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SBP to Conduct 4 Day OMO

January 18, 2021 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced that it will conduct a 4 day OMO to inject funds into the market.

Quotes timing is: 11:30 PST while result will be announced at: 12:00 PST

Settlement is same day - January 18, 2021

 

Copyright Mettis Link News

70 million tons of iron ore reserves newly discovered...

January 17, 2021: Chief Executive Officer Balochistan Board of Investment and Trade (BBIT) Farman Zarkoon has said that the province has tremendous opportunities for domestic and foreign investors in the minerals sector.

In a statement issued in Quetta, he said that high quality minerals have been discovered from different parts of the province including Recko Dik, Saindak and Dodar.

He added that Export Processing zones have been established in Saindak of district Chagai and Dodar in Lasbella district while Marble city is fully functional in Hub.

Farman Zarkoon said that more than seventy million tons of iron ore reserves have newly been discovered in areas of Pishin and Chagai districts.

He said that the Balochistan government will welcome all the local and foreign investors to invest in this natural blessed province of Pakistan especially in the field of minerals and other sectors.

Radio Pakistan

China’s economy picks up speed in Q4, ends 2020...

China's economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations as it ended a rough coronavirus-striken 2020 in remarkably good shape and remained poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic raged unabated.

The world's second-largest economy has surprised many with the speed of its recovery from the coronavirus jolt, especially as policymakers have also had to navigate tense U.S.-China relations on trade and other fronts. Beijing's strict virus curbs enabled it to largely contain the COVID-19 outbreak much quicker than most countries, while government-led policy stimulus and local manufacturers stepping up production to supply goods to many countries crippled by the pandemic have also helped fire up momentum.

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, quicker than the 6.1% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed the third quarter's solid 4.9% growth.

January 18, 2021: GDP grew 2.3% in 2020, the data showed, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. And China is expected to continue to power ahead of its peers this year, with economists forecasting GDP to expand at the fastest pace in a decade at 8.4%, according to a Reuters poll.

"The higher-than-expected GDP number indicates that growth has stepped into the expansionary zone, although some sectors remain in recovery," Xing Zhaopeng, an economist at ANZ in Shanghai.

"Policy exiting will pose counter-cyclical pressures on 2021 growth."

Backed by the strict virus containment measures and policy stimulus, the economy has recovered steadily from a steep 6.8% slump in the first three months of 2020 when an outbreak of COVID-19 in the central city of Wuhan turned into a full-blown epidemic.

Asia's economic powerhouse has been fuelled by a surprisingly resilient export sector, but China's consumption - a key driver of growth - has lagged expectations amid fears of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Data last week showed Chinese exports grew by more than expected in December, as coronavirus disruptions around the world fuelled demand for Chinese goods even as a stronger yuan made exports more expensive for overseas buyers.

Yet, underscoring the massive COVID-19 impact worldwide, China's 2020 GDP growth marked its weakest pace since 1976, the final year of the decade-long Cultural Revolution that wrecked the economy.

Overall, the slew of brightening economic data has reduced the need for more monetary easing this year, leading the central bank to scale back some policy support, sources told Reuters, but there would be no abrupt shift in policy direction, according to top policymakers.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP rose 2.6% in October-December, the bureau said, compared with expectations for a 3.2% raise and a revised 3.0 gain in the previous quarter.

Highlighting the weakness in consumption, retail sales fell 3.9% last year, marking the first contraction since 1968, records from NBS showed. Growth in retail sales in December missed analyst forecasts and eased to 4.6% from November's 5.0%, as sales of garments, cosmetics, telecoms, and autos slowed.

However, China's vast manufacturing sector continued to gain momentum, with industrial output rising at a faster-than-expected rate of 7.3% last month from a year ago, hitting the highest since March 2019.

LINGERING RISKS IN 2021

Ning Jizhe, head of China's statistics bureau, told a briefing that there would be many favorable conditions to sustain China's economic recovery in 2021.

This year marks the start of China's 14th five-year plan, which policymakers see as vital for steering the economy past the so-called "middle-income trap".

China still faces many challenges, not least the tensions between Beijing and Washington and how they would play out under the new U.S. administration led by President-elect Joe Biden. As well, rising labor costs, the aging population, and a recent spike in credit defaults add to risks for an economy that is still trying to reduce a mountain of debt.

"We should be alert to the following problems in 2021: first the imbalance of economic recovery. Compared with investment and export, consumption is weak as a whole and has yet to return to normal levels," Wang Jun, Beijing-based chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank.

"The second is the problem of excessive and rapid credit contraction."

The central bank is poised to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged in the coming months while steering a steady slowdown in credit expansion in 2021, policy sources have said.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, sees the macro leverage ratio jumping by about 30 percentage points in 2020 to over 270%.

While this year's predicted growth rate of over 8% would be the strongest in a decade, led by an expected double-digit expansion in the first quarter, it is rendered less impressive coming off the low base set in pandemic-stricken 2020.

Some analysts also cautioned that a recent rebound in COVID-19 cases in the northeast of the country could impact activity and consumption in the run-up to next month's long Lunar New Year holidays.

"Control of people-flows has started, so the risk of a widespread outbreak of Covid should be small," said Iris Pang, ING's chief China economist.

"But the risk of a technology war between China and some economies remains if the U.S. does not remove some measures."

Reuters

UK wants to increase bilateral trade with Pakistan: UK...

January 18, 2021: The United Kingdom wants to increase bilateral trade with Pakistan from existing three billion pounds to ten billion pounds, to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for both countries.

This was stated by UK Trade Director for Pakistan, Mike Nithavrianakis while addressing the business community during his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Islamabad on Friday.

He said the UK is focusing on four areas for close cooperation with Pakistan including healthcare, education, green energy, and infrastructure.

Mike Nithavrianakis said the UK would try to provide preferential access to Pakistani products in its market that would further improve its exports.

He said his country has also issued advisories to its citizens, encouraging them to visit Pakistan.

Speaking at the occasion, President ICCI, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan has said that there was great potential for promoting bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and the UK for which better connectivity between the private sectors of both countries was needed.

Radio Pakistan

Asia shares pare losses as China economy rebounds

January 18, 2021:  Asian shares pared early losses on Monday as data confirmed China's economy had bounced back last quarter as factory output jumped, helping partially offset recent disappointing news on U.S. consumer spending.

Chinese blue chips gained 0.8% after the economy was reported to have grown 6.5% in the fourth quarter, a year earlier, topping forecasts of 6.1%.

Industrial production for December also beat estimates, though retail sales missed the mark.

"Despite the latest dip in retail sales, we see plenty of upside to consumption as households run down the excess savings they accumulated last year," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital economics.

"Meanwhile, the tailwinds from last year's stimulus should keep industry and construction strong for a while longer."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan trimmed losses and was off 0.3%, having hit a string of record peaks in recent weeks. Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.8% and away from a 30-year high.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.2%, though Wall Street will be closed on Monday for a holiday. EUROSTOXX 50 futures eased 0.2% and FTSE futures 0.1%.

The pick-up in China was a marked contrast to the U.S. and Europe, where the spread of coronavirus has scarred consumer spending, underlined by dismal U.S. retail sales reported on Friday.

Also evident are doubts about how much of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's stimulus package will make it through Congress given Republican opposition, and the risk of more mob violence at his inauguration on Wednesday.

"The data bring into question the durability of the recent move higher in bond yields and the rise in inflation compensation," said analysts at ANZ in a note.

"There's a lot of good news around vaccines and stimulus priced into equities, but optimism is being challenged by the reality of the tough few months ahead," they warned. "The risk across Europe is that lockdowns will be extended, and U.S. cases could lift sharply as the UK COVID variant spreads."

That will put the focus on earnings guidance from corporate results this week, which include BofA, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Netflix.

The poor U.S. data helped Treasuries pare some of their recent steep losses and 10-year yields were trading at 1.087%, down from last week's top of 1.187%.

The more sober mood, in turn, boosted the safe-haven U.S. dollar, catching a bearish market deeply short. Speculators increased their net short dollar position to the largest since May 2011 in the week ended Jan. 12.

The dollar index duly firmed to 90.816, and away from its recent 2-1/2 year trough at 89.206.

The euro had retreated to $1.2074, from its January peak at $1.2349, while the dollar held steady on the yen at 103.78 and well above the recent low at 102.57.

The Canadian dollar eased to $1.2773 per dollar after Reuters reported Biden planned to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Biden's pick for Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, is expected to rule out seeking a weaker dollar when testifying on Capital Hill on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Gold prices were undermined by the bounce in the dollar leaving the metal at $1,828 an ounce, compared to its January top of $1,959.

Oil prices ran into profit-taking on worries the spread of increasingly tight lockdowns globally would hurt demand. [O/R]

Brent crude futures were off 52 cents at $54.58 a barrel, while U.S. crude eased 44 cents to $51.92.

Reuters

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