World Bank approves $300mn for agriculture reforms in Punjab | Business

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WASHINGTON: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved US$300 million under the ‘Strengthening Markets for Agriculture and Rural Transformation’ (SMART) project for Punjab.  The SMART project aims to modernise agriculture in Punjab to raise farmers’ incomes and give consumers better, safer quality produce at lower prices.  It also aims to create jobs on farms …

Too many cooks are spoiling the rupee broth | Business

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The State Bank is often heard stating that it is the market that determines the value of rupee. In such a case, the prime minister’s statement becomes questionable – Bloomberg has quoted him as saying that the government has no plans to devalue the rupee further. What adds to the confusion on the force behind …

Oil prices up on pipeline outage support | Business

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NEW YORK: Oil prices rose on Thursday as a pipeline outage in Britain continued to support prices despite forecasts showing global crude surplus in the beginning of next year. US West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 settled up 44 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $57.04 a barrel. Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled up 1.4 percent, or …

Scotland breaks from rest of UK with tax hike for higher earners | Business

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EDINBURGH: Scotland’s government said on Thursday it will raise taxes on higher earners and increase public sector pay, using powers to levy higher income tax rates than the rest of Britain for the first time since it was given its own parliament 20 years ago. The budget, set out by the pro-independence Scottish government, aims …

Delta orders 100 Airbus planes in blow to Boeing | Business

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NEW YORK: Delta Air Lines announced Thursday it has ordered 100 Airbus planes with an option to buy 100 more, in a blow to Airbus’ American rival Boeing. Delta said it was buying the A321neo aircraft to renew its narrowbody fleet. The planes have 197 seats. “This is the right transaction at the right time …

Pakistan economy expected to grow by 5.6pc this year: IMF | Business

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani economy is expected to grow by 5.6 percent, falling short of a 6% GDP growth target this year, the International Monetary Fund mission to Pakistan said on Thursday. In a press briefing here today, the IMF mission to Pakistan led by Harald Finger welcomed the State Bank’s recent move to allow the …

Disney says to buy parts of 21st Century Fox for $52.4bn | Business

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NEW YORK: Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it had reached a deal to buy 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, solidifying its position as a producer of entertainment content as it faces new rivals from Silicon Valley. The deal will see Disney acquire film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV …

UK jobless rate holds at lowest since 1975 | Business

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LONDON: Britain’s unemployment rate remains at a 42-year low, official data showed Wednesday, but workers’ wages are still being eroded by inflation. The jobless rate — or the proportion of the workforce that is unemployed — stood at 4.3% in the three months to the end of October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said …

Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailties | Business

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LONDON/NEW YORK: As bitcoin raced to another record high on Tuesday, one of the biggest providers of digital currency wallets, Coinbase, went down under the weight of traffic, leaving many of its more than 10 million customers unable to access their funds. At the same time, Bitfinex, the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange by trading volume, …

Devaluation weakens rupee to record low | Business

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The rupee has weakened to a record low, becoming the worst performing currency since Friday, after the State Bank of Pakistan allowed it to decline amid mounting economic pressure and speculation that the country may need support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The rupee was at 110.10 per dollar in the interbank market on …