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PM directs to ensure availability of essential items on...

October 15, 2019: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the ministries concerned to take measures to make the prices of essential items stable as well as ensuring their availability in markets for the benefit of common man.

Briefing media on cabinet decisions in Islamabad this evening, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said Prime Minister directed that strict action will be taken against profiteers and hoarders as it is main responsibility of the government to ensure provision of goods to the people.

In this regard, the Prime Minister has convened a meeting of provincial chief ministers and chief secretaries on Friday next in which measures would be discussed to activate the price control committees at grass roots level.

Prime Minister directed that a mechanism should be developed in coordination with provincial Auqaf Departments to take steps for land retrieval and its proper use for public service purposes. A data bank on these lands should also be prepared.

The cabinet endorsed the decisions of previous meeting of Economic Coordination Committee.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the Prime Minister took the cabinet into confidence regarding his recent visits to China and Iran. In China, he discussed economic, defense, social, business, and people to people ties between Pakistan and China with Chinese leadership to enhance bilateral relations and further improve cooperation between the two countries.

In addition, Prime Minister thanked China for taking this principled stand. The cabinet expressed satisfaction on dynamic developments in relation with China.

The Prime Minister also took the cabinet into confidence regarding his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia in a bid to mend differences between the brotherly Islamic countries. She said Pakistan's economic and strategic power can increase to manifold when the brotherly Muslim countries are united.

FATF expresses satisfaction on measures taken by Pakistan

October 15, 2019: Financial Action Task Force has expressed satisfaction on the measures taken by Pakistan and its progress in various areas.

Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force started in Paris on Sunday will continue till Friday next.         

A Pakistani delegation led by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar told the FATF meeting that Pakistan has made positive progress in 20 out of twenty-seven points.

China, Turkey and Malaysia appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan.  

Meanwhile, representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions around the world, the IMF, UN, World Bank and other organizations are attending the meeting.

Six days of meetings will focus on disrupting financial flows linked to crimes and terrorism and discuss ways to contribute to global safety and security.

Asian markets edge up but caution keeps traders in...

Oct 15, 2019: Asian markets mostly rose but investor caution returned as the optimism fanned by Donald Trump's much-vaunted China trade deal wore off, while the pound was boosted by a report saying a Brexit deal was taking shape.

While Friday's mini agreement between the world's economic superpowers put off fresh tariffs and saw them reach common ground on some issues, observers pointed out it was light on detail and left other major levies in place.

And, despite Trump's insistence that the "phase one" agreement was "the greatest and biggest deal", Beijing said it wanted to hold more talks and called for a delay in more tariffs before it would sign.

Equity traders, who have been under pressure from the trade war as well as the slowing global economy and worries about Brexit among others, seized on the news and sent regional markets surging Monday.

But they struggled to build on that as questions swirled over the value of the deal.

"It has taken precisely one working day of the new week for optimism to fade about the US-China trade deal lite/mini/part one," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia-Pacific at OANDA.

"The rhetoric-high, but detail-light trade announcement in Washington DC on Friday has been tempered by China being both a lot more circumspect and requesting additional talks before signing an agreement."

He said that while he expected the two to hammer out something for Trump and counterpart Xi Jinping to sign before they are due to meet next month, "the pseudo-deal itself represents nothing more than a holding action".

"Everyone's a winner, but everything stays the same, as no progress on the hard stuff has occurred in reality."

Still, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that officials would hold further talks by phone this week and next to finalise the deal, while he also defended it on CNBC.

"There is a fundamental agreement in principle," he said. "There are still some issues that need to be worked out in wording but I would say we have every expectation that phase one will close.

- Pound on the rise -

In early trade, Hong Kong and Sydney were each down 0.1 percent, and Shanghai slipped 0.6 percent.

Manila and Jakarta also fell but Tokyo jumped 1.7 percent by lunch as dealers returned from a long weekend to play catch-up with the rest of Asia.

Singapore, Seoul and Wellington were all 0.2 percent higher while Taipei added 0.4 percent.

On currency markets, the pound rebounded after Britain's Daily Telegraph said a divorce deal was taking shape, EU and British negotiators hailing a positive day of talks on the Northern Ireland issue.

The paper quoted unnamed sources as saying there was "cautious optimism", while the BBC said the EU is considering holding an emergency summit to push through a possible deal. It said there was not enough time to get anything done before a summit set for this week.

The reports will come as welcome news after European officials played down the chances of an agreement that had been aired by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar last week.

Sterling was up against the dollar and euro on Tuesday, with David Kelly at JP Morgan Asset Management saying the Johnson-Varadkar talks had sparked a "whirlwind of diplomacy between the British government and the Europeans to try to come up with an agreement this week".

He added in a note: "While it is by no means certain that the UK and Europe can agree to a deal or that such a deal can make it through the UK parliament, there does appear to be recognition from the British side that any Brexit deal will have to treat Northern Ireland very differently from the rest of the UK.

"In the multiple permutations of Brexit endgames, this has reduced the risk of a damaging 'no deal' Brexit."

- Key figures around 0230 GMT -

  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.7 percent at 22,174.45 (break)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,498.03
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,990.72
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2615 from $1.2555 at 2040 GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 87.44 pence from 87.79 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1032 from $1.1024
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.36 yen from 108.39 yen
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 11 cents at $53.48 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 18 cents at $59.17 per barrel
  • New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,787.36 (close)
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,213.45 (close)

AFP/APP

Pound resumes slide at start of key Brexit week

Oct 15, 2019: The British pound fell against the euro and dollar Monday, the start of a pivotal week for Britain and the European Union to strike a Brexit deal.

European stock markets also retreated as weak Chinese data offset a partial trade deal between China and the United States, analysts said.

Asian investors had earlier Monday saluted the trade deal, sending regional equity markets rallying, though observers were sceptical about the overall significance of the agreement.

Official data meanwhile showed Chinese imports and exports fell more than forecast in September, as US tariffs and cooling demand at home and abroad hit trade in the world's second largest economy.

The figures weighed heavily on the oil market, with crude futures slumping around two percent. They had surged Friday, fuelled by a blast on an Iranian tanker and news of the US-China deal.

"Although the US and China made some progress late last week and President Trump suspended tariffs due to come in in mid-October, the damage from the existing trade restrictions is being felt," noted Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index trading group.

She added: "The pound has dropped like a stone overnight after Brexit negotiations didn't lead to any significant progress over the weekend."

Sterling rallied late last week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said after meeting that they could see a "pathway" to reaching a Brexit deal.

But European officials on Sunday said obstacles remained on how to manage trade and customs between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom.

Time is running out to sign off on any deal at an October 17-18 European Union summit, the last such meeting before Britain's scheduled departure from the European Union at the end of the month.

Sterling "is in the red as dealers are less hopeful that a deal will be struck between the UK and the EU," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"Sterling enjoyed a massive rally at the back end of last week due to optimism surrounding the Brexit talks, but now the Northern Ireland-customs union roadblock has popped up again," he said, adding the possibility of Britain requesting an extension has helped avoid further losses.

Wall Street was mixed in late morning trading, with trading volumes low on the Columbus Day holiday.

- Key figures around 1530 GMT -

  • Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2583 from $1.2645 at 2050 GMT on Friday
  • Euro/pound: UP at 87.37 pence from 87.26 pence
  • Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1028 from $1.1035
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.38 yen from 108.39 yen
  • London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,213.45 points (close)
  • Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 5,643.08 (close)
  • Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 12,486.56 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,554.73
  • New York - Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 26,830.43
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 26,521.85 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,007.88 (close)
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holiday
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 2.6 percent at $58.91 per barrel
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.7 percent at $53.20 per barrel

AFP/APP

10 Financial institutions submit proposals for Eurobond issue

October 14, 2019 (MLN): Financial institutions from various countries responded to the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) request for proposal for the issue of Eurobond and Sukuks.

According to sources, the institutions were Dubai Islamic Bank, Bank of China, JPMorgan, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Emirates NBD, Deutsche Bank, China International Trust Investment Corporation (CITIC) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

The Ministry of Finance will make two consortiums, one each for Eurobond and Sukuk issue and determine the issue size at a future date.

 

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