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IFC to invest $3.2 million in Pakistan Mortgage Refinance...

July 2, 2020: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is making an equity investment of up to PKR 500 million (about $3.2 million) in Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company Limited (PMRC), to catalyze affordable mortgage financing to help to address a critical gap in affordable housing.  

With almost half of Pakistan’s urban families living in substandard housing, and the number of people living in towns and cities expected to double between 2030 and 2040, Pakistan is facing a high demand for affordable housing.   The current housing deficit in Pakistan stands at 10 million units and is expected to grow by 700,000 units per year. Despite the growing demand for housing, Pakistan’s level of mortgage lending – 0.3 percent – which is significantly far lower than South Asia’s average of 3.4 percent.

IFC’s support to PMRC will help increase the overall availability of mortgage financing for homeowners. At present, the sector’s growth is hindered by an acute absence of long-term, fixed rate funding. This investment will allow primary mortgage lenders (PMLs) to offer new mortgages, with a focus on the frontier and under-served regions such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan, and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and is expected to serve as a model for the future.

“I would like to thank IFC for their support and investment in PMRC. IFC’s support is timely, especially with the economic slowdown further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. IFC’s presence as a shareholder will inspire investor confidence in PMRC’s potential to support the growth of mortgage financing in Pakistan,” said Mudassir H. Khan, PMRCL Managing Director & CEO. ” IFC’s extensive global knowledge and expertise from establishing mortgage refinance companies in other emerging markets will help guide the company’s business strategy.”

Through PMRC, IFC will help deepen the local debt capital markets and standardize underwriting for mortgage lending, which is essential for the market to grow.

“This marks IFC’s first investment in Pakistan’s housing sector and comes after extensive collaboration with the government of Pakistan and the World Bank to help meet the country’s critical need for affordable housing,” said Nadeem A. Siddiqui, IFC Senior Country Manager for Pakistan.  “It will help open up financing for affordable housing for Pakistan’s middle and lower-income families and can contribute to stimulating the economy at a time when growth has been severely impacted. . It will also help spur private sector participation in mortgage finance, effectively creating a new market and model to promote competitiveness, growth and inclusion in the country.”

IFC’s investment comprises an equity investment in common shares of PMRC for a maximum stake of about 12 percent in the company. Half of IFC’s investment will be supported by the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window (IDA PSW) Blended Finance Facility, which will help to focus  growing mortgage refinanced loans in the underserved provinces of KPK, FATA and Balochistan. This will be IFC’s first co-investment supported by the IDA-PSW in Pakistan.  

The project follows extensive collaboration between the World Bank and IFC working with the government of Pakistan and the banking regulator, the State Bank of Pakistan on developing an end to end solution – from demand to supply – to develop the underdeveloped housing sector in Pakistan. IFC helped set up and operationalize PMRC and develop its business plan through which the company was able to mobilize its current private sector investors. This project complements the World Bank’s up to $145 million Pakistan Housing Finance project, which included both financial and technical support to PMRC and capacity building for the government for regulatory reforms of the housing market.

FAO expects new record-high global cereal production and comfortable...

July 02, 2020: In June, global food commodity prices rose for the first time since the beginning of the year driven by a rebound in vegetable oils, sugar and dairy quotations. However, in the cereals and meat markets, most prices remained under downward pressure amid market uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 93.2 points in June, some 2.4 percent higher than the previous month.

Effective from July 2020, the price coverage of the Food Price Index has been expanded and its base period revised from 2002- 2004 to 2014-2016. For more details on this revision, see the feature article published in the June 2020 issue of the FAO Food Outlook. A November 2013 article contains technical background on the previous construction of the Index.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 11.3 percent in June, after declining for four consecutive months. The rebound mainly reflects a sharp rise in palm oil prices due to recovering global import demand, following the easing of COVID-19 related lockdowns in a number of countries, and concerns over possible production setbacks amid prolonged migrant labour shortages. Price quotations of soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils also went up.

The FAO Sugar Price Index climbed 10.6 percent in June from the previous month. The surge in crude oil prices provided strong support to sugar markets, encouraging Brazil's sugar mills to use more sugarcane supplies to produce ethanol instead of sugar, thereby affecting sugar export availabilities and prices.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose by 4.0 percent from May, marking the first increase after four months of successive declines. Renewed import demand for spot supplies, especially from the Middle East and East Asia, coupled with seasonally declining supplies in Europe and limited availability of uncommitted supplies in Oceania, underpinned the recent price increases.

The FAO Cereal Price Index declined 0.6 percent from May. Downward pressure on wheat prices in June was in part due to new harvests in the northern hemisphere and improved production prospects in a number of major exporting countries, including the Black Sea region.

The FAO Meat Price Index fell 0.6 percent from May, averaging 6.0 percent below its June 2019 value. Bovine meat and poultry price quotations fell, largely due to increased export availabilities in major producing regions, whereas pig meat prices registered a small increase, mostly in Europe, on the expectation of the further easing of COVID-19 market restrictions.

 

Record global cereal production to boost stocks 

 

World cereal production is poised to reach a new record level of 2 790 million tonnes in 2020 - up 9.3 million tonnes from the May forecast - surpassing the record-high registered in 2019 by as much as 3.0 percent, according to FAO's Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.

Wheat production forecasts have been raised for India and the Russian Federation, more than offsetting a cutback to the EU and the UK expected outputs.

The forecast of world coarse grains production in 2020 has also been revised up to 1 519 million tonnes, up 5.7 million tonnes from the previous month, reflecting expectations of larger outputs of barley in Australia, the EU and Turkey.

FAO's global rice production forecast for 2020 is now pegged at 509.2 million tonnes, 400 000 tonnes above June's figure, primarily reflecting improved prospects for South American countries, where conducive weather raised yield expectations to all-time-highs.

World cereal utilization in the year ahead is forecast to rise to 2 735 million tonnes - 1.6 percent up from the previous month's forecast, mostly driven by an upturn in feed and industrial uses of coarse grains compared to earlier expectations. World rice utilization is also predicted to reach a fresh peak of 510.4 million tonnes in 2020/21, 1.6 percent up from June, based on expanding food use.

Reflecting new production and consumption forecasts, FAO now expects world cereal stocks by the end of seasons in 2021 to reach 929 million tonnes, representing a robust year-on-year expansion of 6.0 percent. This would drive the global cereal stock-to-use ratio in 2020/21 to a twenty-year high of 33.0 percent, highlighting the comfortable global supply prospects in the new season.

Press Release

European shares rise on upbeat global mood, cyclicals jump

July 2, 2020: European shares climbed on Thursday, as encouraging economic data from across the globe and hopes of a COVID-19 vaccine lifted sentiment ahead of the crucial U.S. jobs data.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.9% by 0716 GMT, in its fourth consecutive day of gains. Banks, automakers and travel & leisure were the top gainers, rising between 1.5% and 2%.

Financial markets entered the second half of the year on a positive note this week, as business surveys showed a coronavirus-induced slump in global manufacturing eased in June, while a COVID-19 vaccine was found to be well-tolerated in early stage human trials.

The U.S. payrolls data, due at 1230 GMT, is likely to show the economy created jobs at a record clip in June, although surging virus cases threaten to derail the recovery.

Among individual movers, Associated British Foods jumped 7.1% as it said that trading in its Primark fashion stores that reopened after lockdown has been "reassuring and encouraging".

German fashion house Hugo Boss rose 1.4% after it appointed Tommy Hilfiger executive Oliver Timm as its chief sales officer.

Scandal-hit Wirecard slumped 25% after police and public prosecutors raided its headquarters in Munich and four properties in Germany and Austria.

Reuters

Export Industries allowed to work 6 days a week:...

July 02, 2020 (MLN): Advisor to Prime Minister, Abdul Razak Dawood has said that Export Industries are allowed to work 6 days a week from 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM.

Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment said in his official Twitter handle that he has received confirmation from Chief Secretary Punjab.

Furthermore, he said this decision will further facilitate the export industry.

Government extends the date for encashment of Rs 40,000...

July 2, 2020 (MLN): The federal government on Thursday, extended the date for encashment of Rs 40,000 denomination national prize bonds for another six months.

Now, Rs 40000 prize bonds could be converted till December 31, 2020.

This is the second extension that government has given for conversion of prize bonds as earlier, the date to encash bonds was March 31, 2020 which was extended to June 30, 2020.

It is pertinent to mention that government gave three options for conversion of prize bonds-deposit bonds in your account, convert into savings certificate or convert these bonds as registered ones.

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