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Asian shares are mostly higher after another set of Wall St records

Asian shares are mostly higher after another set of Wall St records

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Asian shares are mostly higher after another set of Wall St records

Asian shares ended mostly higher in quiet, Good Friday holiday trading, while European and U.S. markets were closed.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.5% to 40,369.44 and the Kospi in Seoul was little changed, at 2,748.55. The Shanghai Composite index gained 1% to 3,041.17.

Taiwan’s Taiex advanced 0.7%. In Bangkok, the SET added 0.5%.

India’s markets were closed for Holi.

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The U.S. dollar slipped to 151.35 Japanese yen from 151.38 yen. The euro edged lower, to $1.0774 from $1.0790.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 added 0.1%, to its all-time high set a day before and closed at 5,254.35. It gained 10.2% in the first quarter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up 0.1% to 39,807.37 and likewise set a record. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.1% to 16,379.46.

Chemours fell 9.1% despite reporting better results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It gave a forecast for earnings before taxes and other items in the current quarter that was below analysts’ expectations.

Also on the losing end was Trump Media & Technology Group. The company behind former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social fell 6.4% after soaring more than 14% in each of the past two days. Its stock has shot well beyond what critics say is reasonable for the money-losing company, driven by fans of Trump and investors hoping to cash in on the mania. 

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Georgieva to lead IMF for five more years, says Pakistan lining up for a new deal

Notes Islamabad successfully completing SBA, but very important issues needs to be solved

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Notes Islamabad successfully completing SBA, but very important issues needs to be solved

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board confirmed Friday that it had reappointed Kristalina Georgieva to serve for a second five-year term at the helm of the international financial institution.

It means that Georgieva, who was the sole candidate in the running to lead the IMF, will continue in office when her current term ends on September 30, 2024.

The decision was taken by consensus, the IMF said in a statement confirming the board’s decision.

“I am deeply grateful for the trust and support of the Fund’s Executive Board, representing our 190 members, and honoured to continue to lead the IMF as Managing Director,” Georgieva said in a statement.

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“I look forward to continue serving our membership, together with the highly professional and committed staff of the IMF,” she added.

Georgieva, a 70-year-old Bulgarian, has run the IMF since 2019, and told AFP last month that she was making herself “available to serve, if people want me to serve.”

During her tenure, the IMF has helped countries facing financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the havoc wrought by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, especially in Europe.

Under a controversial, decades-old agreement between Europe and the United States, the IMF has historically been led by a European, and the World Bank by a US citizen.

This arrangement was reaffirmed last year when the Biden administration nominated Ajay Banga, an Indian-born, naturalized US citizen, to run the World Bank, which sits just across the street from the IMF in Washington.

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Georgieva faced allegations in 2021 – which she strongly denied – that she had been involved in amending a popular World Bank business report in order to favour China when she worked at the development lender.

But after reviewing the World Bank report into the incident, the IMF Executive Board dismissed the allegations and reaffirmed its confidence in Georgieva, allowing her to remain in post.

The announcement means that next week’s IMF and World Bank meetings of the world’s financial leaders in Washington can proceed without a distracting battle over the future of the Fund running in the background.

POTENTIAL FOLLOW-UP LOAN PROGRAMME

Pakistan is in discussions with the IMF on a potential follow-up programme to its nine-month, $3 billion stand-by arrangement, Georgieva said, adding that it had important issues to solve.

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Georgieva told an event at the Atlantic Council think tank, that Pakistan was successfully completing its existing programme with the IMF and its economy was performing somewhat better, with reserves now being built up.

“There is a commitment to continue on this path, and the country is turning to the Fund for potentially having a follow-up program,” Georgieva said, flagging issues that the struggling South Asian nation still needed to address.

“There are very important issues to be solved in Pakistan: the tax base, how the richer part of society contributes to the economy, the way public spending is being directed and of course, creating … a more transparent environment.”

Pakistan and the IMF last month reached a staff-level agreement on the second and last review of the $3 billion stand-by arrangement (SBA), which, if cleared by the global lender’s board, will release about $1.1 billion to the struggling South Asian nation. The IMF’s board is expected to review the matter in late April, but no firm date has been set, a spokesperson said.

Both sides have also spoken about negotiating a longer-term bailout and continuing with necessary policy reforms to rein in deficits, build up reserves and manage soaring debt servicing.

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Canada housing crisis: Trudeau to lease govt land for adding millions of houses

Canada housing crisis: Trudeau to lease govt land for adding millions of houses

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Canada housing crisis: Trudeau to lease govt land for adding millions of houses

Canada plans to ease a housing shortage by leasing public land to developers for construction of affordable houses under a plan unveiled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday that aims to build nearly 3.9 million houses by 2031.

The government said the land is underutilized. The property could potentially include abandoned industrial parks, sites of defunct government companies and schools with low enrolment.

The plan still falls 1.2 million units short of what is needed from 2023 to 2030, according to national housing agency Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The Liberal government has announced a series of measures to address the housing crisis over the past two weeks, and the issue is expected to dominate next week’s federal budget.

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The flurry of activity follows a surge in housing and rental prices that has caused Trudeau’s Liberals to lag the Conservatives in opinion polls before an election that must be held by October 2025.

Read more: No more dreams as rich-poor divide widening at frightening pace

“It is a plan that is actually going to make a difference in the lives of Canadians,” Trudeau told reporters in Vaughan, Ontario.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser said other new measures include changes to a capital-cost tax structure that will encourage institutional builders to construct more homes, proposals to extend low-cost loans and combating on mortgage fraud that artificially inflates the cost of houses.

Mike Moffatt of the Task Force for Housing and Climate, an independent think tank, said builders and other stakeholders would need to invest close to C$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) to achieve the government’s 3.9 million homes target.

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Read more: How to provide affordable housing? Here is one of the steps that all govts can take

“We are going to need to see more on the math, and we will need to see more on (the cost) in the budget. But I think overall we have seen some pretty significant reforms in today’s package,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Rapid growth in Canada’s immigrant population has driven the housing shortage along with inflation and high interest rates.

Housing in Canada is largely the responsibility of the 10 provinces and major municipalities. Ottawa, which has no direct role in construction, relies on policy measures and funding.

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Pakistan repays $1bn in Eurobonds, as Aurangzeb heads to US for IMF deal

Pakistan repays $1bn in Eurobonds, as Aurangzeb heads to US for IMF deal

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Pakistan repays $1bn in Eurobonds, as Aurangzeb heads to US for IMF deal

Pakistan’s central bank has repaid $1 billion in Eurobonds, it said on Saturday, a scheduled payment ahead of the South Asian nation seeking a long-term bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The bond, launched in 2014 and repaid on Friday, was maturing this month.

“The payment was made to the agent bank for onward distribution to the bond holders,” the central bank said in a statement.
Islamabad has been struggling with a balance of payments crisis, record inflation and steep currency devaluation since an IMF standby arrangement averted a sovereign default.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb is due to leave on Sunday for Washington to attend the IMF-World Bank spring meeting, where he will start negotiations for Pakistan’s 24th long-term IMF bailout.

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Read more: Georgieva to lead IMF for five more years, says Pakistan lining up for a new deal

Aurangzeb briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the new IMF programme on Friday, the government said in a statement.

The IMF stand-by arrangement of $3 billion Islamabad secured last summer expired on Thursday. Its final tranche of $1.1 billion is expected to be released after the multilateral lender’s board meets later this month.

The two sides have spoken in recent weeks about negotiating the longer-term bailout to continue with necessary policy reforms to rein in deficits, build up reserves and manage soaring debt servicing.

Pakistan is in discussions with the IMF for a potential follow-up programme, the IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday.

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