published on Sunday, August 17, 2008
KARACHI, Pakistan: Pakistan does not need to turn to the International Monetary Fund for money in the next 10 months if the government cuts spending and gets other sources of financing to offset its falling reserves, a senior IMF official said.
Mohsin Khan, the IMF director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said Pakistan had not sought IMF loans.
He said Pakistan would not need an IMF loan in the fiscal year to June if the government abolished all fuel subsidies by December as planned, and stopped borrowing from the central bank to pay for its budget deficit.
High oil prices have depleted Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves to levels worth less than three months of imports, sparking concerns among investors that Pakistan may need to seek loans from the IMF to pay for imports. Continue reading
By ROBERT WEISSMAN
Last week came the news that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating potential manipulation of the oil trading market.
That’s a good thing, though the CFTC is not exactly the most aggressive regulator around. (Says Judy Dugan of Consumer Watchdog: “On its face, the investigation smacks of the fox investigating a hen shortage in the chicken coop.”)
Market manipulation may be contributing to the recent oil price spike — though even in the worst case, it is only part of the story. The most important factor is supply and demand: supply is having trouble keeping up with unabated demand growth.
Are Wall Street firms and hedge funds in fact manipulating the oil market? Perhaps. There are certainly enough conflicts of interest, and unregulation, to make such activity plausible. These aren’t exactly guys with an honorable track record. Continue reading
“Most leading oil multinationals fall well short of best practice on revealing financial data and combating corruption, a survey unveiled today by Transparency International… claims. …The survey of 42 companies highlights growing worries that – in an era of booming crude prices – too little is being done to combat corruption and state mismanagement of oil wealth. …
TI says oil companies have important responsibilities in the areas its report assesses, including publishing the sums paid to host countries, revealing details of reserves and production costs, and publishing data on anti-graft policies and sanctions on employees who break them. Continue reading
An editorial from today’s Daily Times –
“The Federal Bureau of Statistics says that “food inflation” surged over 20 percent due to high prices of food and increase in domestic oil prices during March of the current fiscal year as compared with the corresponding period last year. The consumer price index (CPI) therefore has gone up by 14.12 percent, the highest in a decade during the month under review. On top of this, the wheat crop estimates have been drawn down from 24 million tons to 22 million tons, threatening to further push up “food-led” inflation in the country”.
The word “food-led” is misleading and might encourage the “economics of antagonism” which is unfortunately issuing from the finance ministry under Ishaq Dar, blaming the Shaukat Aziz government for the inflation. The fact is that food has actually become more expensive all over the world. The global increase has been of the order of 40 percent in one year. Added together with global oil and edible oil prices, the phenomenon is more “foreign-led” food inflation than just food-led. The Shaukat Aziz government has been punished by the 2008 elections. It is time to move on. Don’t forget that in 1999, too, the economy under Nawaz Sharif was “belly-up” and had to be rescued by Mr Aziz. *
Amity Shlaes writes at the Bloomberg:
In a recent paper(pdf), scholars Simeon Djankov, Jose G. Montalvo and Marta Reynal-Querol surveyed data from more than 100 countries over four decades. They also found that aid tends to supplant growth and makes countries quantifiably less democratic. They compared aid with petroleum wealth. Based on their research, they determined, “aid is a bigger curse than oil.
Quoted from here via African Loft