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IMF team to visit Pakistan at the end of...

October 20, 2019 (MLN): Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour has said that the  Reform agenda currently in place in Pakistan supported by IMF is the right recipe for improving macroeconomic stability.

He further said that the program will not only address some of the imbalances that we saw in the last few years, it would also allow the economy to be more competitive, and the creditworthiness of Pakistan will also be improved.

“A mission will go to Islamabad at the end of the month for the first review,” he added.

On asking upon how quickly can move from stabilization to growth part which is the second part of the program, Jihad Azour said, “So far, the progress that has been achieved goes in the right direction, it is too early to give a full assessment. We need to wait for the mission to go there and to do the due diligence work on the ground,” he added.

While appreciating the government’s commitment to the reform process he said that “we have now a couple of months -- three months almost since the beginning of the program. It looks like things are moving in the right direction”.

He further apprised that the reform journey under this program is of two important tracks.

One is Macro Stabilization and for that there are a number of steps currently taken by the Central Bank on financial and monetary side and also by the Ministry of Finance on the fiscal side.

But, there is also an equally important track which is the structural reforms that will allow Pakistan economy to be more competitive by addressing some of the longstanding issues related to the weaknesses of some of their (inaudible), address of some of the legacy of the past like for example in the Energy sector and also strengths and institutions providing the right legal framework for the Central Bank, for the (inaudible), as well as other entities, and strengthening the cooperation between the federal state and the provinces.

This reform agenda is important because this one will help accelerate growth, provide the right framework for the private sector to operate, and allow the Pakistani economy that has a lot of potential insight as also internationally with her ability to export to benefit fully from the micro stability and from the structural reforms, he added.

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Weekly Market Roundup

October 20, 2019 (MLN): The KSE-100 index lost around 605 points over the week and concluded at 33,870-mark, i.e. down by 1.76%, as compared to previous week’s closing of 34,475 points.

The performance of benchmark index remained dreary for the larger part of the week, owing to the anticipations and anxiety hovering around FATF’s verdict on Pakistan.

Commercial Banks, Cement Sector and E&P companies emerged as the top losers during the week, as they collectively took away 446 points from the index. Company wise, the scrips of HBL, UBL, LUCK, HUBC and POL endured the maximum losses.

Meanwhile, the KSE All Share Market Cap fell by Rs. 131.9 billion or 1.95% over the week, being recorded at Rs. 6.63 trillion compared to a Market Cap of Rs. 6.77 trillion recorded last week.

This week, the local investors bought securities worth of Rs. 32.5 billion, amongst which, Individual investors emerged as the largest net buyers as they bought securities worth Rs. 21.8 billion. On the other hand, local investors sold securities worth 32.2 billion. This resulted in an overall net buying of Rs. 333.7 million over the week.

Forex summary:

Pak Rupee continued to appreciate against the USD Dollar, as it gained another 16 paisa during the week.

The local currency touched its 4-month high of 155.88 before closing at 155.90, which is the strongest it has been since June 14, 2019. The dollar was quoted at a high (bid) of 156.11 and a low (ask) of 155.90 during the week.

The rupee has gained around Rs. 8.15 against the dollar since hitting an all-time low of 164.05 on June 27, 2019 and gained Rs. 4.14 in FY20.

Fixed Income summary:

PIB and T-Bill yields continued to decline, although the reduction was less pronounced than previous weeks.

Short term yields declined by 5 basis points for 3 months and 11 basis points for 6- and 12-month T-bills, while PIB yields declined by 9, 14 and 7 basis points for 3, 5 and 10 years.

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Weekly News Roundup

October 20, 2019 (MLN): Among various economic and policy-oriented developments that took place during the departed week, the event which took most of the attention was the meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in which it decided that the country must be given time till February to curb terror financing.

Despite Pakistan managed to evade being put in the blacklist by FATF, but the qualms still exist as FATF expressed grave concerns on the overall performance of the country and demanded that Pakistan must implement a full action plan to address terrorism financing risks.

Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appreciated the progress made towards the stabilization of Pakistan's economy and government's commitment to the reform process.

In addition to this, the other economic events and developments in public policy that took place during the departed week include the auction conducted the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan on Friday wherein SECP introduced amendments in the Credit Rating Companies Regulations, 2016, in order to provide a more conducive regulatory environment for them.

Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday appreciated the progress made towards stabilization of Pakistan's economy and government's commitment to the reform process. They also discuss the ongoing implementation of the IMF program

On Thursday, the Ministry of Commerce and Egyptian Commercial Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of Pakistan-Egypt Joint Working Group on trade.

On the upside, the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 of the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan as the 52 most dynamic economy in the world, moreover, Pakistan managed to secure this rank by improving 15 points from last year where it stood at 67 in 2018.

Meanwhile, in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2019, Pakistan ranks 94th out of 119 qualifying countries and with a score of 32.6. The latest GHI revealed that Pakistan’s ranking improved considerably by 12 points if compared with last year’s standing of 106.

Furthermore, on Wednesday, a delegation of TBEA, a world-leading manufacturer of power transformers and electrical equipment, called on Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan and expressed keen interest in Pakistan’s energy sector. The minister invited the company to invest in Pakistan’s power sector and assured to provide all possible assistance in that regard.

The same day, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Dr Amanullah Kassim Machiara urged the government to remove import duty on cotton, as the industry would have to spend $1.5 billion on import of 5.5 million bales due to a 35 per cent production shortage this year.

In addition, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday welcomed a USD 240 million foreign investment from Hong Kong-based port operator, Hutchison Port Holdings and their commitment to Pakistan’s economic prosperity.

On Tuesday, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) prepared a comprehensive framework to strengthen trade-related Anti Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and restrict possible misuse of banking channel.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the ministries concerned to take measures to make the prices of essential items stable as well as ensuring their availability in markets for the benefit of common man.

Furthermore, Word Bank document titled ‘Making De(centralization) Work’, which talks about recent economic developments as well as economic outlook of South Asian countries, revealed that Pakistan’s economy is slowing as the country passes through yet another macroeconomic crisis with high twin deficits and low international reserves. With an IMF Extended Fund Facility supported stabilization program in place, growth is expected to remain low in the near term.

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Economy stabilizing, Hafeez Shaikh urges US investors to benefit...

Oct 20, 2019: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that Pakistan’s economy was on the right path to stabilization, urged the US businesses to benefit from investment opportunities available in the country.

He made this statement while attending a roundtable discussion with senior executives of the US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) Luncheon, hosted in the honour of Hafeez Shaikh and members of Pakistan delegation at the US Chamber of Commerce.

The Pakistani delegation led by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is currently visiting the United States to attend the International Monetary Fund/World Bank annual meetings-2019, according to statement issued by the Finance Ministry Sunday morning.

Talking to the members of USPBC on the luncheon roundtable, the Adviser highlighted the government’s focus on improving the ease-of-doing-business and encouraged the US companies to expand their footprint in Pakistan.

The roundtable was attended by senior executives of the USPBC member companies including S and P Global, PepsiCo, Motorola Solutions Inc, Citi, Google, ExxonMobil and others.

Later, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh along with members of his delegation met with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun.

They discussed the AIIB portfolio in Pakistan and potential areas of project financing by the Bank, the statement added.

President AIIB reiterated support for Pakistan’s development agenda and stated that AIIB was ready to increase funding for Pakistan’s priority development sectors.

He said investment in infrastructure projects had a long term positive impact on growth.

According to the statement, the Adviser invited the AIIB President to visit Pakistan which the latter accepted.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and his team also met with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) President Dr Bandar M H Hajjar and briefed him on the current economic situation in the country.

The Adviser thanked the President for IDB’s technical and financial support to Pakistan. President IDB informed that Pakistan had been identified as one of the

first countries which would be supported by the Bank for strengthening market competitiveness in its core sectors.

An IDB mission would soon visit the country for this purpose.

Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh also held a meeting with Ms. Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President of the IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group as well as the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries.

Ms. Stoiljkovic and her team briefed the Adviser Dr. Shaikh about IFC’s pipeline of projects in Pakistan, particularly in the wind and solar sectors and also expressed interest in providing advisory services for structuring public private partnership transactions.

The Pakistan delegation also attended the Annual Plenary of the IMF and World Bank Group which was addressed by Mr. David Malpass, WB President and Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, MD IMF, the statement added.

APP

Weekly Economic Roundup

October 20, 2019 (MLN): The financial picture of the country in full details was highlighted with the economic and financial data releases over the course of the week.

  • The Weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the Combined Group decreased by 0.44% during the week ended Oct 10, 2019 while the SPI increased by 13.97% compared to the corresponding period from last year.
  • Pakistan current account deficit during the first 3 months of FY20 stood at USD 1.548 Billion compared to USD 4.287 billion from the corresponding period last year.
  • Imports into Pakistan during the month of September 2019 amounted to Rs. 591 billion as against Rs. 589 billion in August 2019 and Rs. 545 billion during September 2018, showing an increase of 0.2% over August 2019 and 8.36% over September 2018.
  • Total exports from Pakistan during the month of September 2019 amounted to Rs. 276.2 billion (provisional) as against Rs. 294.3 billion (provisional) in August 2019 and Rs. 213.7 billion in September 2018, showing a decrease of 6.13% over August 2019 but an increase of 29.24% over September 2018.
  • Food group imports into the country during the first 3 months of the current financial year has decreased considerably by 24.7%, whereas, exports increased by 13.98% as compared the corresponding period of last year.
  • The sales of motorcycles and three wheelers dipped by 19.48 percent during first quarter of current financial year 2019-20, compared to the corresponding period of last year, Pakistan Automobile Manufacturing Association (PAMA) reported Tuesday.
  • Foreign Investment in Pakistan during the month of September 2019 rose by 393 %, from $126.4 million in the same period of last year to $622.6 million.
  • Overseas investors partook in excessive selling of securities via Special Convertible Rupee Account (SCRA) during the week ended October 11, 2019, which resulted in a net sale of securities worth Rs.1.43 billion, as opposed to net purchase of Rs.573.87 million in the last week.
  • Pakistan's Forex Reserves increased by USD 149.70 Million or 1% and the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at USD 15,142.60 Million on Oct 11, 2019.
  • The total money supply in the economy during August 2019 stood at Rs 21.28 trillion, marking a negligible growth of 0.24% as in last month it was Rs 21.23 trillion, shows provisional statistics of Monetary Aggregates for the month, released by the State Bank of Pakistan.
  • The non-government sector has retired another net sum of Rs.1.79 billion during the week ended October 11, 2019, which brings the cumulative net retirement for ongoing fiscal year FY2020 to Rs.66.22 billion. The net retirement as of prior week was recorded at Rs.64.42 billion.
  • The government of Pakistan has acquired an additional debt of Rs.59.48 billion during the week ended October 11, 2019, which brings its total net borrowing for ongoing fiscal year 2020 to Rs.242.14 billion. As of prior week, the government had borrowed a net sum of Rs.182.67 billion.
  • The government has so far released funds amounting to Rs116.362 million during the current fiscal year to execute petroleum projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2019-20) against the total allocation of Rs581.812 million.
  • Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meeting on Thursday, presided over by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, approved 09 projects worth Rs.40 billion and recommended 02 projects worth Rs. 55.5billion to ECNEC for consideration.
  • The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) member companies spent Rs 5.5 billion during 2018-19 and directly benefited 5.8 million people across Pakistan as part of its CSR activities.
  • Seed cotton equivalent to over 4.44 million bales have reached ginneries across the country as of October 15, registering a shortfall of 1.6 million bales as compared to the corresponding period of the last year.

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