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NAB decides to send questionnaire instead of summoning businessmen

ISLAMABAD, May 19: Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice Javed Iqbal said the anti graft watchdog would make extraneous efforts to exclude country’s name from Grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by preventing money laundering.   

He said NAB, which was apolitical organization and working to eradicate corruption from the country, would take the cases of money laundering to their logical conclusion sans bowing to any pressure.

The chairman said Bureau strongly believed in respect of people and never disgraced any individual.

Commenting on the allegations that NAB is intimidating the business community, he said the bureau never intervened into telegraphic transfers (TTs) of any businessman; however the bureau had the right to ask any person having assets beyond known sources of income especially from the public office holder.

Javed Iqbal said NAB was a people friendly institution and committed to protect the business community, for which it had set up special desks at all bureaus across the country within a period of 24 to 48 hours with a mandate to redress grievances of entrepreneurs.

He said NAB had already been directed to immediately address complaints of the business community; however no complaint had so far been received in this regard.

The chairman reiterated that the bureau had never harassed leading businessmen.

He said NAB had decided to avoid summoning businessmen. Only questionnaire would be sent to the suspects and on receiving unsatisfactory answer the suspects would be summoned.

Javed Iqbal said NAB had recovered and returned over Rs 2.5 billion of small investors after recovering from the looters. 

Admitting some lapses in NAB, he said efforts were being made to remove the flaws identified to improve it working.

About allegations that NAB arrests suspects despite lack of evidence, he said Accountability Court granted remand to NAB after evaluating incriminating evidence. 


Drilling results at Kekra-I block show good reservoir but...

May 19, 2019: Petroleum Division (PD) of the Energy Ministry Sunday said the results of four-month offshore drilling at Indus G-Block called Kekra-I, some 230-km off the Karachi coast, had shown good quality hydrocarbon reservoir but unfortunately these were water wet.

 “After the well control operations, the 6" Open Hole section drilling was resumed on Friday.The reservoir was encountered at 5,492 meters and so far about 140 meters of reservoir have been drilled. The log results show a good quality reservoir but unfortunately water wet without any gas effect,” a Petroleum Division press release said. 

Current depth of the well is 5,634 meters ‘Managed Depth’ and as per the plan; while another 55 meters would be drilled before proceeding with P&A (plug and abandon) operations, which has already been approved by Joint Venture Partners including Exxon.

The offshore drilling is a joint venture of ENI, Exxon Mobil, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited and Pakistan Petroleum Limited. The consortium had started drilling activities on January 13, 2019.


China top exporter to Pakistan in 8 months

May 19, 2019 China remained the top exporter to Pakistan during the first eight months of the current fiscal year, followed by United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

The total imports from China during July-February (2018-19) were recorded at 6633.191 million dollars against the $7326.706 million during July-February (2017-18), showing a decrease of 9.46 percent during the period.

This was followed by UAE, where from Pakistan imported goods worth $6266.141 million against the imports of $5793.779 million last year, showing positive growth of 8.15 percent.

Singapore was the at third top country from where Pakistan imported products worth $2396.914 million against the imports of $3043.270 million last year, showing the negative growth of 21.23 percent.

Among other countries, Pakistani imports from Saudi Arabia stood at $1977.522 million against $1994.299 million during last year, showing decline of 0.84 percent while the imports from Qatar were recorded at $1441.123 million against $876.047 million last year, showing rise of 64.50 percent.

The weekly roundup of Pakistan’s economy

May 19, 2019 (MLN): The local equity market once again ended the week on a negative note as the benchmark index closed in red with a loss of 4.5% WoW. The market lost 1,550 points WoW, closing at 33,166 points. Turbulence at the equity market was a result of anticipation of further interest rate increases and rupee devaluation, moreover, the expectation of positive sentiments upon agreement of IMF Program did not materialize.

Investors remained cautious due to tough measures attached with the IMF program. Concerns were reinforced as the rupee lost 6.5 rupees against the greenback during the week. However, investors were relieved in the middle of the week owing to Pakistan’s emerging market status being retained and approval of amnesty scheme by the cabinet.

However, this impetus was short lived as the Pak-Rupee witnessed depreciation against USD and concerns persisted over a significant rate hike in the upcoming monetary policy statement.

Furthermore, the past week brought along a series of economic events both in terms of data releases and developments in public policy.

On Sunday, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh announced that the technical teams of the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reached an agreement on a bailout package of US$6 billion for Pakistan.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the asset Declaration Scheme, 2019, which gives Pakistani citizens another opportunity to declare and legalize previously undisclosed assets within and outside the country by paying just four percent taxes on all assets other than real estate.

Meanwhile, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Wednesday approved procurement of 5.15 million tons of wheat target with financial limit of 158.5 billion rupees this year. The ECC also approved additional supply of 150 MW of power through National Grid to K-Electric to address power shortage in Karachi.

On Thursday, the State Bank of Pakistan through a press release informed that the Monetary Policy for the next two months will be announced on Monday, May 20, 2019.

On Friday, in a frantic attempt to avoid a market meltdown, the government of Pakistan decided to launch a ‘Disaster Support Fund” worth Rs.15 to Rs.20 billion, work on which is reported to begin on Monday. This fund will be operated under the National investment Trust (NIT), as informed by the sources.

Meanwhile, the same day, OGRA recommended increase in gas tariff for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019-20 and the final decision would be taken after approval of federal government. Earlier, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), in their petitions, had sought an increase of 144 per cent and 30 per cent for gas prices, respectively.

On the upside, Morgan Stanley Capital Index (MSCI)’s semi-annual index review took place on Monday and its results toned down markets’ anxiety levels by many folds as it announced no change in Pakistan’s status within the MSCI Emerging Market (EM) Index. All 3 constituents of Pakistan (HBL, OGDC, and MCB) managed to secure a status within the Standard Index.

Furthermore, Pakistan has been ranked 3rd in the world for newly installed hydropower capacity. This was declared by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in its recently issued report titled “2019: Hydropower Status Report – Sector Trends and Insights”.

Moreover, the statistical data released this week apprising the economic standing of the country are listed below:

  • As per the weekly data released by SBP, Pakistan's non-government sector has retired a net sum of Rs.28.9 billion during the week ended May 10, 2019, which brings the cumulative net borrowing for ongoing year to Rs.860.11 billion.
  • The government of Pakistan accumulated an additional net debt of Rs.127.24 billion during the week ended May 10, 2019, which brings its total net borrowing for ongoing fiscal year (FY19) to Rs.1.08 trillion.
  • Pakistan's Forex Reserves decreased by USD 78.20 Million or 0.49% and the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at USD 15,894.40 Million on May 10, 2019.
  • According to the weekly report on SCRA released by the State Bank of Pakistan, the gross sale of securities during the week was recorded at Rs.5.7 billion, which is around 47.1 percent higher than the figures recorded last week. Similarly, the total purchase of securities stood at Rs.7.8 billion, which is 75.7 percent higher than the prior week. Consequently, the net purchase of securities for the week ended May 10, 2019 clocked in at Rs.2.12 billion, i.e. around Rs.1.55 billion higher than last week's numbers.
  • Pakistan’s external debt increased by USD 6.755 billion between Jan – March 2019 taking the country’s total debt liabilities to USD 105.841 billion, the highest level in the nation’s history.
  • The overall output of Large-Scale Manufacturing Industries (LSMI) decreased by 2.93% for July-March 2018-19 compared to July-March 2017-18. According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the LSMI output decreased by 10.63% for March 2019 compared to March 2018 and increased by 1.81% if compared to February 2019.
  • Pakistan's trade deficit for 10 months (July-April) FY19 was USD 26.30 billion compared to a deficit of USD 30.17 billion from the corresponding period from FY18. As per Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the trade deficit for the month of April 2019 was recorded at USD 2.659 billion compared to a deficit of USD2.176 billion from March 2019 showing that the deficit worsened by 22.2 percent.
  • The Weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the Combined Group increased by 1.16% during the week ended May 9, 2019 while the SPI increased by 13.32% compared to the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, the Combined Index was at 254.38 compared to 251.47 on May 02, 2019 while the index was recorded at 224.47 a year ago, on May 10, 2018
  • Over 17.07 thousand passenger car units were sold during the month of April 2019, as per a report by Pakistan Automotive Manufacturer’s Association (PAMA). The cumulative sale of passenger cars during the 10 months ending April 2019 were reported to be 177.4 thousand. On a monthly basis, the sales came down by 14.1%, whereas on a year-on-year basis, the figure declined by 20.7% for the month of April.
  • The total money supply circulating within the economy during March 2019 was around Rs.20.5 trillion, as per provisional statistics of Monetary Aggregates for the month, released by the State Bank of Pakistan.

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Key Pakistan Market Stats and Economic Indicators

Market Data and Economic Indicators

Weekly Performance
 May 17, 2019May 10, 2019
PKR InterBank147.8783141.3938
KSE100 Index33,166.6234,716.53
Avg Daily Volume107,351,28873,480,520
Gold (Karachi) Rs/10 gm61,61459,328
KIBOR 6M12.0711.53
10Y PIB13.5413.26
NY Light Crude62.7861.66
Open Market Rates
 May 17, 2019May 03, 2019
SBP Data
T-Bill Auction Cutoff YieldMay 08, 2019Apr 24, 2019
6MNo Bids ReceivedBids Rejected
12MNo Bids ReceivedNo Bids Received
PIB Auction Cutoff YieldApr 17, 2019Mar 20, 2019
5YBids Rejected12.6405
10YBids Rejected13.1500
20YNo Bids ReceivedBids Rejected
Interest Rate CorridorApr 01, 2019Feb 01, 2019
SBP Policy Rate10.7510.25
SBP Reverse Repo Rate11.2510.75
SBP Repo Rate9.258.75
Weekly Indicators
 May 10, 2019May 03, 2019
SBP FX Reserves *8,845.608,984.10
Bank FX Reseves *7,048.806,988.50
Total FX Reserves *15,894.4015,972.60
 May 09, 2019May 02, 2019
SPI (Combined Group) ***254.38251.47
Change - WoW (pct)1.16-0.25
Change - YOY (pct)13.3212.38
Monthly Indicators
Consumer Price Index244.03240.99
Change - MOM (pct)1.261.42
Change - YOY (pct)8.829.42
WholeSale Price Index259.57253.67
Change - MOM (pct)2.331.70
Change - YOY (pct)13.8112.63
Sensitive Price Indicator229.84227.82
Change - MOM (pct)2.331.56
Change - YOY (pct)13.818.81
Exports *2,094.001,979.00
Imports *4,753.004,155.00
Trade Balance *-2,659.00-2,176.00
Home Remittances *1,778.901,745.80
Total Foreign Investment *180.46173.99
Quarterly Indicators
 Mar 31, 2019Dec 31, 2018
Pakistan's External Debt *105,841.0099,086.00
Annual Indicators
GDP Growth Rate **5.225.37
Agriculture **3.702.18
Manufacturing **5.345.83
Commodity Sector **4.383.73
Services Sector **5.786.52
Trade Balance *-37,670.00-32,488.00
Worker Remittances *19,622.6219,351.36
Foreign Investment *4,977.352,496.06
Annual Inflation Rate %3.924.15
* Amount in USD Million
** GDP Estimates Revised by the National Accounts Committee
*** Weekly SPI Data for Week ending May 16, 2019 Was not Released by PBS


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