transmission and distribution network. Our goal is to commission the project at the earliest and we are confident we can do this with the continued support of policy makers and an enabling business environment.” Mon, 29 Apr 2019 21:18:11 +0500 Alternate Text
Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound, UAE Dirham - 29 April 2019 KARACHI: Following were the closing rates of foreign currencies in kerb market issued by the Forex Association of Pakistan here on Monday, April 29, 2019. Mon, 29 Apr 2019 16:49:07 +0500 Alternate Text