China’s Billion-Dollar Gateway To The Subcontinent: Pakistan May Be Opening A Door It Cannot Close

CPECBy Mahwish Chowdhary

Despite decades of mismanagement and a feeble socioeconomic infrastructure, one thing Pakistan benefits from is a strategic location—and China is taking notice.

More than 70% of China’s trade and energy imports travel through the Indian Ocean and the pirate-swarmed Strait of Malacca, both patrolled by the United States and Indian navies. But this possible chokepoint is a security issue for China, particularly in terms of oil (40% of its general consumption passes through the strait). Any sort of conflict could cut off the country’s energy supply, and ships would need to travel an extra 500 miles to avoid the strait, currently the fastest route from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. China, aware of this vulnerability, is looking to Pakistan to provide a shorter and safer alternative.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), first proposed in 2013, is a massive project of rail links, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure projects across Pakistan allowing for direct access to the Indian Ocean. It would connect Gwadar to Kashgar, a major trading hub in China, and abbreviate the current route to the Persian Gulf by more than 10,000 kilometers. Instead of 45 days, it would take China a mere 10 days to get its imports—all while avoiding any potentially contested channels near Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and India, and eventually lowering shipping costs.

The CPEC would also provide China with an entry point to the Arabian Gulf, thus widening its geopolitical influence and possibly its military presence in the region. (Some Indian intellectuals suspect the Gwadar port will serve as a Chinese naval facility.) And it only comes at a cost of about $40 billion.

This isn’t the only investment China has planned in Pakistan. In fact, the money going to the country is double what Pakistan has received in foreign direct investment since 2008, and larger than any shape of assistance from the U.S. The list below (including CPEC) is just a snapshot of upcoming projects, likely funded by the Bank of China, the Export-Import Bank of China and the proposed Asian Infrastructure Development Bank:

  • $3.7 billion for a Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar rail line
  • $2.8 billion for developing four coal-fired stations with a capacity of 1,980 megawatts in Thar (Sindh)
  • $2.2 billion for two coal-mining blocks in Thar (Sindh)
  • $2 billion to build a natural gas pipeline between Gwadar and Nawabshah, then connecting to Iran
  • $2 billion to develop coal-fired generation plants at Port Qasim Karachi
  • $1.6 billion for a hydropower project in Karot
  • $1.2 billion for a solar power park in Bahawalpur
  • $930 million to link the Karakoram highway to Islamabad and Havelien
  • $260 million for a 100 megawatt wind farm in Jhimpir
  • $230 million to build the Gwadar International Airport

It is all part of China’s quest for influence throughout the continent via aid and investment. After decades of shying away from aggressive foreign policy moves, China now wants to play a much bigger regional role and is pushing plans for interconnected infrastructure networks to better link its economy with rest of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Think of it as the new Silk Road.

Continue reading

China finally wins Thailand railway project

(Photo/Xinhua)

By Kong Defang (People’s Daily Online)

After many ups and downs, China has finally won the railway cooperation project with Thailand. Zhu Xijun, general manager of the Southeast Asia Company of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), said on Aug. 26 that after six rounds of negotiation,both sides plans to sign the inter-governmental framework agreement on the China-Thailand Railway project in early September, and the commencement ceremony of the project is expected to be held in the end of October, Xinhua reported.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties and the first yearof implementation of the “One Belt and One Road”initiative proposed by China. The China-Thailand Railway, which has a historical significance, has attracted tremendous attention.

According to Zhu Xijun, the project, which will be completed in 3 years, will bring actual benefits to the socioeconomic development of Thailand. After the railway puts into use,people will enjoy a much more convenient and cheaper transportation between China and Thailand. The price of a railway passenger ticket between Kunming and Bangkok will be about 3600 Thai Baht or 700 yuan, which is about a half or a third of an airline ticket, and the railway freight cost is only one ninth of the air freight.

The railway is estimated to add 2 million more Chinese tourists to Thailand every year andwill provide further convenience to its agricultural product export. With this railway,Thailand will be a new transportation hub of ASEAN countries.

Continue reading

India Rising: Do people feel the economy picking up? – BBC report

Ease of doing business, red tape, shoddy infrastructure and archaic labour laws are all concerns for big companies who want to invest in India

India and the economy: Your questions answered

Is India really rising? How is the China devaluation affecting it? Is the country wasting money on space programmes when such a high percentage of its population lives in poverty?

These are among the many questions on India and the economy we answered on our Facebook page on Wednesday morning.

Questions came in from across the world on a range of economic areas, all of which can be found on the BBC News page.

Here are a few examples:

Ram Chandra: Miss Vaswami, What is it about India that the country is not attracting big enterprises like China did. Is globalisation dead?

A lot of the complaints I hear from foreign investors who want to invest here are the same ones that used to crop up five years ago when I was last reporting for the BBC here.

Issues such as ease of doing business, red tape, shoddy infrastructure and archaic labour laws are all concerns for big companies who want to invest in India – but it IS getting better.

Manufacturing companies are looking more closely at India as an alternative base to China – as wage growth there has made it more expensive for companies to do business.

What India needs to show the foreign investment community and its critics is that it serious about taking on painful but crucial economic reforms – many in the business community have told me they’re disappointed with the lack of progress on passing important bills during the last parliamentary session

Sendoi Likwasi: Does the devaluing of China’s currency positively or negatively affect India’s economy in terms of trade?

Predicting what might happen in the currency markets is very difficult.

The Indian currency has depreciated against the US dollar since the devaluation of the Chinese yuan earlier this month, but not by as much as other currencies in the region.

One argument is that emerging market currencies like the rupee must adjust to a lower yuan in order to make their exports more competitive and compete with Chinese goods.

For India, a weaker currency means its goods are cheaper overseas – but it also means the cost of raw materials – like oil – goes up. Currently India is enjoying the benefits of a low oil environment and it looks like it will stay that way for some time to come, but the bigger concern is over what the impact of a weakened Chinese currency might do in the longer term, and whether its devaluation may trigger the start of a global currency war.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34063747

Global shares nosedive on China woes

FTSE 100 and European markets rattled by losses in China

Stock markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt have fallen sharply as fears of a Chinese economic slowdown continue to haunt investors.

London’s FTSE 100 index was down by 4% in early afternoon trade, with major markets in France and Germany down by 4.6% and 4.4% respectively.

Shares in Asia were hit overnight, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing down 8.5%, its worst close since 2007.

Global investors worry about growth in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s central bank devalued the country’s currency, the yuan, two weeks ago, raising fresh concerns that a slowdown in the country’s economy was worse than originally feared.

Currencies and commodities are also falling sharply, because those markets rely heavily on strong demand from China.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34038147

Bernie Sanders Takes Aim At ‘Greedy’ Koch Brothers

SCOTT OLSON VIA GETTY IMAGES

“For the life of me, I will never understand how a family like the Koch brothers, worth $85 billion, apparently think that’s not enough money.”

By AP

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is making the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch the face of a “corrupted” political and economic system that the Vermont senator wants to upend.

Sanders delighted a South Carolina rally of more than 3,000 people Saturday with his assertions that the Kochs and other “greedy” billionaires are destroying American democracy by infusing huge sums of cash into campaigns and election.

The Vermont senator, who is pushing former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from the left, called for publicly financed elections that would allow “anyone” to seek public office without “begging from billionaires.”

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-koch-brothers_55d9ca6ee4b0a40aa3ab3642?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&section=politics

Expanding quality education is the only way to generate long-term economic growth

Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education

By and

September the United Nations will finalize a new package of development goals that will guide the efforts of its member states to improve living conditions around the world. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are long on ambition—they intend to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030—but short on substance. Most importantly, the SDGs’ approach to education is insufficient.

Expanding quality education is the only feasible way to generate long-term economic growth, which is why a strong and coherent emphasis on education is central to the success of the global development agenda. Unfortunately, the current SDG goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” is too vague and provides no guidance for measuring increases in cognitive skill levels. The global development community can do better.

COUNT WHAT COUNTS

A growing body of research has emphasized the importance of cognitive skills, or knowledge capital, in driving economic growth. Over time, the knowledge capital of the nation improves as better-educated youth enter the labor force. A more skilled workforce leads to increased economic growth.

Read more » FOREIGN AFFAIRS
See more » https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-08-20/teach-world

Canada’s retail exodus: Here’s who’s closed stores in Canada

By The Canadian Press | January 15, 2015 | Last Updated: Jan 15 4:35 PM ET More from The Canadian Press

Target Canada isn’t the only retailer closing its doors in Canada. On Thursday, Sony announced it was shuttering stores in the country. They add their names to a growing list of retailers who have recently closed some stores or are closing altogether in Canada.

Here is a list of recent notable closures:

Target Canada isn’t the only retailer closing its doors in Canada.

Target Canada
— Target Corp. announced its decision to close all its stores on January 15.
– Shuttering 133 stores, affecting 17,600 employees
– “We were losing money every day,” chief executive Brian Cornell said in a corporate blog post. The company had racked up over US$2-billion in losses in its less than two years in Canada

Sony
— Sony Corp. announced January 15 it’s closing all 14 of its stores in Canada over the next six to eight weeks
— Closures will result in 90 layoffs
— Currently has stores in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Vancouver, Toronto and Alberta
— Company facing US$1.9 billion loss when its fiscal year ends in March

Mexx Canada

– Dutch-based retailer declared bankruptcy in December 2014
– Liquidating 95 stores in Canada by the end of February
– Mexx has 315 stores around the world

Smart Set
– Parent company Reitmans announced in November 2014 that it would close 107 Smart Set stores
– Will convert 76 locations into other banners, including Reitmans, Penningtons, Addition Elle, RW&Co. and Thyme Maternity
– Smart Set banner was created in 1945, with the first location opening in Ontario in 1970
– First Reitmans store opened in Montreal in 1926

Jacob is closing 92 stores.

Jacob
– Womens’ retailer was founded in 1977 in Montreal
– Announced in October 2014 it would abandon restructuring efforts and close 92 stores across the country
– Company under creditor protection since November 2010

Holt Renfrew
– Luxury retailer closing stores in Ottawa and Quebec City at the end of January 2015
– Will undertake a $300 million expansion in key markets such as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal

Sears Canada

– In October 2014, parent company Sears Holding Corp. announced it would sell most of its stake in the struggling Canadian unit to raise as much as US$380 million
– In January 2014, Sears Canada announced it was cutting 2,200 employees from its payroll. It had already laid off thousands of employees in 2013
–  Sears Canada has sold leases to some of its most prominent locations, including its flagship location at the Toronto Eaton Centre

Zellers
– In 2011, parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. sold its leasing rights for its nearly 200 Zellers locations to U.S. retailer Target for $1.83 billion

Courtesy: FINANCIAL POST
Read more » http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/canadas-retail-exodus-heres-whos-closed-up-shop-in-canada

Asian shares continue global downward trend

Asian stocks saw sharp falls on Friday as mounting concerns over China’s slowing economy continued to affect global markets.

It follows big falls in US and European markets on Thursday, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 2%.

China’s Shanghai Composite index closed down 4.27% at 3,507.74 points.

Data released on Friday morning showed Chinese factory activity falling to its lowest level in more than six years.

The private Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 47.1 from 47.8 in July. A figure below 50 shows contraction in the sector and one above means growth.

As domestic and export demand dwindle, Friday’s data is likely to add to global worries that the Chinese economy is set for a continued slowdown.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index followed the mainland’s trend and was 1.53% lower at 22,409.62 points.

Global market woes

Asia’s largest stock market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, dropped sharply, finishing 2.98% down at 19,435.83 points.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34013405

Syriza split as elections loom

By

Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Syriza were elected on a platform of reforms- promising to end the humanitarian crisis in Greece. But the leading members of Syriza believed that it was possible to both end austerity and save Greek capitalism- and this miracle was to be performed while remaining in the Eurozone.

The bullying of the EU exposed this political weakness and laid the basis for a complete capitulation by Tsipras. Syriza labour minister, George Katrougalos, said the government needed to “reconfirm its mandate” to implement austerity in the form of the third Greek bailout and that the party is “crippled by a number of dissident MPs”.

25 left MPs have quit to form the new party. The anti-capitalist coalition, Antarsya, of which the Greek SWP is part, has called for a united movement to oppose the bailout deal and the cuts. It’s vital that the new party links up with the anti-capitalists and helps to focus the battles ahead.

Continue reading

Japan economy shrinks in second quarter in setback for ‘Abenomics’

BY LEIKA KIHARA AND TETSUSHI KAJIMOTO

Tokyo: Japan’s economy shrank at an annualized pace of 1.6 percent in April-June as exports slumped and consumers cut back spending, adding pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to step up his policy drive to lift the economy out of decades of deflation.

China’s economic slowdown and its impact on its Asian neighbors has also heightened the chance that any rebound in growth in July-September will be modest, analysts say.

The gloomy data adds to signs that Japan’s economy is at a standstill and heightens pressure on policymakers to offer additional monetary or fiscal stimulus later this year.

The contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) compared with a median market forecast of a 1.9 percent fall and followed a revised expansion of 4.5 percent in the first quarter, Cabinet Office data showed on Monday.

Read more » Reuters
Learn more » http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/17/us-japan-economy-gdp-idUSKCN0QL0VK20150817

Bernie Sanders laid the smack-down on Alan Greenspan in 2003, five years before the Great Recession of 2008.

Watch Bernie Sanders tell Alan Greenspan, in 2003, that Americans are not living the way that Mr. Greenspan imagines they are. Then just 5 years later Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, admits that there is a flaw in his ideology model..

Courtesy: Bernie Sanders Via Social media (Facebook)

China devalues the yuan, cutting rates by 1.9%

China Rattles Markets With Yuan Devaluation

China devalued the yuan in a move that rippled through global markets, as policy makers stepped up efforts to support exporters and boost the role of market pricing in Asia’s largest economy.

The central bank cut its daily reference rate by 1.9 percent, triggering the yuan’s biggest one-day drop since China ended a dual-currency system in January 1994. The People’s Bank of China called the change a one-time adjustment and said its fixing will become more aligned with supply and demand.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-11/china-weakens-yuan-reference-rate-by-record-1-9-amid-slowdown

Next wave of smarter, faster robots coming for many of our jobs

By Robert Riguaux

Will a robot replace you at work? The odds, increasingly, say yes.

The good news is that one recent analysis of the job with a 99 percent chance to be replaced by a machine is … telemarketer. There is admittedly some personal delight in learning that.

I also now understand why parents always cherish the idea that their kid wanted to be a doctor. Not for the prestige or money but for job security. The same analysis gives only a 0.4 percent chance a robot will replace that occupation.

If you keep up on the chatter about the future of work, it’s tough to avoid the buzz about a new wave of automated machines and robots empowered with advanced artificial intelligence. (We’re way past the Roomba automated vacuum cleaner from iRobot, folks.) Next-generation robots will begin to take over not just blue-collar, repetitive-motion jobs, but also white-collar occupations like bankers and, yes, even fashion models.

You may have heard this line of conversation, as I have, in recent weeks. It goes like this:

If we eventually shift to driverless (automated) cars (goodbye, taxi drivers), then in theory we’ll have far fewer collisions (see ya, auto repair shops), ambulance calls (farewell, emergency med techs), less need for auto coverage (so long, insurance agents), attorneys (adios, personal injury lawyers) and certainly their overwhelming barrage of radio and TV ads (adieu, advertising agencies). These jobs won’t disappear entirely, but the growth of work opportunities in these occupations will undoubtedly shrivel.

Versions of this ripple effect from a robotic revolution are going on all around us. We just don’t always recognize it for what it is.

At direct mail marketer Valpak’s building along I-275 in St. Petersburg, one of the most automated materials handling systems in the world stuffs blue envelopes with coupons.

In downtown Tampa at USF Health’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (better known as CAMLS), visiting surgeons can learn robotic surgical techniques.

And some financial advisory firms are easing into the burgeoning automated investment management business — better known as robo-advising. It’s about providing clients with automated investing services that let algorithms do the work of financial advisers, assuring quality control in investment advice without the need to hire more expensive people.

Last year, Aloft Hotels announced an unusual hire at its California location: a robotic butler, or a Botlr, that can deliver room service to its guests.

This is just the beginning.

Two Oxford researchers recently analyzed the skills required for more than 700 different occupations to determine how many would be susceptible to automation in the near future. The news, says an article inthe Atlantic magazine last month, “was not good.” The two concluded that machines are likely to take over 47 percent of today’s jobs within a few decades.

That’s the same analysis that says telemarketers, umpires, lending officers, fashion models, restaurant cooks and manicurists are among many professions that have a 94 percent or higher risk of being replaced by a machine.

Conversely, teachers of younger kids, doctors, occupational therapists and clinical counselors all run a very low risk — less than 1 percent — of a robot taking their jobs, according to this analysis. How did they determine who was more or less at risk? Some aspects of a job are easier to automate than others. It all depends on the tasks.

If your job requires you to be creative, to squeeze into small spaces, to personally help someone or to demonstrate negotiation skills, it’s unlikely a machine will replace you.

The trick, of course, is that robots, automated systems and the rise of algorithms — step-by-step procedures for solving a problem or accomplishing some task by a computer — are getting more capable at a faster clip than human beings are improving their skills. Just look at smartphones and the number of apps we are all so happy to rely on.

Job hunters today, especially younger adults trying to find work at busy companies, must already get by algorithms used to initially screen the thousands of resumes sent online. Certain words or phrases indicating specific job skills, for example, may open the digital door enough to eventually reach a human and possibly an interview. Use the wrong word or phrase and you may be out of luck.

Part of the recent buzz over the coming robot invasion into the workplaces is because of a new book written by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford. Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future tells how the use of robots is about to dramatically increase, in part because technology has at last created a standard operating platform — like Android for smartphones or Windows for computers — that can now be built upon efficiently.

“We are at the leading edge of a wave of innovation that will ultimately produce robots geared toward nearly every conceivable commercial, industrial and consumer task,” Ford writes. Robots may even help reduce jobs being outsourced overseas because adding more robots to factories will reduce costs and make U.S.-based facilities more competitive. Ford calls this potential trend “factory re-shoring.”

Continue reading

After Greece & China, the next domino to fall: Latin America

The next domino to fall: Latin America

Greece needs a bailout and China’s stock market is in meltdown mode. But the global economy has another rising red flag: Latin America.

  @CNNMoney

Every major Latin American economy is slowing down or shrinking. The World Bank predicts this will be Latin America’s worst year of growth since the financial crisis. As if that’s not dire enough, the world’s two worst performing stock markets are in the region as well.

And things could get even uglier later this year for Latin America, a region which is double the economic size of India.

“The weakness in Latin America is reflecting the weaker global outlook,” says Win Thin, senior economist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The ‘most vulnerable’: After years of checkered progress, Latin America is the “most vulnerable” region to China’s sputtering economy and market meltdown, experts say. It’s become a trade battleground area between the United States and China.

China is the biggest trade partner to many Latin countries, but the U.S. has tried to reassert its presence in recent months. Still, China’s sluggish growth is pulling Latin America down with it.

“We’re expecting very, very weak growth,” says Eugenio Aleman, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. “Brazil is in bad shape. Argentina isn’t much better. Chile has slowed down to a trickle…Peru is slowing down considerably.”

That’s just the beginning. Venezuela is arguably the world’s worst economy with sky-high inflation. Next door, Colombia has the world’s worst stock market this year. Its index is down 13% so far this year. The second worst is Peru, down 12.5%. By comparison, America’s S&P 500 is flat this year. (Argentina has the world’s best stock market, but that’s more a reflection of politics than economics).

While many are focused on Greece right now, “a deeper downturn in China remains the key external risk for Latin America,” says Neil Shearing, chief emerging market economist at Capital Economics.

The big problem: The three “C’s” are weighing down Latin America: China, commodities, and currency.

Read more » CNN
Learn more » http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/news/economy/warning-sign-latin-america-economy/index.html

China shares fall more than 8% on growth concerns

Shares in mainland China have recorded their biggest one-day fall for more than eight years following a sell-off towards the end of the trading day.

The Shanghai Composite closed down 8.5% at 3,725.56 after more weak economic data raised concerns about the health of the world’s second largest economy.

Profit at China’s industrial firms dropped 0.3% in June from a year ago.

That followed data on Friday indicating that factory activity in July saw its worse performance for 15 months.

Bernard Aw, market strategist at trading firm IG, said the surprisingly weak manufacturing data “added to worries that there could be further weakness in the Chinese economy, after the patch of recent economic data showed signs of stability”.

The Shanghai market’s fall was the biggest one-day loss since February 2007.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33671459

Canadian dollar drops to lowest level since 2004

‘The downside could be enormous from here. There is no reason why it can’t fall much farther’

By Pete Evans

The Canadian dollar dropped to levels not seen since 2004 on Wednesday.

The loonie closed at 76.70 cents against the U.S. dollar, according to the Bank of Canada, down 0.53 cents. That’s lower than the 76.85 cents the loonie closed at on March 9, 2009, more than six years ago. The loonie hasn’t been this low since September 2004, almost 11 years ago, when it touched the 75 cent level.

Read more » CBC
Learn more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canadian-dollar-drops-to-lowest-level-since-2004-1.3163316

The end of capitalism has begun

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian

By 

The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

Continue reading

Iran offers 3,000MW of electricity to Pakistan at low rate

QUETTA: Iranian top official at the Quetta consulate has announced that his government would supply 3,000 megawatts of electricity at a low price to end power crisis in Balochistan.

“We can increase the power supply anytime if requested by the Pakistan government,” Consul General Islamic Republic of Iran at Quetta Consulate Seyed Hassan Yahyavi told reporters on Thursday.

He said Iran is willing to help Pakistan to end persisting power crisis in the country by supplying sufficient electricity at a cheaper price.

“Iran has already increased the power supply to Gwadar from 70MW to 200MW and this process is nearly completed which will put an end to the power problem in the port city,” pointed out the Iranian diplomat.

Iranian and Pakistan electricity companies, he said, are working together. “The country is providing electricity to districts which share the border with Iran.”

Yahyavi said he met Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and discussed issues of mutual interest, adding that the border trade and economic activities would be improved in the coming months.

He said the issue of border security was also thoroughly discussed with the chief minister. “We agreed to jointly fight to end the menace of terrorism from the bordering areas.”

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/913950/iran-offers-3000mw-of-electricity-at-low-rate/

Greece Financial Crisis Hits Poorest and Hungriest the Hardest

By

ATHENS — Behind the lace curtains of a soup kitchen run by a parish in the humble Athens neighborhood of Kerameikos, the needy and hungry sit down to a plate of sliced cucumbers, three hunks of bread, a shallow china bowl of chickpea soup and often a piece of meat. Sometimes there is even ice cream, a special treat.

People prize the refectory, run by a priest, for its homeyness, and they travel long distances to fill their empty stomachs at least once a day.

But on Thursday, the priest, Father Ignatios Moschos was worried that he would no longer have enough food to go around if the country’s economic paralysis continues, as it seems likely to do even if Greece and its creditors manage to work out a last-minute deal this weekend to avert a Greek exit from the euro.

“It will be hard, dark, painful,” the priest said, nibbling from a bowl of pistachios as a long line of people waited for their turn to eat at the communal tables. “We will have trouble receiving food.”

Poverty in Greece has been deepening since the financial crisis began more than five years ago. Now, aid groups and local governments say they are beginning to feel the effects of nearly two weeks of bank closings, as Greecestruggles to keep its financial system from failing and to break out of years of economic hardship.

And any deal with creditors this weekend will bring further cuts in government spending. It will also bring higher taxes and, as a consequence, more short-term pressure on the economy.

As Athens takes on the aura of Soviet Russia, with lines of people outside banks waiting to receive their daily cash allowance, some aid groups are seeing their supply channels narrow. By some accounts, lines for food, clothing and medicine have grown fivefold in parts of the capital in the last two weeks alone.

The European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, has said he shares Greeks’ concerns. President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission said this past week that the European Union was making plans for humanitarian aid to Greece to cushion the blow if a third bailout was not worked out by Sunday and Greece was forced out of the euro system.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/world/europe/greece-debt-crisis-athens-poverty-inequality.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Canada sheds 6,400 jobs in June

Jobless rate holds steady at 6.8% as results beat economists’ expectations

By Pete Evans, CBC News

The Canadian economy lost 6,400 jobs in June as gains in full-time work were offset by losses of part-time jobs, Statistics Canada says.

The jobless rate stayed steady at 6.8 per cent, the same level it has been at since February. the data agency reported Friday.

It was a better showing than what a consensus of economists were expecting, which was a loss of about 10,000 positions.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-sheds-6-400-jobs-in-june-1.3146182

Putin: Let’s trade in BRICS currencies

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is interested in using national currencies with other BRICS members after agreeing on such an arrangement with China.

He made the announcement after meeting leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Ufa in the Urals for a summit of BRICS nations.

“I think that such development with India, Brazil and South Africa would be interesting and could no doubt lift the level of trade turnover,” Putin said.

The BRICS accounts for almost half the world’s population and about one-fifth of global economic output. Member states have established the New Development Bank with an initial capital of $100 billion and an additional pool of $100 billion currency reserves.

“A pool of nominal currency reserves, with capital of $100 billion, will give us an opportunity to react to financial market fluctuations in a timely and appropriate manner,” Putin said.

The Russian leader said the new development bank will begin financing energy projects next year.

“The New Development Bank will be financing large-scale transport and energy projects and industrial development,” he said.

Economists see the new bank as a challenge to the domination of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which are under the US influence.

Putin said BRICS nations will work out a roadmap for investment cooperation by the end of the year when the first projects will be launched.

Read more » Press Tv
See more » http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/07/10/419593/brics-summit-putin-russia-sco-currency

Chinese chaos worse than Greece

WHILE the world worries about Greece, there’s an even bigger problem closer to home: China.
A stock market crash there has seen $3.2 trillion wiped from the value of Chinese shares in just three weeks, triggering an emergency response from the government and warnings of “monstrous” public disorder.

And the effects for Australia could be serious, affecting our key commodity exports and sparking the beginning of a period of recession-like conditions.

“State-owned newspapers have used their strongest language yet, telling people ‘not to lose their minds’ and ‘not to bury themselves in horror and anxiety’. [Our] positive measures will take time to produce results,” writes IG Markets.

“If China does not find support today, the disorder could be monstrous.”

In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market. The Wall Street Journal reports this “liquidity assistance” will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp, which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to investors.

The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks, signalling serious concern from authorities about the crisis.

At the same time, Chinese authorities are putting a halt to any new stock listings. The market regulator announced on Friday it would limit initial public offerings — which disrupt the rest of the market — in an attempt to curb plunging share prices.

Read more » News.com
See more » http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/chinese-chaos-worse-than-greece/story-fnu2pycd-1227430761673

Greece debt crisis: Greek voters reject bailout offer

With almost all the ballots counted, results from the Greek referendum show voters decisively rejecting the terms of an international bailout.

Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61% of those whose ballots had been counted voting “No”, against 39% voting “Yes”.

Greece’s governing Syriza party had campaigned for a “No”, saying the bailout terms were humiliating.

Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33403665

Canada is already in a recession, says Bank of America

Canada is already in a recession, says Bank of America, and the loonie is set to get hammered

By John ShmuelMore from John Shmuel | @jshmuel

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the first bank to call for a Canadian recession this year.

Economist Emanuella Enenajor and her team now say that Canada’s economy will shrink by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, following a 0.6 per cent contraction in the first. The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction.

A recession sets up the Bank of Canada for another rate cut this year, said Enenajor, and she expects that the downturn will hammer the Canadian dollar — knocking it down to just under 77 cents U.S. by early 2016, the lowest level in more than a decade.

“The economy has surprised to the downside this year, and appears to have entered a recession in 1H 2015, even after policy easing in January,” she said in a note to clients.

Economists have been making a lot of bearish calls on the Canadian economy recently, following data showing that gross domestic product has shrunk for four-straight months — the first time that has happened since the 2008-09 recession.

The Bank of Canada’s rate announcement will be on July 15, and many economists have changed their forecasts to call for another 0.25 per cent cut to be announced then. Others have said the bank will wait till later this year, given the criticism it faced following a surprise cut from 1 per cent to 0.75 per cent in January.

In a closed-door speech over the weekend, bank governor Stephen Poloz compared that rate cut to life saving surgery, saying it was necessary to protect Canada from the damage done by a collapse in oil prices earlier this year. He compared any negative effects lower rates would have on household debt, already near a record level in Canada, to post-surgery side effects.

Enenajor said a rate cut to 0.50 per cent this year, combined with a recession, will have the biggest impact on Canada’s dollar. The loonie has already fallen 8 per cent year-to-date against the greenback.

“A BoC cut in October, lower oil prices in Q3 and underpriced risks of a September Fed hike are all positive USD/CAD,” she said. “We see USD/CAD rising to 1.30 in early 2016, and upside risks in 2015 given price action and the BoC’s explicit mention of C$ in May.”

Read more » Financial Post
See more » http://business.financialpost.com/investing/canada-is-already-in-a-recession-says-bank-of-america-and-the-loonie-is-set-to-get-hammered?__lsa=a5d7-2feb

Russia Opens Door To Greece As Sixth Member Of New BRICS World Bank: Russian Oil Makes Athens Europe’s Energy Hub!

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday held a telephone conversation with Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak. During the conversation, Storchak invited Greece to become the sixth member of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries, Greece’s Syriza party reported on its website. Storchak is a representative of the BRICS Bank which is now being established.

Read more » Political Vel Craft
See more » http://politicalvelcraft.org/2015/05/14/russia-opens-door-to-greece-as-sixth-member-of-new-brics-world-bank-russian-oil-makes-athens-europes-energy-hub/

IMF has made €2.5 billion profit out of Greece loans

By Jubilee Debt Campaign

Ahead of the payment of €462 million by Greece to the IMF on Thursday 9 April, figures released by the Jubilee Debt Campaign show that the IMF has made €2.5 billion of profit out of its loans to Greece since 2010. If Greece does repay the IMF in full this will rise to €4.3 billion by 2024.

Read more » Jubilee Debt
See more » http://jubileedebt.org.uk/news/imf-made-e2-5-billion-profit-greece-loans

Canada’s economy shrinks for fourth month, raising spectre of recession

By Gordon Isfeld

OTTAWA — Canada’s economy began the second quarter of 2015 the same way it finished the previous three-month period, continuing to contract as the collapse of oil prices squeezed output in the energy sector and the hoped-for turnaround in manufacturing again failed to materialize.

That will be discouraging news for the Bank of Canada, which has been looking for signs of a rebound in this country and in the United States after a harsh winter start to the year — greatly aggravated by the plunge in crude and an uncertain global economy.

Statistics Canada said gross domestic product — the widest measure of goods and service produced the country — declined 0.1 per cent in April. That was the fourth straight monthly contraction in the economy. The last time output declined over that many months was between November 2008 and May 2009, at the tail end of the recession.

Most economists had forecast 0.1 per cent growth in April.

Canadian GDP shrinks four months in a row

Read more » Financial Post
See more » http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/canadas-economy-shrinks-again-raising-spectre-of-recession

Russia, OPEC Jostle to Meet China Oil Demand

Glut of Crude Fuels Rivalry Between the Major Producers

By BRIAN SPEGELE

BEIJING—Warming ties between China and Russia are giving a big boost to Chinese imports of Russian oil, to the chagrin of OPEC nations jockeying for a slice of China’s market.

Faced with falling prices and lower demand from the U.S., oil-exporting nations are increasingly putting their hopes in China’s still-robust demand for crude. But Saudi Arabia and other big producers like Venezuela have seen such sales drop as Moscow’s isolation from the West over Ukraine prompts it to turn to Beijing.

Read more » The Wall Street Journal
See more » http://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-opec-jostle-to-meet-china-oil-demand-1421987738

Is Greece close to Grexit?

The Greek government is running out of time and money.

If it fails to come to a deal with eurozone partners to secure the final tranche of its bailout, there is a real chance it could default on its loans.

That could push the Greek government towards leaving the single currency, otherwise known as Grexit.

How bare are Greece’s coffers?

Without an urgent cash-for-fiscal reforms deal, the leftist Syriza government will run out of cash. And that deal needs to be agreed by the end of June, when Greece’s bailout deal with its eurozone creditors runs out.
Somehow, the money was scraped together to survive €1bn (£730m; $1.1bn) in debt payments to the International Monetary Fund in May, but Greece has already postponed June payments to the IMF and further hefty bills are due, to the IMF, European Central Bank and holders of short-term treasury bills.

The government in Athens has called on public sector bodies including hospitals to surrender any cash reserves they have.
The mayor of Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki, has already handed over millions.
Without at least part of the final €7.2bn slice of its giant EU-IMF bailout, Greece would almost certainly default on its debts.
Greeks see cash run out in undeclared default.

Can it stay afloat?

The message from Greece’s government is a resounding no. Quite simply it has too many debts to pay in too short a period.
At the start of June, Mr Tsipras’s government announced it would roll its four June payments to the IMF into one, giving it until the end of the month to find the necessary €1.5bn.
But it also needs to find another €2.2bn in June for public sector salaries, pensions and social security payments.

For a populist, left-wing party like Syriza, it would be unthinkable to pay its debts to creditors ahead of funding pensions for 2.6 million Greeks and some 600,000 civil servant salaries. It has already moved to re-employ 4,000 civil servants whom the previous government got rid of.
Greece’s last cash injection from its international creditors was in August, so the final €7.2bn instalment from its two EU-IMF bailouts, worth €240bn in total, is now seen as vital.
Even then Greece is likely to need a third bailout worth tens of billions. But if Greece’s reform package fails to satisfy its creditors, there will be no new cash.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32332221

Iceland Jailed Bankers and Rejected Austerity – and It’s Been a Success

Instead of imposing devastating austerity measures and bailing out its banks, Iceland let its banks go bust and focused on social welfare policies. It has now repaid 85 percent of U.K. claims, and the Icelandic finance minister announced recently that all will be settled by the end of the year.

By Roisin Davis / truthdig.com

When the global economic crisis hit in 2008, Iceland suffered terribly—perhaps more than any other country. The savings of 50,000 people were wiped out, plunging Icelanders into debt and placing 25 percent of its homeowners in mortgage default.

Now, less than a decade later, the nation’s economy is booming. And this year it will become the first culturally European country that faced collapse to beat its pre-crisis peak of economic output.

That’s because it took a different approach. Instead of imposing devastating austerity measures and bailing out its banks, Iceland let its banks go bust and focused on social welfare policies. In March, the International Monetary Fund announced that the country had achieved economic recovery “without compromising its welfare model” of universal health care and education.

Iceland allowed those responsible for the crisis—its bankers—to be prosecuted as criminals. Again, a sharp contrast to the United States and elsewhere in Europe, where CEOs escaped punishment.

“Why should we have a part of our society that is not being policed or without responsibility?” asked special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson in the wake of the collapse. “It is dangerous that someone is too big to investigate—it gives a sense there is a safe haven.”

Read more » Flim For Action
See more » http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/iceland-jailed-bankers-and-rejected-austerity-and-its-been-a-success/

The world economy – Watch out

The Economist issues an ultimate warning of another Recession

It is only a matter of time before the next recession strikes. The rich world is not ready

THE struggle has been long and arduous. But gazing across the battered economies of the rich world it is time to declare that the fight against financial chaos and deflation is won. In 2015, the IMF says, for the first time since 2007 every advanced economy will expand. Rich-world growth should exceed 2% for the first time since 2010 and America’s central bank is likely to raise its rock-bottom interest rates.

However, the global economy still faces all manner of hazards, from the Greek debt saga to China’s shaky markets. Few economies have ever gone as long as a decade without tipping into recession—America’s started growing in 2009. Sod’s law decrees that, sooner or later, policymakers will face another downturn. The danger is that, having used up their arsenal, governments and central banks will not have the ammunition to fight the next recession. Paradoxically, reducing that risk requires a willingness to keep policy looser for longer today.

Continue reading

‘No deal’ with Greece as talks in Brussels fail

The latest round of talks between Greek and EU officials in Brussels has failed to reach an agreement.

A European Commission spokesman said while that progress was made on Sunday, “significant gaps” remained.

Europe wants Greece to make spending cuts worth €2bn (£1.44bn), to secure a deal that will unlock bailout funds.

Greek deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis said that Athens was still ready to negotiate with its lenders.

He said Greek government proposals submitted on Sunday had fully covered the fiscal deficit as demanded.

However, Mr Dragasakis added that the EU and IMF still wanted Greece to cut pensions – something Athens has said it would never accept.

The cash-strapped nation is trying to agree a funding deal with the European Union and IMF before the end of June to avoid a default.

Eurozone finance ministers will discuss Greece when they meet on Thursday. The gathering is regarded as Greece’s last chance to strike a deal.

The Commission spokesman said: “President [Jean-Claude] Juncker remains convinced that with stronger reform efforts on the Greek side and political will on all sides, a solution can still be found before the end of the month.”

‘Losing patience’

The talks come as Germany ramps up pressure on Greece. Vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that European nations were losing patience with Greece.

Germany wanted to keep Greece in the eurozone, but writing in Bild he warned that “not only is time running out, but so too is patience across Europe”.

Mr Sigmar is also economy minister and head of junior coalition partners the Social Democrats.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33125801

China’s Xinjiang launches cargo train service to Moscow

URUMQI, June 10 (Xinhua) — Railway authorities in China’s far western Xinjiang region on Wednesday launched a cargo train service linking its regional capital of Urumqi with Moscow.

The one more cargo train service westward can help boost the development of the northwestern autonomous region, a “core area” of the Silk Road economic belt, said Liu Jianxin, vice governor of Xinjiang, at the launch ceremony.

Since March 2014, Xinjiang has opened cargo train service to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey and also Chelyabinsk of Russia.

The first train, loaded with 1,300 tonnes of PVC, left Urumqi at 6:15 p.m. and is scheduled to reach Moscow more than 4,000 km away in about ten days. It will return with wood pulp from Russia.

Wang Hongxin, chairman of Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd., said the cargo service can help drive the company’s annual sales of PVC by 10 percent.

By the second half of the year, more than three cargo trains will run between Xinjiang and the destinations in Russia and also central and western Asia per week.

The trains can then transport 50 billion yuan (8.1 billion U.S. dollars) of cargo a year, Liu said.

Editor: yan

News courtesy: Xinhuanet
Read more » http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-06/10/c_134315616.htm