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PM directs administrative officers to take strict action against...

October 21, 2020:  Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed all administrative officers to take strict action against hoarders and profiteers and ensure ample availability of essential commodities to the masses at approved prices.

Presiding over a high-level meeting in Lahore regarding prices and availability of basic essential items in Punjab, he said any kind of lapse in the provision of relief to the people will not be tolerated.

The Prime Minister was briefed in detail about the prices and availability of essential goods and commodities.

The meeting was informed that secretaries and district administrations would monitor the hoarding and profiteering and they would also be assisted by the Tiger Force.

The Prime Minister said in order to avoid shortage and price-hike, the procurement of wheat and other essential goods should be ensured under the planning.

Federal Minister Syed Fakhar Imam told the meeting that the supply of wheat would be ensured.

Radio Pakistan

Pakistan posts $792 million Current Account Surplus during 1QFY21

October 21, 2020 (MLN): Pakistan’s Current Account was in surplus of $73 mn during Sept, bringing surplus for 1QFY21 to $792 million compared to a deficit of $1,492 million during the same time last year.

Taking to his official Twitter account, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Pakistan's exports grew 29% & remittances grew 9% over the previous month.

He said, 'this is great news for Pakistan. We are headed in the right direction finally.'

Copyright Mettis Link News

NBP issues Foreign Exchange Rates

October 21, 2020: Treasury Management Division of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on Wednesday...

Asian markets lifted by stimulus optimism, vaccine hopes

October 21, 2020: Asian markets rose Wednesday on signs US lawmakers are edging towards agreeing a new stimulus for the struggling economy, while hopes for a vaccine helped temper worries about surging virus infections around the world.

                  After months of stuttering talks, and with a deadline approaching, Democrats and the White House said they were closing the gap on their proposals, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the legislation was being drawn up.

                  The comments fanned optimism for a much-needed spending boost for Americans and US businesses, just as a fresh wave of coronavirus hits the country and threatens to trigger the reimposition of economically painful containment measures.

                  However, while Pelosi said she was hopeful a bill could be passed before the November 3 election, she warned it must go through legislative steps.

                  "I am optimistic," she said, but cautioned that "legislation is tough".

                  The White House has upped its offer by $80 billion to $1.88 trillion, which is still short of the Democrats' $2.2 trillion plan, but Donald Trump has said he is willing to go even higher.

                  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- who has rejected massive spending packages -- changed course and said he would bring the package to a vote if there is a bill Trump supports.

                  But he would still have to win round other fiscally conservative Republicans, which could prove a tough task.

                  "It's very unlikely that a number of that level would make it through the Senate, and I don't support something of that level," Senator Mitt Romney told reporters, referring to the $1.8 trillion plan.                              

                  - Virus flare-ups -                

                  However, Axi strategist Stephen Innes said in a note: "Provided both parties are talking, if there is a will, there is a way as the political calculus allows for a pre-election deal. After all, what politician wants to be painted as voting for unemployment."

                  Markets remain upbeat even if nothing is passed before November 3, with traders broadly expecting a new package to be passed at some point, whoever wins the election.

                  And with Joe Biden well ahead in polls -- while Democrats could possibly win both houses of Congress -- there is speculation an even bigger deal could be pushed.

                  All three main Wall Street indexes ended well up, and most of Asia followed suit.

                  Hong Kong rose more than one percent, with local carrier Cathay Pacific surging more than five percent after announcing it would make huge job cuts and shut down one of its airlines.

                  Tokyo rose 0.5 percent with Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Jakarta all in positive territory. Manila rallied almost two percent as strict curfew measures were eased in the Philippine capital. But Shanghai fell after recent gains.

                  Vaccine hopes were given a lift after Moderna said its jab could be given approval for emergency use as early as December, while a report said AstraZeneca is expected to be allowed to restart trials in the US after being suspended worldwide in September when a volunteer fell ill.

                  The firm has already revived tests in Britain and elsewhere after being given permission.

                  The news comes as the disease sees frightening new flare-ups across the United States and in Europe, where numerous countries have been forced to introduce targeted lockdowns that have fanned fears for business survival and warnings of a possible double-dip recession.


                  - Key figures around 0230 GMT -


                  Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 23,676.90 (break)

                  Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.1 percent at 24,827.90

                  Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,316.39

                  Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1841 from $1.1824 at 2130 GMT

                  Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.39 yen from 105.45 yen

                  Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2972 from $1.2946

                  Euro/pound: DOWN at 91.27 pence from 91.33 pence

                  West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.7 percent at $41.43 per barrel

                  Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.7 percent at $42.86 per barrel

                  New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.4 percent at 28,308.79 (close)

                  London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 5,889.22 (close).


Stocks mixed as US stimulus hopes fade

October 20, 2020: Global stocks were mixed Tuesday ahead of a looming deadline for a pre-election US stimulus package, dealers said.

In Europe, London finished the day slightly higher than it began, while stock indices in Paris and Frankfurt wallowed in negative territory.

New York markets were doing well in midday trading after US housing starts rebounded slightly in September.

Oil prices slipped lower a day after OPEC and other major crude producers refrained from altering output policy despite weak virus-hit demand and stubborn oversupply.

Meanwhile, US Democrats and Republicans wrangled over a new Covid-19 stimulus package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a Tuesday deadline, fuelling fears that nothing will be approved before the November 3 presidential election.

"The likelihood of a deal taking place appears no more likely now than it was a week ago, with the window for it happening... closing fast, as tonight's Pelosi-imposed Tuesday deadline for getting a deal agreed comes into view," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

But Fawad Razaqzada at ThinkMarkets.com felt that the fact that markets were not doing too badly "suggests that investors are convinced that it is just a question of when rather than if the US stimulus package will be signed."

Pelosi's spokesman said she held talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday and would do so again Tuesday, adding that they continued to narrow their differences.

But even if they reach an agreement -- with US President Donald Trump saying he is happy to top Pelosi's $2.2 trillion proposal -- Senate Republicans would likely still not be prepared to back a massive spending bill.

- Brexit saga drags on -

Investors are also keeping tabs on post-Brexit trade negotiations, with Britain welcoming signs that the European Union was ready to intensify them but saying the bloc's commitments did not yet go far enough to restart face-to-face talks.

Britain's chief negotiator David Frost said he had held a "constructive discussion" with EU counterpart Michel Barnier, but added on Twitter that the bloc "still needs to make a fundamental change in approach to the talks and make clear it has done so".

Barnier urged Britain to "make the most out of the little time left."

- Key figures around 1545 GMT -

  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 5,889.22 points (close)
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.9 percent at 12,736.95 (close)
  • Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 4,929.28 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,233.66
  • New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.5 percent at 28,340.11
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 23,567.04 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 24,569.54 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,328.10 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1823 from $1.1769 at 2100 GMT
  • Dollar/yen: UP at 105.56 yen from 105.43 yen
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2956 from $1.2948
  • Euro/pound: UP at 91.25 pence from 90.90 pence
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $40.66 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $42.40


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