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Last update: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05am

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It's a first. What has transpired in the past few days is significant. A pilot convoy of trucks carrying mostly Chinese goods snaked across the road infrastructure that is to be part of CPEC, under a security cordon. Upon reaching Gwadar, containers were loaded on to a Chinese ship, which then set sail for different shores, after having been seen off on Sunday by Pakistan's who's who.
Seasonal trends matter. Last month's dispatch numbers for the cement sector between August and September reflected a month-on-month decline of 16 percent in local dispatches and 15 percent drop in exports, but October has confidently changed the tides toward upward mobility once again. In month-on-month growth, local dispatches have grown by 18.6 percent and overall dispatches have grown by 15.3 percent, clocking at 12.5 million tons in 4MFY17 against 11.4 million tons in 4MFY16. (Read about first quarter's dispatch numbers "Cement: Riding the tide", published on Oct 24, 2016).
After one of the worst years in recent memory, the tractor industry is now on a turnaround. For the four months ended FY17, tractor production has gone up 17 percent year-on-year whereas sales have increased by over 27 percent. A number of factors have contributed to the recent rejuvenation of this struggling industry.
Following the overnight calling-back of select notes by the Indian government, somebody is getting ideas in Pakistan as well. That somebody is PPP's Senator Osman Saifullah Khan.
The government has certainly been busy in investing in a variety of projects pertaining to infrastructure and energy. But sometimes projects that are wanted more than they are needed are given priority. And unfortunately the fate of momentous projects such as the Diamer-Bhasha dam is left to chance.
The auto sector closed off the July-Oct period of FY17 with a 9 percent decline in total sales including passenger cars, tractors and commercial vehicles, according to data released by PAMA. Clocking at 77,859 units during 4MFY17, the slowdown is driven by sales for PSMC that had a surge last year due to the ApniRozgar Scheme of the Punjab government and wrapped up earlier this year, while Toyota sales also tanked.
The remittance euphoria is over. There was a time when remittances were increasing by leaps and bounds, flourishing the prospects for a healthy balance of payment position. But since the beginning of this year, they have dwindled. The numbers for October 2016 are in, and they continue to show remittancesâ?? weakening role as a support to the current account.