Marketing policy needed for boom in exports: Prgmea

SIALKOT (APP): Newly-elected Chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Ijaz A Khokhar has underscored the need to formulate a marketing policy for boosting exports to attain maximum benefits of the GSP-plus status. Talking to APP Wednesday, he said: “We should accomplish homework at the earliest for fulfilling the GSP-plus requirements.” The European Union granted duty free access to Pakistani products under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) Plus status in January this year. Now Pakistani textile products could be exported duty free or on preferential duty basis for next ten years,” he said.

Ijaz suggested the department concerned to fix sector-wise priorities for the provision of gas to facilitate the industrial sector. The industrial units were functioning at 40 percent scale due to shortage of gas and electricity, he added.

Government claim about doubling exports questioned

islamabad (INP): The Pakistan Economy Watch  on Wednesday said Govt’s claim to double exports in 3 years’ time is highly exaggerated. The commerce minister said that govt is to introduce reforms in the next budget to lift exports by 100pc until 2018 is idealism and contrary to the ground realities. “Textile sector is largest foreign exchange earner that is mostly located in Punjab and remained inoperative because of energy shortages,” said Dr. Murtaza Mughal. He said that main exports include cotton and knitwear (28pc of total exports); bed wear, carpets and rugs (8pc), rice (8pc) and leather, fish, sports goods and fruits and vegetables which cannot be doubled in absence of a political will.

 Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Pakistan’s main export partners include United States (15 percent of total exports), United Arab Emirates (10 pc), Afghanistan (9.5 pc), China (9 pc), UK (3 pc) and Germany (2 pc) to whom the level of exports stand stagnant since last few years. Exports could only be increased by provision of incentives, policy support, enhancing competitiveness, improved investment, and improving energy as well as law and order situation, he said.

Weak monitoring and enforcement systems, Negligence about international health and safety standards, unresponsive commerce and textiles ministries, poor trade diplomacy, semi-educated business leaders, too much politics in many chambers of commerce and textile related associations are also to be blamed for the dull export performance, he observed.

Poland’s central bank slashes key rate to record low 2.0pc

WARSAW (AFP): Poland’s central bank slashed Wednesday its key interest rate by half a per centage point to a record low 2.0 per cent in a move that took analysts by surprise. “Having left interest rates unchanged for over a year, the National Bank (NBP) responded to the weakness of the latest inflation and activity data by easing monetary policy today,” said William Jackson, an analyst with the London-based Capital Economics said. The decision, which comes into effect on Thursday, comes amid falling prices.Consumer prices declined by 0.3 per cent on an annual basis in August, after a 0.2 per cent dip in July.

While the IMF said Tuesday that it expects Poland’s economy to continue expand at strong rate, it pointed to market turbulence and a weaker recovery in the neighbouring eurozone that is flirting with deflation as the biggest risk to that forecast.

The NBP’s cut was “larger than we, the financial markets and the consensus had all expected,” said Jackson.

Analysts had expected Poland to hold off on rate cuts until early next year.

“It’s possible that the scale of today’s rate cut means that the NBP is planning to be more aggressive than anticipated,” Jackson said.

“We suspect that today’s cut probably is a one-off, but interest rates are likely to remain extremely low over the next couple of years,” he added.

Low interest rates encourage borrowing, thus spurring investment and consumption and supporting growth.

The country of 38 million people expects economic growth to pick up from 1.6 per cent in 2013 to 3.2 per cent this year, with the IMF forecasting the same growth rate.

Russian car sales plummet 20 per cent in September

MOSCOW (AFP): Car sales in Russia plunged 20pc in September as the economic toll from the Ukraine crisis roiled the economy, an industry group said. Sales slumped by 20.1pc compared to the figure for the same month last year to 197,233 on the back of a fall of over 25pc in August, the Association of European Businesses said. Sales are down by 13pc, or more than 260,000 vehicles, for the period of January-September in comparison to 2013, the data showed.  While the figure for September showed a slight uptick from August due in part to the end of the summer holiday season the overall trend looked grim for the sector, the group’s Automobile Manufacturers Committee said in a statement.

Full year sales were on course to be about 2.45 million vehicles, a 12-per cent drop from the 2.77 units sold last year, the statement said.

The fresh drop in sales comes after the government announced a cash-for-clunkers programme late in August that producers hope could help jump-start the stalled sector.

Major European manufacturers have invested heavily in Russia’s car industry. The Russian market became the second-biggest in Europe after Germany in 2012.

Sales began falling in the spring of 2013 as the Russian economy slowed.

The market then plunged as the Ukrainian crisis pushed East-West relations to their lowest point since the Cold War, and led the EU and US introduce sanctions against Russia.

The rise in tensions has also caused a plunge of the ruble, thereby pushing up the cost of imported cars and spare parts.

Faced with growing economic uncertainty, Russian consumers are increasingly putting off big-ticket purchases.

Air France in a spin as huge

cost of strike revealed

PARIS (AFP): Struggling Air France Wednesday revealed that a record pilots’ strike last month cost around 500 million euros, in a dire profit warning that sent its stock price into a tailspin. The Air France-KLM group, Europe’s second-biggest airline, was already in difficulty in a fiercely competitive sector completely revolutionised by low-cost upstarts such as easyJet and Ryanair. But finance director Pierre-Francois Riolacci told reporters that the combined impact of the 14-day strike and the loss of future custom from disgruntled passengers would be “in the order of 500 million euros” ($632 million).”

“We need a few more days to finalise completely our estimates. But we think the impact on the third quarter will be in a range of 320-350 million euros,” Riolacci said.

The news sent Air France shares diving on the Paris market, losing more than five per cent while the overall market was broadly flat.