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UK economy shrank record 11% in 2020, worst since 1709

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  • UK recorded its biggest fall in output in more than 300 years in 2020.
  • Gross domestic product fell by 11.0% in 2020.
  • Revision in GDP reflects lower contributions from healthcare, retailers.

LONDON: Britain recorded its biggest fall in output in more than 300 years in 2020 when it faced the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a larger decline than any other major economy, updated official figures showed on Monday.

Gross domestic product fell by 11.0% in 2020, the Office for National Statistics said. This was a bigger drop than any of the ONS’s previous estimates and the largest fall since 1709, according to historical data hosted by the Bank of England.

British statisticians regularly update GDP estimates as more data becomes available.

The ONS’s initial estimates had already suggested that in 2020 Britain suffered its biggest fall in output since the “Great Frost” of 1709. But more recently the ONS had revised down the scale of the fall to 9.3%, the largest since just after World War One.

Even before the latest revisions, Britain’s economic slump was the largest in the Group of Seven, and the latest downward revision makes it greater than Spain’s, which recorded a 10.8% fall in output.

However, the ONS cautioned against direct comparisons with other countries as most – with the exception of the United States – had not yet undertaken the same type of in-depth revisions as Britain had.

The downward revision in GDP reflected lower contributions from healthcare and retailers than previously thought.

“The health service faced higher costs than we initially estimated, meaning its overall contribution to the economy was lower,” ONS statistician Craig McLaren said.

The ONS had already factored in a fall in routine care provided by Britain’s National Health Service as it focused on treating COVID-19 patients and limiting the spread of the disease in hospitals.

A closer look at the increased costs faced by individual retailers also led to a downward revision of the sector’s contribution, while factory output was revised up to take account of lower raw material costs.

Britain’s economy bounced back sharply last year and recovered its pre-pandemic size in November 2021. But fast-rising inflation means the Bank of England expects the economy will slip back into recession later this year.

The ONS will publish updated growth figures for 2021 and the first half of 2022 on September 30.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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