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Stocks rally on vaccine hope, US jobs recovery

July 02, 2020: Equities rose Thursday as investors cheered encouraging news about progress towards a coronavirus vaccine and a solid recovery in US employment.

The US economy regained 4.8 million jobs in June as businesses began to reopen nationwide, while the unemployment rate fell more than two points to 11.1 percent, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The job creation amid the coronavirus pandemic was far higher than economists were expecting, and showed the rapid pace of gains as people who were laid off returned to their jobs, especially in hard-hit sectors like leisure and hospitality, which accounted for just under half of the increase.

"The key takeaway from the report as far as the market is concerned is that it reflects an economy that is bouncing back from the depths of the COVID-19 shutdown period," said market analyst Patrick J. O'Hare at Briefing.com.

"There are still far too many people unemployed (17.750 million), yet the June numbers are moving in the right direction," he said in a note to clients.

- 'Holy grail' -

Wall Street's main indices shot out of the gate at the opening bell, quickly racking up gains of over 1 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite continuing to push into record territory.

European stocks added to gains, with both Frankfurt and Paris up by more than 2 percent.

Sentiment had already been largely positive after hopes for a vaccine were given a boost when Germany's BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer late Wednesday reported positive preliminary results from a joint project.

"Investors largely are shrugging off higher cases... as Pfizer reported positive results from a vaccine trial," said Neil Wilson at Markets.com.

"We have been here before -- it's too early to get too excited -- but a working vaccine is the holy grail as it would allow real normality to return to the economy."

Markets had been rattled in recent days by a surge of coronavirus infections in a number of countries, led by the United States, which on Wednesday reported more than 50,000 new cases for the first time.

Moreover, several US states imposed 14-day quarantines on visitors ahead of the July 4 weekend celebrations.

And the World Health Organization warned that with more than 10 million known infections worldwide and more than 500,000 deaths, the pandemic is "not even close to being over".

In Asia, Hong Kong led gains on reopening after a one-day break, despite concerns about a new security law imposed on the city by China that observers said was more draconian than feared and could impact its future as an attractive business hub.

And while there are worries about the issue causing further friction between Beijing and the West, markets remain positive for now.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

  • London - FTSE 100: UP 1.4 percent at 6,246.62 points
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 2.6 percent at 12,579.17
  • Paris - CAC 40: UP 2.4 percent at 5,044.78
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.7 percent at 3,314.62
  • New York - Dow: UP 1.6 percent at 26,145.93
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.9 percent at 25,145.96 (close)
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,145.96 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.1 percent at 3,090.57 (close)
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.1 percent at $40.24 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.2 percent at $42.55
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1267 from $1.1249 at 2100 GMT
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 107.60 yen from 107.43 yen
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2488 from $1.2468
  • Euro/pound: UP at 90.29 pence from 90.19 yen


OMCs: PSO remains predominant in upturning industry’s volume

July 2, 2020 (MLN): The overall volumetric sales of Oil and Marketing Companies (OMCs) in Pakistan ameliorated by 9% MoM in June 2020 to stand at 1.61 MTs against 1.48 MTs in May 2020.

On yearly basis, the total industry sales improved by 19% YoY when compared to 1.35 MTs in June 2019.

According to the report by ABA Ali Habib Securities, the improvement in MoM Fuel demand was mainly on the back of relaxation in nationwide locked down, resumption of economic activity and around 9% reduction in prices of petroleum products.

Category-wise, demand of motor fuel improved 14% MoM and 28% YoY to 786K MTs, while the HSD which is key fuel for transportation/freight, its demand increased by 10% MoM and 68% YoY to 752K MTs. On the other hand, sales volumes of furnace oil continued to see a declining trend as it plunged by 21% MoM and 69% YoY due to ban on imports and lower FO production by local refineries.

On an annual basis, the overall sale of OMCs during FY20 were recorded at 16.4mn MT as compared to 18.2mn MT in FY19 showing a decline of 10% YoY on account of slowdown in economic activity and impact of covid-19 outbreak.  MS sales during FY20 remained flat, while sales of HSD and FO saw a decline of 9% and 36% YoY respectively.

Company-wise, PSO remained the biggest contributor to the upturn in OMCs volumes, as it posted largest MoM growth of 35% to 842k MT during June’20 on the back of adequate availability of petroleum products as compared to its peer companies who faces shortage due to lower imports. The company’s MS sales grew by 44% MoM and 58.5% YoY, its HSD recorded an increase of 26% MoM and a massive 125% YoY, while, FO volumes of the company also grew by 145.5% MoM but declined by 81% YoY.

In FY20, the company’s total sales volume plunged by 5.3% to 7.2mn MT. The decline was mainly attributable to lower FO sales which dropped by 46% YoY. However, sale of MS and HSD inched up by 6% and 6.4% YoY respectively.

Consistent with the trend, APL’s total volume during June’20 surged by 12% MoM to stand at 155k MT. This rise can be attributable to company’s higher FO which augmented by 58% MoM, followed by 10% MoM increase in HSD volumes. While MS sale during the month declined by 8.3% MoM.

During FY20, APL saw a fall in its volume by 11% owing to decline in HSD volumes which shrunk by 17% followed by 7.3% decline in MS sales and 6.4% decline in FO sales.

SHEL also witnessed a growth of 8.5% MoM in its sales volume to 108k MT during the month mainly due to higher MS and HSD sales which rose by 8% and 6% MoM respectively.

While during FY20, the company’s volume shrunk by 13% YoY owing to decline in sales across all categories FO, MS and HSD by 70%, 12% and13% YoY respectively.

On the other hand, HASCOL’s total sales volume during the month under review recorded at 71k MT, showing a decline of 40% MoM against 118k MT reported in the same month last year. The decline in volumes can be linked to lower HSD and MS sales for the company which plummeted by 45% and 30% MoM.

In the preceding fiscal year (FY20), company’s total sales declined by 44% YoY owing to 82% reduction in FO sales, while its HSD and MS sales volume also contracted by 43% and 21% respectively.

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Exports of Pakistan show signs of recovery due to...

July 02, 2020:  The exports of Pakistan are showing clear signs of recovery, due to the efforts of the exporters to diversify the products, in the wake of new opportunities arising amid COVID 19 pandemic, and support from the Government in this regard. This was stated by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, while chairing a meeting to discuss the export strategy of Pakistan, at the Ministry of Commerce today. Seniors officers of the Ministry attended the meeting.

During the briefing, the current facts and figures related to the trend of exports were presented to the Advisor. It was explained that before the outbreak of the pandemic near the end of February 2020, Pakistan’s exports were on an upward trajectory and it showed an increase of 14% in dollar value terms, as compared to the same month last year. This momentum for February 2020 continued despite the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in the country, as the first 10 days of March 2020 registered an increase of 13% as compared to last year.

In mid-March, because of a lockdown to control the spread of the pandemic, followed by a global economic slowdown, the export-oriented industry in Pakistan suffered as reflected in March 2020 figures, which showed the decline in growth by 8% compared to the same period last year. The situation persisted and, in April 2020, the exports showed a downward trend of 54% as compared to April 2019.

After the month of April and with the efforts of the Government to encourage the export sector, the first signs of recovery were observed in the month of May 2020, which only saw a 33% decline in exports as compared to the same month last year. The momentum continued in June 2020, as the downward trend, which stood at 54% in April, 33% in May, has been brought down to a single-digit figure of 6% in dollar value terms.

In addition to a positive trend in exports, the figures also indicate the strategies for geographical and product diversification are bearing fruits. For instance, there is a significant improvement in exports to Africa, which is an outcome of ‘Look Africa Policy’, as well as the Middle East. Similarly, the export of Meat products has shown good growth, while Tobacco shows a promising future. Similarly, in the overall textile sector, value-added products have shown improvement while, at the same time, the export of cotton yarn and fabric has gone down. As a result of overall progress, the trade balance has improved by $8.7 Billion, which shows that the Current Account Deficit is also at manageable levels.

Commenting on the trends of exports, Mr. Razak Dawood underscored that the export sector has been given a new impetus by the Government by allowing the export of Personal Protective Equipment, barring three items, which is indicated by the surge of exports in the month of June. He added that other policies of the Government, for diversification of exports and international markets, will enable us to continue the thrust in the current fiscal year as well. The Advisor noted that the traditional exports of Pakistan, like garments and bedwear, etc., are also picking up and would show improved performance in the new financial year 2020-21.

Talking about the export strategy, the Advisor reiterated that greater emphasis will be on product diversification, including engineering products, pharmaceuticals, agro products, and services. He remarked that the beginning of export of home appliances and geographical diversification of cement export to China and the Philippines are clear signs of success. Mr. Razak Dawood added that he remains optimistic towards achieving the export targets in the new fiscal year and the policy of product and geographical diversification will continue to be actively pursued for success in this regard.

Press Release

SBP calls meeting of Chambers of Commerce to seek...

July 02, 2020: Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr. Reza Baqir held an online meeting with the business community today to seek feedback on an ongoing project of automation of payment of tax refunds by SBP. The meeting was attended by the office-bearers of Pakistan Business Council (PBC), Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI), and Chambers of Commerce and Industries of various cities.

Governor SBP in his opening remarks introduced SBP’s Automation of Payment of Tax Refunds Project saying that after automation of government’s revenue collections, efforts are underway by SBP to automate the government’s payments to ensure transparency, efficiency and public convenience.  He said that improving ease of doing business is one of the shared goals of the government and SBP for its significant potential impact on boosting economic activity in the country.

Governor Baqir remarked that Automation of payment of Tax Refunds Project is a part of SBP efforts in this direction in collaboration with FBR and Pakistan Customs.  Adding further, he said that since the project is ultimately going to benefit the businesses, it is important that the system is developed in consultation with all the stakeholders including the businesses.  He emphasized that, in this regard, feedback of businesses is very important since they are the key stakeholders.

A senior SBP official gave a detailed presentation on the project elaborating that the project constituted two broader components,  automation of payment of duty drawback claims and the automation of payment of sales tax refunds. 

After highlighting the issues in the existing mechanisms, he explained how the automation will simplify the processes and bring efficiency in terms of time-saving and human resources.  He highlighted that there will be minimal human intervention in processing and payment of refund claims as the system generated payment messages will be sent to SBP on a real-time basis through an interface between FBR/Pakistan Customs and SBP for crediting the funds in the claimants’ account.

The representatives of Chambers of Commerce appreciated the initiative of SBP and provided valuable feedback. They also assured their cooperation to SBP in the development of this project of national importance.

Press Release

State Bank’s Forex Reserves Increase by USD 1,269.80 Million

Jul 02, 2020 (MLN): Pakistan's Forex Reserves increased by USD 1,240.90 Million or 7.42% and the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at USD 17,971.00 Million on Jun 26, 2020.

According to data published by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) its reserves increased by USD 1,269.80 Million.

Summary of Holding and Weekly Change

Foreign reserves held byJun 26, 2020Jun 19, 2020Change% Change
State Bank of Pakistan11,231.009,961.201269.8012.75%
Net Foreign Reserves Held by Banks6,740.006,768.90-28.90-0.43%
Total Liquid Foreign Reserves17,971.0016,730.101240.907.42%

Amount in USD Million

During the week ended June 26, 2020, SBP received around US$2,046 million official inflows, including $737 million from World Bank, US$503 million from Asian Development Bank, US$500 million from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and US$300 million as GOP loan disbursement from China.

After incorporating government external debt payments of US$ 809 million, SBP reserves increased by US$ 1,270 million to US$ 11,231.0 million.

During the current week, SBP has received additional US$1,000 million as GOP loan disbursement from China. These funds will be part of SBP weekly reserves data as of July 03, 2020 to be released on July 09, 2020.


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