BRI after COVID-19

May 29, 2020 12:35 pm

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, experts have speculated what its long-term effects on global health, the global economy, and social welfare will be. The human lives lost to the pandemic have been colossal. The economic impact of COVID-19 paints a very dreary picture: rising unemployment, crashing oil prices, and increasing risk of recession, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting that the global economy will shrink by three percent in 2020. Bloomberg Economics’ analysis predicts that, in the worst case, COVID-19 could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion in global output, recessions in the US, Euro-area, and Japan, and the slowest growth on record in China.

KATHMANDU, May 27: The government unveiled the Economic Survey of the current fiscal year 2019/20 on Tuesday, its assessment of the performance of the country's various economic and financial indicators. But, reading this report in the end of May will take you back to mid-March, and gives you a false sense that the country's economy has been doing fairly well.

With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing the economy to a standstill, many businesses are in immediate need for financial support. The finance committee of the Parliament has recommended the government include a NPR 188 billion financial package in FY2021 budget to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. The need is urgent, but the economy is in a tight squeeze and a fiscal stimulus may be easier said than done.

WASHINGTON, DC – COVID-19 has confronted the world with a horrific crisis. Because developing a vaccine will likely take at least a year, governments need to buy time to keep health-care facilities from being overwhelmed and to minimize the number of people who fall ill and die, not least by reducing the rate of new infections.

KATHMANDU, May 20: The government has been reluctant to come up with a stimulus package as demanded by the private sector leaders to help the economy regain its footing.

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to form our ideas of a new normal, a daily topic of discussion in most households revolves around speculating about the shape and future of the economy. Theories are rife and forecasting models are being created and shattered on a daily basis, but the fact remains that the world has never witnessed such an unprecedented economic upheaval and therefore there is no accurate way of predicting how the world economies will evolve post-COVID-19.

Recession fears were hovering even before the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. There were lots of predictions about the global recession in 2020. Widespread trade tensions among countries, Brexit uncertainty and slow growth in Eurozone, Asian market slowdown, erratic commodities price were some of the reasons for a global recession in 2020. The argument for and against it was there on its highest altitude. However, once the coronavirus appeared as an unwanted guest, the global economy slid into gloomy states, and the recession ensued.

KATHMANDU, May 5: The chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Kamal Thapa has suggested to the Nepal government to ease some measures of the lockdown, classifying risk zones in order to bring the daily life of people and economy back on track.

KATHMANDU, May 4: Nepal Beverage & Cigarette Industries Association has urged the Nepal Government to allow beverage and cigarette suppliers to operate by easing some measures of lockdown.

There have been many analyses worldwide about the effects and possible effects of Covid-19 in social, economic, cultural, education, and public health sector. Economists have also discussed the multi-dimensional impacts of Covid-19 in Nepal, most of them based on assumptions or available rough data. This article is mainly focused on how this pandemic is going to affect the lifecycle of development projects in Nepal. Generally, large-scale projects pass through five phases: project conceptualization, project planning (feasibility studies), construction, operations, and handover under the project lifecycle.

Forgotten folks

May 3, 2020 15:00 pm

Crises have a differential impact depending on pre-existing vulnerabilities. The Covid-19 pandemic-triggered lockdown in Nepal has hit daily wage workers or informal workers the hardest. It is instructive to understand the pre-existing vulnerabilities that have caused this extreme impact on informal workers as they constitute 85 percent of Nepal’s workforce.

WASHINGTON, April 29: The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate last quarter as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country and began triggering a recession that will end the longest expansion on record.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, April 29: In cities around the world, public transit systems are key to getting workers back on the job and restarting devastated economies, yet everything from trains and buses to ferries and bicycles will have to be re-imagined in the coronavirus era.

NEW YORK – After the 2007-09 financial crisis, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute. Unfortunately, even if the Greater Recession leads to a lackluster U-shaped recovery this year, an L-shaped “Greater Depression” will follow later in this decade, owing to ten ominous and risky trends.

PARIS, April 28: France and Spain, two of the worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, were laying out separate roadmaps Tuesday for lifting their lockdowns, while signs emerged the virus has been all but vanquished in New Zealand and Australia.

KATHMANDU, April 28: Daraz online has launched the Daraz Seller Sahayatri Program with a subsidy of Rs 5.5 million to minimize the impacts of the pandemic on small and medium enterprises in Nepal.

Hi everyone, my name is Nepal. COVID-19 has forced me to take sick days. I am on my 35th sick leave, and it has been extended to May 7th.

NEW YORK, April 24: Unemployment in the U.S. is swelling to levels last seen during the Great Depression of the 1930s, with 1 in 6 American workers thrown out of a job by the coronavirus, according to new data released Thursday. In response to the deepening economic crisis, the House passed a nearly $500 billion spending package to help buckled businesses and hospitals.

LONDON, April 23: Coronavirus hit Britain’s economy in April with more force than even the most pessimistic forecasters had feared as businesses reported a historic collapse in demand during a nationwide lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely engulfed the world. The United States is now the epicenter of the crisis. The worldwide shutdowns necessary to contain the spread of the virus has been quite detrimental to the global economy. What is good for public health has been devastating for economies around the world. In the United States, about 17 million people, more than 10 percent of the labor force, filed for unemployment claims during the month of March. Canada sheds more than one million jobs in March, which represents almost five percent of the country’s labor force. The statistics are unavailable for Nepal but if it were, it would be damning for the economy. Since there is no public provision for lost income in Nepal, there are no estimates to rely on to quantify the labor market effects of the economic shutdown.

Labor migration post-COVID-19

April 12, 2020 09:05 am

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting society, economy and politics in almost all parts of the world. Every country is likely to bear the brunt of such upheaval. Nepal is no exception. In this article, we look into its potential impact on foreign labor migration and its trickle-down effects on the macro as well as micro levels.

KATHMANDU, April 4: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has projected that Nepal's economy will grow by 5.3% in the current fiscal year 2019/20, down from the growth rate of 7.3% in 2018/19.

Capitalism’s Triple Crisis

April 2, 2020 09:18 am

LONDON – Capitalism is facing at least three major crises. A pandemic-induced health crisis has rapidly ignited an economic crisis with yet unknown consequences for financial stability, and all of this is playing out against the backdrop of a climate crisis that cannot be addressed by “business as usual.” Until just two months ago, the news media were full of frightening images of overwhelmed firefighters, not overwhelmed health-care providers.

A greater depression?

March 29, 2020 08:51 am

NEW YORK – The shock to the global economy from COVID-19 has been both faster and more severe than the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) and even the Great Depression. In those two previous episodes, stock markets collapsed by 50 percent or more, credit markets froze up, massive bankruptcies followed, unemployment rates soared above 10 percent, and GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 10 percent or more. But all of this took around three years to play out. In the current crisis, similarly dire macroeconomic and financial outcomes have materialized in three weeks.

KATHMANDU, March 27: The "7th episode of Barbara Adams Talk Series" was held on Friday focusing on the issues of COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in crises in health, economy and almost every aspect of society in over 170 countries across the globe, resulting in thousands deaths to date.

Arab world's perfect COVID-19 strom

March 28, 2020 11:50 am

BEIRUT – Middle Eastern and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are heading toward a recession in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, collapsing oil prices, and the unfolding global financial crisis.

KATHMANDU, March 25: Banks and financial institutions (BFIs) will now halt the recovery of loan installment until mid-April (Chaitra end).

NEW YORK – When interpreting the US Federal Reserve’s weekend announcement of new measures to mitigate the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important not to confuse motion with action.

KATHMANDU, March 15: Nepali consumers continue to pay  high prices for  petroleum products as the authorities are  reluctant to factor in the plunge in   the international price. The country’s petroleum products monopoly is likely to cite various types of taxes or the possibility of smuggling to India for keeping the price structure largely unchanged.

True Price of Carbon

March 14, 2020 09:18 am

NEW YORK – At the center of many policy challenges is a contest between “realists” and “radicals.” That’s true of the ongoing Democratic primary race in the United States, for example, and it has long defined the climate-change debate. Will incremental policies such as a modest carbon price save us from disaster, or does climate change call for a more revolutionary approach?

Digital Revolution in Lending

February 25, 2020 09:54 am

China has long recognized the importance of increasing SMEs’ access to finance. Now, online banks are providing the solution the country needs

KATHMANDU, Jan 6: The price of gold climbed to a record high of Rs 75,500 per tola (11.664 grams) in the domestic market on Sunday.

KATHMANDU, Jan 2: The government's efforts to narrow down trade deficit have yielded some positive results. However, it has hit the target of import tax collection, putting the government authority in pressure to manage financial resources from alternative sectors.

Tourists Mean Hope for Palestine

December 30, 2019 08:50 am

Even though Palestine passed the three-million tourist mark in 2019, and that record is expected to be broken again this coming year, unprecedented obstructions threaten to derail this progress

SINGAPORE/BEIJING (Reuters) - As China struggles to deal with the slowdown of the world’s second-largest economy, it has embarked on a new strategy of placing financial experts in provinces to manage risks and rebuild regional economies.

Simplifying tax regime

December 2, 2019 09:49 am

The goal of an ideal tax regime is not to create an extractive system but to increase the yield from economic activities while running the state efficiently

Women entrepreneurs' meet on Nov 19-20

November 16, 2019 12:57 pm

KATHMANDU, Nov 16: The Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs' Associations of Nepal (FWEAN) is hosting a gathering of woman entrepreneurs from across the country in the capital on November 19 and 20. Issuing a press statement on Friday, the federation said that woman entrepreneurs from seven provinces, involved in small and cottage industries, will attend the event.

Nepal’s ranking in World Bank’s Doing Business (DB) improved from last year’s 110th to 94th, mainly due to the improved scores in getting credit, trading across borders, and dealing with construction permit sub indicators. This news brought much needed joy to the finance ministry beset with the increasing criticism of how it has hitherto handled economy. The finance minister was said to be “giddy”, according to an expatriate living in Kathmandu who met him after the ranking came out, and a news conference was organized in the ministry the next day. The ranking, which had remained more or less constant for more than 10 years (see the graph), suddenly seemed to be moving in the right direction. The ministry officials rightly promised to create a momentum and improve the ranking in the years to come.

KATHMANDU, Oct 26: Upbeat with Nepal’s improvement in Doing Business Index of 2020 by 16 notches to 94th in global ranking, the government is setting a target of bringing the ranking below 80th position next year.

KATHMANDU: Stocks continued to see weakness in the morning trading on Monday. The Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index fell as low as 1,121 in the initial trading hour but recouped all its losses by mid-session. Stocks saw strength thereafter with the index climbing throughout the remaining trading hours. Consequently, the benchmark index closed Monday's session up 10.42 points at 1,135.56 points.

Revolution in digital age

October 1, 2019 01:30 am

There will first be a few revolutionaries, who are joined by hundreds of thousands then supported by millions. It happens without a central leadership and starts on the Internet

Falling reserves

October 1, 2019 00:30 am

In county like ours whose economy is heavily dependent on imports, foreign exchange reserves should be adequate to sustain imports for at least eight months

Nepse extends losses for 10 straight weeks

September 28, 2019 09:30 am

KATHMANDU, Sept 28: The Nepali stock market saw high volatility in the previous week before ending the week slightly lower. Subsequently, weakness carried over to this week's trading with the Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index dropping over 16 points on Sunday. Despite the market's attempt to make a recovery on Monday, the index could only eke out a gain of over 1 point.

KATHMANDU: Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index started trading on a lower note on Thursday. Though the benchmark index tried to recover slightly toward mid-session, it failed to maintain the momentum and eventually ended the last trading day of the week 1.73 points lower at 1129.80 points.

Getting youth back to agriculture

September 22, 2019 02:00 am

Agriculture can be shaped as an attractive sector for youths. For this, we have to move beyond subsistence resource intensive agriculture while still maintaining traditional indigenous knowledge

NEW DELHI, Sept 20: The Indian government on Friday announced a slew of concessions aimed at boosting the economy that will reduce most corporate taxes for local companies to about 25% from 30%.

Migrant workers bring in skills

September 18, 2019 00:30 am

Let’s use returning migrants’ skills and earnings to increase domestic production

KATHMANDU, Sept 17: Finance Minister Dr Yubraj Khatiwada has urged the financial institutions to increase investment in share market in a bid to expedite economic activities in the country.

KATHMANDU, Sept 17: The Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index fell below 1,140 points at the start of Monday's session and continued to see weakness throughout the day. The benchmark index wavered along 1,135 points mark in the afternoon but gave up notable ground in the closing hours to end the day 16.18 points lower at a 6-month low of 1,123.83 points.

Joining the technological frontiers

September 17, 2019 00:30 am

AI applications will eventually be so broad and so embedded in every aspect of our daily lives that they will likely contribute three to four times more to global output than the Internet