May 11, 2021: Pakistan Railways has markedly scaled down the freight rates of its different services during Eid holidays from 10 to 16 May.
According to a press release issued by the Divisional Superintendent Office Karachi here on Monday, the move aimed at offering an endurable means of service to Cargo and container parties via railways mode during the lock down period.
Cargo booking rates have been substantially curtailed by 25 percent whereas uniform reduction of 5 percent has been offered in booking of coal and container wagons.
The booking fare of online premium train has been slashed by Rs10,000 per wagon.
Prior to that Pakistan Railways has announced 28 Up and Down Eid special trains within the Karachi division during the Eid holidays: 14 Up and Down between Karachi to Hyderabad and 14 Up and Down between Kotri and Mirpurkhas.
Whereas the route of 213 Up Moen-jo-Daro Express travelling between Kotri and Rohri via ML-II has been extended till Karachi so as to facilitate the people during the auspicious occasion of Eid ul Fitr.
May 11, 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that government is fully determined to involve private sector in the development process as it is very crucial keeping in view of the public need.
He was addressing a briefing in Islamabad yesterday, regarding various development projects under Public Sector Development Program and projects completed with the participation of private sector.
Imran Khan said Board of Investment is being activated to facilitate local and foreign investors.
He directed the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to present progress report on the implementation of federal and provincial development projects; besides submitting detail of the future plans, their distribution at the local level and the progress made so far.
The meeting was attended by Planning Minister Asad Umar, Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen, Secretaries and other high officials from concerned Ministries. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and provincial Minster for Finance participated through video link.
The meeting was briefed that over fifty development projects worth Rs2000billion are under completion with the participation of a private sector.
It was also informed that 14 projects worth Rs978billion rupees would be approved in next three months while 18 projects of Rs1,016bn would be approved in the financial year 2021-22.
It was also told that the Public Private Partnership Authority has approved two major projects Sialkot Kharian Motorway Project and Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway Project with a total cost of Rs233bn.
The meeting was briefed that six more projects worth Rs710bn would be approved by August of this year.
The meeting was briefed on the progress of PSDP Plus and future government practices under this model. The PSDP Plus strategy provides a conducive environment and other necessary assistance to ensure private sector involvement in the development process.
The meeting was informed that 180 initiatives have been identified under PSDP Plus with a total value of Rs5.5trillion.
May 11, 2021: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Mr. Shaukat Tarin, chaired the meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) at the Finance Division yesterday.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary M/o NFS&R, Chief Secretaries of the Provincial Governments, Member PBS, MD Utility Stores Corporation, Chairperson CCP and other senior officers of various Ministries participated in the meeting.
The NPMC reviewed the price trend of essential commodities especially wheat flour, sugar, edible oil/ghee, pulses and chicken during the last week. While briefing the NPMC about weekly SPI, the Finance Secretary apprised that prices of 07 basic commodities registered a decline whereas 26 items remained stable during the week under review.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam updated the NPMC about the wheat procurement drive of the Provinces and PASSCO to ensure steady supply of wheat at fair prices during the current year. He further apprised the NPMC that Punjab is ahead of other Provinces in procurement of wheat to date.
Secretary M/o NFS&R informed the Committee that the summary to import 4 million metric ton wheat would be presented before the next ECC for requisite approval to build strategic reserves and to ensure smooth supply of wheat across the country.
While taking stock of the situation, the Finance Minister directed all the Provincial Governments to ensure daily release of wheat at subsidized rates in compliance with the directives of the Prime Minister. He strictly urged the representatives of the Provincial Governments to ensure uninterrupted daily release without fail.
While reviewing the price trend of basic commodities in international markets, the NPMC noted that major driver behind increase in prices of items of daily use is massive international price hike due to ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Year-on-Year comparative analysis indicated that price of Crude Oil increased by 178% in April 2021 as compared to April 2020. Similarly, the prices of Sugar in international market have increased by 57% in year-on-year comparison. Furthermore, international prices of Palm oil, Soyabeen oil and Wheat also registered a continued upward trend which, in turn, led to sharp increase in prices of basic items in domestic markets.
Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister stated that COVID-19 crisis has fuelled food prices in international markets especially edible oil, sugar, tea and wheat. The Government is making an all-out effort to ensure smooth supply of basic items through a network of Ramadan Sahaulat / Saasta Bazaars and chain of USCs outlets to ease shortages and mitigate price spike in domestic / local markets.
The Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) presented findings before the Committee regarding completion of recent inquiry in the Poultry Industry. The CCP underlined some anti-competitive conduct that led to surge in prices of Chicken feed, which, in turn, increased prices of Chicken. The Finance Minister stressed that cartelization would not be acceptable at any cost. Stern action would be taken by the Provincial Administrations and Departments concerned to keep the prices of basic commodities in check. All those responsible for undue profiteering or hoarding would be taken to task, he concluded.
May 10, 2021 (MLN): Indus Motor Company Limited (INDU) held its corporate briefing recently to deliberate the latest financial performance and to shed light on the future outlook of the company.
To recall, the company posted a 68.8% YoY increase in net profits for 9MFY21 to Rs8.4bn (EPS: Rs107.07) as against the profits of Rs4.98bn (EPS: Rs63.4) in the corresponding period last year.
The upsurge in INDU’s profitability was mainly attributable to higher sales volumes and an increase in other income, due to the improved cash fund position of the Company.
The sales volumes improved in all segments, mainly due to pent-up demand after lockdown and lower interest rates during the period under review. The Company also experienced an overwhelming response to Toyota Yaris in the first, as well as the second quarter of the fiscal year 2020-21 which contributed to the increase in volume in the Passenger Car segment.
However, the increase in the cost of sales by 77% YoY mainly due to a rise in international steel prices and higher freight which minimized the impact of Rupee appreciation, resulted in a reduction in gross profit margin to 8% against 10% in the same period last year.
The management said if the commodity prices fail to stabilize, the company may increase vehicle prices to pass on costs.
After the great response of the new Corolla’21, the company has also launched a new facelifts version of the Fortuner and Hilux. The management stated that the delivery times will be around 4 months due to strong demand.
To meet the overwhelming demand, INDU has been operating on a double shift basis. INDU had already announced the expansion of its total capacity to 80K units from its current capacity of 65k units (Capex of Rs4-5bn). This capacity expansion was expected to come online by Sep’20 but got delayed due to the pandemic.
Since Yaris accounts for more than half of the volumetric sales, the launch of the new Honda City is likely to chip away some of its market shares, in view of a report by Foundation Securities. However, the delivery time to City 21 will be longer, while Yaris is currently available for delivery in less than 1-2 months, which may attract buyers to opt for INDU's offer.
The management also highlighted that the company faced shipment/container delays during Nov’20-Feb’21, but its supply chain team kept margins in check while maintaining delivery times. Going forward, the international supply chain disruption is under control and the company is also not severely affected by the global semi-conductor shortage, Taha Madani, Research Analyst at BMA Capital said.
With regards to a support package and incentives to produce hybrid vehicles, like those given in the EV policy, the Auto industry is in constant talks with the government. INDU’s management also shared its recommendation for the upcoming auto policy which includes removal of Federal Excise Duty (FED) and Additional Custom Duty (ACD) to improve the dynamics of the automobile market.
Speaking of automobile market growth, the management estimates that it will grow to 0.24/0.30Mn units by the end of FY21/22 and effortlessly to 0.5Mn units by FY26-27. This robust demand is likely to create room for all existing and new local players to maintain steady growth, he added.
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May 10, 2021: Stocks rose on Monday amid speculation that interest rates will remain low due to receding inflationary pressure, while oil and gas prices jumped after a cyber-attack on a U.S. pipeline operator unnerved markets.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, while U.S. stock futures rose 0.14%.
Australian stocks hit their highest in more than a year, boosted by gains in miners, but shares in China fell 0.74%. Japanese shares gained 0.53%.
Euro Stoxx 50 futures were up 0.42%, German DAX futures were up 0.32%, and FTSE futures rose 0.37%, pointing to a strong start to the European session.
U.S. nonfarm payroll data on Friday showed job growth unexpectedly slowed in April, which gave equities a lift but put downward pressure on the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields.
Oil and gasoline futures extended gains after a cyber attack shut down a U.S. pipeline operator that provides nearly half of the U.S. east coast's fuel supply.
"It certainly pushes back the timetable for Fed tapering, perhaps to December from the prior expectations of the Jackson Hole Symposium in late August," Chris Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne, wrote in a memo.
"A softer payroll is good for the reflation trade; the dollar weakened across the FX spectrum. We've also seen a solid bid in equity indices and futures are up."
On Friday the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose to record closing highs after disappointing data on the U.S. jobs market eased concerns about a spike in consumer prices.
In recent weeks, some investors had been placing bets that a robust U.S. economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic would force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates earlier than the central bank has outlined.
However, the weak nonfarm payroll report caused a rapid reversal in some of these trades, which rippled through stocks, bonds, and major currencies.
The focus now shifts to U.S. consumer price data due on Wednesday, which will help investors determine whether they need to scale back their inflation expectations even further.
MSCI's broadest index of global stock markets hit a record high on expectations that low rates will continue to spur lending and economic growth.
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies edged up to 90.237 but was still near its weakest since Feb. 25.
The British pound jumped to the highest in more than two months against the greenback, but worries about Scottish independence could curb sterling's gains, traders said.
China's onshore spot yuan strengthened to 6.4265 per dollar, the highest since Jan. 29.
In the cryptocurrency market, ether rose to a record above $4,000. Bigger rival bitcoin rose to $58,920.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes steadied at 1.5931% in Asia on Monday after having plunged to a two-month low of 1.4690% on Friday.
U.S. crude ticked up 0.51% to $65.23 a barrel. Brent crude rose to 0.53% to $68.64 per barrel in Asian trading as the disruption to U.S. supplies rattled energy markets.
Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 1.43% to $2.1574 a gallon, near a three-year high.
The White House is working closely with top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline on Sunday to help it recover from a ransomware attack that forced the company to shut its main fuel lines.
"The major takeaway is the bad guys are very adept at finding new ways to penetrate infrastructure," Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates told Reuters. "Infrastructure has not developed defences that can offset all the different ways that malware can infect one's system."