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PSX suffers amid political unrest

F.P. Report

KARACHI:  Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) dictated political happenings and index suffered fresh erosion under the lead of steel, cement and power companies.

The market opened in the red territory and index saw a decline of as much as 350 points and index reached 45637 points lowest mark in the session.

The index once again in the spell of political happenings, this time rally and dharna called has depressed the mood of the investors.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to reach Lahore through GT road and arrival of Tahirul Qadri calling his supporters to be prepared for one more dharna (sit-in) are enough to depress the tone of the investors.

This political ruckus to remain in the headlines and till the dust on this horizon settle down index to keep dropping, said an analyst at brokerage house.

Since last week, the index due to political turbulence has eroded the index by more than 1100 points.

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$500 Eurobond float: Parliamentary panel summons officials of three international banks

News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Officials from three international banks Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and Deutsche Bank involved in the floating of $500m Eurobonds two years ago have been summoned by a Parliamentary panel as decided.

An investigation into this floating is being conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance which is trying to ascertain whether money invested in these bonds by foreigners out flowed from Pakistan or not.

Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Saleem Manviwalla said that officials from these three issues have been summoned to appear before the parliamentary panel in the next meeting.

Finance Secretary, Shahid Mahmood didn’t have the required information available to share with the committee and hence the meeting lasted a mere 10 minutes.

And the current governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Tariq Bajwa said that his institution had nothing to do with this bond issue and none of its officials had taken part in any role whatsoever. He added, that the bond issue was linked to the Finance ministry only.

$500m worth of Eurobonds with a ten-year maturity were issued by the government back in September 2015 on the international market at an interest rate of 8.25pc. The interest rate offered was 6.12pc above the US treasury bond rate at that point of time.

Pakistani banks Bank Alfalah and United Bank Limited were said to have contributed almost 14pc of the $500m invested in the Eurobonds and it was their overseas branches which carried out the due-process of investment.

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Tourism cooperation to be strengthened between Pakistan and Ukraine: Ukrainian ambassador

ISLAMABAD (AFP): Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Lakomov and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor Khan agreed to strengthen bilateral relations and step up tourism cooperation between the two countries.

In a meeting on Tuesday, Lakomov informed the PTDC MD that he had visited numerous places in Pakistan and found that there was a huge potential, which required proper publicity and promotion. The ambassador said he also visited Gilgit-Baltistan, Lahore and Moenjo Daro and was impressed by the historical place.

“Ukraine has a number of ski resorts where a large number of adventure tourists participate in annual ski tournaments. Last year, a number of tourists from Ukraine visited Pakistan to participate in the skiing tournament at Nailer,” the ambassador added.

He appreciated the role of Pakistan Ambassador to Ukraine Athar Abbas for promoting Pakistani tourism in Ukraine. Speaking on the occasion, the PTDC MD invited the Ukrainian envoy to visit Swat Valley, Ayubia and Nathia Gali. He also presented the ambassador a copy of the newly published Amazing Pakistan magazine.

Ghafoor said that in the past, tourism was a neglected sector, but the present government was committed to developing Pakistan into an international hub for business and tourism. He recalled that he had visited Thailand and met the tourism police chief in order to learn from their experience and launch a similar force in Pakistan.

“CPEC is the future of Pakistan, which will create millions of jobs not only for the country, but also for the region, with the launch of billions of dollars’ worth of economic activities,” Ghafoor said. “We are presently focusing on Gilgit-Baltistan and soon a ski resort will be developed at Natter Valley in addition to a five-star hotel close to the river in Gilgit,” he said.

“We are offering 25 acres of land in Islamabad for the development of a tourist resort and PTDC’s ongoing projects are also available for joint ventures.”

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BOP rights share issue: Parliamentary panel drops investigation

News Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary panel responsible for investigating into allegations of malpractice by the Bank of Punjab (BOP) in its right shares issue has decided to drop the charges.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) both gave a clean shit to this rights share issue of BOP and said all regulations had been met by the bank regarding it.

In mid-July, it had been reported Ali Nadeem, minority shareholder of BOP had said in its previous meeting that the bank’s decision to issue right shares at Rs12 per share was done to aid the underwriters which had abruptly risen from two to six parties.

Nadeem then had accused the management of BOP to be a part of it and mentioned minority stakeholders couldn’t subscribe to the rights issue because they would have incurred a big loss.

In mid-May, The Bank of Punjab (BOP) had decided to do a right shares issue of around Rs13b, which would allow it to give out more loans, improve itident of BOP, Naeemuddin Khan who had said “The new issue of right shares is purely a business decision taken by the management to further strengthen the bank’s balance sheet. The stronger equity base of the bank will improve its credit ratings, provide additional comfort to stakeholders, and enable the management to expand its branch network and explore new business avenues for enhancing our earningss capital structure and help in expanding its network as per the SBP directives.

As per Pres.“ This will be the thirds rights issue for BOP in the last three years.

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Chinese export, import growth rates slow in July

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese trade growth slowed significantly in July compared to the previous month, official data showed Tuesday, coming in well below expectations after months of steady momentum.

Analysts said that while exports and imports were still robust year-on-year, the latest data indicated a downward trend.

Exports rose 7.2 percent year-on-year to $193.65 billion, the customs administration said, undershooting a Bloomberg News forecast of 11 percent.

Imports were up 11 percent year-on-year — compared with an expected increase of 18 percent — to $146.9 billion, lifting the trade surplus to $46.74 billion.

“Despite the uptick at the end of (the second quarter), trade growth now appears to be on a downward trend,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, a China economist at Capital Economics.

“In particular, the sharp decline in import growth since the start of the year suggests that domestic demand is softening.”

The trade figures come despite other recent economic data that has been positive, including better-than-expected second-quarter GDP growth of 6.9 percent.

The trade data follows the passing on Saturday of a UN Security Council Resolution that significantly strengthened sanctions on North Korea by banning its exports of coal, iron, and other key hard-currency earners.

China is North Korea’s most important trading partner but has presented an increasingly united front with the US to Pyongyang.

“Although China’s monthly trade surplus increased, trade tensions between the US and China have eased following China’s co-operation with the US for tougher economic sanctions on North Korea,” said Rajiv Biswas, chief economist for IHS Markit.

“US-China bilateral trade relations are currently being driven by US-China cooperation on trying to bring North Korea back to the Six Party Talks.”

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Pakistan loss Rs1 bn due to fault in submarine cable

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economy has to bear an estimated loss of Rs1 billion owing to recent fault in submarine cable whereas Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has summoned report from major stakeholders in aforementioned regard, reported Roznama Dunya on Tuesday.

On August-5, PTA informed that Pakistan was experiencing slow internet as IMEWE, the international underwater cable responsible for bringing internet to Pakistan, had gone offline due to technical problems.

Though, PTA timely arranged substitutes for provision of internet services but several public and private conglomerates including PIA faced difficulties in their online operations.

While talking to Dunya News, PTA chairman said estimate of loss incurred is being carried out whereas Senior Executive Vice President Sikandar Naqi stated that internet system has been fully restored whereas PTCL did not suffered huge loss as country in whose area submarine cable faces loss is held responsible for repair work.

As per stats shared by PTA, figure of DSL users stands at 1527306, HFC at 50571, Wimax stands at 168511, FTTH at 48020, EOD at 729625 and mobile users at 44608065.

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Circular debt threatening economy: ICST

ISLAMABAD (INP): Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST),  asked the government to resolve the circular debt which has swelled to Rs800 billion, posing a serious threat to the economy.

Currently, the government is focusing on LNG which is cheaper than the hydel power but open to fluctuation in the international market, said ICST patron Shahid Rasheed Butt.

He said that government should pay proper attention to the hydel power projects that generate cheap electricity and are immune from external shocks.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that power plants using imported fuel generate costly electricity while fluctuations in the oil prices result in miseries of the masses.

The energy sector has become dysfunctional because of the apathy of the successive governments; the PML-N leadership claimed to bury the circular debt before it came to power, he added.

He said that energy crisis in Pakistan is a result of decades of indifference and it cannot be resolved anytime soon and it will continue to harm masses and the economy.

He said that dysfunctional power sector continues to deprive 35 per cent of the population of grid electricity while the 65 percent have been facing load-shedding.

Pakistan fulfils 32 per cent of energy demand through imported oil which is the biggest hurdle in the ample power generation while the circular debt continues to push away the investors.

He said that power transmission and distribution system has developed irreparable faults and at many places it as old as the country is, adding that the power sector is a classic example of the bad governance.

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All out efforts to be made to achieve export target of $35bln: minister

LAHORE (APP) – Federal Minister for Commerce Muhammad Pervaiz Malik said with the active participation of the private sector and leading exporters, all out efforts will be made on priority to achieve the realistic exports target of $35 billion by 2018.

The minister was talking to Vice President SAARC Chamber, Chairman United Business Group (UBG) Iftikhar Ali Malik here. Pervaiz Malik said that his ministry would enhance co-operation with Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce,
its affiliated chambers and trade associations to address traders’ problems.

Iftikhar Ali Malik, welcoming the appointment of Federal Minister for Commerce Pervaiz Malik, said he will play a vital role in bringing reforms for boosting trade, to turn the country’s exports around and attract new investment through improving business viability in the country.

He assured the Minister of full cooperation on behalf of the business community in executing all positive steps of the government for promoting trade.

“The export target can only be achieved if exporters are refunded Rs 300 billion. These deposits were made by Pakistani exporters to ensure that they repatriate to Pakistan all their export earnings,” he added.

“A rise in exports will help the government boost its revenues and invest in the development of the country,” adding he said unfortunately, Pakistan”s exports are stagnant whereas other regional countries have moved far ahead.

The minister after hearing suggestions advised the business community to conceive forward planning in view of the prospects arising out of the mega regional development initiatives like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline.

These mega projects, coupled with development of infrastructure in the form of motorways and upgradation of Gwadar port, would open new avenues of economic activities in the country, he added.

Pervaiz Malik said that it would be his endeavor to improve businesses viability and profitability which would certainly lead to growth in exports and investment. He said that all stakeholders will be taken into confidence prior to finalization of the trade policy in future and viable suggestions and proposals of the business community will also be incorporated.


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Oil steady near nine-week highs on fall in US drilling activity

Oil prices held near nine-week highs on Monday, buoyed by robust US jobs data last week and a slight fall in US drilling, although rising output from OPEC capped gains.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 8 cents, or 0.15 percent, at $52.50 a barrel at 0059 GMT.

US crude futures CLc1 were up 7 cents, or 0.14 percent at $49.65 per barrel.

Prices for both benchmarks have been on the rise, hovering near their highest since late May, when oil producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rolled over a deal to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of next March.

“Crude oil prices rose strongly as investors viewed (US jobs) data as a positive sign for oil demand in the United States … A small fall in the number of drill rigs operating in the US also supported prices,” ANZ bank said in a note.

US employers added an above-forecast 209,000 workers in July and raised wages, the US Labor Department reported on Friday.

US drillers cut one oil rig in the week to Aug. 4, bringing the total count down to 765, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.

Although the US rig count fell last week, oil production in the United States hit 9.43 million bpd, the highest level since August 2015.

Meanwhile, OPEC’s crude oil exports in July rose to a record high of 26.11 million bpd, most of which came from Nigeria, according to a report by Thomson Reuters Oil Research last week.

Officials from a joint OPEC and non-OPEC technical committee are set to meet in Abu Dhabi on Monday and on Tuesday to discuss ways to boost compliance with their supply reduction agreement.

Courtesy: REUTERS

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Pakistan exports surgical goods, medical instruments worth US$ 339.19 million

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan exported surgical goods and medical instruments worth US$ 339.19 million during the last fiscal year ended on June 30, 2017, as against the exports of US $ 358.766 million of the corresponding period of last year.

The exports of above mention goods were recorded at US$ 358.766 million during the financial year 2015-16.

According to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the cutlery exports grew by 2.52 percent and reached at US$ 82.436 million in the fiscal year 2016-17 as compared to the exports of US$ 80.404 million in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the exports of chemical and pharma products increased by 9.21 percent as chemical and pharmaceutical products valuing US $ 878.463 million exported as compared the exports of US $ 804.337 million in the same period last year.

During the period from July-June, 2016-17, about 44,250 metric tons of fertilizers manufactured valuing US$ 10.158 million exported as compared the exports of the same period last year.

During the last financial year ended on June 30, 2017, exports of fertilizers manufactured grew by 100 percent as compared the corresponding period of last year, the data added.

According to the data, about 9,029 metric tons of pharmaceutical products worth US$ 212.291 million exported which was up by 3.63 percent against the exports of last year.

The country had earned US$ 204.846 million by exporting about 11,112 metric tons of pharmaceutical products during the year 2015-16, it added.