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Most Asia markets rise but trade talks, stimulus cause...

August 10, 2020: Asian markets mostly rose Monday, with investors keeping a wary eye on China-US trade talks planned for the weekend, which come after Washington imposed sanctions on several Hong Kong officials, further straining tensions between the superpowers.

Adding to uncertainty was US lawmakers' inability to find common ground on a much-needed, new stimulus for the world's top economy, with executive orders signed by Donald Trump considered sticking plasters for a crippling crisis.

Washington on Friday hit a group of Chinese and Hong Kong officials -- including the city's leader Carrie Lam -- with sanctions in the latest salvo in a row linked to Beijing's decision to impose a security law on the city.

The move came after the White House set the clock ticking on forcing Chinese internet giants TikTok and WeChat to end all operations in the US, as part of a diplomatic-commercial offensive analysts fear will likely worsen leading into November's presidential election.

China slammed the sanctions as "barbarous and rude".

On Monday, Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, one of the city's most vocal Beijing critics, was arrested under the security law, deepening a crackdown on democracy supporters.

US regulators also last week recommended overseas firms listed in the US should be subject to US public audit reviews from 2022, which could cause Chinese firms to delist.

The developments have put the spotlight on Saturday's meeting of trade officials to review their "phase one" trade deal signed in January.

There is a concern that the pact could be torn up as China has failed to meet certain criteria owing to the impact of the virus, a move most experts say would be devastating to a global economy that is already teetering.

Still, National Australia Bank's Tapas Strickland said: "The running assumption in markets has been President Trump needed the phase one deal to succeed (as much as China) this side of the November elections to secure the midwest" farming belt.

But he added: "At the same time President Trump is running a hard China line into the elections".

                

 - Washington stalemate -           

And Stephen Innes at AxiCorp warned that with polling figures tumbling and US virus infections surging, he could use the China row to show him as a strong leader.

 "If he thinks it will boost his polling numbers, look for him to lash out at China more aggressively, even heaping on additional tariffs. The ramifications for the nascent global recovery would be grim."

Hong Kong edged lower, though the rest of Asia was in positive territory with Sydney more than one percent higher and Shanghai up 0.5 percent.

Seoul gained almost one percent, while Taipei put on 0.8 percent.

The stimulus stand-off in Washington continues to disappoint, with Democrats and Republicans still unable to bridge their differences to push a new plan through.

With matters at a standstill, Trump signed measures Saturday giving Americans up to $400 a week extra in their unemployment benefits, while others offer some protection from evictions and relief for student loans. Another ordered a freeze in payroll taxes.

Observers said there was some hope the move would spur politicians to work harder to reach a deal, though others warned it could in fact give them less urgency to work together, with the Democrats' $3.5 trillion offer more than three times bigger than the Republican proposal.

"Both parties are going to have to tread very carefully but they are going to have to move on and try to come to some kind of agreement," Kim Forrest, at Bokeh Capital Partners LLC, told Bloomberg TV.

There was some good news for markets Friday, with data showing the US economy created 1.8 million jobs in July, far fewer than in May and June, but more than economists had been expecting, while unemployment dipped to 10.2 percent from 11.1 percent.

                         

 - Key figures around 0245 GMT -

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 24453.29

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,370.25

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1798 from $1.1786 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.78 yen from 105.94 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3075 from $1.3057

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.22 pence from 90.24 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.1 percent at $41.68 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $44.80 a barrel

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 27,433.48 (close)

 London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 6,032.18 (close)

AFP/APP

FBR issues draft rules to seek details of account...

August 9, 2020 (MLN): The Federal Revenue Board (FBR) has issued a draft-rules under the Finance Act 2020 that requires banks to provide information about people who deposited Rs 10 million in accounts or more in a month or made credit card payment of Rs200,000 on a monthly basis.

As per the draft rules, the profit on debt and particulars of account holders who have withdrawn Rs1 million or above in a month will also be shared with the FBR on prescribed forms.

Under the new rules, the banks are required to provide the following details of the account holders in the aforesaid categories: CNIC, NICOP, passport number, NTN, name, the title of account, resident/non-resident status, address, telephone number, account opening date, account number (IBAN), the amount deposited in a month or amount of cash withdrawal during a month, amount of tax deducted and profession/business/occupation of the account holder.

The banks are also requested to provide the following information of account holders to FBR which include: account holders’ deposits statement, credit card payments statement, cash withdrawal statement, profit on debt statement, and details of any information or data as required by the board from the banks.

According to the new rules for banks, the information, required to be furnished under Section 165A of the Income Tax Ordinance shall be provided by the reporting banking company, in the manner as specified in account holders deposits statement, credit card payments statement, cash withdrawal statement and profit on debt statement.

The bank has also been instructed to appoint an officer not later than 30 days after the rules came into effect. The information required to be reported to the board shall be provided by the banking company officer to the FBR.

In case the banking company officer is not nominated within the time allowed as specified in the draft rules, the President or Principal officer of the reporting banking company will be treated as banking company officer.

Every banking company officer shall furnish to the board a monthly account holders deposits statement, credit card payments statement, and cash withdrawal statement as specified in Form A, Form B, and Form C, respectively, for immediately preceding calendar month within seven days of the end of the preceding calendar month.

Every bank officer shall furnish to the board an annual profit on debt statement as specified in Form D for immediately preceding calendar year within three months of the end of the preceding calendar year. Every bank shall furnish to the board any information and documents within the time allowed by the board.

Under the procedures of record keeping for due diligence, the FBR has directed the reporting financial institutions to keep record of the steps undertaken and any evidence relied upon for the performance of the due diligence procedures and measures to obtain such records for at least five years after the end of the period within which the reporting financial institution must report the information required to be reported.

The annual domestic reporting date for filing of common reporting standards reports by reporting financial institutions shall be 31st of May each year.

The common reporting standard reports shall be filed on the AEOI portal on the FBR's official website in the CRS XML Schema prescribed by the Global Forum of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The records maintained under Common Reporting Standards Rules in Chapter XIIA of the Income Tax Rules, 2002 including rule 78K by the reporting financial institutions or any other record maintained by any other person under any law may be required to be furnished along with full and free access to any premises, place, accounts, documents or computers of reporting financial institutions by the FBR or any person authorized by the board to ensure compliance of Common Reporting Standards Rules in Chapter XIIA of the Income Tax Rules, 2002.

The board may under the law compel assistance of any person including the State Bank of Pakistan, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, and any such organization, body etc who holds such information that may assist the board to identify and classify reporting financial institutions, non-reporting financial institutions and excluded accounts, and ensure that their identification and classification is as per Common Reporting Standards Rules in Chapter XIIA of the Income Tax Rules, 2002.

Weekly News Roundup

August 9, 2020 (MLN): The highlight of the departed week was the upgrading of Pakistan’s outlook from ‘under review for downgrade’ to ‘stable’, while maintaining a B3 rating by one of the world’s top three credit rating agencies, Moody's Investors Service (“Moody's”).

Apart from this, the other important economic and business events that took place during the last week are in order so as to become acquainted with the recent developments in Pakistan’s economic and public policy.

Events of Importance through the Week:

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that China’s ambassador Yao Jing at a webinar in Islamabad has said  Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to visit Pakistan later this year.

Another development during the departed week was the introduction of ‘Non-Resident Pakistanis Rupee Value Account (NRVA) by SBP in order to facilitate expatriate to open and operate non-resident PKR account through digital means and to invest in shares quoted on the Stock Exchange(s) in Pakistan, residential & commercial real estate, GoP’s debt securities and term/ remunerative deposit products of ADs on repatriable basis.

On the upside, Japan announced to extend the grant assistance worth 318 million Japanese Yen to Pakistan for The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship for fiscal year 2020.

On the external front, Abdul Razak Dawood Advisor to PM for Commerce and Investment announced on his twitter handle that in line with export product diversification strategy, Exports of Fish and Fish Products in July 2020 have increased by 50% YoY to US$26 million from US$17 million.

Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that the country will see the highest ever growth in the renewable energy. In a tweet, the minister said the Council of Common Interest approved the alternative and renewable energy policy of the government which will unleash the full renewable potential of Pakistan.

On Wednesday, Abdul Razak Dawood announced a temporary resumption of trade with China through Khunjerab Pass  considering a longstanding demand of the businessmen, particularly from the Gilgit Baltistan region.

On the downside, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) shared the results of its Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey – Wave 19, which shows that the overall Business Confidence Score (BCS) in Pakistan stands at 50 percent negative, a further drop by 5 percent from the already – 45 percent negative score in Wave 18 Survey conducted in August 2019. 

Besides, the government increased profits rates on National Saving Schemes (NSS) in the range of 12 to 36 basis points. The rate of profit on defense savings increased by 34 basis points to 8.44% while the rate on pension, Behbood and Shuada family up by 36 bps to 10.32%.

Asian Development in its recently published report said that Pakistan could lose around 27% of its international remittances in 2020 under the worst-case scenario because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With regards to revenue collection, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed that against the assigned revenue target of Rs.243 billion, FBR has collected Rs.300 billion overshooting the target by a staggering Rs.57 billion, which is 125% of the assigned revenue target for the month of July 2020.

Announcements:

On equity front, TRG Pakistan Limited updated that its indirect portfolio company, IBEX Limited started trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on August 7, 2020,

AKD Securities Limited, on behalf of ARY communications Limited and ARY Digital FZ LLC, submitted Public Announcement of Intention (PAI) to acquire more than 51% of the Issued and Paid-up Share Capital of WorldCall Telecom Limited together with management control.

The CEO of Arif Habib Limited, Mr. Shahid Ali Habib informed that the largest private-sector listed Sukuk of Rs. 25 billion for Karachi Electric Company (K-Electric) was overwhelmingly oversubscribed by 2.4x.

On Wednesday via notification to Exchange, Bank Alfalah Limited announced to issue a Medium-Term Note (MTN) Program of upto PKR 50 billion to hedge its fixed-rate assets.

Avanceon informed that it has been selected to provide a comprehensive Building Management solution for the new Business Hub building by DHA Lahore.

The Board of Directors of Ghani Global Glass Limited  decided to set up another glass melting furnace for tube in view of an increase in demand for glass tubing, vials & ampoules and to meet forecasted export and local demands for COVID-19 vaccine.

Financial Results:

In addition to the above,  several companies announced their financial performances last week for the half year ended on June 30th 2020, as per which United Bank Limited (UBL) posted its net profits of Rs 10.72 billion (EPS: Rs 8.94), showing an increase of 17% YoY against net profits of Rs 9.16 billion of the same period last year.

Engro Powergen Qadirpur Limited reported earnings of Rs. 1.3 billion (EPS: Rs. 4.04) i.e. nearly 30% lower than the figures recorded in the same period of last year.

Engro Polymer and Chemicals Limited (EPCL) posted net profits of Rs 222 million, depicting the colossal decrease of 85.59% YoY when compared to net profits of Rs 1.54 billion in the same period last year.

Copyright Mettis Link News

PSMC raises prices of its three models by Rs...

August 9, 2020 (MLN): Pak Suzuki Motor Company (PSMC) has revised the retail prices of some of its vehicles, with the change taking effect from August 10, 2020.

According to a notice addressed to all authorized dealerships, the price of Suzuki Bolan VX IM has been increased by Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 1,134,000. The price of Suzuki Bolan Cargo has also been revised up by Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 1,075,000.

Similarly, the price of Suzuki Ravi STD IM has been increased by Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 1,034,000.

Copyright Mettis Link News

Weekly Market Roundup

Equity:

The KSE-100 index gained merely 771 points in the departed week and closed at 40,029-mark i.e. nearly 1.96% percent higher than the closing of the previous week.

“The market commenced on a positive note given further decline in COVID-19 cases post-Eid ul Adha. However, bears took over after higher than expected inflation of 9.30% was reported. Although this was short-lived as the market rebounded the very next day amid release of cement offtake data for Jul’20, depicting a stunning jump of 41% YoY followed by a decline in the trade deficit (by 15% YoY in Jul’20) and surge in SBP’s foreign reserves (by USD 567mn on weekly basis). Moreover, approval of key projects (ML-1 Railway up-gradation worth PKR 11.44tn under CPEC by ECNEC along with 4 projects by CDWP worth PKR 16.1bn) kept the momentum strong”, Arif Habib Limited stated in its weekly report.

Commercial Banks and Cement emerged as the best performing sectors during the week, as they contributed about 219 and 198 points respectively to the benchmark index. Company-wise, the scrips of HBL, TRG, LUCK, DAWH, and PIOC was the most desirable ones as they contributed 79, 65, 60, 45, and 43 points, respectively.

Figures released by NCCPL showed that foreign investors purchased USD 3.72 million worth of stocks during the week, with overseas Pakistanis doing the bulk of the purchasing.

On the local front, Individual Investors sold USD 41.1 million worth of stocks, while USD 29.3 million and USD 11.8 million worth of stocks were sold by Insurance Companies and Mutual Funds respectively.

Forex:

The trend for PKR reversed as it not only lost the gain it had made in the previous two weeks but an additional 55 paisa during the outgoing week to the US Dollar.

The 10-day volatility decreased slightly from 4.11% to 3.39% as the dollar was traded in a range of 168.60 (Bid) and 166.70 (Ask) and closed at 167.87

Data released by the State Bank of Pakistan showed that Pak Rupee's Real Effective Exchange Rate Index (REER) decreased by 4.3 percent in June 2020 to a provisional value of 93.02 from the revised value of 97.20 in May 2020.

A note by Ismail Iqbal Securities on the subject read “Near term outlook of an external account is not daunting due to limited current account deficit and persistent foreign debt flows, while REER is also close to all-time lows, thus we believe chances of any major currency depreciation are low in the short term.”

Money Market:

Higher than expected inflation pushed the yields up even further as 3, 6, and 12-month rate increased by 12, 17, and 21 basis points while longer-term bond yields were up significantly more with 3, 5, and 10-year yields up 29, 36 and 23 bps.

According to data released by the SBP, bond trades seem to have completely dried up in the secondary market as no trades were reported by the SBP since July 22, 2020.

Bond yields have gone up 72, 85, and 73 basis points for 3, 5, and 10 years in FY21.

Bank’s borrowing for the central bank continued as the SBP injected Rs.1,100 billion on Aug 03, 2020, for 4 days and Rs.1,228 billion for 10 days on Aug 07, 2020.

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