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EU slashes eurozone growth forecast on US trade war tensions

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EU slashes eurozone growth

BRUSSELS: The EU on Thursday slashed its growth forecast for the eurozone in 2018, warning that the rising trade tensions with the United States were hitting the economy.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the 19-country single currency bloc would expand by 2.1 percent in 2018, lower than the 2.3 percent forecast just weeks ago in early May. “Our forecast is for a continued expansion in 2018 and 2019, although a further escalation of protectionist measures is a clear downside risk,” said EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici in a statement. “Trade wars produce no winners, only casualties,” he added.

The commission added that the economy in the eurozone would expand by 2.0 percent in 2019, the same forecast as in May. The worry about the European economy stems from the ongoing trade dispute with the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has now threatened to impose tariffs on European auto imports, with German auto giants the intended target.

If confirmed, the policy would be one of the most aggressive transatlantic blows since the Great Depression and risks bitterly splitting the allies amid divisions over the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord. The threat by Trump comes after the mercurial leader already slapped 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on imports from Europe and other key allies.

“First and foremost, if trade tensions with the US were to escalate further, this could dampen confidence more permanently, … likely disrupting the current global (economic recovery),” the commission said in its forecast report. The commission also pointed to “political and policy uncertainty in a number of EU countries” as an important downside risk to the forecast, which included the fallout of stalled Brexit talks.

This also included heavily-indebted Italy, after a far-right/populist coalition formed a government on the promise to break EU budget and spending rules. The commission said higher oil prices, which have spiked partly due to growing tensions over Iran, were also a negative factor.

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Economy

China probes steel dumping by EU, Japan, S. Korea, Indonesia

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steel dumping by EU

BEIJING: China on Monday launched an anti-dumping probe into stainless steel products imported from the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia as the metal remains the focus of global trade tensions.
This spring Washington slapped steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from major producers, including China, citing concerns that a glut of the metals was hurting US industry and threatening national security.
Although the measures were largely aimed at overcapacity in China, Beijing on Monday became the latest government to take action on the issue after a local producer called for an investigation into alleged dumping.
China’s probe focuses on stainless steel billet and hot-rolled stainless steel plate, according to a statement from the commerce ministry.
The initial complaint was filed by Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel, with support from five other manufacturers including a subsidiary of industry giant Baosteel.
China imported 703,105 tonnes of such products in 2017 – up 189 percent from the previous year — 98 percent of which came from the regions targeted by the probe, Shanxi Taigang said in its complaint.
“China’s domestic industries that produce the same products have suffered substantial damage and threats of substantial damage,” the complaint said.
It blamed “massive importing and dumping” for having an “obvious negative impact” on the price of domestic products.
China is by far the world’s biggest steel producer with more than 831 million tonnes in 2017. Shanxi Taigang accounted for 25 to 35 percent of the country’s total stainless steel production in 2017.

 

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Business

Imran assures KCCI members of making business-friendly policies!

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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan today assured the business community that he would formulate short and long-term business-friendly policies with institutional reforms, if voted to power on July 25.
He said he was there to convey a message that after the success of PTI in the election, he and his team would make serious efforts to strengthen the economy and extend maximum support to the private sector. Addressing members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, Imran claimed that the PTI government would work on the national agenda of social and economic uplift of the country, not like the other parties, whose leadership pursued their personal agenda and interests.
He referred to the success stories of Dr. Mahatir Muhammad of Malaysia, Erdogan of Turkey and Nelson Mandela of Africa. He alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party leadership used their party governments for promoting their businesses and increasing their wealth. On the other hand, after forming the government he and his cabinet members would not be involved in any business or other activity which was aimed at earning money, he claimed. He said Pakistan was rich in resources and only their exploitation and better management was required. The PTI government would transform the country into a progressive, modern and welfare state, he added.
The PTI chief said unemployment was the number one issue of the country, which could be resolved through better economic planning and policies with a focus on rapid growth of the industry by the private sector. He said it was dire need to bring reforms in national institutions, especially in the Federal Board of Revenue which had failed to deliver. It had generated revenue by squeezing the business community instead of providing incentives to trade and industry for economic prosperity in the country.
Imran said the country would not forward unless there was a good governance and merit prevailed. He said the PTI government would construct five million low-cost houses in the country with the help of private sector. It would also give a boost to 50 other industries. ” We will encourage setting up of small construction companies to accomplish this task,” he said.
He recounted his party’s achievements in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially in education, health sectors and reforming the police. Imran Khan said he was aware of Karachi’s social and economic issues. The city lacked ownership from major political parties in Sindh. However, his party would not only provide it ownership but would turn it into the best international city on the pattern of main cities of advanced countries. Like London, Karachi should have a directly elected mayor, he added. Karachi, he said, had big potential and had been contributing a lot towards the country’s prosperity.
The PTI chief urged the business community to be vocal against wrong policies or actions harming the country’s economy and interests. He assured full support to them on their genuine issues. The KCCI leadership apprised the PTI chief of the issues confronting the trade and industry.

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Economy

RCB warns illegal private water hydrants’ owners of strict action

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RAWALPINDI: Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) has warned the owners of private water hydrants of strict action if not get regularized said RCB spokesman Qaiser Mahmood.

Talking to Media, he informed that the owners of the hydrants have been directed to get regularized their hydrants otherwise strict action in accordance with the law would be taken against the violators.
The illegal hydrants can also be sealed, he added. He said the RCB had decided to regularize private water hydrants on a temporary basis for a limited period to facilitate the residents.
On the orders of the apex court, a committee was formed which deliberated the issue and finalized a policy for an ad-hoc and interim arrangement for a limited duration in order to address the urgency and gravity of the situation arising out of lack of availability of water for the people of the area, he added.
He said, to provisionally regularize on monthly basis, the 50 illegal water hydrants situated in the vicinity of RCB have been offered to pay per month charges amounting to Rs 100,000 for the hydrant having per day capacity of 200 bowzer,
Rs 75,000 for the point with a capacity of 150 bowzer and Rs 50,000 for those have a capacity of less than 150 bowzer. Per month fee for a tanker with 1500 gallon capacity will be Rs 15,000 and for 1000 gallon tanker Rs 10,000 while less than 1000 gallon will pay Rs 5,000. At source rate for 1500 gallon for filling will be Rs 400, 1000 gallon Rs 300 and less than 1000 gallon Rs 200. Similarly, tanker water rates for the public will be 1500 gallon Rs 800, 1000 gallon Rs 600 and less than 1000 gallon Rs 400, he added. The owners have been directed to obtain a proper license and deposit requisite fee otherwise action will be initiated against the violators.
The illegal water hydrant and tanker/bowzer would be confiscated, he added. Earlier, nearly 50 private water hydrants were sealed in different areas of the cantonment limits including Afshan Colony, Peoples Colony, Masrial Road, Dhoke Syedan, Bakra Mandi and adjoining areas, he added.
Meanwhile, the Cantt residents complained that some parts of Cantonment Board do not get adequate water supply as its consumption increases many times in the summer season and water scarcity come up every year.

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