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Israel's central bank maintained its benchmark interest rate at 0.10 percent, but said continued appreciation of the shekel's exchange rate "is liable to weigh on growth of exports and of the tradable sector."
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|COUNTRY||MSCI||LATEST||DATE||CURRENT RATE||1 YEAR AGO|
|TRINIDAD & TOBAGO||RAISE||29-May||3.75%||2.75%|
Pakistan's central bank effectively cut its interest rates by 100 basis points to 7.0 percent and narrowed its rate corridor by the 50 points to 200 basis points as inflation continues its downward trajectory and economic conditions improve, including a smaller current account deficit.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), which earlier this year revised its rate corridor and introduced a SBP target rate for the money market overnight repo rate, said economic growth was expected to accelerate due to the gradual realization of investments in energy and infrastructure projects.
"Overcoming energy shortages and improving law and order conditions is expected to provide further impetus in reviving investment and higher production," SBP said.
Pakistan's Gross Domestic Product is estimated to have expanded by 4.2 percent in fiscal 2015, which ends on June 30, up from 4.0 percent in FY14.
Pakistan's consumer price inflation rate declined to 2.11 percent in April from 2.49 percent the previous month, continuing the drop since 8.2 percent in June last year, reflecting soft international commodity prices, a stable exchange rate, contained government borrowing, moderate aggregate demand and the central bank's "earlier conservative monetary policy stance."
SBP said inflation expectations also remain subdued but uncertainty about oil prices and possible changes in domestic energy prices are the main risks to its outlook.
In March the SBP's board of directors approved changes to the bank's rate corridor to enhance the effectiveness of its monetary policy and better manage liquidity in the interbank market. Under its previous regime from 2009, when the SBP established an interest rate corridor, there was no instrument to limit very frequent drops in the repo rate and the money market repo rate also at times exceeded the reverse repo rate, which was the policy rate.
In order to improve the rate corridor, the SBP set a target rate between the floor and ceiling rates of the corridor and use purchases and sales of government securities along with other open market operations to keep the money market weighted overnight rate close to the target rate.
Today the ceiling of the rate corridor was reduced by 100 basis points to 7.0 percent from 8.0 percent, with the new SBP target rate, or its main policy rate, set 50 points below this ceiling rate. By narrowing the rate corridor by 50 points to 200 points, the floor rate is set at 5.0 percent.
The State Bank of Pakistan issued the following statement:
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Sri Lanka's central bank maintained its benchmark policy rates, with inflation projected to "remain at low levels in the months ahead."
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, which cut its policy rates by 50 basis points in April, added that the recent US$ 400 million currency swap agreement with the Reserve Bank India had strengthened reserves and together with expected capital inflows, including tourism and workers' remittances, will improve the country's balance of payments during the year.
Sri Lanka's consumer price inflation rate was steady at 0.1 percent in April and March, well below the bank's target of 3.0 to 5.0 percent, reflecting a downward revision in energy prices and lower prices of consumer items.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts average inflation this year of 1.7 percent, with inflation ending the year at 3.2 percent, and averaging 3.4 percent in 2016. Gross Domestic Product is projected to expand by 6.5 percent this year and beyond, down from 7.4 percent in 2014 and 7.2 percent in 2013.
Sri Lanka's GDP expanded by an annual 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, down from 7.7 percent in the third quarter.
The central bank maintained its benchmark Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDRF) at 6.0 percent and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) at 7.50 percent.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued the following statement:
Monetary Policy Decision:
Policy rates unchanged
Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR)
Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR)
Statutory Reserve Ratio (SRR)
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|COUNTRY||MSCI||LATEST||DATE||CURRENT RATE||1 YEAR AGO|
South Africa's central bank held its benchmark repurchase rate steady at 5.75 percent but cautioned "the deteriorating inflation outlook suggests that this unchanged stance cannot be maintained indefinitely" and it is closely monitoring the outlook for inflation and "stands ready to act when appropriate."
The inflation forecast of the Bank has changed since the previous meeting of the MPC. Inflation is now expected to average 4,9 per cent in 2015, with a first quarter low of 4,1 per cent. A temporary breach of the upper end of the inflation target band is still expected during the first quarter of 2016, to peak at 6,8 per cent, and to decline to 6,0 per cent by the second quarter of that year. An average inflation rate of 6,1 per cent is forecast for the year. The forecast period has now been extended to the end of 2017, with an average inflation rate of 5,7 per cent expected for the year, and 5,6 per cent in the final quarter.
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|Shanghai Tower (Center), Source: Forbes.com|
China Builds World's 2nd Tallest Skyscraper
The world's 2nd tallest skyscraper, Shanghai Tower, at Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China is to open to the public in a month or two (mid-2015). It measures 2,073 feet with 128 stories in the financial district of Shanghai, only surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2,722 ft.
Once the building is completely open, it is expected 20,000 to 30,000 people will pass through each day. It was built for about $3 billion by the Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Co., a state-owned enterprise.
Loved By Asia & Middle East
In recent years, skyscraper seems to serve more of a symbolism of status rather than an actual real estate commercial project. In the case of Shanghai Tower, special computerized damper, and other additional special designs have to be implemented to prevent the building from swaying in heavy winds from, for example, typhoons. In all Shanghai Tower, there are 21 sky lobbies (mostly public spaces) that can't be rented out to make money. So basically these types of design elements would never make the ROI economics and be constructed in the United States.
This is probably part of the reason why skyscrapers are dwindling in the more developed regions like Europe and North America while regions with greater State wealth and authority like Asia and the Middle East, seem to have developed an affinity (see chart below).
|Chart Source: Zero Hedge|
|Chart Source: economicreason.com|
Nevertheless, the fact is that Shanghai Tower is opening during the darkest period of China's economy in recent years. This make me wonder if the skyscraper index which showed that the world's tallest buildings have risen on the eve of economic downturns (see graph above) could have some predictive value than mere coincidence.
For example, Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world before Burj Khalifa came along in 2010, but till this day, many in Taiwan still believe the erection of Taipei 101 negatively affected the island's 'natural flow of prosperity'. Dubai economy has not fared well after Burj Khalifa either. With a similarly deep cultural root in symbolism and Fengshui, it is no wonder that Sky City, the planned skyscraper taller than Burj Khalifa in Changsha, Hunan in south-central China has never got off ground.
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