State Bank’s Forex Reserves Increase by USD 73.90 Million

Feb 20, 2020 (MLN): Pakistan's Forex Reserves increased by USD 11.70 Million or 0.06% and the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at USD 18,747.10 Million on Feb 14, 2020.

According to data published by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) its reserves increased by USD 73.90 Million while those held by the Commercial Banks decreased by another USD 62 million.

Summary of Holding and Weekly Change

Foreign reserves held byFeb 14, 2020Feb 07, 2020Change% Change
State Bank of Pakistan12,504.7012,430.8073.900.59%
Net Foreign Reserves Held by Banks6,242.406,304.60-62.20-0.99%
Total Liquid Foreign Reserves18,747.1018,735.4011.700.06%

Amount in USD Million

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PSO to resume supply to Karachi from its Kaermari...

February 20, 2020: PSO Management has decided to resume the company’s operations at the Kaemari Terminal, Karachi.

After careful review of the Health & Safety situation at the Kaemari and based on consultation with relevant stakeholders, the management of the company has decided to begin limited operations at the initial stage.

The health & Safety of the PSO staff and contractors is the top priority of the company. In case the situation remains normal, PSO will start its operations on a full scale later during the day.

With the resumption of fuel supply from Kaemari, the supply of POL products to Karachi is expected to improve significantly.

During the last 36 hours, PSO teams, the company’s dealers and their staff, and contractors have been working round the clock to ensure an uninterrupted supply of POL products to Karachi.

Most of the company sites in the city were topped-up more than twice, and in areas with high demand, thrice in the last 24 hours. This enabled PSO in amicably managing the increased demand for POL products from customers which remained more than usual.

The company has ample stock of fuel available in Pakistan. With the opening of the Kaemari, all 23-company terminal in Pakistan is supplying petroleum products to all parts of the company, including Karachi, in an efficient and smooth manner.

Press Release

CCP approves Uber-Careem merger with pro-competitive, powerful conditions

February 20, 2020 (MLN): The Competition Commission of Pakistan approved the Uber-Careem merger through a Phase-II Order, imposing pro-competitive and tough conditions ensuring a level playing field for the new entrants/competitors in the app-based Ridesharing market.

The conditions will remain applicable on Uber up to three years after the merger or until the occurrence of Meaningful Market Entry of competitors. Meaningful market entry will occur when one or more Ridesharing Services Provider(s) enter Pakistan and achieve individually at least 25% (market share), or collectively at least 33.3% (market share) of weekly ridesharing trips on average for three consecutive months. This condition will allow competitors to grow and flourish in the app-based Ridesharing market and for the merged entity not to abuse its dominant position.

The CCP opened a Phase-II review of the merger as it was resulting in a significant lessening of competition in the market for app-based Ridesharing Services. In its Phase II-Order, the CCP has imposed certain conditions on Uber to address the competition concerns regarding an increase in prices of products or services, discriminatory pricing, degradation in quality of services, and possible lack of innovation.

The CCP has imposed a "No contractual Exclusivity" condition to ensure that drivers or captains are free to offer their services on any Ridesharing platform they choose, as well as being street hailed.

Uber shall maintain the contractual Service Fee for UberGo and UberMini across all drivers, nation-wide, in the range of 22.5% to 27.5%. This Service Fee cap will ensure that drivers or captains do not see a decrease in their earnings.

The CCP has directed Uber to apply a cap of 12.5% per year on the Total Organic Fare charged to riders for a trip, to protect consumers from unreasonable increase in fares.

Moreover, Surge is a pricing mechanism to raise fares during peak or rush hours. The CCP has directed Uber to apply a ceiling on its Surge multiplier at a maximum level of 2.5 times the non-surge price on the applicable products Pakistan-wide. This will protect the consumers from unrealistic hike in the fare, during peak hours.

These conditions will ensure that there is no unreasonable increase in prices post-transaction, thereby protecting consumers from burdensome increases in fares.

Another important condition is that Uber shall grant access on a one-time basis to new/existing Ridesharing service providers “point of interest map data” against the payment of applicable license fee. The CCP was of the view that control of data by a single undertaking with market power is significant barrier to entry. This condition would offset any increase in the market power or the elimination of competitive constraints and ensure the ease of entry into the market.

To address its concern that Uber continues to bring innovation to its business after the merger, the CCP has directed Uber to dedicate 10 engineers to work on R&D activities focused on product, service innovation. To address the issue, Uber has committed to introduce a DOST/Hero application, which will enable drivers to earn money while not driving by recruiting other drivers.

Moreover, Uber will introduce safety features within the driver application wherein the riders can complain about the driver’s behavior or vice versa. An Uber Lite version of the application will also be introduced that runs on low bandwidth mobile networks and also on older Android phones.

To address the CCP’s concerns about potential exploitation of riders, Uber shall not introduce Personalized Pricing in Pakistan. This ensures that the post-transaction entity will not be able to charge different prices to different Riders for similar journeys.

All these conditions will apply until the earlier of (a) three-year anniversary of the completion of the Transaction or (b) the occurrence of National or Local Meaningful Market Entry.

To ensure compliance with these conditions, Uber shall engage a third-party Monitoring Trustee who will submit a regular compliance report to the CCP

In view of the above, the Commission believes that, although the transaction will result in increased market power and decreased competitive constraints, the conditions it is imposing on Uber sufficiently address its competition concerns. The transaction, therefore, has been authorized under Section 31(1)(d)(i) of the Competition Act, 2010.

Press Release

Virus fears weigh on European stock markets

Feb 20, 2020: Coronavirus fears weighed on European stock markets Thursday despite China reporting a big drop in new cases and easing borrowing costs to cushion the epidemic's economic impact.

Traders have been betting on central banks, particularly China's, doing what it takes to keep their economies chugging along as the new coronavirus hits corporate earnings and economic growth.

In a widely anticipated move, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) lowered its one-year and five-year loan prime rates as policymakers seek to reduce the impact of the virus-fuelled slowdown on companies and households.

But the moves were "not nearly enough", said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp.

"The PBoC needs to exceed the market expectations, not hit them in this environment," he said.

"If the PBoC made a bigger splash, the market would have reacted more favourably" than the 1.8-percent gain Thursday for Shanghai's main stocks index.

Sentiment had improved in recent days amid growing hopes that the impact of the virus -- which has killed more than 2,100 people and infected over 74,000, mostly in China -- will be short-lived.

China reported a big drop in new cases on Thursday, fuelling hopes the epidemic is nearing its peak.

In the best-case scenario, the economic hit from the epidemic in China will be short-lived, but it comes as the global economy remains fragile, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday.

Overnight gains on Wall Street boosted Asian equities at the start of trading before gains evaporated.

European stock markets were slightly lower approaching the half-way mark, with a rebound for British retail sales failing to ignite the pound and London's benchmark FTSE 100 stocks index.

Elsewhere Thursday, oil prices were mixed as traders assess the virus' impact on demand for crude in China, the world's biggest importer and consumer of the commodity.

Oil traders were tracking also unrest in crude-producing nation Libya.

The country's unity government has announced it is halting its participation in UN talks aimed at brokering a lasting ceasefire in the war-torn country where a fragile truce has been repeatedly violated.

AFP/APP

Oil supplies from PSO, SHELL and TOTAL terminals at...

February 20, 2020 (MLN): The supply of oil from terminals located at the Kemari Town has resumed as of Thursday.

For the uninitiated, the supply of oil from various terminals, including those of PSO, SHELL, and TOTAL, had been disrupted after the Kemari Port was hit by an oil/gas leakage on Sunday night.

As a result of this calamity, the terminals of the abovementioned Oil Marketing Companies were shut down temporarily.

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SC reserves verdict in GIDC case

Feb 20, 2020: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprised Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces supported the federal government's instance of cess implementation during the hearing of the case.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa additional advocate general said the provincial government had opposed enforcement of the GIDC as the industry had already burdened of other taxes.

Advocate Salman Akram Raja, counsel for a private company said the industry sector should be treated equally.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for another private company said the Indian Supreme Court in its decision had ordered to spend a certain amount of money to recover such cess.

He said Pakistan's industry would not be benefited from TAPI or Iran Pakistan Pipeline projects.

The court in its ruling also stated that the counsels of parties could submit their contentions in writing within 15 days.

APP

Gold price remains flat to Rs 92,500 per 12...

February 20, 2020 (MLN): The gold endured a dull trading session in the local market as the price of 12-gram gold remained unchanged and closed at Rs 92,500.

According to the Karachi Sarafa Association, gold price per 10 gram also remained stable and clocked in at Rs 79,304.

Likewise, as a result of flat demand, the silver prices stood at Rs 1050 per 12 gram. The price of 10-gram silver remained steady at Rs 900.2.

In the global market, gold was trading higher by $2 to $1,612 per ounce, while silver was valued at $18.32 per ounce.

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Moroccan Ambassador advises Karachi’s business community to visit Morocco...

February 20, 2020: Ambassador of Kingdom of Morocco Mohammed Karmoune, while referring to meager trade volume between Pakistan and Morocco, advised the Business & Industrial Community of Karachi to arrange trade delegations’ visit at least twice a year in order to explore trade and investment opportunities in Morocco which is the gateway to the African region.

Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), he said that Pakistani business community must look for trade and investment opportunities in Morocco and benefit from Morocco’s free trade agreements with United States and European Union.

President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President KCCI Arshad Islam, Chairman of KCCI’s Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Shamoon Zaki, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz, Honorary Consul General of Morocco Mirza Ishtiaq Baig and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.

Moroccan Ambassador said, “Trade volume between Morocco and Pakistan is not at the level being expected by the business communities of the two countries hence collective efforts will have to be made from both sides to improve the existing meager trade volume. In this regard, we will have to jointly explore areas where the Moroccan and Pakistani business communities could collaborate.”

He said that Morocco is the gateway to entire African region and a trading hub where many well-established ports exist particularly the port of Tangier with a capacity of handling nine million containers a year.
Underscoring the importance of promoting trade and business ties between the two countries, the Ambassador reiterated that exchange of trade delegations was imperative to identify the trade potential between the two brotherly countries. For the enhancement of trade and the economic sector, Pakistani investors and businessmen have shown interest in exploring the opportunities being offered by Morocco. In this regard, he appreciated the efforts being made by Morocco-Pakistan Joint Business Council which has been facilitating the business communities of both countries under the supervision its Chairman Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, who is also the Honorary Consul General of Morocco.

He said that tourism is an important driver of the Moroccan economy. Pakistan too has a great potential in this sector. The two countries can exchange ideas in the field of tourism promotion as well.
Earlier, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, while welcoming the Moroccan Ambassador, stressed that in order to expand Pakistan’s exports to Morocco, the exporters will have to diversify their products as staying confined to just traditional items including textile, sports goods, leather products, surgical equipment and carpets etc. would not yield results. “Besides focusing on products diversification, we also need to pay equal attention to geographical diversification which is very crucial otherwise our exports will remain limited to around US$25 billion”, he added.

He said, “We advised the present government to devise some kind of an effective strategy for geographical diversification and we are really heartened to see that the government has also realized its significance and taken ‘Look Africa policy Initiative’ however, more such initiatives have to be taken as well with focus on tapping the smaller and completely neglected markets around the world.

While referring to meager trade volume between the two countries, Agha Shahab pointed out that in 2018, Pakistan exported goods worth $35.82 million to Morocco while the imports stood at $399.84 million.
He was of the opinion that there was a good potential for enhancing bilateral trade relations between Morocco and Pakistan as Morocco was located at the gateway of Africa and Europe and offers enormous economic opportunities which should be explored. “Both countries must look for cooperating with each other particularly in those sectors in which the two have comparative advantage”, he added.

“Morocco can extend cooperation to Pakistan in reining its high cost of energy through renewables. Single country exhibitions and festivals, like the Biryani festival held recently in Morocco, can help introduce traditional and non-traditional goods to boost exports for mutual benefit”, he added.

He said that Morocco is exploring new ways for economic and infrastructural development and can benefit from experience Pakistan is gaining through CPEC for regional connectivity. “Tourism is an important driver of the Moroccan economy. Pakistan too has a great potential in this sector hence, the two countries can exchange ideas in the field of tourism promotion.

Press Release

Turkmenistan envoy updates SAPM about TAPI pipeline project

Feb 20, 2020: Ambassador of Turkmenistan Atadjan Movlamov Thursday briefed Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar about the progress made on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

“TAPI Pipeline offers diversification of energy imports, social infrastructure programmes, and creation of jobs for all participating countries,” the envoy told Nadeem Baber here in a meeting while highlighting the project’s benefits to Pakistan and the region.

In a press release issued here on Thursday, the special assistant reiterated his government’s support for the TAPI pipeline project and underlined the need for resolving all the outstanding issues to ensure its early implementation.

APP

Closing Bell: Bulls and Bears lock their heads

February 20, 2020 (MLN): Following the wicked performance of stocks on last day, the KSE-100 index, a gauge of large mainland listed stocks, resumed its decline on Thursday, losing 97 points to settle at 40,481 level due to lacklustre activity in the bourse.

Some deterioration in the current account deficit for the month of January was the main catalyst to turn the market bearish. 

The Index traded in a range of 250.25 points or 0.62 per cent of the previous close, showing an intraday high of 40,698.10 and a low of 40,447.85.

Of the 90 traded companies in the KSE100 Index, 35 closed up 53 closed down, while 2 remained unchanged. Total volume traded for the index was 83.55 million shares.

Sector-wise, the index was let down by Oil & Gas Exploration Companies with 40 points, Oil & Gas Marketing Companies with 26 points, Cement with 25 points, Fertilizer with 19 points and Automobile Assembler with 9 points.

The most points taken off the index was by HBL which stripped the index of 45 points followed by OGDC with 17 points, MCB with 15 points, PPL with 13 points and ENGRO with 12 points.

Sectors propping up the index were Chemical with 17 points, Paper & Board with 12 points, Insurance with 9 points, Inv. Banks / Inv. Cos. / Securities Cos. with 9 points and Automobile Parts & Accessories with 7 points.

The most points added to the index was by UBL which contributed 34 points followed by COLG with 12 points, BAHL with 12 points, PKGS with 12 points and IGIHL with 10 points.

All Share Volume decreased by 30.88 Million to 112.08 Million Shares. Market Cap decreased by Rs.12.37 Billion.

Total companies traded were 330 compared to 341 from the previous session. Of the scrips traded 129 closed up, 183 closed down while 18 remained unchanged.

Total trades decreased by 6,500 to 54,447.

Value Traded decreased by 1.79 Billion to Rs.4.72 Billion

CompanyVolume

Top Ten by Volume

Hascol Petroleum8,775,000
The Bank of Punjab8,659,500
D.G. Khan Cement Company8,146,000
Unity Foods8,074,000
Maple Leaf Cement Factory6,149,000
Lotte Chemical Pakistan5,111,500
Avanceon4,238,000
Engro Polymer & Chemicals3,205,500
Pak Elektron3,186,000
Fauji Foods2,410,500

 

SectorVolume

Top Sector by Volume

Cement17,023,300
Commercial Banks15,315,800
Oil & Gas Marketing Companies10,576,200
Chemical10,218,410
Technology & Communication9,266,000
Vanaspati & Allied Industries8,074,000
Fertilizer5,175,100
Miscellaneous4,304,800
Power Generation & Distribution4,256,000
Food & Personal Care Products3,992,990

 

 

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