Pakistan’s economy grows beyond targets

Updated 11 March 2014

Pakistan’s economy grows beyond targets

KARACHI: Pakistan recorded five percent growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, the central bank said, beating its target and almost doubling the figure for the same period last year.
The State Bank of Pakistan data for the early months of the financial year began in July, 2013 said GDP grew by 5.0 percent, compared with only 2.9 percent in the first quarter of the last fiscal year.
Pakistan has struggled to energize its economy in recent years.
Growth has bumped along well below the level experts say is needed to absorb new entrants to the workforce from Pakistan's growing, youthful population.
"Since the macroeconomic indicators were favorable at the start of the year, the increase in real GDP growth in fiscal year 2014 was discernible," the bank said.
Pakistan's economists had set a growth target for the current financial year of 4.4 percent, and the central bank in earlier reports had forecast growth of four percent.
The upbeat first quarter performance came on the back of good performances by the industrial and services sectors, the report said.
The bank however warned that inflation swelled to 8.1 percent in the first quarter compared with 5.6 percent in the corresponding period last year.
The IMF approved a $6.7 billion bailout loan package for Pakistan in September last year to help the country achieve economic reforms, particularly in its troubled energy sector.
The fund also observed that Pakistan's economy was picking up.


US to extend license for its companies to continue business with Huawei

Updated 36 min ago

US to extend license for its companies to continue business with Huawei

  • A longer extension is in the works but has not yet been finalized due to regulatory hurdles

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is set to issue a two-week extension of a license allowing US companies to continue doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies, two sources familiar with the deliberations said.

The extension of around two weeks is far shorter than the prior 90-day extension and a longer extension is in the works but has not yet been finalized due to regulatory hurdles, said one source who was briefed on the matter.

After adding Huawei to an economic blacklist in May citing national security concerns, the US Commerce Department has allowed it to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers, many of which operate networks in rural America.

The extension will be announced on Monday, when the earlier reprieve is set to expire, the sources said, declining to be identified as the extension has not been publicly announced.

A spokesman for Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom network equipment, said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. The Commerce Department declined to comment.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • US added Huawei to an economic blacklist in May citing national security concerns.
  • The Commerce Department is also considering whether to grant individual licenses for US firms to sell components to Huawei.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network on Friday that some rural carriers need the temporary licenses and are dependent on Huawei for 3G and 4G networks.

“There are enough problems with telephone service in the rural communities — we don’t want to knock them out. So, one of the main purposes of the temporary general licenses is to let those rural guys continue to operate,” Ross said.

The development comes amid discussions between the US and China aimed at coming to an initial agreement to resolve a trade war that has lasted for over a year.

In blacklisting Huawei, the US government said it had a “reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests.” Huawei has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday Huawei and ZTE Corp. “cannot be trusted,” as he backed a proposal to bar US rural wireless carriers from tapping an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment or services from them.

In May, President Donald Trump also signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies posing a national security risk. The Commerce Department was due to draw up an enforcement plan by mid-October but has yet to publish one.

The Commerce Department is also considering whether to grant individual licenses for US firms to sell components to Huawei after receiving more than 200 requests.