International Economy - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Which country has topped the WEF list on travel and tourism competitiveness?
- Published on 19 Apr 17

a. Spain
b. India
c. Germany
d. UK
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Spain

Explanation:
Spain has, once again, topped the World Economic Forum's (WEF) list on travel and tourism competitiveness.

WEF's biennial report is based on the theme 'paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future'. France and Germany continue to be ranked second and third respectively, depicting no change from the 2015 edition.

Surprise entry in the top five countries is Japan, which is ranked at number four, a jump of five places from the last time the rankings were released.

Japan is said to have a great tourist inflow because of two-fold reasons of 'unique cultural resources and business'.

India was ranked at 40, a considerable jump of 12 places from 2015. Asia-Pacific also emerged as the most-improved region.

War-torn country Yemen was ranked the last of the analysed nations, at 136, still a jump of two places. African countries Burundi and Chad were ranked 134 and 135, respectively.

Azerbaijan at 71st position is one of the most improved economies this year, rising 13 places in the global rankings.

According to the report, the travel and tourism industry contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy (10.2 per cent of global GDP) and generated 292 million jobs (1 in 10 jobs on the planet) in 2016.


2)   Which country's economy beat its government target in the first quarter of 2017?
- Published on 18 Apr 17

a. China
b. India
c. Pakistan
d. Bangladesh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: China

Explanation:
China’s economy beat the government target and grew by 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 mainly due to a surge in infrastructure investment and export.

The growth was well above the full-year target of 6.5 per cent, and the 6.8 per cent increase registered in the fourth quarter of 2016, as per China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

The GDP reached 18.07 trillion yuan ($2.63 trillion) in the first quarter.

The official data also suggested a pick-up in domestic consumption as February retail sales jumped 10.9 per cent from the previous year.

China is trying to boost domestic consumption to shift focus of its export reliant economy, which is also driven by massive state investments in improving the infrastructure.

Also, China’s exports, which were on a declining trend in recent years, showed increase in Q1 in Yuan terms.

China’s exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 14.8 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, while imports increased 31.1 per cent.

Foreign trade volume reached 6.2 trillion yuan (about $902 billion) in the first quarter, up 21.8 per cent year on year.

China’s fixed-asset investment (FAI) grew 9.2 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of 2017, quickening from the 8.9 per cent growth registered in the first two months.

The FAI includes capital spent on infrastructure, property, machinery and other physical assets.

Private sector FAI, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the total FAI, grew 7.7 per cent in the first quarter.

This is accelerating from the 6. 7 per cent registered in the first two months.

FAI by state-owned enterprises climbed 13.6 per cent year on year during the period, and infrastructure investment expanded 23.5 per cent in the first quarter.

China’s value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 6.8 per cent year on year in the first quarter, compared with the 6.3 per cent increase for January to February, the NBS data said.

The 6.8 per cent growth rose from the 5.8 per cent increase in the same period of 2016. It was also higher than the 6 per cent annual gain seen in 2016, NBS said.

China Banking Association has estimated country’s bad loans totalled to a whopping $220 billion last year.

Bad loans by commercial banks totalled 1.5 trillion yuan ($220 billion) at the end of 2016.

The biggest borrower is urban infrastructure projects, followed by the medical sector.


3)   What are the features of the new 12 sided British pound coin?
- Published on 29 Mar 17

a. Hologram that changes from a pound symbol to a numeral one.
b. Micro lettering and milled edges
c. Larger in diameter but lighter than round pound
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
A new 12-sided British pound coin is entering circulation amid concern that the round pound was too easy to counterfeit.

The new coin introduced on 28th March 2017 is intended to be the most secure in the world, featuring a hologram that changes from the pound symbol to the numeral one.

It also has micro-lettering and milled edges.

It is slightly larger in diameter, but lighter than the round pound.

And despite its many sides, the Royal Mint says the new coin will roll and has been tested for the last three years to make sure it will work in vending machines.

The old coin and the new coin will co-exist for a period of around six months. It’s the first new pound coin to be introduced in 30 years.

It is considered the world's most secure coin.

Bimetallic with different inner and outer rings, a hidden identification system, a hologram, micro lettering with a diameter of 23.43 mm.

It is thinner and lighter than the old coin which ceases to be legal tender on Oct 15, 2017. With a thickness of 2.8mm and weight of 8.75g, the coin is unique in many ways.


4)   China is planning its first national underwater observatory in?
- Published on 06 Mar 17

a. SCS
b. Shanghai
c. Beijing
d. Nanjing
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SCS

Explanation:
China is planning to build its first national underwater observatory in the disputed South China Sea (SCS).

The observatory will allow China to keep a check on underwater physical, chemical, and geological dynamics in real time.

The construction work on the platform will be done with the help of Institute of Acoustics and Shanghai’s Tongji University.

South China Sea has been a disputed territory with China claiming almost all of the waters.

It carries third of the world’s maritime traffic and has huge amounts of oil and natural gas. Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also are claiming over the waters of SCS.


5)   Where will the Food Legumes Research Platform be set up?
- Published on 17 Feb 17

a. MP
b. UP
c. HP
d. AP
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: MP

Explanation:
Giving a fillip to agriculture research in the country, the government will set up a Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore in Madhya Pradesh.

Its satellite hubs in West Bengal and Rajasthan.

The hub in West Bengal will research in pulses while the one in Rajasthan will focus on natural resource management for sustainable agriculture.

The research institute will be set up with the help of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) which has an exceptional track record of innovation in climate resilient technologies.

This is including suitable food legume varieties for dry-land production systems.

The proposal in this regard was approved by the Union Cabinet in its meeting on 16th Feb 2017.

The Cabinet also gave its 'in principle' approval for conferring on the Food Legume Research Platform of ICARDA an "international status" as contemplated in Clause 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.

After setting up the Centre, the ICARDA will carry out research through a multi-disciplinary team of scientists for enhancing productivity of crops and livestock.

FLRP will be reducing poverty, improving food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustaining the natural resource base.

Benefits of FLRP

  • The establishment of FLRP in India will enable India to harness the best of international science in meeting the emerging food security challenges.
  • India would be able to rapidly and effectively absorb the research output achieved in the country by FLRP.
  • A major international R&D institution will make India an even bigger centre for agricultural research in the world.
  • This in turn, will attract further research & development investment in the country.
  • The research output would benefit farmers of all regions, whether big, small or marginal; and as technologies developed would be eligible for use by all farmers, the project is equitable and inclusive.


6)   IMF has opened SARTTAC. What does it stand for?
- Published on 16 Feb 17

a. South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre
b. South Asia Technical and Training Assistance Centre
c. South America Technical and Training Assistance Centre
d. South America Training and Technical Assistance Centre
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre

Explanation:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a first-of-its-kind South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) in New Delhi for economic capacity building in South Asia.

It will work to support local member countries of South Asia namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka to build human and institutional capacity and implement policies for growth and poverty reduction.

Financed mainly by its six member South Asia countries (mentioned above) with additional support from Australia, South Korea, European Union and United Kingdom, its strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity.

The aim is to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.

It will permit the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region.

It is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

In 2016, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a capacity development centre for South Asia.

The opening of SARTTAC is part of the MoU and marks a major milestone in the partnership between the IMF and its member countries in the region.


7)   Which country has launched a 10 year plan to cut dependence on vegetable imports from India?
- Published on 24 Jan 17

a. Nepal
b. Pakistan
c. Bangladesh
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Nepal

Explanation:
Landlocked country Nepal has launched a 10 year plan to cut reliance on vegetable imports from India.

Though the western part of this nation has seen a rise in commercial vegetable farming, vegetable imports from India have continued to rise.

Region imports vegetables worth INR 55 billion each year from India.

Potatoes worth INR 370 million were annually imported. Green vegetable imports is pegged at INR 180 million.

Birgunj and Gadda Chauki are the two most important Indian trading outposts with Nepal.

Vegetable is cultivated in the following areas : Belauri, Krishnapur, Jhalari, Mahendranagar and Mahakali.

Production barely meets local demand.

The aim is to propose modern farm techniques to boost productivity, and making the country self-reliant in food.

Government has targeted making the country self-sufficient in maize and fish by the next three years.

Self reliance is sought in fruits like bananas, papaya and litchi by four years.

Towards its end, the project envisages becoming self-sufficient in fruits like kiwi, apple and orange.

Nepal Government: Know More

  • Government: Federal parliamentary republic
  • President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
  • Vice President: Nanda Kishor Pun
  • Prime Minister: Pushpa Kamal Dahal
  • Speaker of House: Onsari Gharti Magar
  • Chief Justice: Sushila Karki
  • Legislature: Parliament


8)   Which country has banned the sale and production of burqa?
- Published on 16 Jan 17

a. Saudi Arabia
b. Pakistan
c. Iran
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Explanation:
Morocco’s ban on the sale and production of burqa has sharply divided people in the N. African nation.

Award winning French-Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani said the burqa is not an item of clothing but an instrument of oppression.

Lawmaker and former minister Nouzha Skalli has said it will combat religious extremism.

Measure appeared to be motivated by security concerns, as criminals have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes.”

Most women in Morocco, whose King Mohammed VI favours a moderate version of Islam, prefer the hijab headscarf that does not cover the face.

The niqab, which leaves the area around the eyes uncovered, is also worn in Salafist circles and in more conservative regions in the north.

Morocco: Know More

  • Morocco is officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco/The Western Kingdom
  • Location: Maghreb region of North Africa.
  • Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert.
  • It is the only African country to have both an Atlantic and a Mediterranean coastline.
  • Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi).
  • Capital: Rabat
  • Largest city is Casablanca.
  • Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan.


9)   Which government has issued a tax strike on digital economy?
- Published on 13 Jan 17

a. Australia
b. India
c. Africa
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Australia

Explanation:
Australian government has announced plans to tax all digital transactions, part of what treasurer Scott Morrison calls a “Tax Strike” on the growing digital economy.

The government is currently unable to tax Australia's USD 7.37 billion annual online transactions.

As Australia moves towards a modern cashless economy, the aim is to also ensure tax systems remain modern.

Google and Netflix taxes have also been imposed to ensure MNCs and online services were paying tax properly.

Government is aiming at proper taxation for all digital sales in Australia to ensure everyone is paying their fair share of tax.


10)   China launched its first freight train to which western destination in Jan 2016?
- Published on 05 Jan 17

a. London
b. Frankfurt
c. Paris
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: London

Explanation:
The PRC or People's Republic of China launched its first freight train to London (UK) with the aim to improve trade ties and strengthen connectivity with Britain and Western Europe.

The train departed from Yiwu West Railway station in eastern Zhejiang province of China. It will travel for 18 days over 12,000 km before reaching London.

The train will also pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, before reaching London.

It is carrying goods produced in Yiwu. London is the 15th city in European region added to China-Europe freight train services.

Success of the train will give impetus to China's One Belt and One Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Africa and EU along ancient trade routes.

One Belt and One Road Initiative: Know More

  • Also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt
  • Called the Belt and Road, One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or Belt and Road Initiative
  • It is a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
  • The initiative is a development strategy and framework put in place by Chinese leader XI Jingping
  • It focuses on connectivity and cooperation between China and Eurasia.
  • Comprises two components namely Silk Road Economic Belt (land based) and Maritime Silk Road (ocean going).
  • It was unveiled in Sept and Oct 2013 (SREB and MSR respectively).


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