Chinese team visits PCJCCI office

 LAHORE (Staff Reporter): A Chinese delegation, during a meeting with Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has expressed keen interest in having joint ventures with Pakistan in energy sector. The delegation headed by Ms Zhou Jing Deputy Secretary, Huaiyin District Committee, communist party of China, Jinan also included Li Cheng chairman, China Council of International Trade, Li Qun from Foreign and Overseas Affairs of Jinan Municipal People's Government and a number of the Chinese government officials. PCJCCI SVP Prof Dr Iqbal Qureshi and Secretary General Slahuddin Hanif welcomed the delegation. Dr Iqbal resented a Turkish report according to which the vast resources of Hot Springs in Pakistan especially in KP, Gilgit Baltistan, Balochistan and Kashmir can be used for generating 10,000 MW Hydel Power and in the treatment of skin and joint diseases.  Iqbal apprised the members that hot springs reservoirs can be used as a centralized system of house air-conditioning coupled with developing recreational/ medication in those parts of Pakistan.

Endorsing this unique idea Zhou Jing pledged to disseminate this information among all concerned in China to make this idea a success. She was quite optimistic that some Chinese company will be ready to set up specially designed turbines to initiate pilot projects of 5 to 10 MW hydel power which, if successful, will be emulated for further major power generation units.

 C’Wealth Business Forum from tomorrow

 ISLAMABAD (APP): FPCCI President Ghazanfar Bilour on Friday said Commonwealth Business Forum is a unique and historic opportunity to improve trade ties between Pakistan and 53 Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth Business Forum being held in the UK from April 16 to April 19 will represent the interests of over 2.6 billion people with a combined GDP of over 12 trillion dollars, he said. Talking to the British Deputy High Commissioner Richard Crowder, FPCCI head said that steps should be taken on all forums to increase the existing trade volume between the two countries, said a press release. We have shared values, legal and regulatory systems and language that makes trade costs on average 19pc lower between Commonwealth countries, he added. Ghazanfar Bilour said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik will also attend the high profile event while he is leading a delegation of 52 businessmen who will debate the economic issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond.

Important decisions would be taken during the forum while the Queen of England will also participate in the event, he said.

He said that the economy of Pakistan is improving; the country is emerging as a good investment destination and we want to increase trade ties with the UK and all other Commonwealth countries.

The President FPCCI also informed the British officials about the positive policies of the government and the opportunities appearing from the CPEC.

The British diplomatic and trade officials said that apart from heads of states around 800 CEOs of leading companies will also participate in the forum.

They expressed their willingness to improve trade with Pakistan and said that Islamabad will be given more trade relaxations.

 Indonesia wins Moody's rating upgrade

 JAKARTA (AFP): Indonesia won a credit rating upgrade from Moody's on Friday, with the agency lauding central bank and government policies for boosting confidence in Southeast Asia's biggest economy. The upgrade -- after similar moves by other ratings agencies -- comes at a good time for Indonesia's president Joko Widodo. Boosting growth is at the centre of what could be a tough re-election bid in next year's presidential ballot. Indonesia's efforts at keeping budget deficits and inflation under control were behind Moody's boosting its rating to Baa2 from Baa3, and bumping its outlook to stable, it said. A better credit rating tends to lower a country's borrowing costs and can make it more attractive to investors. "Together with a build-up of financial buffers, prudent fiscal and monetary policy strengthens Moody's confidence that (Indonesia's) resilience and capacity to respond to shocks has improved," the ratings agency said. Fitch echoed that sentiment in December when it also boosted Indonesia's sovereign rating, saying economic reforms meant the country could better weather external shocks.

That came after Standard & Poor's raised Indonesia's credit rating from junk status to investment grade.

Monday's upgrade comes after growth picked up slightly last year on the back of the central bank repeatedly slashing interest rates.

The economy expanded by 5.1 per cent year-on-year in 2017, up from 5.0 per cent growth in 2016, although it was still well below Widodo's target of 7.0 percent.

Indonesia's leader has launched an ambitious bid to upgrade the country's creaking infrastructure and boost tax revenue, but the sprawling nation still struggles with endemic corruption, poverty and lacklustre education standards.

Some analysts have cautioned that Indonesia's commodities-driven economy could take a hit this year as prices for palm oil and coal are expected to be under pressure.

 Singapore tightens monetary policy

 SINGAPORE (AFP): Singapore tightened its monetary policy for the first time in six years Friday on expectations of steady growth in 2018, but warned of risks from global trade tensions. The city-state followed similar moves recently by South Korea and Malaysia to tame inflation as global economies get back on track after the financial crisis. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it would allow for a slight appreciation in the local dollar, having had a "zero percent" policy previously. The last time MAS, the city-state's central bank, tightened monetary policy was in April 2012 after the risks from the eurozone debt crisis eased and US business sentiment improved. As a small and open economy that imports most of its needs, Singapore uses currency policy rather than interest rates as a tool to tweak the island's economy. It manages the dollar against an undisclosed basket of currencies of its major trading partners and competitors. The MAS said it expects the economy to "continue on a steady path" this year but flagged increasing trade tensions as a downside risk for the export-driven economy.

"An escalation of the US-China dispute remains possible, and if it occurs, will have significant consequences for global trade," it said in a statement, referring to threats of tit-for-tat tariffs by the world's top two economies.

"Barring a setback in global trade, growth in the Singapore economy should continue at a broadly steady pace in the quarters ahead."

In a separate statement, the trade ministry said that based on advance estimates the economy grew 4.3 percent on-year in the first three months of 2018, up from 3.6 percent in October-December.

The MAS said growth this year should come in slightly above the middle of the 1.5-3.5 percent forecast range. The economy expanded 3.6 percent last year.

"The measured adjustment to the policy stance takes into account the uncertainty in macroeconomic outcomes presented by ongoing trade tensions," United Overseas Bank said in a note.

"The economy is certainly on a firmer footing now and inflation has started to edge up, albeit from a low base," research firm Capital Economics said.

The Straits Times Index was up 1.04 percent in late trade Friday.