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Next year in January, after the internal debate that lasted for ten years, Pakistan will finally become the operational member of Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR). The TIR convention is one of the major international transportation conventions in the world and now, fifty-eight countries are operational members to the agreement from five continents including Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asian countries, and Turkey.
According to the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country's imports fell about 13 percent year-on-year in the four months ending October 2015. That?s about $2.1 billion less than 4MFY15, of which most of the decline was led by lower fuel imports as both average prices as well as the quantities dropped substantially over last year.
Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise; according to the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index 2015, Pakistan ranks 98 out of 102 countries in the world! (Last year, we were 96 out of 99). The report measures the rule of law in each country based on eight factors - constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.
For the four months ended FY16, PBS numbers show a 24 percent surge in the quantity of rice exported year-over-year, but a 6 percent decline in dollars earned. The plot thickens when one looks at the types of rice - in both dollar and quantity terms. Basmati exports have plummeted over last year while non-Basmati exports have gained tremendously. Recall that Basmati is of superior quality and more expensive, so its margins are higher. What went wrong?
The rumours were true after all. Yesterday, news broke out of Warid being taken over by Mobilink. Warid's sale is finally reaching finality after two and a half year since it was first put up for sale by its sponsor, the Abu Dhabi Group (ADG). Warid had put itself on a strong path by offering LTE services late last year. Its basket of high-end post-paid users would have been an added attraction.
It is increasingly becoming evident that all the recovery is in Ishaq Dar's head. Hopefully, the latest export data is damning enough to jolt the dear finance minister back to reality.
The authorities seem to have given in to the pressures of the gas utilities by increasing the limit for Unaccounted for Gas (UFG). The gas consumers should get ready for higher bills come 2016 as the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has finally increased the UFG volume in the gas tariffs to seven percent from the existing 4.5 percent.
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Ad Asia 2015

Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 23, 2015
Reserves $19.713 bln