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Weekly Economic Roundup

February 23, 2020 (MLN): The financial snapshot of the country in full detail was highlighted with the economic and financial data releases over the course of the week.

  • The Weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the Combined Group decreased by 0.14% during the week ended Feb 20, 2020 while the SPI increased by 15.97% compared to the corresponding period from last year.

  • In 2019, ADB's loan and grant disbursements to Pakistan amounted to $2.4 billion, comprising $1.8 billion in program lending and $634.3 million in project lending.

  • The outgoing week saw an influx of funds from overseas investors, as the purchase of securities via Special Convertible Rupee Account (SCRA) exceeded the total sale of securities by Rs. 21.7 billion.

  • Pakistan's Forex Reserves increased by USD 11.70 Million or 0.06% and the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at USD 18,747.10 Million on Feb 14, 2020.

  • Pakistan’s current account deficit for the first seven months of Fiscal Year 2020 stood at USD 2.65 Billion compared to USD 9.47 billion from the corresponding period of last year, showing an improvement of USD 6.825 Billion or 72 percent.

  • Pakistan’s trade deficit in services stood at $182 million during January 2020, showing a decline of 23% as compared to the deficit reported in December 2019.

  • The imports of mobile phones witnessed a significant growth of 141.65% YoY and 22.73 % MoM to stand at $144 million in the month of January 2020.

  • The exports of the food group witnessed a decrease of 13.51% YoY and 3.56 % MoM to stand at $409 billion in the month of January 2020.

  • Pakistan's outstanding debts as of January 31, 2020 stand at a massive sum of Rs.20.41 trillion whereas total debt at the end of the prior month was Rs.20.72 trillion, meaning that around Rs.311.94 billion were retired during this month alone.

  • The overall exports of the textile group, during the month of January 2020 stood at $ 1.19 billion i.e. around 4.59 % higher as compared to the previous month and an increase of 2.25% as compared to the same period last year.

  • The non-government sector has retired a net sum of Rs.32.91 billion during the week ended February 07, 2020, which brings the cumulative net borrowing for ongoing fiscal year FY2020 to Rs.140.4 billion. The net borrowing as of prior week was recorded at Rs.173.31 billion.

  • The government of Pakistan has accumulated Rs.36.32 billion during the week ended February 07, 2020, which brings its total net retirement for ongoing fiscal year FY2020 to Rs.3.62 billion. As of prior week, the government had retired a net sum of Rs.39.94 billion.

  • The central Government's domestic debt and liabilities during six months of the current fiscal year rose by Rs 944.6 billion or by 5% to Rs 21.67 trillion.

  • During seven months of the current fiscal year (FY20), the inflows of foreign investment into Pakistan have been utterly inspiring as it surged by a whopping 66% to $ 3.42 billion as compared to Jul-Jan FY19.

  • The overall exports within the transport group, during the month of January 2020, stood at nearly $116.4 million, i.e. around 26.81 percent higher as compared to the previous month and 48.11 percent lower as compared to the same period of last year.

  • The country’s total external debt servicing on outstanding loans soared to $3.9 billion in the 2QFY20 from $3 billion recorded in the preceding quarter of FY20, showing an increase of 27% QoQ.

  • Total Foreign Investment in the country in the month of January 2020 stood at USD 1.613 billion compared to a disinvestment of USD 198.3 million in December 2019.

  • The government has released around 50.4 percent of the total Rs 581.812 allocation during the first seven months of the current fiscal year to execute petroleum projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2019-20).

  • The government’s total external debt and liabilities increased to $111 billion by the end of December 2019, showing an increase of 12% YoY.  This figure was accounted for 39.5% of the total GDP.

  • The attractive returns offered by government-backed securities has enticed foreign investors to invest more as the total inflows in government short-term Securities (T-bills) have exceeded USD 3.134 billion (net) since the beginning of the current fiscal year till February 13, 2020.

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Gold price gains Rs 650, traded at Rs 94,300...

February 22, 2020: The per tola price of 24 karat gold appreciated by Rs 650 on Saturday and was traded at Rs 94,300 as compared to Rs 93,650 on last trading day, Karachi Sarafa Association reported.

Likewise, the price of 10 gram gold witnessed increase of Rs 557 and was traded at Rs 80,847against last closing of Rs 80,290.

The price of silver gained Rs 10 per tola and was traded at Rs 1060 against Rs1050 and that of 10 gram silver was traded at Rs 908.77 with the increase of Rs 8.57.

In international market, the price of per ounce gold gained $9 and was traded at $ 1644 against $1635, Karachi Sarafa association reported.

APP

US stocks close with sharp declines amid virus fears

February 22, 2020: Wall Street continued to tumble Friday amid renewed fears that the virus outbreak in China will have a real impact on companies that depend on goods from the Asian manufacturing hub.

More than 2,200 people have died from the disease in China, which has infected more than 75,000 people there and over 1,000 abroad, fueling concerns the epidemic will become a bigger problem in neighboring economies.

As a growing list of companies warned of an expected hit to their bottom lines, investors seemed unwilling to hold onto shares and moved into safe havens.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8 percent to close the week at 28,992.41.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 1.1 percent to end at 3,337.75, and the tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 1.8 percent to 9,576.59.

"Because we just don't know the full impact of the coronavirus yet, we're going to continue to see a shadow of uncertainty over the market," said Shawn Cruz of TD Ameritrade.

The economic impact "might come from both ends," he told AFP.

"You might run out of suppliers because so many people get their supplies from China" and at the same time there will be less buying "on the other side," he said.

Dow-member Coca Cola was among the firms warning about the virus' impact on earnings in the first quarter, but said it will expect to meet full-year targets. The company's shares gained 0.7 percent.

But Apple, which warned this week of lower revenue and constrained iPhone supply, lost 2.3 percent.

Gold jumped 1.6 percent to $1,646.20 an ounce, while the return on the 30-year US Treasury bond hit an all-time low of 1.9 percent.

US economic data did not help matters, with existing home sales dipping in January -- though they remain strong and far higher than a year ago -- and a business activity survey showed a continued slowing of manufacturing output.

AFP/APP

Gold price gains Rs 1150, traded at Rs 93,650...

February 21, 2020: The per tola price of 24 karat gold appreciated by Rs 1150 on Friday and was traded at Rs 93,650 as compared to Rs 92,500 on last trading day, Karachi Sarafa Association reported.

Likewise, the price of 10 gram gold witnessed increase of Rs 986 and was traded at Rs 80,290 against last closing of Rs 79,304.

The price of silver gained Rs 10 per tola and was traded at Rs 1,060 against Rs 1,050 and that of 10 gram silver was traded at Rs 908.77 with the increase of Rs 8.57.

In international market, the price of per ounce gold gained $23 and was traded at $1,635 against $1,612, Karachi Sarafa association reported.

APP

SBP governor briefs President Alvi on steps for differently...

February 21, 2020: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday chaired a discussion here on financial inclusion of differently abled persons and called for concerted efforts to facilitate economic empowerment of the focused groups.

First Lady Samina Alvi also accompanied the president.

The event was hosted by SBP Governor Raza Baqir, who shared details of the regulatory instructions for the banks by the central bank and its own initiatives to address the problems facing by different categories of differently abled persons and their progress since 2018, an SBP statement said.

The dialogue was attended by senior officials of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), presidents and chief executive officers of other banks, and representatives of Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP).

The SBP governor welcomed the president and gave a detailed presentation on the two types of interventions by done the central bank for the differently abled persons. Those included initiatives taken by the SBP to facilitate the differently abled persons for accessing banking premises and services and, providing access to finance through various SBP refinance schemes.

He informed the president that for facilitating the people facing challenges related to upper and lower limbs, the State Bank had taken many initiatives, which included providing preferential treatment / out of queue assistance; construction of ramps at the entrance of existing branches and ATM cabins to allow easy access to special persons and wheelchair users; relaxation in the requirement of biometric verification for account opening; and facilitation desks for special persons at SBP main building and its offices countrywide.

Regarding the steps taken by SBP to facilitate persons with visual impairment, the governor briefed about the special features of currency notes such as size, lines and dots; installation of Talking ATMs; provision of ATM/Debit and Internet banking facilities; and countrywide awareness sessions on features of currency notes.

Referring to the second type of SBP interventions, Dr Baqir apprised the president about two credit schemes supported by the SBP for the financial inclusion of differently abled persons.

The first was Small Enterprise Financing and Credit Guarantee Scheme, which was available to differently abled persons holding computerized national identity cards (CNIC) with a special logo/symbol for setting up new business enterprises or for expansion of existing ones at a subsidized financing rate of 5% per annum for the tenor of five years, including grace period of up to six months.

The second SBP scheme was Financing Facility of Low Cost Housing for Special Segments including differently abled persons that provides subsidized loans to widows, children of Shaheed, transgender, special persons and persons in the areas severely affected by war against terrorism. Under the scheme, special segments can avail subsidized financing at 5% per annum, for the tenor of 12.5 years including grace period of up to 6 months. Information about these schemes is available SBP website (http://www.sbp.org.pk/Incen-others/sme-7.asp and http://www.sbp.org.pk/Incen-others/Low.asp).

Later on, the president made a detailed visit of the SBP Museum, along with the First Lady, and took interest in the precious stock of different showed items, including long range of coins starting from stone age, historical pictures and paintings including those Pakistan movement.

APP

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