Political parties chiefs invited to visit FPCCI office

KARACHI (APP): Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, senior vice president of FPCCI and chairman Budget Advisory Council of FPCCI, Monday invited the chiefs of all major political parties to visit the Federation House. They are requested to visit the FPCCI on mutually convenient date and time, and make a presentation to FPCCI members on their economic agenda and road map of priorities, said FPCCI statement here. For the revival of the country's economy, FPCCI had identified the challenges. These are balance of payments, fiscal and debt sustainability, better management of public sector entities, reforms of transparency, eliminating the menace of corruption and ease of doing business. The proposed interaction by the political parties chiefs would provide an opportunity to the business community at this apex trade body's platform to discuss the matters related to facilitation of trade and industry aimed at enhancing investment, increasing production, boosting exports, and curtailing imports.



South Koreean economy to grow 2.8pc in 2018; 198,000 new jobs to be created

SEOUL (Yonhap/APP): South Korea's economy is expected to grow 2.8 percent with some 198,000 new jobs to be created this year, a local think tank said, a lower growth estimate compared to forecasts made by the government and central bank. Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) said its estimate is based on the fact that both the coincident composite index and the composite leading indicators have been falling for the past year, as well as on the country's reliance on inventory investment for growth and poor employment statistics. The private research institute then claimed that the economy as a whole may be entering a "period of recession" instead of a "simple" retreat phase. "There is a critical need for the country to cope with downside risks at this juncture, and failure to do so in an effective manner could make it difficult to even pull off 2.8 percent annual growth," HRI said. It lowered growth estimates in construction and facility investments while adjusting up numbers in terms of consumption.

The think tank said facility investment growth could dip to 3.9 percent, with construction expected to gain 0.6 percent from an earlier estimate of 0.9 percent. Figures for consumption edged up to 2.7 percent vis-a-vis a previous estimate of 2.6 percent.

The think tank, however, said the easing of geopolitical tensions on the Korean Peninsula and expectations of greater inter-Korean economic cooperation could bolster growth.

On the export front, HRI said Asia's fourth-largest economy could post 6.2 percent on-year gains, down from 15.8 percent growth posted for 2017.

It said that the number of new jobs will be slashed from 316,000 reported for last year, with the country's jobless rate to stand at 3.8 percent, a gain of 0.1 percentage point from 2017.

"Structural problems are holding back growth, and unless some strong steps are taken, the country can find itself falling behind," a researcher said.

Meanwhile, the 2.8 percent growth is generally in line with estimates released by LG Economic Research Institute, Korea Institute of Finance and the Korea Economic Research Institute, but lower than the 3 percent growth predicted by the Seoul government, the Bank of Korea and the International Monetary Fund.



Turkey to be world's 'fastest growing country': Erdogan

ANKARA (AA/APP): Turkey continues to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. "Turkey's economy grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018. We are the first among OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries and second among G20 countries. "We continue to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world," Erdogan said on his official Twitter account. The president's remarks came after the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) revealed that the Turkish economy expanded by 7.4 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. The three-month gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices climbed to around 792.7 billion Turkish liras (nearly $207.5 billion), according to TurkStat data. "Despite all the attacks on the economy and games played [on Turkey], [we will] continue to grow strongly on the steady macro basis," Erdogan added.



Italy's industrial output in April decreases by 1.2 percent

ROME (Xinhua): Italy's industrial production decreased by 1.2 percent in April compared to March, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said on Monday. The seasonally adjusted industrial output in February-April also dropped by 0.7 percent against the previous quarter. "In the same month (April), a decrease was registered by other major European countries, such as Germany and Spain," the statistical agency explained in its report. "On an annual base, the average of the first four months of 2018 -- calendar adjusted -- remains largely positive," it added. In fact, the percentage change in the January-April period was 3.1 (basis points) compared to the same period of 2017. Compared to the same month of 2017, the industrial production index in April grew by 1.9 percent. More specifically, a major growth was registered in instrumental goods, which increased by 5.6 percent compared to April 2017; a lesser growth was shown by consumer goods (1.7 percent), while energy dropped by 0.6 percent according to ISTAT.

Still on the annual basis, the economic production sectors are showing the strongest upward trend in April were "pharmaceutical products and preparations (11.1 percent), electrical equipment and non-electric domestic appliances (8.3 percent), and mechanical machinery and equipment (6.8 percent)," the agency stated.

On the contrary, wood and paper products (-4.1 percent), rubber, plastic, and non-metallic mineral products (-4.0 percent), and energy supplies (-1.9 percent) were those decreasing the most.