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Spain’s Sanchez pledges to boost anti-inflation policies if invested as PM

Spain’s Sanchez pledges to boost anti-inflation policies if invested as PM

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Spain's Sanchez pledges to boost anti-inflation policies if invested as PM

Spain’s acting prime minister on Wednesday vowed to extend several measures to help people cope with the rising cost of living if he clinches another term as premier.

The policies include making free public transport available for unemployed people and youths under the age of 30 next year, Pedro Sanchez told lawmakers during his opening speech in a parliamentary vote to decide on his premiership bid, adding that he aimed to make the policy permanent.

As Sanchez spoke, about 30 demonstrators gathered behind barricades police set up on streets outside parliament to stop protesters angered by his offer of amnesty to Catalan separatists in return for supporting his bid for another term.

The measures would apply from Jan. 1. His caretaker government had already approved the measure for disabled and senior citizens.

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Sanchez said the reduced value-added tax on basic food products would continue until June 2024.

He also promised to increase rental subsidies for young people and keep revaluing pensions in line with official inflation figures.

Sanchez added that his potential coalition government was planning to extend the threshold to qualify for mortgage relief support to 38,000 euros ($41,283) as part of a set of measures to help vulnerable households cope with higher borrowing costs.

The measures also include freezing the monthly mortgage payment for one year and extending the repayment period to seven years.

Under an amended industry-wide code of good practice, Spain’s banks are now expected to provide mortgage support for vulnerable families earning less than 25,200 euros per year.

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Additionally, middle-class families with an income of less than 29,400 euros who risked defaulting would also receive additional protection.

In Spain around three-quarters of the population are homeowners. They are among the most exposed to a rise in interest rates as around 70% of their more 4 million outstanding mortgage loans are tied to variable rates, according to data from Spain’s mortgage association. 

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Stocks on steroids, as FDI prospects help KSE-100 Index jump over 60,000 hurdle

Stocks on steroids, as FDI prospects help KSE-100 Index jump over 60,000 hurdle

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Stocks on steroids, as FDI prospects help KSE-100 Index jump over 60,000 hurdle

The Pakistan Stock Exchange made another history as soon as the traders hit the floor on Tuesday as the benchmark KSE-100 Index achieved another landmark by crossing the 60,000 barrier, after Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates signed multiple memorandums of understandings (MoUs) a day earlier.

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed several multi-billion dollar MoUs in a range of areas on Monday to boost economic and strategic cooperation between the two countries, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said in a video message.

The prime minister, who is on visit to the UAE, said the bilateral economic and strategic relations had entered into new era of bilateral cooperation with the signing of the MoUs.

By 10:59am, the KSE-100 Index was recorded at 60,659.14 against the previous closing of 59,811.34, representing a gain of 847.80 points, or 1.42 per cent.

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There are a number of factors contributing to the ongoing surge in stocks but the foreign currency inflow will be the major boost. The foreign direct investment (FDI) will not only revive the economy by expanding the existing businesses but also creating ones while providing the much-needed job opportunities to the people who are hit hard by the prevailing cost-of-ling crisis sustained by the record-high inflation.

At the same time, the FDI will enhance the share prices of listed companies especially in energy and related sectors – an eagerly awaited trend already being witnessed in the market after years of undervalued status.

Currently at 22pc, the interest rates, the highest in Pakistan’s history, have crippled the economy amid the rising cost of doing of doing business, as the investors either opted to take refuge in the US dollar – the safe haven currency – or transferred the money abroad, which weakened the rupee to level never witnessed before in its history.

However, it was the PTI government which initially pushed ahead with the currency devaluation as its policy statement while accusing Dar of keeping the rupee strong artificially.

Meanwhile, the IMF’s insistence on expanding the tax net and enhance revenue collection mean black market or informal sectors will slowly become less profitable as a result of documentation of economy.

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It is going to help Pakistan attract more and more people for investing in stocks, as the country currently has one of the worst ratio of population in the world when it comes of the investment in the shares market.

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ADB okays $180m for water supply, solid waste management in Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur

ADB okays $180m for water supply, solid waste management in Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur

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ADB okays $180m for water supply, solid waste management in Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $180 million to improve water supply and solid waste management in Punjab, as the urban centres in Pakistan lack infrastructure to deal with the population influx.

Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur are the two cities selected for these funded projects, as the Bangkok-based financial institution says the funds would help improving the lives of 1.5 million people.

The details show that the funds would be utilised for expanding and modernising the water supply scheme in Rawalpindi and improving solid waste management system in Bahawalpur.

Rawalpindi – the ever expanding urban centre especially due to the arrival of large number of people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – is one those cities in Punjab where the underground water is the main source of supply by using tube-wells.

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Thus, it is not a surprise that the water table is going down at an alarming rate with a worsening quality, causing serious health problems and diseases, as the pipelines are affected by erosion.

Moreover, the adverse effects of climate change leading to reduce amount of the rains mean that used water resources are not replenished with Pakistan already facing the challenge of water scarcity.

On the other hand, absence of solid waste management and recycling services are also causing a plethora of problems – from choking sewerage system to pollution and other health hazards.

About the overall urban development projects in Punjab, the ADB website says the Pakistan government has requested support from the ADB to plan investments and design service delivery models for selected cities which include Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, and Sargodha.

“The project readiness financing (PRF) will complement ADB’s assistance to the urban development in Pakistan, including a transaction technical assistance facility designed to support feasibility studies and explore innovations to improve the quality of urban services.”

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Lack of public transport amid population bomb? India vehicle sales climb 19pc in festive season

Lack of public transport amid population bomb? India vehicle sales climb 19pc in festive season

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Lack of public transport amid population bomb? India vehicle sales climb 19pc in festive season

Vehicle sales in India rose 19 per cent during a 42-day festive season, boosted mainly by strong demand for two wheelers in rural areas, an auto dealers’ body said on Tuesday.
Indians generally make big-ticket purchases on items like vehicles during the festive season, which kicked off in mid-October this year and ran till Nov 25.

The latest figures come as an earlier report mentioned that India and Pakistan have witnessed a fourfold increase in the number of vehicles since 2000, as South Asia remains the global pollution hotspot.

Moreover, this rise also reflects a fact that the two countries lack an effective public transport system to serve the urban centres as the massive rural population has no such access to the service which many believe is a human right in today’s age.

However, India has been making giant strides when it comes to mass transit network in different cities across the country while the process started in Pakistan by the PML-N in 2012 was not only halted but reversed and discouraged by the PTI government at the cost of people.

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The result can be seen in the number of cars, bikes and Chingchis – the noise-making machines – on our roads where commuting between your home and workplace has become a major headache and expansive exercise amid the current cost-of-living crisis triggered and sustained by a record-high inflation

Meanwhile, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) data showed that two-wheeler sales in India surged about 21pc in the period to 2.9 million units,

“Record-breaking sales were reported in several categories, with rural areas particularly contributing to the surge in two-wheeler purchases,” FADA, which provides monthly data on dealer sales, said in a statement.

Two-wheeler makers’ sakes to dealers inched closer to pre-pandemic volumes in October due to strong festive demand and discounts on entry-level models, data showed earlier this month.

Sales of three wheelers advanced 41pc, while those of passenger vehicles (PVs) climbed around 10pc to 547,246 units, FADA added.

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“Tractors, which saw an 8.3pc decrease in sales during Navratri, made a remarkable recovery, ending the festive period with only a 0.5pc decrease,” FADA said.

Tractor sales, a key indicator of rural economy, slipped 0.4pc following a 10pc fall in September.

Caution remains around PV inventories as original equipment manufacturers continue to push further dispatch, keeping inventory rate at near all-time highs, FADA said, adding that sport utility vehicles (SUVs) were the most-demanded. 

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