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PSX carries out the re-composition exercise of KSE-100 index,...

September 18, 2020 (MLN): The Pakistan Stock Exchange has carried out the Re-Composition exercise of KSE-100 Index Companies for the review period from March 2020 to August 2020.

As per the notice sent in this regard by the PSX, Shahtaj Textile Limited, Gadoon Textile Mills Limited and Gatron (Industries) Limited have been included in the index.

On the other hand, Yousaf Weaving Mills Limited, Indus Dyeing & Manufacturing Co. Limited, and Ibrahim Fibers Limited have been ousted from the index.

The above changes in the KSE-100 index will be implemented w.e.f. Thursday, October 1, 2020.

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SBP to Conduct 7 Day OMO

September 18, 2020 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced that it will conduct a 7 day OMO to inject funds into the market.

Quotes timing is: 10:30 PST while result will be announced at: 11:00 PST

Settlement is same day - September 18, 2020

 

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Foreign investment in Pakistan drops by 4% MoM in...

September 18, 2020 (MLN): Foreign investment during August’20 stood at 102 million dollars compared to a net inflow of 107.2 million dollars during July’20, showing a decrease of 4% MoM.

According to the monthly data compiled by the State Bank of Pakistan, the Foreign Private Investment into the country amounted to $109.3 million, out of which, $112 million was attributed to Direct Investments, whereas disinvestment of $3.1 million was attributed to Equity Securities i.e. a part of Portfolio Investments.

Within the Direct Investments, there was an inflow of $183 million and an outflow of $70.7 million during the month of August’20. 

On the other hand, there was disinvestment of $ 6.3 million in Foreign Public Investment, wherein the entire amount was attributed to Debt Securities.

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Covid, cash crunch leave UN limping

September 18, 2020: Meetings postponed and marble-clad hallways echoing empty.

As the world grapples with multiple towering crises linked to Covid-19, fears abound that the world body is sinking into lethargia and that the already suffering multilateral system risks buckling.

"The response to the crisis must be multilateral," French Ambassador Francois Rivasseau told the UN Human Rights Council this week, stressing that it was "essential that the international organisations resume their work."

"The resumption of activities is slow and we are beginning to worry," agreed a European diplomat who asked not to be identified.

Usually bustling with delegates and UN staffers from across the world, the UN cafeteria has for weeks been eerily quiet, with a handful of masked people carrying trays of pre-portioned food past a former salad bar draped in plastic.

The dramatic slowdown at the UN's Palais des Nations headquarters has come even as host country Switzerland has remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic, dodging the strict confinement measures seen in neighbouring countries.

The UN, which usually houses thousands of staff, delegates, activists, journalists and others on any given day, decided back in March to halt all in-person events and shut its doors to all but a few dozen essential workers.

By early September, only around 30 percent of the UN Geneva Secretariat's some 2,900 staff members had returned to their offices.

The UN has since asked remote workers to come back, but on a rotational basis so as not to pass 60 percent of the pre-pandemic occupancy.

- 'Not ideal' -

The Human Rights Council is one of the only UN bodies that has maintained physical meetings at the Palais, largely due to the tenacity of council president Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, who quickly pushed through a hybrid system.

But only one representative per country delegation is allowed into the meeting hall, and the UN has barred countries and non-governmental organisations from holding their usual slew of side events on its premises during the council sessions.

Trine Heimerback, Norway's deputy permanent representative in Geneva, hailed the UN for doing its best in difficult circumstances, but voiced concern over the reduced access for civil society actors.

"It is not as inclusive as Norway at least would have liked," she told AFP.

As for other UN bodies, many have postponed or cancelled their planned assemblies and meetings. Too many, some say.

"When it comes to disarmament, the annual meetings have been postponed," another European diplomatic source said, blaming some countries who had insisted people from their capitals needed to travel in to participate.

Other countries have balked at the idea of negotiating and voting through decisions online, pointing to financial and technical challenges.

"Obviously, when it comes to inter-state negotiations, it is not ideal to have these online," Heimerback said.

"We are in a business where personal contact is needed to build trust and finding solutions relies on... people spending time together. And we are blocked from doing so now," she said.

Some diplomats meanwhile complain that the anti-virus measures at the UN are too strict, and suggest that certain countries are using them as an excuse to put uncomfortable discussions on ice.

"There is a risk of paralysis in the decision-making process," the first European diplomat warned.

"Multilateralism appears blocked," another diplomat said, blaming countries generally opposed to multilateral dealings, as well as a lack of clear UN decisions on how to move forward.

- Room shortage -

Even before the pandemic hit, the UN was struggling to keep up the expected high pace of international meetings amid a drawn-out liquidity crisis brought on by numerous countries failing to pay their dues on time.

The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated those financial woes.

"Contrary to what one might imagine, virtual conferences are actually more expensive for the UN than in-person meetings," Alessandra Vellucci, head of the UN information service in Geneva, told AFP.

Travel restrictions and the UN's strict distancing measures have pushed most meetings online, but every virtual or hybrid meeting requires the UN to dish out "several thousand" additional dollars, she said.

This is in part due to technical costs as well as the additional staff needed to operate the platform and audio-visual infrastructure.

There is also an additional cost for translation into the required six UN languages, since interpreters tire quicker due to poorer audio quality online, so more of them are needed.

"Making these types of meetings accessible through adding sign language and closed captioning requires even more staff support," Vellucci said.

"None of these costs have been included in the approved budget for 2020."

Due to infrastructure challenges, the UN has only been able to equip four conference rooms to accommodate hybrid meetings, and budgetary constraints mean it is unable to host more than two such meetings at a time.

"Even though activities have been planned, budgeted, and approved for 2020," Vellucci said, "the shortage of funding and staffing means they cannot be fully implemented in this more complex and expensive format."

AFP/APP

Asian markets drift as rally stalls, stimulus row dents...

September 18, 2020: Asian markets were mixed Friday as investors struggled to reignite the rally that has characterised much of the past six months, owing to a stuttering economic recovery and US lawmakers' failure to agree a new stimulus.

With coronavirus showing no sign of easing as fresh spikes around the world see the reimposition of containment measures including lockdowns, traders are growing increasingly worried about how long it will take to get back on track.

Trillions of dollars in government and central bank cash have provided much-needed support to economies -- particularly equity markets -- and none more so than in the United States.

And with the first massive rescue package having run its course and Federal Reserve monetary policies such as record-low interest rates having limited effect, pressure is growing on Congress to come up with more help, with the head of the central bank leading the calls.

But there is little hope Republicans and Democrats are anywhere close to reaching a compromise after weeks of bickering.

With nearly 30 million Americans receiving government help, observers said there was growing concern about the impact on the crucial consumer sector that drives the world's top economy.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday again pledged to press ahead with talks on a new deal, but said Republicans are unwilling to compromise on the size.

"We have a massive problem in our country," she told reporters, while White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was "not optimistic" Pelosi would want to have a "meaningful" conversation if dialogue resumed.

The standoff continues despite Trump calling this week for Republicans to increase their proposal.

- 'Significant risks' -

While the Fed essentially said Wednesday that interest rates would remain low for at least three years, Tapas Strickland at National Australia Bank said it disappointed some.

He added that traders "had expected the Fed to show greater willingness to step in and fill the fiscal void given the US Congress seems unwilling/unable to agree to a new fiscal package.

"The Democratic leadership are still pushing for a larger package (latest being $2.2 trillion), while Republicans are divided with many still strident that any package must be below $1 trillion."

Matt Miskin, at John Hancock Investments, added there was a need for action soon as the economic recovery remained "fragile".

Fed boss Jerome "Powell did not bring up the need for further fiscal support multiple times (Wednesday) just for the sake of it", he said.

"Monetary policy has its limits, the lack of fiscal policy support leaves significant risks to this recovery."

In early trade, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Jakarta were all higher while Tokyo was marginally up.

But there were slight losses in Sydney, Singapore, Wellington and Manila.

On currency markets, the pound faced fresh pressure after the Bank of England suggested it could adopt a policy of negative interest rates to kickstart the battered economy.

"Given the looming risk of a no-deal Brexit and the recent resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the country, investors are also taking the possibility seriously," Strickland added.

- Key figures around 0230 GMT -

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 23,326.00 (break)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 24,377.42
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,278.34
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1845 from $1.1849 at 2045 GMT
  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2948 from $1.2987
  • Euro/pound: UP at 91.50 pence from 91.23 pence
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.84 yen from 104.70 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.2 percent at $41.03 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.2 percent at $43.38 per barrel
  • New York - Dow Jones: DOWN 0.5 percent at 27,901.98 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 6,049.92 (close)

AFP/APP

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