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Gold climbs up by Rs850 in domestic bullion

December 2, 2021 (MLN): The demand for yellow metal continued to increase in the domestic bullion as the price of 24-karat gold moved up by Rs850 to close at Rs123,650 per tola.

According to data provided by Karachi Sarafa and Jewellers Association, the price of 10-gram of 24k gold also increased by Rs729 and was traded at Rs106,010 while the 10gm 22k gold was valued at Rs97176.

On the other hand, the price of 24-karat silver and 10-gram of 24-karat silver remained unchanged at Rs1,460 and Rs1,251.71 respectively.

In the international market, gold prices eased by $9 to stand at $1,777 as investors gauged the U.S. Federal Reserve's response to inflationary risks and economic recovery concerns amid the new Omicron coronavirus variant, while the silver was traded at $22.40 per ounce.

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PSX Closing Bell: And Now This…

December 02, 2021 (MLN): The local bourse witnessed the record mammoth single-day drop of 2,135 points for the first time in the past 21-months, backed by an increase in yields of T-Bills in yesterday’s auction and all-time high imports of $8.01 billion in November 2021.

"The market is likely incorporating another hike in the upcoming monetary policy announcement on December 14," Saad Hashmi, Executive Director at BMA Capital Management while speaking to Mettis Global.

Ahsan Mehanti, Director Arif Habib group said, “Along with high cut-off yields of T-Bills, the drastic fall can mainly be attributed to widening trade deficit number for November 2021, disclosed yesterday which might put further pressure on the currency.”

Due to this panic selling across the board in the domestic bourse, the benchmark KSE-100 index plummeted by 4.71% to close at 43,234.15 level.

The index remained negative throughout the session touching an intraday low of 43,089.07

Of the 96 traded companies in the KSE100 Index, 1 closed up 93 closed down, while 2 remained unchanged. Total volume traded for the index was 213.44 million shares.

Sector-wise, the index was let down by Commercial Banks with 360 points, Cement with 314 points, Oil & Gas Exploration Companies with 240 points, Technology & Communication with 212 points and Fertilizer with 204 points.

The most points taken off the index was by LUCK which stripped the index of 150 points followed by SYS with 119 points, HUBC with 101 points, HBL with 91 points and PPL with 77 points.

All Share Volume increased by 145.68 Million to 386.75 Million Shares. Market Cap decreased by Rs.332.27 Billion.

Total companies traded were 365 compared to 337 from the previous session. Of the scrips traded 16 closed up, 338 closed down while 11 remained unchanged.

Total trades increased by 36,856 to 131,783.

Value Traded increased by 4.84 Billion to Rs.14.06 Billion

CompanyVolume

Top Ten by Volume

Worldcall Telecom33,019,000
Dolmen City REIT29,583,500
Byco Petroleum Pakistan22,828,500
Unity Foods17,735,140
G3 Technologies17,584,000
Maple Leaf Cement Factory16,139,894
Aisha Steel Mills13,212,500
TRG Pakistan10,985,355
Fauji Foods9,809,000
Power Cement8,158,500

 

SectorVolume

Top Sector by Volume

Technology & Communication67,613,838
Cement43,607,145
Food & Personal Care Products33,051,220
Real Estate Investment Trust29,583,500
Refinery27,328,328
Commercial Banks21,560,278
Engineering19,149,876
Textile Weaving18,092,500
Power Generation & Distribution15,564,948
Miscellaneous14,590,200

 

 

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Pakistan makes notable progress to counter terrorist financing: FATF

December 2, 2021 (MLN): Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has appreciated significant progress made by Pakistan to strengthen the counter-terrorist financing measures, as per its original action plan, the annual report by FATF under the German Presidency for 2020-2021 issued on Wednesday noted.

However, the APG’s 2019 mutual evaluation identified additional deficiencies with the country’s anti-money laundering measures.

The FATF worked with Pakistan’s authorities to develop a new action plan, which includes demonstrating that financial supervisors conduct on-site and offsite checks on non-financial sector businesses and demonstrating an increase in money laundering investigations and prosecutions, including cases involving overseas financing.

Each of the jurisdictions under increased monitoring has provided a high-level commitment to resolve the deficiencies and has agreed to an action plan and timeframes to complete the necessary reforms. It is not a punitive process. The FATF and FATF-style regional bodies will work with the jurisdictions as they report on the progress achieved, the report said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world focused on managing the urgent health crisis, from strained medical services, lockdown measures, mass loss of employment, and struggling businesses to vaccine rollouts. This significantly impacted jurisdictions’ ability to report back on the progress they were making on their respective action plans.

To address this issue, the FATF extended the reporting timelines for monitored jurisdictions and, for the October 2020 Plenary, gave them the option not to report on their progress, given their focus on addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven countries chose to report: Albania, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Mauritius, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. The FATF updated the statements for these countries only.

The FATF also adopted flexible procedures to allow its monitoring programme to continue in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It allowed FATF to resume its work on reviewing and identifying jurisdictions with serious deficiencies in their measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

In February 2021, the FATF identified Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, Morocco, and Senegal. In June 2021, the FATF added Haiti, Malta, the Philippines, and South Sudan to its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring.

The detailed report underlined that during the first year of its German Presidency, the FATF completed important work to strengthen understanding of the links between arms trafficking and terrorist financing. Terrorist attacks often use illegally trafficked weapons, and the illicit arms trade is a predicate offense for money laundering.

Strong and effective measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing are important. Over the years, the FATF has continuously refined its Standards to make sure they address evolving threats and are in line with the risk-based approach. For example, the FATF has refined its measures to protect NPOs from being abused for terrorist financing. The FATF has also clarified that the implementation of these measures should not disrupt or discourage legitimate non-profit activities. The FATF has also promoted a proportionate approach in the implementation of its standards, in order to avoid contributing to derisking and financial exclusion.

Trade-based money laundering (TBML) is one of the most frequently used methods of money laundering. It is also one of the most difficult methods to detect. TBML is hidden among the trillions of dollars of international trade each year.

It often involves criminals falsifying trade documents to disguise illicit proceeds as seemingly legitimate revenue.

In December 2020, the FATF and Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units finalized a report that aims to help the public and private sectors with the challenges of detecting TBML. Using numerous case studies from around the FATF’s Global Network, it explains the ways in which criminals exploit trade transactions to move money, rather than goods.

It explains the most common methods used, such as over-invoicing, under-invoicing, and phantom shipments. The Trade-Based Money Laundering - Trends and Developments report also highlights the actions that countries can take to detect and stop TBML. These include better private-public

“This Plenary year, we have continued to face the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Marcus Pleyer FATF President said.

As millions struggle to cope with its devastating impact, FATF has carried out crucial work, including highlighting how criminals are exploiting the crisis for their own gain and informing governments about how to prevent this, he added.

He also said that it is an exciting time for technology with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics being developed and deployed in many fields. I truly believe new tech has the potential to be a game-changer in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The second year of the German Presidency will include a focus on improving beneficial ownership transparency. Every year hundreds of billions of dollars are laundered through fake companies and the money is used to facilitate crime.

It is clear current beneficial ownership rules are not working. The FATF is reviewing the rules and I hope to see a consensus for a new global standard later this year. We will also focus on money laundering and migrant smuggling, a serious transnational crime that generates significant illicit profits, as well as the real estate sector, art and antiquities, and asset recovery, he noted.

The report noted that the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have a profound impact on societies. Criminals were quick to exploit the pandemic, from mounting cases across the globe of counterfeiting of medical goods, investment fraud adapted cyber-crime scams to the exploitation of economic stimulus measures put in place by governments.

At the same time, governments around the world have had to focus their resources on crucial health services and economic recovery initiatives. It impacted their ability to detect, investigate, prosecute or disrupt money laundering activity.

In this regard, FATF President issued a statement in October 2020, to urge jurisdictions to continue to actively identify, assess, and understand how criminals and terrorists can exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. The FATF has also encouraged the use of technology, including FinTech, RegTech and SupTech to the fullest extent possible to ensure the continuation of essential financial services and the payment exploited it to reform and make better use of technology.

Going forward, the report also highlighted that FATF has been focussing on the illegal trade in wildlife, forestry crime, illegal mining, and waste trafficking. These crimes generate hundreds of billions annually and are destroying the environment, creating massive health and financial costs, and exacerbating climate change.

According to available studies, criminals are making up to $152 billion annually from illegal logging alone, it noted.

Supervisors and operational agencies across the FATF Global Network, as well as the private sector, have been incorporating different digital tools to assist their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) efforts, the report said.

Under the German Presidency, the FATF has launched a series of projects to take stock of the landscape, opportunities, and challenges of digital adoption across the FATF Global Network. They also aim to provide guidance to public and private sectors on harnessing the opportunities that technology can offer to enhance AML/CFT efficiency and effectiveness, the report highlighted.

FATF also started a new project to help operational agencies, especially financial intelligence units, to make better use of technology to strengthen their operational capability, effectiveness, and resilience in detecting suspicious activities and analyzing financial intelligence.

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Monthly market review: Fall into November

December 02, 2021 (MLN): After wrapping the last month on a cheerful note, the capital market in November was dominated by depleting foreign reserves given delay in international monetary fund (IMF) disbursement, foreign selling spree and aggressive hike in the policy rate by the central bank, concluding the month at 45,072 while eroding 1,112 points or 2.41% MoM.

The market commenced the month well in the face of significant rebound in Pak Rupee against the US dollar it settled near Rs170 during early Nov’21. Albeit, delay in the approval of the staff-level agreement between Pakistan and IMF under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Program tagged with inflationary pressure crushed the bullish momentum. The benchmark KSE-100 index had its more nervous when the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) raised the policy rate by 150bps to 8.75%, higher than the market consensus of 100bps.

While intense foreign selling was witnessed across the bourse due to passive emerging market (EM) outflows accelerated in the last two weeks of the month, ahead of Pakistan’s formal downgrade to FM status that further upset markets already battered by the uncertainty due to the delay in IMF sixth review.

“More than $150m net selling by foreigners at PSX in Nov alone that is close to $450m selling in 11months of 2021. This selling is a major factor affecting PSX. In the last 7 years, net foreign selling has been recorded at US$2.5bn. Foreign ownership is now 1/4 from its peak,” Muhammad Sohail, CEO Topline Securities, said in a tweet.

During Pakistan’s 2017-2021 stint in the MSCI EM Index, foreign institutional investors offloaded about $1.7bn (net). However, more than $140mn of this exited in November 2021, as passive EM funds sold down, distorting the KSE-100’s performance, Raza Jafri, head of equities at Intermarket securities said.

As a result, a key milestone - the staff-level agreement on policies and reforms with the IMF was largely ignored. Although Pakistan still has to fulfill certain prior conditions (SBP Act and tax reforms via a “mini-budget”), the resumption of the IMF program appears almost certain.

In the month of November, cement, technology & communication, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas exploration companies and food & personal care products emerged as the worst-performing sectors as they took away 809 points from the benchmark KSE-100. In particular, the scrips of TRG (-365), LUCK (-163), POL (-123 pts), SEARL (-89 pts) and PSO (-55 pts) turned out to be the most disappointing ones.

During the month, 29 companies traded in green while 70 landed in the red zone. KSE-all-share market cap decreased by nearly $2.40 billion, in November 2021 i.e., 5.17% lower than the previous month. In terms of PKR, the all-share market cap nosedived by Rs232bn i.e., 2.93% lower as compared to the last month.

Flow-wise, as mentioned above, foreigners offloaded $141mn worth of equities during November 2021 with foreign corporates doing the bulk of selling at $152mn. On the local front, companies purchased $49.24mn worth of stocks, followed by insurance companies with $29.56mn.

Outlook

With ease-off in global commodities, IMF-related uncertainty largely behind and event-driven foreign selling is now over, according to market experts, the market is poised for a strong year-end performance after deep underperformance. Meanwhile, the Omicron, a new variant, might not affect this expected optimism, as around 60% adult population of the country is fully vaccinated.  

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PKR falls by 95 paisa in the interbank market

December 02, 2021 (MLN): Pakistani rupee (PKR) returned to its traditional downward slide against the greenback today after spending two sessions under the gaining spree, depreciating by 95 in the interbank market as the currency closed the day's trade at PKR 176.42 per USD.

The fall in PKR is primarily attributed to the widening trade deficit of $5.107 billion in November’21, which has ballooned by 2.62x YoY compared to the same period last year.

Cumulatively, the local unit had gained 72 paisa during the previous two sessions on the back of a deposit agreement worth $3billion signed between Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

This rising import bill poses a serious threat on the external side while putting pressure on the home currency. As per foreign trade data, imports touched a record high of $8.01bn from $4.12bn recorded in the corresponding month last year, depicting an increase of 94.41%.

Expressing his concerns on the ongoing situation, Asad Rizvi, the former treasury Head at Chase Manhattan said the recent economic trend is very alarming.

Trade & financial flows has exposed the fiscal & monetary weakness by not mitigating the effects that have clearly jeopardized the economy,” he added.

The rupee endured a volatile trading session with quotes being recorded in a range of 1.25 rupees per USD showing an intraday high bid of 176.70 and an intraday Low offer of 175.45.

Within the Open Market, PKR was traded at 176/177.75 per USD.

According to the data compiled by Mettis Global, the local unit has depreciated by 10.70% or PKR 18.87 in the fiscal year-to-date against the USD. Similarly, the rupee has weakened by 9.40% or PKR 16.58 in CY21, with the month-to-date (MTD) position showing a decline of 0.40%.

Meanwhile, the currency lost 62 paisa to the Pound Sterling as the day's closing quote stood at PKR 234.35 per GBP, while the previous session closed at PKR 233.74 per GBP.

Similarly, PKR's value weakened by 89 paisa against EUR which closed at PKR 199.58 at the interbank today.

On another note, within the money market, the overnight repo rate towards the close of the session was 8.60/8.75 percent, whereas the 1-week rate was 8.85/8.95 percent.

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