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Weekly SPI Decreases by 2.01 Percent

April 03, 2020 (MLN): The Weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the Combined Group decreased by 2.01% during the week ended Apr 02, 2020 while the SPI increased by 9.27% compared to the corresponding period from last year.

According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) the Combined Index was at 125.52 compared to 128.1 on Mar 26, 2020 while the index was recorded at 114.87 a year ago, on Apr 04, 2019

Out of the 51 monitored items, the average price of 13 items increased, 14 items decreased whereas 24 items registered no change during the week.

The weekly SPI percentage change by income groups showed that SPI decreased across all quantiles ranging between 2.1% and 1.77%.

The Lowest Income Group witnessed a weekly decrease of 1.77% while the highest income group recorded a decrease of 2%.

On an yearly basis, analysis of SPI change across different income segments showed that SPI increased across all quantiles ranging between 8.27% and 12.66%.

Yearly SPI for the Lowest Income Group increased by 10.44% while the highest income group recorded an increase of 8.27%.

The average price of Sona urea stood at Rs.1684 per 50 kg bag which is 0% lower than last week’s price and 7.32% lower when compared to last year.

Meanwhile, average Cement price was recorded at Rs.541 per 50 kg bag, which is 0.19% higher than the previous week and 9.83% lower than prices last year.

 

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SBP extends its relief package to borrowers availing loans...

April 03, 2020: State Bank of Pakistan has continuously been reviewing the challenges arising out of COVID-19 pandemic situation with particular reference to the financial sector and taking measures. Expanding the scope of its recently announced relief package for households and businesses, SBP has taken another major step today. 

State Bank has allowed similar relaxations, as provided under the relief package, on its concessional refinance schemes. Under various refinance schemes loans are provided with preferential terms and conditions to promote growth in priority sectors of the economy.

Now the relaxation allowed for deferment in repayment of principal amount for one year for corporate, consumer, agriculture, SMEs and microfinance sectors, will now be available on financing of banks/ DFIs under SBP’s refinance schemes as well. With this deferment of principal, the complete repayment schedule/tenor of the loan will be extended by one year.

The borrowers will, however, continue servicing their mark up during the period of principal deferment. In case borrowers are not able to service mark-up payment, banks/DFIs may reschedule/restructure the loan in such a manner that tenor of the loan can go up to one year beyond the existing maximum tenor of the respective scheme.

Borrowers of SBP’s following refinance schemes and their Shariah alternatives would benefit from this relaxation:

•    Long Term Financing Facility (LTFF)
•    Financing Facility for Storage of Agricultural Produce (FFSAP)
•    Refinance Facility for Modernization of SMEs
•    Refinance and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs
•    Refinance Scheme for Working Capital Financing of Small Enterprises and Low-End Medium Enterprises
•    Small Enterprise (SE) Financing and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Special Persons
    

Press Release

 

PM announces package for construction industry

April 03, 2020: Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced an incentivized package for the construction industry in order to increase employment opportunities in the country in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

Announcing the package in Islamabad on Friday, he said those who invest in the sector will not be asked questions about their source of income.

The Prime Minister said fixed tax will be introduced in construction sector now.

He said if the investor invests in construction projects under Naya Pakistan Housing Authority, ninety percent fixed tax will be removed and he will have to pay only ten percent tax. He said withholding tax on construction will be lifted from all sectors, except steel and cement.

Imran Khan said sales tax is also being brought down in coordination with the provinces.  The Prime Minister said there will be no capital gains tax for a family that sells its house.

He said a Construction Industry Development Board is also being set up to promote the construction industry.

 

Radio Pakistan

Oil resumes surge as OPEC calls Monday meeting

Apr 03, 2020: Crude resumed its surge Friday with Saudi-led OPEC set to hold a video conference with non-cartel members, notably Russia, that could stop a price war that along with crushed demand because of the coronavirus has plunged the market into chaos.

Global stock markets, meanwhile, mostly fell Friday on news that the total number of COVID-19 infections had hit one million worldwide, while investors fretted over gloomy eurozone services data and awaited key US non-farm payrolls figures.

The dollar was higher against main rivals ahead of the key data.

OPEC's move meanwhile sparked fresh speculation of an oil production cut, one day after US President Donald Trump sparked a record crude price rally by hinting that Russia and Saudi Arabia planned to end their price war with a sharp reduction in output.

In Friday trading, Brent North Sea oil leapt more than ten percent to $33.37 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate rallied more than five percent to $27.00.

On Thursday, Brent had hit an intra-day high of $36.29 per barrel, up almost 46 percent, and WTI soared around 35 percent to $27.39.

"There's certainly a lot of optimism that a deal is going to be done" on the price war, said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

According to a Russian source cited by the TASS agency, US officials have also been invited to take part in the meeting.

Prior to Thursday's surge, oil prices had plunged this year as the market reeled from the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic, with WTI shedding around 65 percent of its value in the first quarter.

The market has crashed also owing to the price war, triggered last month by Saudi after Moscow refused to tighten oil supply to counteract the sharp drop in demand.

- Equities struggle -

Equities struggled after another thunderous rise in US jobless claims highlighted the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus.

As the number of people with COVID-19 tops a million and the death toll continues to climb, investors remain hostage to uncertainty as they try to gauge the long-term economic impact of the pandemic, which is widely expected to plunge the planet into recession.

"The short-term impact of the coronavirus tragedy is straightforward: a complete shutdown of businesses worldwide is taking a heavy toll on the global economy

"The coronavirus outbreak hits all layers of the population, has had an impact on each and every single business regardless of their size, and paralyzed each and every household regardless of their wealth," Swissquote Bank analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya told AFP.

"You do not need to be an economist or an expert to predict a meaningful recession knocking on the door."

But with trillions of dollars pledged in government support, the wild volatility that characterised markets at the start of the crisis has given way to some form of stability.

Markets were choppy after data showed 6.7 million US workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, on top of the 3.3 million the week before as the coronavirus forced businesses nationwide to close their doors.

- Key figures around 1050 GMT -

Brent North Sea crude: UP 10.1 percent at $32.97 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 5.0 percent at $26.59 per barrel

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.2 percent at 5,414.29 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 9,506.00

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.2 percent at 4,171.29

Milan - FTSE MIB: DOWN 1.7 percent at 16,552.01

Madrid - IBEX 35: DOWN 0.4 percent at 6,550.90

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.0 percent at 2,661.96

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 17,820.19 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 23,236.11 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,763.99 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 2.2 percent at 21,413.44 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0799 from $1.0964 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.25 yen from 107.17

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2303 from $1.2371

Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.84 pence from 88.62 pence

AFP/APP

Govt offers Rs 100 billion to uplift industry: ...

Apr 03, 2020: Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce and Textile, Abdul Razak Dawood on Friday said that the government had offered up to Rs100 billion packages to the industrial sector as a support following current challenging situation, created due to COVID- 19 pandemic.

“We are continuously in contact with all major industrial sectors, including textiles and construction. With consultation of all stakeholders, the government would give incentive to the priority areas of industrial sector for revival in current critical situation,” Razaq Dawood told APP here on Friday.

The government wanted to resolve the liquidity issue of industrial sector, he said adding that Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) payments would be made, which were pending since 2009.

The adviser said the government would pay Technology upgradation fund worth Rs30 billion to the industrial sector to help it come out from the current challenge of COVID- 19 Coronavirus pandemic.

He informed that total Rs 47 billion would be paid to the textiles sector in coming 100 days to support the major export sector of the country.

Replying to a question, he said the government would pay all the refunds including in Rs200 billion packages to compensate the industrial sector in coming Budget 2020-21.

He said that this package would be paid at faster pace to the industries, adding that all the stakeholders were on board with the government to evolve joint strategy to resolve all the issues of industrial sector in current situation.

He said that promoting industries and giving incentives to the business community was an important step to leading the country forward.The government would support the industrial sector and provide Incentives.

The commerce ministry has also prepared a list of industries which could be reopened in the current situation, he said.

The adviser said the refund of Rs100 billion for the business community is a part of that process and the government was committed to ensure timely refunds to the business community in this challenging situation.

Razak Dawood said that his ministry was in constant contact with the business community to figure out how the challenge posed by the epidemic can be resolved in country’s industrial sector.

He hoped the government and business community including all industrial was one page, with joint plan of action with consensus of all stake holders “we would overcome on economic challenges after the COVID-19 pandemic Coronavirus.

President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Mian Anjum Nisar while talking to APP hailed the Rs 100 billion package offered by the government.

He said the government would take preventive measures and develop strategy to protect the pace of economic and trade progress and effects of world economic slowdown as apprehended by leading research organization after evolving the situation in COVID-19 pandemic.

Mian Anjum Nisar while talking to APP said that the whole world including the potential market of Europe Union (EU) was effected by the coronavirus, which was the second biggest trade destination for Pakistan after the Generalized Schemes of Preferences (GSP-Plus) offered by EU in 2013.

In this regard, the government must to go for conducting studies for mitigating the economic changes after Coronavirus.

Renowned industrialist from Baluchistan, Ex-President FPCCI , Eng. Daroo Khan welcomed the package announced by the government and said that proper mechanism was required to disburse this package according the needs for different industries.

He suggested that the government engage all stakeholder to resolve the current evolving challenge.

On the occasion, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that his chamber was fully engage in consultation with government in current challenging situation.

Business community of the twin’s city welcomed the Rs100 billion package offered by the government for industrial sector.

President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan appreciated the government efforts for mitigating the current challenge.

He said that his chamber and business community from all over the country was committed to support the government in current evolving situation.

President, Peshawar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Engr. Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz said that business community of Khyber Puktunkwa (KPK in cooperation with government and stand with the government and lauded Rs 100 billion package announced by the government.

APP

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