National News

India’s rising net import of Chemicals may cross Rs 3 lakh crore by 2024-25; needs to focus on rising food requirements

NEW DELHI:P. Raghavendra Rao, Secretary (Chemicals and Petrochemicals), Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, opined that, assessing the rate at which India has been importing chemicals, from slightly above Rs 1,000 crore in 2004-05 to net import of Rs 1, 40, 000 crore in 2018-19, the country’s net import of chemicals may cross Rs 3 lakh crore by 2024-25,. India requires a focused attention on various fronts as its big challenge is meeting its food requirements.Mr. Rao spoke at an event organized by FICCI, jointly with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Govt. of India. According to him, India has done well in agrochemicals, but a lot needs to be done. By 2022, India will overtake China to become the most populous Country in the world. Looking at the rate at which urbanization is taking place, the food requirement to meet the needs of the Country will be enormous.
All the stakeholders in the food business: farmers, industry, and the Government, will have to discuss the challenges and make concerted efforts to address issues such as the falling water table, degradation of land, and productivity, said Mr. Rao. India holds the 6th position in the world’s chemical sector, and yet its total contribution is 3% of the entire world market, whereas China contributes more than 39%.

Export Promotion Schemes to boost exports highlighted by Commerce Ministry

MUMBAI:With the objective of assisting Central and State Government Agencies in the creation of appropriate infrastructure for growth of exports from the states, the Government of India has launched the ‘Trade Infrastructure for Export’ Scheme (TIES) from FY 2017-18.Financial assistance is provided by the TIES in the form of grant-in-aid to Central/State Government-owned agencies for the setting up or upgradation of export infrastructure as per the TIES guidelines. The scheme can be availed by the states through their implementing agencies, for infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land Customs Stations, Quality testing and Certification labs, Cold Chains, Trade Promotion Centres, Dry Ports, Export Warehousing and Packaging, SEZs and Ports/Airports Cargo Terminuses.The Scheme guidelines are available at http://commerce.gov.in.As on July 1, 2019, 28 export infrastructure projects have been provided financial assistance during FY 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 under the TIES cheme.Continuous communication is maintained by the Government of India with the State Governments and Union Territories regarding measures to promote exports and to provide an international trade-enabling environment in the states, and to create a framework so that the states are actively involved in boosting India’s exports.Additionally, the DGFT operates various Export promotion schemes under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), such as Advance Authorization, Duty Free Import Authorization, Export Promotion of Capital Goods, and Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS). The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has issued various exemption notifications to give effect to these schemes. The FTP has given details of various exemptions provided for these schemes.Similarly, the FTP introduced the MEIS on 01.04.2015, for providing rewards to exporters of specified goods. The MEIS aims to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in exporting goods/products which are produced/manufactured in India. The MIES incentivizes exporters in terms of Duty Credit Scrips at the rate of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 % of FOB Value of exports realized. These scrips are transferable and can be used to pay certain Central Duties/taxes including Customs Duties.In order to harness the export potential of Indian agriculture through suitable policy instruments, the Agriculture Export Policy was launched in 2018, to make India a global power in agriculture, and to raise farmers’ incomes,. This policy aims to increase agricultural exports by integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products with the global value chains.

A structured Logistics policy to transform the Logistics and Warehousing sector

HYDERABAD:India’s logistics and warehousing sector is transforming. The introduction of a structured Logistics Policy has been introduced with the hope of transforming the sector into an integrated, efficient, cost-effective, and technology-driven system, with an aim to bring the logistics cost from the current 14 per cent of GDP to 10 per cent by 2022.The draft National Logistics Policy and the proposed action plan for implementation of the policy prepared by the Department of Logistics was recently reviewed by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.India is ranked 44 in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, 2018.
From the current over-$160 bn market, the Indian logistics market would be around $215 bn by 2020-21. The logistics sector absorbed 22 mn people in 2017, and employment is expected to surge to 40 mn by 2020.“With private equity money coming into the logistics sector, there is a huge potential. Large global logistics companies have also launched funds dedicated to the sector. India needs such infrastructure. The Country will not become a $5 trillion economy without the contribution of logistics sector. All the major developers who were just sticking to residential or mall development are now entering into logistics sector. The thought process of warehousing development and rentals is changing,” said Sandip Patnaik, Managing Director, Hyderabad, JLL

Rise in cargo transportation on Waterways from 55.2 MT in 2016 to 72.31 MT in 2018-19; Government takes initiatives to increase use of inland waterways and coastal shipping

NEW DELHI:The Lok Sabha was informed by Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers, that 111 National Waterways were being developed in phased manner for the purpose of shipping and navigation.At the Lok Sabha, Shri Mandaviya stated that cargo transportation on waterways rose to 72.31 Mn Tonnes in the year 2018-19, from 55.20 MT in 2016-17 and 55.03 MT in 2017-18.He added that various initiatives had been taken by the Government to increase the use of Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for greater cargo shipment, such as providing assured depth of water in the channels, navigation aids like GPS and River Information System, terminals at regular intervals, facilities for mechanized handling of cargo handling etc.
Coastal vessels at Major Ports have been given a minimum 40 % discount and priority in berthing.The Ministry of Fertilizers has agreed to provide subsidy for transportation of fertilizers; the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has agreed to provide transportation of raw materials and finished goods for new industrial units in North Eastern Region through the IWT mode.Licensing relaxations have been made under section 406 and 407 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 for fertilizers, agricultural products, fisheries, horticultural, and animal husbandry products, empty containers and containers being transhipped from another Indian port, special vessels such as Ro-Ro, Ro-Pax, and Project cargo/ODC.Other steps taken in this direction are allowing carriage of coastal containers through the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and streamlining of mechanism for freight subsidy reimbursement for fertilizers.

Iron ore traffic surges year-on-year during April-June

NEW DELHI:After a year of deceleration in 2018-19, which saw a decline in shipments by 16 per cent, iron ore traffic has staged a comeback. This is due to a revival in export demand for the key steelmaking ingredient. As per a report, many major ports dependent on the commodity had to contend with muted growth in cargo throughput, due to a fallout of de-growth in iron ore cargo in the last fiscal.However, all Major Ports, with the exception of Mormugao Port, saw their iron ore volumes mounting at the end of June in FY20. The report said that Mormugao was impacted by the mining ban in Goa and curbs clamped on ore from Karnataka. Iron ore cargo handling, including pellets, at Kolkata, soared more than three-fold between April and June. Iron ore shipments at Paradip spiked by 70 per cent during the period. Visakhapatnam had a 41 per cent growth in the commodity.Also, a robust growth of 16.88 per cent was seen in coking coal shipments moving through the Major Ports. The report said that container cargo measured in TEUs grew by seven per cent.

Exemption from charges for late filing of Bill of Entry

  • Attention of Importers/Exporters, Customs Brokers, Trade, Customs Staff and Stakeholders is invited to Standing Order No. 17/2017 dated 03.07.2017 concerning charges for late presentation of the B/E.
  • As the e-Sanchit Portal for uploading supporting documents was very slow in generating the Image Reference Number (IRN) and sometimes the number was not generated on 09.07.2019 and 10.07.2019, the trade faced difficulty in filing the Bills of Entry within the time period stipulated under Section 46 of the Customs Act, 1962 and Regulation 4(1) of the Bill of Entry (Forms) Regulations, 2018.
  • Hence, as a measure of trade facilitation, it has been decided that for the consignments with entry inward dates 08.07.2019 to 09.07.2019 and Bill of Entry dates between 08.07.2019 and 10.07.2019, there will be no charge on late presentation of Bill of Entry. In all such cases, waiver of late filing charges pertaining to the above said period would be dealt directly by the respective Dy./Asst. Commissioners of the Group.
  • In case of any further delay in generation of Bill of Entry after 10.07.2019, the Customs Brokers or the Importer is requested to submit evidence like Job No., Screen Shots of the Job No. from ICEGATE/Message received in ICEGATE, to show that efforts were made for submitting a job in ICEGATE for filing Bill of Entry but no positive acknowledgement was received from ICES. All such cases of waiver of late filing charges pertaining to a Bill of Entry filed after 10.07.2019 for entry inward dates 08.07.2019 and 09.07.2019 would be dealt by the respective DC/AC on merits.

TEA President urges members to send goods through GPS- fitted Vehicles

CHENNAI:The President of the Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA), Shri Raja M. Shanmugham, recently said that export goods belonging to four of the TEA members, which were transported through lorries to Tuticorin Port, were stopped at the location called Pandalkudi, near Virudhunagar town and a notorious gang was opening and taking away the pieces randomly from the carton boxes and the theft is known to the exporters only when 100% inspection was carried out at the Tuticorin Customs. Was this a continuous occurrence or one incident?Incidents of this kind have probably been happening for quite some time, said Mr. Shanmugham, and they were exposed only when 100% inspection was done at the end of the Customs Department.Mr. Shanmugham has requested the TEA members to be cautious, and to arrange to send the goods only through GPS-fitted vehicles so that the vehicle could be tracked perfectly, as the consequences from the buyers end would be severe, including loss of reputation and loss of future orders. He also advised the TEA members to ensure that the goods are sent through better track record transporters, and also that the booking office is responsible for the goods.

TEA President urges members to send goods through GPS- fitted Vehicles

COCHIN:A road show was organised on Port Community System (PCS 1x) for the stake holders of Cochin Port Trust on 17 July 2019 by the Indian Ports Association (IPA) in collaboration with Portal, Logistics Software Company. The objective of the Road show was to create awareness in, and to sensitize, the maritime community, and to take the Stakeholders on-board.PCS is an Ease of Doing Business initiative of Government of India, and PCS 1x is the upgraded cloud version of PCS. PCS 1x was rolled out in December 2018 simultaneously at 12 Major Ports of India. Today, over 1400 users exchange the messages including customs, payments, vessel, cargo, for their business transactions with the stake holders. Adoption of PCS 1x would result in marked improvement for the Ease of Doing Business initiatives. It would help improved visibility, reduction in time & cost along with documentation work. The digital solution also aids in improving the payment facility and e-delivery in maritime trade.Dr M. Beena IAS, Chairperson, Cochin Port Trust, informed while inaugurating the road show, that PCS 1x was a platform that facilitates the Port users to transact business with their stakeholders irrespective of the size or technical capability of the user. She also stated that widespread use of similar platforms like PCS 1x would help India’s economic growth, and sought the help of all stakeholders. The road show helped the stakeholders speed up on-boarding by the rest of the maritime ecosystem, since the platform is designed to handle 27 stakeholder categories and is able to meet any changes requested by stakeholders. All Major Trade Associations are working along with IPA and Portal for seamless adoption, and are accommodating additional requests from the stakeholders.IPA presented the updates on usage and upcoming technical aspects for users. Representatives from Portal presented to the trade community the benefits and features of PCS 1x and indicated additional functionalities in the pipeline.

Multi Modal Terminal at Sahibganj to open up alternate route for Nepal bound cargo

NEW DELHI:This August would see the completion of the Multi-Modal Terminal (MMT), whch is being constructed at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, on the river Ganga (NW-1), under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers, informed the parliament.Sahibganj MMT is strategically located in the logistics chain of the Eastern transport corridor of India. The MMT is expected to boost cargo movement in the area, as it is close to both NH-80 and the Sakrigali railway station. This will lead to extensive socio-economic and industrial development of the region. The MMT will also provide alternate route for Nepal-bound cargo, and will open up international markets for sea trade for the land-locked states of Jharkhand and Bihar.Shri Mansukh Mandaviya further informed that the projected traffic volume of Sahibganj MMT is 2.24 Mn Tonne Per Annum (MTPA) by 2020-21, and the major cargo expected to be handled are stone chips, coal, cement, food grains, fertilizer and sugar.
The MMT is projected to generate employment of 2500 persons.

India has 32 MT cold storage capacity as against requirement of 35 MT

NEW DELHI:At the Lok Sabha, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that India had 8,038 cold storages with a capacity of 36.77 mn tonnes, and 92 per cent of the capacity was owned and operated by private entities,A study on All India Cold-chain Infrastructure Capacity (AICIC-2015) revealed that India had a cold storage capacity of 32 mn tonnes, as against an approximate requirement of 35 mn tonnes, he added.A baseline survey conducted during December, 2013 by Hansa Research Group estimated that 92 per cent of cold storages are owned and operated by the private sector, three per cent cooperative, and remaining five per cent are under Public Sector, the Minister said.

After a similar decline in the last fiscal, iron ore shipments rise 15% in April-June

NEW DELHI:During April-June this fiscal, Iron ore cargo bounced back at Major Ports, rising 15.33 per cent year-on-year. After a year of deceleration in 2018-19, which saw a decline in shipments by 16 per cent, Iron ore traffic has staged a comeback. As a fall-out of de-growth in iron ore cargo in the last fiscal, many Major Ports dependent on the commodity had to contend with muted growth in cargo throughput.All Major Ports with the exception of Mormugao Port saw their iron ore volumes mounting at the end of June in FY20. The mining ban in Goa and curbs clamped on ore from Karnataka affected Mormugao Port.Between April and June, the Kolkata Dock System, made up by the riverine port of Kolkata and the one at Haldia, saw its iron ore cargo, including pellets, soaring more than three fold. That period saw a spike in Paradip Port’s iron ore shipments by 70 per cent. Another iron ore cargo-driven port, Visakhapatnam, had a 41 per cent growth in the commodity.A revival in export demand for the key steel making ingredient resulted in a surge in iron ore shipments.

Sharp fall in food grains imports, says Agriculture Minister

NEW DELHI: In 2019, India imported 2.78 mn tonnes (mt) of food grains worth $1.214 bn, compared to 7.52 mt with a value of $3.342 bn in the previous year. As per a report, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Agriculture Minister Mr Narendra Singh Tomar said that this drastic drop was on account of lower imports of wheat and pulses.According to the report, Mr. Tomar said, that while India imported 5.61 mt of pulses and 1.65 mt of wheat in 2017-18, imports came down to 2.53 mt and 2,746 tonnes, respectively, in the previous financial year..

Steel Minister: 34 per cent decline in steel exports in last fiscal

NEW DELHI: India’s total steel export, which was 9.62 mn tonnes in 2017-18, declined by 34% in 2018-19, and stood at 6.36 mn tonnes. The Union Minister for Steel, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, gave this information at the Lok Sabha.Mr. Pradhan said that appropriate trade measures such as anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties have been imposed to protect the domestic industry from unfair external competition. The Government has also notified 53 steel and steel product quality control orders, which are applicable for both domestic production as well as imports. Steel quality control orders are implemented in the public interest for human, animal, and plant protection, environmental protection, prevention of unfair trade practices, and national security.Economic relationship discussions are going on between India and the USA, of which, trade-related issues form a part, said Mr. Pradhan.

Global trade tension affects exports, which decrease 10% in June

NEW DELHI :As global trade tensions affected shipments, and India braced for the impact of the withdrawal of some benefits by the USA, India’s exports shrank for the first time in nine months in June.According to data released by the Government, exports shrank 9.71% last month to $25.01 bn, while imports declined 9.06%. The trade deficit narrowed to $15.28 bn from $16.6 bn a year ago.There was a sharp fall by 14.1 per cent in exports to China, as China struggled with the impact of the trade war with the USA, In the June quarter, China’s GDP growth slowed to a 27-year low of 6.2 per cent. In June, India’s shipments to the United Arab Emirates fell 15.31 per cent, and shipments to Hong Kong dropped 9.68 per cent.Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said, “The decline in exports in June is due in large part to a base effect of an extraordinarily good month in June 2018.”The decline was also consistent with certain global trends, which have impacted exports in recent months, Mr. Wadhawan added.Petroleum exports were affected by the decline in crude prices. September 2018 was the last time exports decreased, when they fell 2.15 per cent. According to data, shipments for 21 out of 30 sectors declined, with the steepest fall registered in gems and jewellery, engineering goods, and petroleum products in June. Healthy exports are pivotal for the revival of the economy as per the Government’s plan. The Commerce Ministry said, in a statement, “The temporary shutdown of ONGC Mangalore Petrochemical Ltd for maintenance has adversely impacted exports of petroleum products. Jamnagar refinery also experienced a routine maintenance-related disruption in June 2019.”Rating agency Crisil said, in a report last month, that the withdrawal of GSP would affect exporters of gems and jewellery the most, with around 15% of these having availed of the benefits in 2018.In the report, Crisil said, “Now there will be an additional duty of 7% on exports of precious metal-based and imitation jewellery. That will reduce competitiveness of domestic exporters and put pressure on margins.”

FIEO: Worsening Global economic conditions have led to export decline

NEW DELHI :FIEO President Mr Sharad Kumar Saraf commented on the sliding merchandise exports growth during June, 2019, saying that such a de-growth in exports is a reflection of a sluggish global demand and a rising tariff war. The high exports base of June 2018 contributed in no less measure. Exports were also lowered by the softening of crude and steel prices.The US-China Trade war and developments in Iran have further aggravated the problem of the world economy, opined Mr. Saraf. He thought that the uncertainty of the situation would also affect the flow of investment and add to currency volatility.In June 2019, only 9 out of 30 major product groups showed positive exports growth, including some plantation and agri sectors, iron ore, ceramic products & glassware, drugs & Pharma, electronic goods, and jute manufacturing, including floor covering. The other major sectors of exports, including almost all labour-intensive sector exports besides petroleum, for first time in recent years, were in the negative with the witnessed decelerating trend.Domestic issues such as access to credit, cost of credit especially for merchant exporters, interest equalization support to all agri exports, benefits on sales to foreign tourists and quick refund of GST should be seriously looked into, said Mr. Saraf.

Decline in Export Credit and its impact on exports discussed by Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHIThe balance outstanding for export credit by all Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) increased from Rs 1,85,591 crore as on 31.3.2015 to Rs 2,43,890 crore as on 31.3.2018, before declining to Rs 2,26,363 crore as on 31.3.2019, according tor data compiled by RBI. The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, discussed the matter at the Rajya Sabha recently.The following major steps have been taken by the Government to increase the flow of credit to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) exporters:

  • Raising interest equalization rate under Interest Equalisation Scheme (IES) from 3% to 5% for MSME exports,
  • Including Merchant exporters under IES for Pre and Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit,
  • Facilitating export under GST by permitting Letter of Undertaking in place of bond with no bank guarantee for exporting goods or services or both,
  • Allowing merchant exporters to procure goods from domestic suppliers, for export, with nominal GST of 0.1%,
  • Provisional sanction of 90% GST refund amount for exports within 7 days,
  • Reducing insurance premium rates by an average of 17% for export credit.

The RBI is currently examining the priority sector lending norms for export credit, and certain enabling guidelines are under consideration, the Department of Financial Services has informed. The revised guidelines, when issued, are expected to release an additional Rs.350-680 bn export credit under the priority sector. The RBI has informed that it is not in favour of earmarking a part of foreign exchange reserves for export credit, added Mr. Goyal.

NMPT considers transporting cars to boost Coastal Shipping

MANGALORE:In order to boost its coastal shipping business, the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) is planning to promote the movement of cars in containers. The port currently handles coastal shipping of about 7 mn metric tonnes per annum, and is planning to raise it to 10 mn metric tonnes.To promote Coastal Shipping, NMPT has increased the free time on cargo from 7 to 15 days, and priority berthing is provided to Coastal Shipping vessels, said Port Trust Chairman A V Ramana. The port is also in strategic dialogue with CONCOR (Container Corporation of India) which has entered into the business after the Railways.Mr. Ramana said, “It is a good thing that they have entered into Coastal Shipping.”The movement of cars through containers is another potential area for the port to consider. Tamil Nadu, on the East Coast of India, has many car companies. Car traders in the state depend upon trucks for transporting cars. Cars could be transported via Coastal Shipping. Mr. Ramana said that containers returning empty could be used to bring cars from the East Coast, which will turn out cheaper for the traders.He said, “Instead of carrying empty containers, the vessels can bring cars – say two cars in a container – which is cheaper for vessel operators as well as car traders.” NMPT will schedule a trade meeting with the stakeholders in the future to probe the possibilities, said Mr. Ramana.The Coastal Shipping route is from Gujarat – Maharashtra – Goa – Karnataka and Kerala in the West Coast and towards Tamil Nadu in the East Coast. Tiles and wheat constitute the main cargo coming to NMPT.

FIEO connects Indian exporters to Oman’s business potential

FIEO will be integrated to the Connect Oman initiative to foster B2B engagements and delegation visits between Oman and India

CHENNAI: A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Business Gateways International, Oman (business gateways) and the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) as a part of a joint endeavour to facilitate and strengthen collaborations between Omani and Indian business communities.More and more Indian companies want to integrate to Oman’s business opportunities through the mandatory supplier certification system JSRS (the Joint Supplier Registration System), hence business gateways and FIEO have agreed to intensify the engagement of Indian and Omani companies through a Partnership model.Indian companies will be able to access open tenders across Oman and the other GCC Countries. Business gateways will play a key role in supporting FIEO members’ market expansion and investment initiatives in Oman. FIEO will be integrated to the Connect Oman initiative to foster B2B engagements and delegation visits between Oman and India. JSRS Certified FIEO members can avail Industry Certifications which are Buyer-specific accreditations such as Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (Madayn) Supplier Certification.Regional Chairman, FIEO (SR), Mr, Israr Ahmed, is confident that this partnership with business gateways would bring FIEO and its member companies closer to Oman’s key market potential.CEO of business gateways, Hemant Murkoth, welcomed the Strategic Partnership with FIEO. According to him this initiative would result in a better engagement model benefitting FIEO member companies and Oman’s business community.

Import dwell time at JNPT improved 33% in May over April

NAVI MUMBAI:the Overall Import Dwell Time at JNPT, India’s No. One Container Port, has drastically improved during the month of May over the previous month due to improved road container handling. An improvement of 33% was seen in the Overall Import Dwell Time in May 2019, which stood at 22.8 hours, as compared to 33.9 hours in April 2019.During May 2019, Import dwell time for Roads stood at 20.8 hours, as against 31.7 hours in April 2019. During May 2019, the Import Dwell Time for Railways was 43 hours, as against 50.9 hours in April 2019.

New Mangalore Port to install advanced scanner soon: Customs

BANGALORE: The Customs would install an advanced scanner at New Mangalore Port to check fraud and trafficking, A.K. Jyotishi, Chief Commissioner of Customs, Bengaluru Zone, said recently.He said that the department had procured the scanner which would be installed in two months, while talking to reporters after inaugurating the 133-year-old renovated Customs House at the Old Port.He added that, currently, goods and material under suspicion are being checked at the port through the risk-management system by opening the consignments.With the installation of the advanced scanner, the machine itself will check for fraud and trafficking. Thus, he added, that the requirement of manpower and the time for checking goods and material would be reduced.

China News

Hong Kong’s Summer of Dissent Rolls On as Protesters Broaden Their Agenda

lification of pro-democracy legislators and lack of democracy in electing city’s leader included in new targets
HONG KONG—Protests that began as a challenge to Beijing’s growing reach are broadening into a movement pursuing a range of political and social grievances, with demonstrations—and clashes with police—more than six weeks ago are spreading to more parts of the city.In full view of one of the city’s biggest shopping centres, popular with local residents and mainland Chinese visitors alike, tens of thousands of people joined a mostly peaceful, locally organized march Sunday in Sha Tin, the city’s most populous district. Police with shields and using pepper spray chased some protesters around scared shoppers inside the main mall after the march ended.
Demonstrators also protested the disqualification of pro-democracy legislators in recent years and demanded greater democracy in electing the city’s leader and an investigation of police conduct during demonstrations, while the major theme of the protest continued to be a contentious bill authorizing extradition to the mainland.For residents who wanted their voices to join Hong Kong’s major protests, Mr. Tobias Leung, 24 years old, helped organize the march in Sha Tin. It was decided to add the disqualification of pro-democracy legislators in recent years to the list of grievances for Sunday’s march after a vote on the Telegram messaging app, Mr. Leung said.“We’re going back to the communities to get more citizens involved in the movement,” said Mr. Leung, who said he applied for the permit to hold the march on behalf of residents who wanted to protest but were reluctant to give their names out of fear of repercussions from authorities. “Hong Kongers are more united in our cause this time, which is how we’ve been able to hold the energy for such a long time.”Digital fliers are used to advertise the new protests that sometimes use the expressions “Take the baton” and “Flowers blooming across the entire city.”“The goal is to spread the message as widely in the territory as possible,” said James To, a Democratic Party member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. “These few weeks have been the last straw on people’s back after having their freedoms squeezed for years, and there’s a ‘now or never’ attitude that’s driving them to the streets.”There is also proliferation of other methods of protest. What residents call “Lennon Walls”—a nod to a wall in Prague long a site for political messages of peace, activism and freedom—are popping up near train stations across the city. Posters and colourful Post-it Notes cover walls with slogans such as “Go Hong Kongers” and “We will never give in.”Criticising government concessions on a bill that would have authorized extradition to China—which has a more opaque legal system— activists broadened the protesters’ agenda saying it is not going far enough. Mns of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demonstrate against the legislation, which the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, has said is “dead.”

Pressure on China’s Stimulus Efforts Raises due to slowing Growth

Expectations grow that Beijing will ease credit to boost spending after GDP growth slows to 6.2%
BEIJING—A strategy by Chinese policy makers to stimulate the Beijing economy with tax and fee cuts hasn’t stopped growth from slowing, stoking expectations that more incentives such as easier credit conditions to get businesses and consumers spending will be rolled out.On Monday official statistics showed, Chinese economic growth slipped to 6.2% in the April-through-June quarter, as measured by gross domestic product, after holding steady at 6.4% in the previous two quarters.Signs showed that business activity struggled to pick up in the quarter barring a modest recovery in June. Adding to the picture of cooling demand is the consumer spending, which Chinese leaders hoped would support growth. Roughly 2 trillion yuan ($291 bn) of stimulus, introduced by Premier Li Keqiang in March, is failing to make business owners less risk-averse as shown by the breakdown of second-quarter figures.“I wouldn’t say it’s not working, but it’s not as big an impact as people thought,” said Bo Zhuang, an economist at research firm TS Lombard.Dragging on China’s economy and creating an uncertain business environment is the trade dispute with the U.S. Some manufacturers are shifting production out of China, to avoid the latest round of President Trump’s tariffs, fuelling worries about layoffs and declining demand.April’s cut in the value-added tax was supposed to benefit Foshan Gaoming Xingnuo Machine Equipment Co., which produces equipment used in the pharmaceutical, chemical and rubber industries. According to Mr. Liang Yongwen, a manager, its rate fell to 13% from 16%, but clients then asked for lower prices, and the company still cut its investment this year because of lower revenue and profit.“A lot of old clients slashed or canceled their orders this year as they scaled back equipment purchases or stopped expanding their production lines,” Mr. Liang added at a recent trade expo in Beijing.Economists say it is growing more likely that policy makers will use broad-based measures to ensure economic stability, while Beijing has repeatedly said it wouldn’t resort to flooding the economy with credit. That would include fiscal and monetary stimulus that risks inflating debt levels.
Further they also say policy makers could lower interest rates, relax borrowing restrictions on local governments and ease limits on home purchases in big cities, measures that could stimulate consumption include subsidies to boost purchases of cars, home appliances and other big-ticket items.According to data Monday by the Institute of International Finance, complicating stimulus efforts: Total debt climbed in the first quarter to over $40 trillion, or 304% of China’s economy, as measured by GDP. During that quarter, the country saw one of the biggest increases in debt ratio among emerging markets after its debt ratio reached 298% at the end of 2018, it said.Beijing is unlikely to cut benchmark interest rates as it tries to get banks to lower the rates at which they lend say analysts. Instead, they say, it could cut the rates at which banks borrow from the central bank and the amount of reserves they have to keep with it.Mr. Larry Hu, an economist at Macquarie Group, said although policy makers have relaxed controls on credit, Beijing has to do more to make credit growth sustainable. Policy makers might have to artificially create demand for credit by loosening the property sector he said.Weighing on business sentiment many companies that sell to the U.S. are vulnerable to the twists and turns of the trade dispute. Mr. Sun Xiaodong salesman at Battery maker Zhongyin Battery Co., of Ningbo, said the company enjoyed a rush of orders after the U.S. unveiled planned higher tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods including the company’s products. But the front-loading ended when the 25% duties kicked in. “Buyers don’t want to pay,” he said.In the first half, consumption contributed 60% of economic growth, down from 76% in the whole of 2018. There was a lift in growth from a widening trade surplus, a trend analysts don’t expect to continue, as exports will likely slow faster than imports.Economists predict that growth will gradually trend to the lower end of the official targeted range of 6% to 6.5% for the year, if Beijing doesn’t dig deeper into its policy tool box. “Domestic demand is anemic,” said Lombard’s Mr. Zhuang, who expects 6.1% growth in the second half.In the first quarter, weakening across the board, including in property and infrastructure fixed-asset investment growth slowed to 5.8% in the first half of the year, from 6.3%. Manufacturing investment growth slowed to 3% in the first half from 4.6% in the first quarter.Underpinning the lack of business demand shows a slump in confidence. business confidence and hiring expectations in June were at their lowest since at least 2009 as shown by a survey conducted by private research firm IHS Markit Ltd. which found that less than a 10th of the roughly 7,000 respondents expect an increase in business activity in the next 12 months as companies predict flat profits.

A Balky U.S. Ally Chooses China in Global Tech Battle

Shunning warnings about security risks, the Philippines has chosen Chinese companies to expand its telecoms network
MANILA—The Philippines is no longer torn by the U.S.-China technology war raging around the world. It is binding its telecommunications future to China’s.In late June with gear supplied by Huawei Technologies Co., the country got its first taste of next-generation 5G services. Backed by state-owned China Telecommunications Corp., a new carrier will begin rolling out a network largely designed in China this month, to be executed by Chinese engineers in the Philippines.The moves are a blow to the U.S., which has in recent months pushed allies to shun Huawei. U.S. officials contend Chinese companies could be compelled to conduct espionage for Beijing.Chinese companies are embedding themselves deep in strategically important infrastructure as countries like the Philippines reject pressure from Washington. These countries are tied to Beijing with these developments through a new wave of technology that promises to reshape society, from economic growth to military planning.Repeatedly saying it wouldn’t spy for China, Huawei, estimates its 5G equipment will spread across more than 130 countries, including in Europe. Huawei’s 5G system is up and running in South Korea and will be deploying in the United Arab Emirates, both U.S. allies, this year. Philippine stands to move further away from the U.S., its treaty ally, as the Chinese companies’ dominant presence in the Southeast Asian country telecom networks—testing a relationship that has already grown strained.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on a trip to Manila in March that, “America may not be able to operate in certain environments if there’s Huawei technology adjacent to that.” Other officials have since warned that the U.S. could curtail information it shares with the Philippines over concerns data could be stolen by Chinese companies.Part of a foreign policy shift under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has expressed distrust of the U.S. is the China Telecom deal. He has pursued Chinese investments and played down his country’s disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea, dismissing warnings he is giving China greater control over the contested waterway.His brutal war on drugs in which tens of thousands of people have allegedly been killed has Mr. Duterte under international scrutiny. Alarms have raised by Human-rights groups over what they see as the growing intimidation of political opponents and journalists, which Mr. Duterte denies.One of Mr. Duterte’s early priorities was to improve his country’s telecom services after taking office in 2016. Citizens have long complained that phone and internet services are slow and unreliable.The China Telecom holds a 40% stake a new telecom company introduced in Philippines with his push, in which—the maximum permitted under Philippine law. Mr. Duterte has said he is counting on it to speed up internet connectivity in a market long controlled by two carriers.The venture, Dito Telecommunity Corp., will benefit from China Telecom’s experience serving hundreds of mns of subscribers in China, as well as its deep pockets Philippine officials say. Ms. Adel Tamano, a spokesman for Dito Telecommunity said China Telecom will take the lead on technical operations. Its local partner, the Udenna Group, has, business interests in other areas such as shipping, logistics and real estate with no telecom experience.“A lot of the work has been done outside the country, in China,” said Mr. Tamano. He said Chinese engineers will oversee technical matters for at least three years, until their Filipino counterparts are trained.
Eliseo Rio Jr., who is undersecretary in the Philippine government’s information and communications technology department said, China Telecom is eager to acquire a majority stake, for which the government is seeking to lift foreign-ownership limits. An amendment is pending approval in the Philippines Congress.The government’s initiative is supported by China Telecom and that its progress will determine its future investment strategy in the venture.Cyber-specialist at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and think tank, Mr. Tom Uren said a Chinese telecommunications firm could enable hackers gain entry into a network, or simply by sharing how it is configured. Chinese engineers could duplicate data, read unencrypted correspondence or even bring down phone services to sabotage Beijing’s opponents.If a conflict broke out, “it’s almost impossible to imagine China wouldn’t take advantage of its position” as a telecom partner, he said.A Filipino telecom executive who works closely with cyber security teams said: “When those who could potentially threaten your network are inside running it, you’re as vulnerable as you can be.”

Growth in China’s GDP slows to 6.2% in second quarter

BEIJING:With the US-China trade war and weakening global demand weighing on the world’s number-two economy, official data showed China’s growth slowed to its weakest pace in almost three decades in the second quarter. The US is using tariffs as leverage to try to force Beijing into opening up its economy and the slowing economy makes it more difficult for President Xi Jinping to fight back forcefully against this.The growth figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics of 6.2% was in line with a survey of analysts by AFP and down from a 6.4% expansion in the first quarter. The GDP figures are within the Government’s target range of 6.0-6.5% for the whole year, down from the 6.6% growth China put up in 2018. “Economic conditions are still severe both at home and abroad, global economic growth is slowing down and the external instabilities and uncertainties are increasing,” said NBS spokesman Mao Shengyong.”The economy is under new downward pressure,” he said in prepared remarks. Beijing has introduced measures this year to boost the economy, but they have not been enough to offset a domestic slowdown and softening overseas demand — made worse by a punishing trade war with its biggest trading partner Country, the US Exports to the world rose only 0.1% on-year during the first six months.

‘Reshoring’ Report Finds Factory Work Not Returning to U.S.

As tariffs rose last year the A.T. Kearney analysis suggests moving manufacturing from China to other Asian countries
According to a report released Wednesday, American trade policies which earlier aimed at returning factory work to the U.S. in part now seem to be accelerating a shift in production from China to Vietnam and other low-cost nations.Consulting firm A.T. Kearney Inc. says American imports of manufactured goods from China and 13 other Asian countries rose 9% in 2018 to $816 bn, the largest annual increase in nearly a decade despite escalating tariffs between the U.S. and China, and outpacing a 6% increase in domestic manufacturing gross output.The annual index measuring the ratio of U.S. imports of Asian-made goods as a percentage of domestic manufacturing output reached 13.1% in 2018, up from 12.7% in 2017 and the highest A.T. Kearney has found in the past 10 years the firm said.
“The trade war has not supported reshoring,” said Johan Gott, a principal at A.T. Kearney and a co-author of the report.As companies look to reduce their exposure to trade tensions, rising Chinese labour costs and other risks – “What we do see is a sort of China diversification,” he said.Plans to expand domestic plants have been halted or delayed by some American companies as tariffs on Chinese imports increase the cost of products from bicycle parts to the components used to assemble loudspeakers.By moving some production to Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia and India, others are reshaping their supply chains, which can take months and sometimes lead to logistics bottlenecks and other complications. Labour tends to be cheaper in other parts of Southeast Asia, but logistics infrastructure and factory capacity often aren’t as well-developed as in China.Accounting for nearly two thirds of the $816 bn total, China remains the largest source of U.S. imports among Asian countries the report said. But in recent quarters its share has been falling as U.S. companies stockpiled Chinese imports late last year ahead of anticipated levies and as some businesses sped up the movement of manufacturing to lower-cost Asian countries such as Vietnam.
Mr. Gott said, five years ago, China accounted for 69% of U.S. imports from those countries.That share dipped to 60% from 65% in the prior quarter in the first quarter of 2019. The report said the long-term decrease, from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2019, is equivalent to a loss of $72 bn in import value, , more than the total value of 2018 imports from India, which at $51 bn had the second largest share of imports to the U.S.According to the report Mexico also has benefited from the U.S.-China trade fight, increasing its exports to the U.S. by $28 bn last year, a 10% jump from 2017.“More companies are getting smart and they are moving production to Mexico,” said Joel Sutherland, managing director of the Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego School of Business and a director of the Reshoring Institute, a nonprofit that supports expansion of U.S. manufacturing.Although some companies are looking at bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., Mr. Sutherland said those efforts tend to focus on precision manufacturing and operations, where automation and technology help reduce the higher cost of domestic labour.

Container Ship Found With 20 Tons of Cocaine Released by U.S.

Forfeiture proceedings against the MSC Gayane are still weighed after a combined $50 mn in cash and a surety bond were posted say authorities.
In Philadelphia a container ship that was seized with 20 tons of cocaine has been released by U.S. authorities after the operator posted a $50 mn bond, including $10 mn in cash, but said they still plan to consider seeking forfeiture of the vessel.After being held at the Port of Philadelphia for nearly a month, the release of the MSC Gayane, owned by J.P. Morgan Asset Management and chartered to Mediterranean Shipping Co., means the ship can resume commercial operations.“My office secured $10 mn in cash and a $40 mn surety bond from the owner and operator of the vessel in exchange for its temporary release pending a final resolution in this case,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain wrote in a post on Twitter.Worth around $90 mn, the ship is still subject to possible forfeiture if the probe links senior crew members with the cocaine haul, people with knowledge of the matter said.On June 17 the Gayane was raided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, who found cocaine that authorities said had a street value of $1.3 bn stuffed in several containers. The ship was formally seized on July 9. Eight crew members have been charged in connection with the raid and remain in custody.
“MSC has arranged the payments, and the ship, plus 16 crew that had not been charged, were let go,” a person involved in the matter said. “The federal government is still building a forfeiture case, but the $50 mn was deemed enough to let the Gayane go for now.”On Saturday the ship departed the Philadelphia port and was on its way to Rotterdam for a return to commercial service. The company continues to cooperate with U.S. authorities a spokesman for MSC said.At the time of the raid the ship was making its only stop in the U.S. after starting its journey in Chile and stopping in Peru, Panama and the Bahamas on its way to Europe.This year the Gayane was the second MSC ship raided in Philadelphia for drug movement. Federal agents discovered nearly 1,200 pounds of cocaine on board the MSC Desiree, a similar-size vessel to the Gayane in March.Authorities said customs agents also seized 1.6 tons of cocaine on another MSC vessel, the MSC Carlotta, as it entered the Port of Newark, N.J., in February.Ocean carriers aren’t required to check the contents of all containers they move as this would lead to long delays across supply chains under global maritime regulation.

Africa News

4.3 per cent decrease in South Africa’s road freight transport in Q1 2019

The weak economic climate is looked upon as a major challenge by South Africa’s major logistics companies, with a slowdown in manufacturing, mining production, and consumer spending resulting in pressure on volumes.The seasonally adjusted volume of freight transported by road in South Africa increased by 9.5 per cent in 2018, but decreased by 4.3 per cent in the Q1 2019, as shown by the Statistics SA Land Transport Survey.
Industry role players indicated that escalating fuel costs and a poor economic environment have placed pressure on customers and eroded margins, according to the ‘Freight Transport by Road in South Africa 2019’ report by Research And Markets.Numerous cost increases have affected the sector. Examples of these are fuel prices, the Road Accident Fund levy, and carbon tax. Delays at ports and border posts could have a significant impact on logistics costs. Additional costs include vehicle tracking and tracing systems, warehousing and distribution operating costs, municipal charges, escalating electricity costs, costs of compliance with legislation and standards and a proposed waste tyre recycling levy.ResearchAndMarkets’ report covers the transport of freight by road including furniture removals and excludes the operation of terminal facilities, crating and packing for transport purposes and delivery departments of warehouses operated by business concerns for their own use.

MoU signed y Economic Commission for Africa on innovation and agriculture investments

An MoU has been signed by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the OCP SA (formerly known as the Cherifien Office of Phosphates) to strengthen collaboration on innovations and investments in agriculture using science and technologies.
Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of ECA, and Mostafa Terrab, OCP SA Chair and CEO, signed the MoU in New York on July 14, on the margins of the ongoing Political Forum.Support to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and women’s economic empowerment in Africa are included in the agreement.The MoU recognises that the ECA and the OCP have a shared vision for Africa’s transformation and prosperity. The MoU provides for continued and strengthening partnership between ECA and OCP in fostering the entire agricultural and business ecosystems in Africa and making a more impactful contribution towards attaining sustainable development in Africa.
ECA focuses on promoting inclusive and sustainable development in support of accelerating the economic diversification and structural transformation of Africa, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063. It does so by generating high-quality knowledge and applied policy research as well as implementing innovative solutions in important focus areas including agriculture, digitalisation, industrialisation, trade, gender and finance.OCP, a global leader in phosphate products, is a major factor in Africa’s sustainable development, contributing towards the same through its support offered to the entire African agricultural ecosystem through support to African countries and farmers. The organisation supports innovative mechanisms aimed at creating resilient and sustainable agricultural productivity, developing industrial value chains, and improving business ecosystems on the continent. It supports tailored innovative programmes and makes substantial investments in economic and social infrastructure for the benefit of various communities and sectors in Africa.

Private sector to play major role in Kenya’s infrastructure spending needs

According to Moody’s Investors Service report, Kenya’s ambitious infrastructure plans will require increased private sector participation. Kenya seeks to address its infrastructure needs of almost US$ 4 bn per annum.

With this goal, the private sector is expected to play an increasing role, particularly in electricity generation and transmission, rail and road networks and water access and irrigation.This goal will be supported by a recent improvement in the business environment, a favourable growth outlook, and deep financial sector. The creditworthiness of key counterparties, corruption, land issues, and evolving and relatively untested regulatory frameworks, are the various challenges.Although an improving business climate is supportive of growing infrastructure investment, corruption and transparency are the major concerns. Large, capital-intensive infrastructure investments requiring years of planning, land negotiations, permits and regulatory approvals will be concerned about issues related to corruption.
From 36 per cent in 2014, Kenya has improved the electricity access rate to around 75 per cent in 2018, the highest in East Africa. Between 2014 and 2018, more than 7,000 km of paved roads were added. Major investments in ports and rail seek to improve the economics of trade. Fiscal pressures remain a constraint on the government’s infrastructure-spending capacity but will create space for private sector participation.

Investment to gather pace in electricity, water and road/rail sectors

Christopher Bredholt, Vice-President, Senior Credit Officer, said, “Electricity generation and transmission, rail and road networks and water access and irrigation will likely be the main beneficiaries of private sector investment, as these are key areas of focus for Kenya’s government.”
Universal access and diversification goals are set to drive electricity policy and require US$15bn investment through 2022 but investors face an evolving regulatory landscape and potential oversupply.The government seeks to increase household access to safe drinking water to 80 per cent in 2022 from 60 per cent currently and invest in irrigation to support agriculture, which accounts for 37 per cent of the economy.
The ambitious roads PPP programme targets 10,000km of new roads to ease urban congestion and improve regional trade but has experienced procurement delays.Addressing infrastructure financing needs More infrastructure investment from Kenya’s US$ 10 bn in pension funds would help fill the spending gap, suggesting a role for foreign capital. Private sector investment will be encouraged by developments in the green bonds framework and risk mitigation from multilateral development banks.

European Investment Bank and FMO adhere to ‘renew Africa’ initiative to accelerate Africa’s renewable energy sector

Renewable energy is set to be crucial in boosting the energy transition of the African continent. With sustainable and green sources, it will be possible to respond to the growing demand for energy, triggered by faster and faster urbanisation and ensure energy access for all.The European Investment Bank (EIB) and FMO adhere to the ‘renew Africa’ initiative, championed by RES4Africa, which intends to facilitate and improve financing for renewable energy projects in Africa.The renewAfrica initiative will promote the creation of a holistic and inclusive European-led instrument with its own institutional framework, providing adequate support at policy and regulatory level, and ensuring preparation tools across project lifecycles.EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell said, “There is undoubtedly a need to improve the way in which European financiers can support renewable energy projects on the African continent.” He added, “As the world’s largest multilateral provider of climate finance in terms of lending volume, the EIB is very pleased to play an active role in renew Africa. Bundling the strengths and experience of major European players can not only assist the public institution in creating a favourable investment climate but also lead to advisory and financial support for projects so that they can tap the vast resources this continent offers for renewable energy.”
Apart from possibly providing financing and advisory services to concrete projects under the initiative, the EIB will initially seek a major role among the involved international financial institutions. The renew Africa is expected to increase the number of bankable public-private-partnership projects in the African renewable energy sector, to be competitively tendered, which the EIB and other IFI’s could potentially support.On June 4, 2019, in Rome, the renew Africa initiative was first signed by 23 partners, including energy partners like Enel Green Power and financiers such as Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Intesa SanPaolo and Norfund.

IMF approves PCI with Cabo Verde to bolster economic reforms

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved an 18-month policy coordination instrument (PCI) with Cabo Verde to bolster macroeconomic reforms to support medium-term fiscal and debt sustainability
The fiscal Programme will be anchored by improvement in the primary balance and the elimination, over time, of support from the budget to loss-making SOEs as reforms in the sector advance. Programme reviews will take place on a semi-annual fixed schedule.While the PCI does not involve the use of IMF financial resources, successful completion of programme reviews will help signal Cabo Verde’s commitment to continued strong macroeconomic policies and structural reforms that are needed to address the country’s economic challenges.

Stable macroeconomic situation in Cabo Verde

In the recent years there has been a significant improvement in Cabo Verde’s macroeconomic situation, and the outlook is positive despite downside risks. There has been robust economic growth, which is projected at five per cent for 2019, while inflation is expected to remain low. There has been a decline in fiscal deficit from 4.6 per cent of GDP in 2015 to 2.8 per cent of GDP in 2018, and it is projected at 2.2 per cent of GDP for 2019.It is expected that fiscal risks generated by loss-making State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) will subside, reflecting the impact of reforms put in place in 2018 and early 2019, notably the privatisation of the national airline company, as well as additional SOEs restructuring measures planned for 2019-20. The external position is projected to strengthen further, with gross international reserves remaining above five months of prospective imports of goods and services. Cabo Verde’s risk of external and overall debt distress is assessed as high, unchanged compared with the 2018 Debt Sustainability Analysis carried out by the staffs of the IMF and the World Bank.“Economic recovery has gained momentum in the last three years with output growth rising from one per cent in 2015 to above five per cent per cent in 2018, supported by industry and services sectors, as well as strong domestic demand. Inflation has been subdued despite a spike in 2018 due to higher food and fuel prices. The external current account deficit narrowed in 2018, mostly reflecting strong export performance and higher remittances,” said Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, IMF.“Revenue-enhancing measures and expenditure controls have helped put public finances on a stronger footing and reduce the public debt-to-GDP ratio in the last three years. These efforts need to be sustained to support medium-term fiscal and debt sustainability. In this context, decisive progress in public enterprise reform is needed.”Mr. Furusawa added, “The monetary policy stance is appropriate and consistent with the objective of protecting the exchange rate peg and price stability. The recent decision by the Banco de Cabo Verde (BCV) to reduce the overnight interest rate corridor is expected to improve the monetary policy transmission mechanism. The BCV should continue these efforts, notably by increasing communication in its policy direction. It should also continue strengthening banking supervision and take appropriate actions for a continued reduction in non-performing loans.”In conclusion, he said, “The new PCI will support the authorities’ efforts to enhance macroeconomic stability as they implement their Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development (PEDS). Reforms and quantitative targets under the PCI focus on strengthening fiscal and debt sustainability, enhancing the monetary policy framework, fostering the financial system stability, and increasing inclusive growth.”

Tanzania Economic Update to be launched by World Bank on 18 July

The 12th Tanzania Economic Update: ‘Human Capital: The Real Wealth of Nations’ will be launched by the World Bank on 18 July 2019.
The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency, The Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, and will be hosted by Bella Bird, Country Director at World Bank for Tanzania, Malawi, Somalia and Burundi. The event will also be attended by Joyce Ndalichako, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, and Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health and Community Development, and Gender, Elderly and Children Affairs.
The Tanzania Economic Update, published twice a year, is the World Bank Group’s flagship in-the Country’s report. It has two sections: the first discusses with the state of the economy, and the second discusses topics of strategic importance to the country. The latest report underscores the urgency for Tanzania to invest in its human capital, reflecting on the country’s low performance on the human capital index (HCI).Participants from relevant Government agencies and Ministries as well as major stakeholders from academia, civil society, the private sector, and development partners, will be included in the launch event.Eminent stakeholders in this area will participate in a panel discussion covering the various actions needed for Tanzania to improve its HCI and overall human development.

Syniverse and China Telecom Global to deliver connectivity services to MEA mobile operators

A strategic partnership has been formed by Syniverse and China Telecom Global (CTG), a subsidiary of China Telecommunications Corporation to provide mobile operators in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) with connectivity solutions for migrating to 4G and other advanced voice, data and video services. Through this partnership, customers of the Middle East and Africa operators will be enabled to move to the next generation of mobile internet services like 4G, Rich Communication Services (RCS) and the internet of things (IoT).The Syniverse IPX Network aims to decrease network complexity and ensure high-quality, end-to-end mobile services through a secure connection to more than 750 operators in 150 countries. The Syniverse Diameter Signaling Service is set to provide a tool for managing, simplifying and translating data across networks, enabling 4G data to be passed between operators and devices securely.Leveraging this reach and capacity, CTG seeks to be able to customise a cost-efficient connectivity solution for each operator while providing high performance and security. CTG has continued to strengthen its collaboration with leading African mobile operators by dramatically strengthening its network build-out and providing world-class connectivity across the continent and the world.

4G connectivity in the Middle East and Africa

Among the fastest-growing groups of internet users are those in the Middle East and Africa. These regions have among the highest-growing demand for 4G connectivity. The professional business development and operation team of China Telecom (Africa and the Middle East) Limited in the region is experienced in serving multinational companies in Africa and the Middle East. Through their partnership, CTG and Syniverse are strategically positioned to capture business opportunities in this fast-growing market.Deng Xiaofeng, CEO, China Telecom Global, said, “The 4G service – and soon 5G – will quickly become the new mobile-service standard in the developing mobile markets of the Middle East and Africa.” He added, “To meet this demand, China Telecom Global is working closely with Syniverse to deliver this service offering to our operators’ subscribers in a flexible, cost-efficient way.”Dean Douglas, CEO and President, Syniverse, said, “The increasing sophistication of 4G rollouts and the need to quickly complete these service upgrades present challenges that will only be able to be fully solved with the high-performance technology of IPX.” According to GSMA Intelligence, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets offer a promising opportunity for the rollout of 4G and other advanced mobile services in the next few years. There is plenty of room for subscriber growth, because the mobile penetration rates are below 80 per cent.

APICORP: MENA needs US$209bn investments in power sector by 2023

According to the MENA Power Investment Outlook 2019-2023 report by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will need to invest US$ 209 bn in the power sector over the next five years.APICORP estimates that investment in the MENA energy sector could reach USD1 trillion between 2019 and 2023, with the power sector accounting for the largest share at 36 per cent, spurred by growing electricity demand and greater momentum for renewable energy.“We have observed that a large share of the funding requirements in MENA’s energy sector will go to the power sector, of which renewables account for a substantial share of around 34 per cent,” said Dr Leila Benali, chief economist at APICORP.Dr Benali added, “We estimate that MENA power capacity will need to expand by an average of four per cent each year between 2019 and 2023, which corresponds to 88GW by 2023, to meet rising consumption and pent-up demand.”

MENA needs 88GW of generation capacity addition

Governments have been accelerating their investment plans. 87GW of capacity additions are already at the execution stage, APICORP estimates. This is expected to amount to US$ 142 bn for power generation and approximately US$ 68 bn for transmission and distribution.Different phases of power projects will see Government involvement, even in PPPs. However, the private sector is critical for risk management due to its track record in performance and technology, and the cost efficiency that it provides for financing.

Slowing of growth in electricity demand over the medium term

Electricity consumption in the MENA region during the period between 2007 and 2017 increased by 5.6 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) driven by rapid economic growth, industrialisation, rising income levels, high population growth rates and urbanisation, all coupled with low electricity prices.Outside the GCC, countries have been struggling to keep up with growing demand. In both cases, the trajectory of demand growth meant that the model was unsustainable for governments, and – in a few cases – created suboptimal electricity systems.It is equally important to keep up efforts to promote energy efficiency and support the public with smarter and more responsible consumption, whilst tackling infrastructural and regulatory hurdles.Consequently, APICORP forecasts that over the next five years, electricity demand growth will slow to around 3.8 per cent CAGR.

Renewable energy to account for 34 per cent of power investments in MENA

In the next five years, around US$ 350 bn could be invested in MENA’s power sector, with renewable energy accounting for 34 per cent of power investment or 12 per cent of total energy investment.In the recent years, renewable energy developments in the Arab world have gained tremendous momentum, driven primarily by governments that recognise the urgency of tackling rising demand for energy coupled with the declining costs of solar PV.
Benali said, “Morocco’s target for renewable energy as a share of total generation is ambitious, standing at 42 per cent by 2020. However, across the region, the policy signals, change in business models and investment/credit support required in grids and storage to accompany the introduction of renewables is yet to be seen.”Close to 87GW of generation capacity is under execution, driven by the UAE (19 per cent), followed by Saudi Arabia (17 per cent) and Egypt (16 per cent) respectively, according to APICORP.Similarly, MEIS was introduced in the FTP from 01.04.2015, providing rewards for exporters of specified goods. The MEIS aims to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs involved in exporting goods or products which are produced or manufactured in India. The scheme incentivizes exporters in terms of Duty Credit Scrips at the rate of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 % of FOB Value of exports realized. These scrips are transferable and can be used to pay certain Central Duties/taxes including Customs Duties.In 2018, the Agriculture Export Policy was launched to harness export potential of Indian agriculture through suitable policy instruments, to make India a global power in agriculture, and to raise farmers’ income. This comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” aims to increase agricultural exports by integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products with the global value chains.

World News

Maritime Collaboration to be enhanced by MoU signed between Singapore and China

SINGAPORE/NINGBO:During the 2019 Maritime Silk Road Port International Cooperation Forum (MPF) today an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a with the Waterborne Transport Research Institute (WTI), an agency under China’s Ministry of Transport. The MoU seeks to enhance cooperation in information exchange and research and development (R&D) between the two agencies, in areas such as smart port technology, maritime safety, and environmental protection. Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the MPA, and Mr Fei Weijun, President of the WTI signed the MOU at the side of the MPF. To commemorate China Maritime Day on 11 July 2019, the MPF and the China Maritime Forum (CMF) took place from 11 to 12 July 2019 in Ningbo, China.Ms Quah said, “In an increasingly challenging and uncertain environment, it is critical for the key maritime stakeholders to strengthen connectivity and share knowledge and best practices. Singapore hopes to contribute to this effort by collaborating with China in the areas of digitalisation such as electronic exchange of certificates and bills of lading to enhance port and supply chain efficiencies, and ultimately, global trade flows.”Ms Quah also shared Singapore’s views on how digital and physical connectivity are important to bring about a more prosperous and interconnected world when she spoke at the CMF. This is Singapore’s first time to speak at the CMF.

From Oct a new Africa India Middle East service.

Singapore:Details of a new service with direct coverage between Africa, India and the Middle East (AIM) have been announced by Ocean Network Express (ONE). ONE’s already expansive global coverage by offering direct port calls between West Africa, South Africa and key locations in West Asia, will be broadened by the new product a release highlighted.Launched through a joint cooperation with Hapag-Lloyd, the AIM service will commence from October 2019 with 9 ships of nominal 2,800 TEUs. The release added, that the new service will offer market-leading transit times between the West Asian ports of Jebel Ali, Mundra, Nhava Sheva and Colombo and African ports of Durban, Cape Town, Tema, Tincan and Apapa.Jebel Ali – Mundra – Nhava Sheva – Colombo – Durban – Cape Town – Tema – Tincan – Apapa – Cape Town – Durban – Jebel Ali is the service rotation follows by the Africa India Middle East (AIM).

Modest rise in imports at Top US Container Ports : NRF

WASHINGTON: According to a new report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, as compared with last year’s rush to bring goods into the Country ahead of scheduled tariff hikes, imports at the US major retail container ports will remain at high levels this summer but are expected to grow only modestly.“Retailers still want to protect their customers against potential price increases that would come with any additional tariffs, but with the latest proposed tariffs on hold for now and warehouses bulging, there’s only so much they can do,” Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, said.“We will still see some near-record numbers this summer, but right now no one knows whether there will be additional tariffs or not. We hope the restarted negotiations with China will result in significant reforms rather than more tariffs that tax American companies and consumers.”Recently, President Trump announced that he would hold off on tariffs on an additional $300 bn in Chinese goods while negotiations between the two countries resume. Coupled with tariffs imposed over the past year, the new round would tax almost all goods the United States imports from China.“Imports of consumer goods continue to grow as importers purchase items in expectation of further increases in tariffs, the cost of which will be borne by the American consumer,” Mr.Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates Founder, said.

World’s fifth largest Merchant fleet operator is Denmark now

OSLO:Surpassing the United States to claim the fifth place Denmark has once again improved its place on the list of the world’s largest shipping nations.Denmark surpassed Germany on the sixth spot, just a year and a half later to cross the milestone.Greece leads the list with fleet measuring 300.4 mn in total deadweight tonnage WHICH IS measured by the number of merchant ships sailing under a country’s flag. Singapore, China and Japan follow Greece for the top four spots.Danish shipping companies exported DKK 188 bn ($28.4 bn) last year, with 83.8 mn of total deadweight tonnage, making shipping one of the country’s largest export industries. According to Anne H. Steffensen, the CEO of Danish Shipowners’ Association reaching fifth place on the list shows that the Danish shipping strategy has worked.

Ship recycling convention Acceded byGermany

London:The latest country to accede to IMO’s treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling – the Hong Kong Convention is Germany.The design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships are covered by the Convention.An inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship under the treaty is required to be carried by ships to be sent for recycling. Depending on its particulars and its inventory, ship recycling yards are required to provide a “Ship Recycling Plan”, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled.A release said the 13 contracting countries to the Convention represent 29.42 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage.

IMF says trade war risks weighing on Global economy

WASHINGTON:More work is needed to further reduce global trade imbalances amid increasing tensions, while issuing a fresh warning that such conflicts are weighing on the global economy the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.“It is imperative that all countries avoid policies that distort trade,” the IMF said in its annual External Sector Report released recently in Washington. “Against a backdrop of escalating trade tensions, greater urgency is needed in tackling persistent excess imbalances.”The world’s second-largest economy has slowed amid President Donald Trump’s tariffs while the US trade war with China has cooled with a recent truce and renewed talks. Highlighting effects of the ongoing trade dispute with the US the economy eased to the weakest pace since quarterly data began in 1992 China’s Government said this week that.“With prolonged trade uncertainty, it’s weighing on business sentiment everywhere in the world, which then has implications for global demand,” IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said at a press conference. “We welcome the trade truce between the US and China that came toward the end of June at the G-20 meetings, and we would hope that the world would continue to work cooperatively to not only not trigger these trade tensions but also to address the issues with the multilateral trading system.”

Drewry: Tanker demand to be hurt due to Tightness in Oil supply

LONDON:According to shipping consultancy Drewry, extended production cut by OPEC and dwindling Iranian exports threaten to negate seasonal firmness in tanker market.On account of uncertain supply the oil market has been highly volatile in 2019. Although growth in non-OPEC oil supply is expected to be higher than growth in global demand in 2019, oil prices have been made very unstable due to US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and OPEC’s market management.After the recent attack on oil tankers near Strait of Hormuz heightened tension between the US and Iran have also helped to underpin prices.Despite the supply cut by OPEC, supply glitches in Venezuela and the US sanctions on Iran, yet, the current backwardation in oil prices suggests that the global oil market will be well supplied in the second half of 2019.According to crude oil futures prices, the anticipated surge in non-OPEC production, along with the negative impact of the ongoing US-China trade war on demand, will keep the market well supplied, which bodes well for the tanker market.The oil market could be in short supply in the second half of 2019 if US sanctions reduce Iranian crude exports to zero, despite strong growth in non-OPEC production. Compared with 2.5 mbpd in April 2018 just before the imposition of the sanctions, in June 2019 Iranian crude exports were 0.3 mbpd.Drewry said that if the 11 members of OPEC which have agreed to cut production, keep their collective output around the agreed 25.8 mbpd levels in the second half of 2019, and Venezuela and Libya maintain their output around current levels of 0.8 mbpd and 1.16 mbpd (recorded in May 2019) respectively, the oil market will be in short supply in the second half of 2019.
“Our estimates suggest that in these circumstances the oil market would see a drawdown in crude oil inventory to the tune of 1.2 mbpd in the third quarter of 2019 and 330 kbpd in the fourth quarter of 2019. Therefore, the tightness in supply and the corresponding inventory drawdown would have a negative impact on tanker demand (especially VLCCs) and would go some way to negate the normal seasonal upturn,” Drewry explained.

Talk Over Tanker Crisis between Iran and U.K.

On Saturday, Gibraltar police said the ship’s captain and three crew members had been arrested on Thursday and Friday but were released. Before the maximum detention limit of 72 hours, investigators freed the detainees after concluding they wouldn’t be charged within that time frame, a person familiar with the matter said. The crew’s travel documents are with the police and they aren’t free to travel, the person said.The ship was detained, arrested the crew and then released them as a matter of the law and not because of external pressure from any country, Gibraltar’s authorities said.The EU—to which the U.K. still belongs—alleges the fuel has helped Mr. Assad carry out human-rights violations against civilians.The controversy stems from an attempt to enforce EU sanctions banning the sale of crude to Mr. Assad’s regime in Syria in 2011.