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Finance Advisor Dr Hafeez addresses plenary session of WEF

November 25, 2020: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh addressed the second segment of the plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Country Strategy Dialogue (CSD) through video link today.
During his virtual address, Adviser Finance briefed the forum that the current Government inherited a very precarious economic situation in 2018 and therefore, had to introduce strict financial discipline to curtail excessive Government expenditure, increase revenue collection, introduce a market-driven exchange rate, remove large tax exemptions and discourage imports. As a consequence, Pakistan witnessed a remarkable improvement in fiscal and current account deficits. Similarly, Pakistan had a primary balance surplus which is unprecedented. All fundamental economic indicators reflected significant improvement before COVID-19.

During COVID-19, the Government of Pakistan introduced “Smart Lockdown” to balance the imperative to contain the spread of the disease with the need to keep the economy functional. The Smart lockdown allowed many businesses to re-open or continue operations on a limited scale to lessen the adverse economic impact and support the vulnerable segment of the society. To provide relief to vulnerable groups especially daily wage earners, the Government of Pakistan gave cash payments to 15 million families under the “Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program”.
Adviser Finance outlined that amid COVID-19, Government has taken several initiatives to facilitate agriculture and construction sectors to accelerate economic recovery. A relief package for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) shielded against insolvency and joblessness. The recent data complements the strengthening and expansion of the economy in ’’recovery’’ mode. Despite COVID-19, Pakistan has registered an upward trend in foreign remittances and FDI which is a clear reflection of confidence in Pakistan’s economy.

Adviser Finance reiterated that the Government firmly supports the private sector as an engine of growth and believes in building institutional capacity for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. “We followed a liberal foreign investment regime and introduced measures to promote ease of doing business in the country”, he stated.
He said that the current leadership welcomes foreign investors and believes in transparency, accountability and openness. Our agenda is to empower people with a key focus on human resource development, Adviser Finance concluded.

Press Release

PSX Closing Bell: Formula for Success – Rise Early,...

November 25, 2020 (MLN): Pakistan’s stock market continued its upward drive as rally in oil stocks owing to rising international oil prices on improved global economic outlook and vaccine optimism, prompted a rally in the heavyweight E&P sector and pushed the benchmark KSE-100 index up by 514 points (1.29%) to settle at 40,377 points level on Wednesday.

Market largely remained in positive zone as investors were more optimistic at these levels. Furthermore, positive development on the circular debt issue hovering on the oil sector further supported the market towards the end of the trading session, particularly in the oil stocks. As benchmark index marched upward, the market completely ignored the future rollover factor coupled with the concerns over rising covid-19 cases today, a market closing note by Aba Ali Habib Securities stated.

The Index remained positive throughout the session touching an intraday high of 40,431.56

Of the 94 traded companies in the KSE100 Index 58 closed up 34 closed down, while 2 remained unchanged. Total volume traded for the index was 142.91 million shares.

Sectors propping up the index were Oil & Gas Exploration Companies with 280 points, Commercial Banks with 93 points, Technology & Communication with 78 points, Oil & Gas Marketing Companies with 31 points and Fertilizer with 25 points.

The most points added to the index was by PPL which contributed 93 points followed by OGDC with 90 points, POL with 68 points, SYS with 41 points and TRG with 34 points.

Sector wise, the index was let down by Cement with 39 points, Power Generation & Distribution with 15 points, Vanaspati & Allied Industries with 4 points, Food & Personal Care Products with 3 points and Insurance with 2 points.

The most points taken off the index was by HUBC which stripped the index of 23 points followed by LUCK with 17 points, FCCL with 9 points, EFERT with 8 points and ABOT with 6 points.

All Share Volume increased by 67.23 Million to 241.95 Million Shares. Market Cap increased by Rs.103.20 Billion.

Total companies traded were 378 compared to 377 from the previous session. Of the scrips traded 227 closed up, 134 closed down while 17 remained unchanged.

Total trades increased by 15,249 to 95,641.

Value Traded increased by 3.04 Billion to Rs.9.83 Billion


Top Ten by Volume

Fauji Fert.Bin(R)28,573,000
TRG Pakistan21,158,000
Unity Foods20,846,000
Hascol Petroleum13,277,495
Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim7,941,500
Oil & Gas Development Company7,659,750
Maple Leaf Cement Factory7,564,848
Hum Network6,771,000
Lotte Chemical Pakistan6,245,000



Top Sector by Volume

Technology & Communication44,999,800
Vanaspati & Allied Industries20,856,100
Oil & Gas Marketing Companies18,713,185
Oil & Gas Exploration Companies14,994,635
Commercial Banks12,165,579
Power Generation & Distribution11,172,444



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Gold loses its lustre

November 25, 2020 (MLN): Gold continued to lose lustre, reached $ 1809 per ounce. Yesterday, gold hit a four-month low of $1,800.80 and last stood at $1,806.10 per ounce amid Coronavirus vaccine optimism.  

The white metal, silver, was pegged at $23.36 an ounce.

On a similar note, gold prices dropped in the domestic bullion market as the price of 24 karat gold decreased by Rs 200 to Rs 110,300 per tola from Rs 110,500 per tola recorded on Tuesday.

According to the data released by the All Sindh Saraf Jewellers Association, the price of 10-gram gold also dropped by Rs 172 to Rs 94,564 against the price of Rs 994,736 reported in the previous session.

On the other hand, the price of per tola silver and 10-gram silver remained stable at Rs 1,180 and Rs 1,011.65 respectively, the association reported.

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Analyst Briefing: ASTL targeting 55% to 65% capacity utilization...

November 25, 2020 (MLN): Amreli Steels Limited (ASTL) conducted its analyst briefing session yesterday where the management discussed Company’s latest financial performance as well as future roadmap.

To recall, ASTL reported Rs 1.12 billion worth of net losses for FY20, against meagre profits of Rs 32.82 million earned in FY19.

As per the management, the losses were mainly attributable to COVID-19 outbreak resulting in the closure of business for 60 days, overall economic contraction started in 2019 and non-utilization of enhanced capacity (45% utilization).

Discussing about company’s business expansion, the management explained that current capacity utilization is 55% and their target capacity utilization for SITE plant is 50% – 55% whereas, for Dhabeji mill it is 60% - 65%

According to the key takeaways of the briefing covered by Taurus Securities, the management stated that the demand of steel is highly correlated with the demand of cement. It is estimated that the 7%-8% demand growth in cement will drive similar demand growth for the steel sector too, this financial year.

As the Steel industry is one of the most favored in current times in context of recent projects and CPEC, the company is expecting overall steel demand of 5.56 Mt, a report by Taurus Securities highlighted.

During the briefing session, the management said that the current PKR/USD 159.24 rate is favorable for ASTL. However, they can still absorb up to PKR/USD 168.

Commenting on Yield, the management informed that Yield of scrap to billet is 94% to 95%, whereas, the yield of billet to rebar is 95% along with 2% burning loss. Furthermore, the yield is highly dependent on the technology used in the process, the management added.

With regards to market share, the management underscored that ASTL holds an overall market share of 7% in the Country.  Region-wise, current concentration in South and North zones is 70% and 30%, respectively with 30% market share accounts for rebar sales in South, the report cited.

Speaking on business diversification, the Company stated that they are not planning to step into girder market as their major operations are being run in the South region where the demand of girder is very low.

Furthermore, on the back of company’s effort for boosting efficiencies and significant utilization of their enhanced capacities, the management is expecting to generate gross margins of 10% to 11% going forward, the report said.

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Foreign Investors seek protection of Intellectual Property Rights –...

November 25, 2020: Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has announced the key findings of its latest Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Survey.

The OICCI IPR Survey 2020 conducted during September-October reflect the assessment of the foreign investors, on the state of intellectual property protection in Pakistan. Effective protection of IPR comprising of Copyrights, Patents and Trademark is critical for attracting and retaining FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the country.

OICCI IPR Survey 2020 respondents have expressed concern that IPR protection does not attract due attention from some key stakeholders, including the government, Law Enforcement authorities (LEA), media and even the consumers.

Long drawn judicial proceedings, lack of awareness and appreciation about IPR, and lengthy timelines for granting IP rights were some of the key concerns highlighted in the survey.  Overall 40% of the respondents indicated that it takes 1 to 3 years to resolve a standard IPR dispute. Respondents also expressed concern regarding the penalty on IPR violation being insufficient to act as a deterrent and the IP Tribunals not being fully functional. Currently, over 90% of the OICCI members prefer reliance on their own resources for monitoring threat of IPR violations. However, there is a great desire for all the IP owners to work in partnership with the government authorities for a better IPR regime in Pakistan.

The foreign investors participating in the survey expect that IPR regulator in Pakistan, IPOP, would take the lead in strengthening IPR regime in Pakistan; automate and fast track process of registering IP; massively promote awareness on the importance of IPR and its impact for business/investment; upgrade skills and motivate LEA to proactively arrest the abuse of IPR.

Commenting on the survey results, President OICCI, Haroon Rashid, expressed concern that, “Despite some improvement in the Priority Watch list in USTR Special 301 Report of 2016, Pakistan IPR environment has failed to instill a sense of confidence among the foreign investors and IP owners, that the country values IPR protection and will help create an enabling environment for innovation, creativity and all forms of IP so as to attract FDI and retain talented and innovative individuals in the country”. He added that ‘Foreign investors’ concerns are supported by the loss of revenue ranging from 5% to over 20% reported by 42% of the respondents”.

 Press Release

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