Trade row knocks stock markets

London, May 20: Equity markets on both sides of the Atlantic slid Monday as investors fretted over the latest flare-up in the China-US trade war.

Eurozone heavyweights Frankfurt and Paris were each down more than 1.5 percent, while London held up better thanks to a weak pound, as investors tracked ongoing Brexit turmoil.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index fell over 100 points at the opening bell.

"US stocks are lower in early action, with the technology sector being pressured by the potential fallout of the escalated trade tensions between the US and China," the Charles Schwab brokerage said in a note.

In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world's smartphones, then announced that it was beginning to cut ties with China's Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.

- No quick fix -

"Equity markets are in the red... as dealers are still worried about the trade standoff between the US and China," said analyst David Madden at trading firm CMC Markets UK.

"The fact that Washington has effectively blocked Huawei from the US market is likely to drag out the trade dispute, and the prospect of a quick solution seems slim."

The move could have dramatic implications for Huawei smartphone users, as the Chinese telecoms giant will no longer have access to Google's proprietary services -- including Gmail and Google Maps apps -- a source close to the matter told AFP.

Reports also emerged Monday that several US chipmakers providing vital hardware for Huawei's smartphones have stopped supplying the Chinese firm.

SEB emerging markets strategist Per Hammarlund said that the latest development made it unlikely that Beijing and Washington would end their dispute in the runup to next month's G20 summit in Japan.

"Chances of a breakthrough before the G20 summit... are very small, with both sides likely reassessing their strategies following the failure to reach an agreement in Washington -- and the move by the US to blacklist Huawei," Hammarlund said.

- Sliver of hope -

However, most Asian markets rose Monday after Trump showed signs of conciliation elsewhere.

Global markets have been in turmoil for two weeks since Trump threatened -- and later delivered -- a hike in tariffs on Chinese imports, to which Beijing retaliated and relit their debilitating trade battle.

The move also threw a spanner in the works for long-running negotiations between the economic superpowers that were thought to have been close to conclusion.

But there was a sliver of hope after Trump on Friday removed steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico and announced a six-month delay in imposing steep tariffs on auto imports as he seeks talks with Japan and the EU on the issue.

Meanwhile, Mumbai equities and the rupee soared on the back of exit polls suggesting business-friendly Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on course to be re-elected.

Sydney stocks and the Australian dollar rallied after a shock win for the conservatives, while Japanese dealers were cheered by forecast-beating GDP data.

However, the pound is wallowing near four-month lows on fears Britain will leave the European Union in October without a divorce deal.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,291.74 points
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.7 percent at 12,028.03
  • Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.7 percent at 5,344.58
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.7 percent at 3,366.54
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 25,645.45
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 21,301.73 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.6 percent at 27,787.61 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,870.60 (close)
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2731 from $1.2724 at 2100 GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.65 pence from 87.72 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1160 from $1.1158
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.93 yen from 110.08 yen
  • Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN 15 cents at $72.06 per barrel
  • Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 28 cents at $62.64

 

(AFP/APP)

SECP launches awareness video series

ISLAMABAD, May 20: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has launched its first investor awareness video series, based on seven themes: capital market, commodities market, Islamic finance, insurance, mutual funds, anti-money laundering/CFT and company incorporation, through its JamaPunji web portal, Twitter and Facebook platforms.

The launch is aimed at embracing the digitalization wave and use the mass media and social media effectively to spread investor awareness.  It seeks to educate the public about legitimate investment opportunities, ease of doing business and financial scams.

Drawing on the expertise of SECP officers, the interactive videos cover frequently asked questions (FAQs), and lay out the procedures and dos and don’ts to better equip them for personal financial planning.  The videos also offer guidance on how to get their complaints resolved.

Viewers can conveniently access these videos on their smart phones while having the option of sharing them further with their friends and family. This material is also being shared with universities for classroom discussions.

This initiative promises to have a multiplier effect by providing investors access to this crucial knowledge nationwide. 

SBP exceeds market expectation, policy rates up by 150...

May 20, 2019 (MLN): Exceeding market’s expectation, the State Bank of Pakistan has announced further contraction in Monetary Policy for the month of June and July, thus bring it up by 150 basis points (bps) to 12.25%.

A meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee took place in Karachi earlier today, whereby the committee decided upon the aforesaid action.

The announced policy rate will be applicable from May 21, 2019.

 

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PKR loses another 1.8 rupees to greenback

May 20, 2019 (MLN): Pakistani rupee (PKR) depreciated by 1.8 rupees against US Dollar (USD) at today's interbank session as the currency closed the day's trade at PKR 149.65 per USD, against previous session's closing of PKR 147.88 per USD.

Towards the end of today's session, tom settlement was traded at PKR 152 per USD and closed at PKR 150/150.5 against greenback.

Meanwhile, the currency lost 1.6 rupees against Pound Sterling as the day's closing quote stood at PKR 190.71 per GBP, while the previous session closed at PKR 189.08 per GBP.

Similarly, PKR's value weakened by 1.6 rupees against EUR which closed at PKR 166.92 at the interbank today.

Within the Open Market, PKR was traded at 149.50/151 per USD.

Today's depreciation has further weighed down Pakistan's external debt burden by Rs.187.57 billion which in dollar terms account for a $105.84 billion. Pakistan now owes external avenues a total of Rs.15.84 trillion.

On another note, within the money market, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) conducted an Open Market Operation in which it mopped up Rs.26.5 billion for 3 days at 10.69 percent.

Meanwhile, the overnight repo rate towards close of the session was 10/10.5 percent.

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Weekly SPI decreases by 0.32 percent

May 20, 2019 (MLN): The Weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the Combined Group decreased by 0.32% during the week ended May 16, 2019 while the SPI increased by 11.92% compared to the corresponding period from last year.

According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) the Combined Index was at 253.56 compared to 254.38 on May 09, 2019 while the index was recorded at 226.56 a year ago, on May 17, 2018

Out of the 53 monitored items, the average price of 19 items increased, 7 items decreased whereas 27 items registered no change during the week.

The weekly SPI percentage change by income groups showed that SPI decreased across all quantiles ranging between 0.34% and 0.3%.

The Lowest Income Group witnessed a weekly decrease of 0.33% while the highest income group recorded a decrease of 0.3%.

On a yearly basis, analysis of SPI change across different income segments showed that SPI increased across all quantiles ranging between 8.93% and 16.04%.

Yearly SPI for the Lowest Income Group increased by 9.39% while the highest income group recorded an increase of 16.04%.

The average price of Sona urea stood at Rs.1827 per 50 kg bag which is 0.11% lower than last week’s price and 23.03% higher when compared to last year.

Meanwhile, average Cement price was recorded at Rs.544 per 50 kg bag, which is 2.16% lower than the previous week and 0.91% lower than prices last year.

 

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Textile exports fall 0.02 pc to $11.129 bln in...

May 20, 2019: The textile exports from the country witnessed nominal decrease of 0.02 percent during the first ten months of the current fiscal year compared to the exports of the same period of last year.

The textile exports from the country during July-April (2018-19) were recorded at $11129.192 million compared to the exports of $11131.612 million of the same period of last year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The textile commodities that contributed in positively in external trade included knitwear, exports of which grew from $2203.500 million last year to $2396.474 million during the current fiscal year, showing growth of 8.76 percent.

The exports of bedwear also increased by 2.4 percent, from $1855.540 million to $1900.035 million whereas the exports of tents, canvas and tarpaulin increased by1.41 percent, from $72.021 million to $73.037 million.

The exports of readymade garments grew by 3.21 percent, from $2119.943 million to $2188.007 million and the exports of made-up articles increased by 1.15 percent, from $571.392 million last year to $577.985 million, the data revealed. 

Meanwhile, the textile commodities that witnessed negative growth in external trade included raw cotton, exports of which shrunk by 67.2 percent, from $56.567 million last year to $18.554 million.

The exports of cotton yarn also decreased from $1117.643 million to $941.332 million, a decline of 15.78 percent whereas the exports of cotton cloth slid by 2.7 percent, from $1823.625 million to $1774.434 million.

Similarly, the exports of yearn (other than cotton yarn) decreased by 0.29 percent, from $26.388 million to $26.311 million while the exports of towels decreased from $667.937 million to $658.624 million, a decline of 1.39 percent.

The exports of art, silk, synthetic textile also slid by 1.9 percent, from $253.900 million to $249.075 million whereas the exports of all other textile materials decreased by 10.46 percent, from $363.151 million to $325.166 million.

On year-on-year basis, the textile exports from the country witnessed growth of 21.26 percent in April 2019 compared to the exports of April 2018. The textile exports during April 2019 were recorded at $1138.827million compared to the exports of $1148.588 million, the data revealed.

On month-on-month basis, the textile exports from the country, decreased by 4.59 percent in April 2019 when compared to the exports of $1088.870 million recorded during March 2019.

It is pertinent to mention here that the country's merchandize trade deficit plunged by 12.82 percent during the first ten months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of last year.

The trade deficit contracted by $3.867 billion to $26.302 billion during July-April (2018-19) against the deficit of $30.169 billion recorded during July-April (2017-18).

The exports during the period under review witnessed nominal decrease of 0.12% by falling from $19.191 billion during last year to $19.169 billion during the ongoing fiscal year.

On the other hand, the imports declined by 7.88% to $45.471 billion during the period under review from $49.360 billion last year, the data revealed.

 (APP)

Food imports drop 9.85% in 10 months

May 20, 2019: The country's food imports dropped by 9.85% to $4.7 billion in first 10 months of current fiscal year against the imports of $5.216 billion recorded during same period of the year 2017-18.

The detail shows that import of palm oil witnessed a sharp decrease of 10.99% during July-April (2018-19) as it went down to $1.54 billion from $1.73 billion in July-April (2017-18).

Similarly, import of pulses also fell to $432.54 million in the corresponding period of current fiscal year against the import worth of $442.7 million in same period of last year thus showing a decrease of 2.3%.

According to trade data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Monday, the tea import however recorded a nominal increase of 0.61% as the country imported $495.957 million worth of tea during first 10 months of current fiscal year while during same period of last year, the tea import stood at $492.966 million.

The import of milk, cream and milk food also witnessed a decline of 10% to $199 million from $221.26 million in same period of last year, whereas the import of dry fruits and nuts also plunged to $37.89 million in July-April (2018-19) against the import worth of $97.1 million in same period of the preceding year.

Spices' import during the period under review stood at $129.3 million against $136.8 million worth of import during same period of last year thus showing a decline of 5.5%.

Likewise, the import of soybean oil also declined sharply by 34.3% to $79.12 million from $120.4 million while the import of sugar decreased by 25.46% to $3.24 million against the import worth of $4.35 million in July-April (2017-18).

The import of other miscellaneous food commodities also went down by 9.41% to $1.786 billion in first 10 months of current fiscal year against the import of $1.97 billion in same period of last year.

On yearly basis, the import of food commodities and products dropped to $441.088 million in April 2019 against $485.86 million in same month of last year, showing a decrease of 9.22% whereas on monthly basis the import showed a growth of 12.3% as the imports during March 2019 stood at $392.824 million.

 (APP)

Closing Bell: Unsustainable recovery

May 20, 2019 (MLN): Following a bearish session last week, the the KSE-100 index ended first day of the week on a hopeful note by landing in consolidation. After gaining 84 points, the index closed today’s trading session at 33,250 points, marking a positive growth of 0.25% from previous session’s closing.  

The market started the day on a negative note, as the index lost 678 points and traded below 33,000-mark during the early hours of the first session.

However, the market later rallied in the last trading session, retrieving some of the earlier losses due to positive sentiments emanating from the attempt by the government to launch a ‘Disaster Support Fund” worth Rs.15 to Rs.20 billion to avoid a market meltdown.

Commercial Banks emerged as the top performer during the session, as they contributed around 74 points to the index.  Oil & Gas Marketing Companies and Fertilizer sector took the second and third lead as they contributed approximately 50 and 31 points respectively by the day end.

Furthermore, the scrips that significantly influenced the benchmark index’s performance included ENGRO (+2.59%), HBL (+2.23%), UBL (+2.22%), PSO (+3.94%) and PIBTL (+11.07%).

Engulfed within a range of 970 points, the index touched an intraday high of 33,322 points and an intraday low of 32,352 points.

On the whole, 131 million shares of 93 companies were traded today, at PKR 5.68 billion. Moreover, out of these 93 companies, the share prices of 52 companies reported an increase whereas, 39 companies reported a decline share price of 2 companies remained unchanged.

Meanwhile, the broader KSE All Share index gained 89 points in today’s trade and closed the session at 24,672 points which is 0.37% higher than previous closing value at the index.

A total of 165 million shares were traded within this index at PKR 6 billion.

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Exports from Pakistan rise by 20.3% in April, YoY

May 20, 2019 (MLN): According to the provisional figures compiled by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, exports from Pakistan during the month of April-19 amounted to Rs. 295,541 million as against Rs. 275,384 million in March-19 (up, 7.32%) and Rs. 245,478 million during April-18 (up, 20.39%).

In terms of US dollars, the exports in April-19 were $2,094 million as compared to $1,979 million in March-19 (up, 5.81%) and $2,127 million in April-18 (down, 1.54%).

Exports during July-April, 2018-2019 totaled Rs. 2,559,863 million as against Rs. 2,084,351 million during the corresponding period of last year, showing an increase of 22.81%. In terms of US dollars the exports for the same period totaled $19,169 million against $19,191 million during the corresponding period of last year, showing a decrease of 0.12%.

Main commodities of exports during April-19 were Knitwear (Rs. 34,170 million), Readymade garments (Rs. 32,658 million), Bed wear (Rs. 25,527 million), Cotton cloth (Rs. 25,208 million), Rice others (Rs. 20,288 million), Cotton yarn (Rs. 14,909 million), Rice Basmati (Rs. 10,248 million), Towels (Rs. 9,977 million), Made-up articles (excl. towels & bed wear) (Rs. 8,112 million) and Fish & Fish preparations (Rs. 7,706 million).

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Rs 578.8 billion released for development projects under PSDP

May 20, 2019: The federal government has so far released 86% or Rs 578.8 billion out of total allocation of Rs 675 billion under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19 for various ongoing and new social sector uplift projects.

Under its development program, the government has released an amount of Rs 22.9 billion for federal ministries, whereas Rs 22.91 billion for corporations and Rs 41.6 billion for special areas, according to a data released by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform on Monday.

Out of these allocations, the government released Rs 217.4 billion for National Highway Authority (NHA) out of its total allocation of Rs 185.197 billion.

Under annual development agenda, the government also released Rs 11.62 billion for National Transmission and Dispatch Company and Pakistan Electric Power Company for which an amount of Rs 33.365 billion was allocated under PSDP 2018-19.

Similarly, Rs 10.13 billion released for Communication Division (other than NHA) as the government earmarked Rs 13.977 billion in its PSDP 2018-19.

Railways Division received Rs 23.22 billion out of its total allocation of Rs 28.06 billion whereas Aviation Division received Rs 1.33 billion out of total allocation of Rs 3.65 billion.

The government also released an amount of Rs 28.98 billion for various development projects of Higher Education Commission as against the total allocation of Rs 30.961 billion for current fiscal year.

Under PSDP 2018-19, the government released Rs 26.270 billion for the various projects of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, whereas the Water Resource division received Rs 56.7 billion out of total allocation of Rs 78.09 billion.

The government also released Rs 3.18 billion for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division, for which an amount of Rs 12.784 billion allocated in the federal PSDP 2018-19.

While Rs 276 million released for Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority as the government allocated an amount of Rs 0.285 billion for the different projects of the regulatory authority.

An amount of Rs 4.04 billion has been released for Finance Division out of its total allocations of Rs 12.346 billion and Rs 775.4 million released for Climate Change Division out of its total allocations of Rs 0.802 billion for the current fiscal year.

Similarly, an amount of Rs 338 million released for Petroleum Division out of its allocations of Rs 463 million, Rs 4.1 billion for Planning, Development and Reform Division out of its allocations of Rs 6.860 billion whereas Rs 15.74 billion have been released for Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission.

Likewise, the government also released Rs 25.56 billion for States and Frontier Region Division, Rs 10.8 billion for Interior Division, Rs 24.2 million for Human Rights Division, and Rs 725.7 million for National Food Security and Research Division.

The government also released Rs 25.3 billion for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) block and other projects out of its allocations of Rs 25.856 billion, and Rs 16.3 billion for Gilgit Baltistan (block and other projects) out of its allocations of Rs17.534 billion.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan follows the specific mechanism for release of funds. During first quarter (July-September) it releases 20 percent of development funds, in second quarter (October-December) 20 percent, third quarter (January-March) 30 per cent and fourth quarter (April-June) 30 percent.

(APP)

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