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February 24, 2021: European and US stocks were boosted Wednesday by news that several million doses of a new coronavirus vaccine could be on the way.
After spending much of the day in negative territory, the London stock index closed with a gain of 0.5 percent.
Frankfurt was up by 0.8 percent and Paris added 0.3 percent, while in midday New York trades, the Dow Jones index showed a gain of 0.9 percent.
Interest rates for benchmark government debt declined, suggesting that "financial markets are much more optimistic about the economy" than the US Federal Reserve, according to Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at the online broker OANDA.
He referred to testimony by Fed chairman Jerome Powell before US lawmakers that showed "Powell is strongly optimistic about the economic outlook for the second half of the year, while the Treasury market seems to indicate that the recovery could take off in the second quarter".
Financial markets bounced higher after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appeared ready to approve a single-shot Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.
If so, a White House official said the administration planned to distribute at least three million vaccine doses next week.
Documents released by the FDA indicated the vaccine had proven highly effective against severe cases of Covid-19 in Brazil, South Africa and the US.
"Basic refrigeration and the fact that it is a single dose vaccine could be a game-changer in the global fight against COVID," Moya noted.
Oil prices climbed well beyond the 13-month peaks reached Tuesday, and bitcoin rose to almost $50,000 after sliding the previous day on negative remarks from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
- Key figures around 1715 GMT -
- New York - Dow: UP 0.9 percent at 31,826.14 points
- EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,705.99
- London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 6,658.97 (close)
- Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 13,976.00 (close)
- Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,797.98 (close)
- Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.6 percent at 29,671.70 (close)
- Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 3.0 percent at 29,718.24 (close)
- Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.0 percent at 3,564.08 (close)
- Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2144 from $1.2150 at 2200 GMT
- Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4114 from $1.4113
- Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.04 pence from 86.09 pence
- Dollar/yen: UP at 105.90 yen from 105.25 yen
- Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.6 percent at $67.09 per barrel
- West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.5 percent at $63.22 per barrel
February 24, 2021: National Command and Operation Center(NCOC) on Wednesday, keeping in view current COVID-19 situation, had removed condition of 50 percent work from home in all government institutions.
NCOC also lifted time-limit from commercial activities and amusement parks.
The decisions, in that regards, were taken after comprehensive review of existing Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) in NCOC meeting held here Wednesday.
NCOC further stated that the decisions can be reviewed in view of increased disease prevalence, whenever deemed necessary.
As per NCOC meeting details, provinces can, however, enforce targeted NPIs where required depending upon disease prevalence in a given area or sector.
It was furthered that indoor wedding ceremonies will be allowed from 15th March 2021 with stringent COVID SOPs.
The Indoor dining allowed from 15th March subject to the review on 10th March, the forum added.
The Forum said that opening of cinemas and shrines allowed with stringent COVID SOPs with effect from 15th March.
NCOC decided that wearing of mask, Social distancing, Smart Lock downs will continue and will be ensured.
From Health perspective, the forum decided that the conduct of local bodies and Cantt board elections may be planned by Election Commission of Pakistan by end May / early Jun 2021.
While taking further decisions, NCOC allowed that spectators attendance in PSL Pool matches be increased to 50 percent instead of presently allowed 20%. Whereas, full attendance will be allowed for play-offs with stringent COVID SOPs.
February 24, 2021 (MLN): The State Bank fo Pakistan(SBP) conducted an auction on Wednesday in which it sold Market Treasury Bills (MTBs) worth Rs.791.51 billion for 3 and 6 months.
Auction target was Rs.850.00 billion against a maturing amount of Rs.810.00 billion.
Cut off yield for 3 and 6 months were 7.2486 and 7.5498 percent.
Total amount offered was Rs.1,095.20 billion out of which the SBP accepted Rs.759.90 billion. The SBP received bids worth Rs.256.61 billion for 3 months and Rs.765.09 for 6 months out of which it accepted Rs.241.61 billion and Rs. 518.29 billion respectively. All bids for the 12 month T-Bill were rejected.
In addition the SBP picked up Rs.31.61 billion from the non-competitive auction, making the total amount accepted Rs.791.51 billion.
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Feb 24, 2021: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) in a landmark decision has reduced the Return on Equity (ROE) component of three Nuclear Power Generation Plants including the C-2, C-3 and C-4 have a cumulative net capacity of 931 MW.
It would result in a saving of Rs 2.05 Billion per year (average Rs 0.2515/unit) for the remaining life of the Nuclear Power Plants i.e. 25-37 years approximately, said a press release issued here Wednesday.
It is apprised that the above Nuclear Power Generation Plants in line with the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) decision of August 27, 2020, have filed petitions with NEPRA for a reduction in their ROE components on account of reduced ROE rate and freezing exchange rate to Rs 148/Dollar.
The NEPRA Authority under the prevailing rules and regulations has accordingly admitted the same and conducted a hearing on January 13, 2021, and subsequently decided to freeze the exchange rate at Rs.148/ dollar and reduce the ROE from 15% to 14.5% for the remaining life of these projects.
February 24, 2021 (MLN): The Ministry of Commerce has released Rs 5.5 billion under the Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) scheme, which includes Rs 3.762 billion for the textiles & Rs. 1.738 billion for the non-textile sector under the Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) scheme.
Advisor to PM for Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, has announced this on his Twitter account adding that this will improve the liquidity of our exporters and enable them to enhance exports.
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February 24, 2021 (MLN): Gold prices scaled further lower today in the domestic billion market, as the per tola price of 24 karat gold dipped by Rs 50 and was sold at Rs110,650 against the sale at Rs110,700 reported yesterday.
Likewise, 10-grams of 24 karat gold also witnessed a fall of Rs 43 to settle at Rs 94,864 as opposed to the previous close of Rs 94,907, data provided by All Sindh Sarah Jewellers Association revealed.
On the other hand, per tola silver increased by Rs 10 and was traded at Rs 1,420 against its sale at Rs 1,410 while that of 10-gram silver increased by Rs 8.58 and was traded at Rs 1, 217.42 against Rs 1,208.84.
In the international market, gold price climbed by USD 2 and was available at USD 1,809 an ounce against USD 1,807 an ounce in the previous session, while silver was valued at Rs 27.82 an ounce, the associated reported.
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February 24, 2021: Dubai Islamic Bank – the World’s First Islamic bank – today joined the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in a ceremony with Governor SBP, Dr. Reza Baqir, as the Chief Guest. Headquartered in Dubai, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has the distinction of being the largest Islamic bank in the UAE market and the second largest in the world by assets, which reflects its global strength. DIB has a global presence across seven countries (UAE, Pakistan, Kenya, Indonesia, Turkey, Sudan & Bosnia).
Roshan Digital Account has shown impressive results in the short period of five months since it was launched to digitally connect Overseas Pakistanis with Pakistan’s banking and payments system. Over $550 million in remittances has already been generated and over 90,000 accounts opened, and the momentum has been rising in the last few months.
Addressing the ceremony through video, Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir congratulated the management of DIB for becoming the 10th bank to partner with the SBP in offering RDA for the Pakistani diaspora. He lauded the many contributions of Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRP) for the country and added that the RDA is a manifestation of the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to make the Pakistani diaspora an integral part of Pakistan’s economy by connecting them to the country’s financial system. He highlighted three key recent refinements to RDA that have been made in light of feedback received from NRPs. These include: (1) introducing Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) in Euro and British Pound, in addition to the existing Pakistani rupee and US-dollar denominated certificates; (2) changes by the federal government in relevant laws allowing the tax paid at source on profits on investments in NPCs, shares, mutual funds, and property to be full and final; and (3) substantially reducing the cost of transferring funds internationally to and from RDA accounts from $40-60 to $5-9 for most transactions. Towards the end of his address, Dr. Baqir expressed his hope that DIB would help RDA achieve even bigger milestones in the future and that its contribution would be even larger than the banks that joined the initiative earlier.
In his address, Deputy Governor SBP Dr. Murtaza Syed appreciated the efforts put in by DIB for successfully joining RDA. Dr. Syed threw light on the salient features of RDA, explaining that it provides digital access to all conventional banking services including funds transfer, bills, and fee payments, and e-commerce as well as attractive investment opportunities in the stock market, property, and government bonds. He said that RDA enables investment by Non-resident Pakistanis in NPCs issued by the Government of Pakistan at very attractive risk-free rates and in both conventional and Shariah-compliant forms. Moreover, funds available in the account can be remitted back from Pakistan without any approval from banks or SBP. Elaborating on the RDA journey, the Deputy Governor emphasized that a key ingredient of success has been to ensure that customer’s experience is par excellence. He expressed the hope that DIB would ensure a class-experience for its customers from the very beginning, and inject even greater momentum into the RDA initiative by capitalizing on its key advantages in the UAE market and within the Islamic Banking industry.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Junaid Ahmed CEO, of Dubai Islamic Bank stated: ‘Dubai Islamic Bank – World’s First Islamic Bank and a global franchise is operating in Pakistan since 2006 with presence across seven countries will soon become a major player for RDA. Our existing customer base of over 200,000 in UAE gives us an all-important advantage to capture the potential for Roshan Digital Accounts. Moreover, our Non Resident Pakistanis working in Dubai Islamic Bank UAE will also benefit from this product. Our focus is on a seamless experience and prompt response time for the customers.
Dubai Islamic Bank has also engaged the services of legendary Cricketer Mohsin Hasan Khan as its brand ambassador for RDA. Mohsin Hasan Khan has the distinction of being the first among only two Asians to score a double century at Cricket’s headquarters at Lords and is our national asset.
Offering a wide range of product features along with investment opportunities for NRPs through Islamic Naya Pakistan Investment Certificates and access to capital markets through CDC, Roshan Digital Account is one of the key Digital Banking initiatives being rolled out by Dubai Islamic Bank this year.
February 24, 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasized on improving trade links among the countries of the sub-continent to bring people out of poverty.
Addressing the first Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Conference in Colombo on Wednesday, he said the way forward for the sub-continent is to resolve differences and improve trade relationships.
He said our difference is only the Kashmir issue, which should be resolved as per the UN resolutions. He said differences can only be resolved through dialogue.
The Prime Minister said our problems are subservient to trade and investment. Imran Khan said he came to politics with the dream of a welfare state and poverty alleviation.
He said the current Pakistan government has taken a number of steps towards ease of doing business, removing impediments in the way of investment. He said as a result of these measures, Pakistan improved by 28 points in ease of doing business in the world.
Imran Khan invited the Sri Lankan business community to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project that opens the opportunity for them right up to Central Asia. He said incentives have been offered to the business community to invest in Special Economic Zones being established in Pakistan.
He said we can learn from Sri Lanka in tourism. He said Pakistan has enormous potential in tourism, including unique mountains, coastal lines, and also religious tourism.
Addressing the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan's focus has now been shifted from geopolitics to geo-economic. He said the current government is committed to taking advantage of the geographical location of Pakistan to make it an economic hub.
He said economic diplomacy is also one of the most important components of our foreign policy to give a boost to economic activities.
The Minister said Pakistan's economic indicators are on a positive trajectory.
He said Pakistan has taken numerous steps to ensure ease of doing business and remarkable achievements have been made in this regard. He said the country's real estate and housing sectors are also flourishing and contributing to the country's progress and prosperity.
Speaking on the occasion, Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said Pakistan's economy has shown a remarkable turnaround during the COVID-19.
He said Pakistan provides great opportunities to businessmen to come, invest and enjoy the lucrative environment there. He said the business communities of both countries must work hard to further build economic relations.
Addressing the ceremony, the Sri Lankan State Minister for Commerce said bilateral cooperation in trade is of vital importance to alleviate poverty.
He stressed the need for the promotion of South-South dialogue and partnership. He said both the countries need to enhance cooperation in trade and investment.
He said the resource gap can also be bridged with the promotion of investment.
February 24, 2021 (MNL): The KSE-100 index ended the trading session on Wednesday with a 366.17 point or 0.80 percent decline to close at 45,362.58.
Amidst a roll-over week, the benchmark index was further influenced by oil prices, which fell on Wednesday after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. crude stocks last week as a deep freeze in the southern states curbed demand from refineries that were forced to shut.
Further strain on the trading activity was caused by financial results of OGDCL, wherein the company reported a 20.5% decline in net profits to Rs 42.2 billion with Earnings per share (EPS) of Rs 9.82 during 1HFY21, against the profits of Rs 53 billion (EPS: Rs 12.35) earned in the corresponding period of last year.
National Bank of Pakistan, on the contrary, reported earnings of Rs. 30.58 billion (EPS: 14.33) for the year ended December 31, 2020, i.e. around 84% higher as compared to the last year.
The Index traded in a range of 676.95 points or 1.48 percent of previous close, showing an intraday high of 45,887.82 and a low of 45,210.87.
Of the 96 traded companies in the KSE100 Index 16 closed up 78 closed down, while 2 remained unchanged. Total volume traded for the index was 280.82 million shares.
Sector wise, the index was let down by Oil & Gas Exploration Companies with 48 points, Fertilizer with 46 points, Textile Composite with 41 points, Power Generation & Distribution with 38 points and Oil & Gas Marketing Companies with 36 points.
The most points taken off the index was by OGDC which stripped the index of 32 points followed by ENGRO with 26 points, PSO with 24 points, NBP with 23 points and HUBC with 22 points.
Sectors propping up the index were Commercial Banks with 22 points.
The most points added to the index was by HBL which contributed 30 points followed by MEBL with 27 points, LUCK with 24 points, MCB with 14 points and MARI with 11 points.
All Share Volume decreased by 160.72 Million to 557.50 Million Shares. Market Cap decreased by Rs.78.04 Billion.
Total companies traded were 420 compared to 359 from the previous session. Of the scrips traded 80 closed up, 322 closed down while 18 remained unchanged.
Total trades decreased by 21,217 to 177,837.
Value Traded increased by 0.95 Billion to Rs.26.25 Billion
|Byco Petroleum Pakistan||84,363,000|
|Pakistan International Bulk Terminal||11,128,000|
|Maple Leaf Cement Factory||11,124,025|
|Technology & Communication||153,320,642|
|Inv. Banks / Inv. Cos. / Securities Cos.||28,328,542|
|Food & Personal Care Products||24,022,796|
|Power Generation & Distribution||17,025,005|
|Oil & Gas Marketing Companies||14,901,382|
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