The departed week remained satisfactory from an economic perspective. This past week brought a series of economic events both in terms of data releases and the developments in public policy.
On Friday, the 100th meeting of the National Accounts Committee chaired by the Secretary, Statistics Division was held to review the final and revised estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the years 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively in which the final growth rate of GDP for the year 2016-17 has been estimated at 5.37 percent which was 5.38 percent in the revised estimates. Moreover, the revised growth rate of GDP for the year 2017-18 is 5.22 percent which was provisionally estimated at 5.79 percent.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) reported a shortfall of Rs191 billion against the target projected for the first seven months of this fiscal year.
On Wednesday, the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) chaired by Finance Minister, Asad Umar, discussed the matter of inflated gas billings to the consumers. The Committee decided to conduct an independent audit of the billing for December 2018 through external auditors in addition to the inquiry regarding excessive billing already conducted by the Petroleum Division.
On the upside, the government is in the process of finalizing a policy to exploit massive Shale gas and oil reserves, which were identified after a study carried out in collaboration with the USAID, covering lower and middle Indus Basin.
As a major sign of increasing economic cooperation, Pakistan and Russia on Wednesday signed an inter corporate agreement for the laying of more than 1,500 km offshore gas pipeline costing $10 billion that would be transporting natural gas from the Russian gas company Gazprom’s sources in the Middle East to Pakistan with possibility of extending it further to South Asian countries.
On Friday, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy Lijian Zhao said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects were progressing satisfactorily and number of large-scale projects would be completed over the next few months.
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On the down side, the US ratings agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) on Monday lowered Pakistan’s long-term sovereign rating to ‘B-’ from ‘B’ on the diminished growth prospects as well as elevated external and fiscal stresses.
Moreover, the statistical and financial data releases this week apprised that:
- The exports of readymade garments earned $1.2 billion during the first half of the current fiscal year (2018-19), showing growth of 0.89 percent over the corresponding period of last year.
- The domestic sales of petroleum products declined by 13% YoY in January, whereas compared to last month, the sales increased by 8% as the quantity sold stood at 1.56 million tons.
- As of February 1, 2019, around 10.6 million bales of cotton arrived at various ginneries all over Pakistan. As compared to the corresponding period of last year, this quantity is short by 7.2%.
- The federal government’s net borrowing for budgetary support is recorded at Rs.805.9 billion for the period July 1 – January 25, 2019.
- The overall production of petroleum commodities witnessed a year on year decrease of 4.52% during first five months of the current fiscal year
- The workers’ remittances witnessed a robust growth of 13.2 percent during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2018-19), with inflows crossing the 5 billion dollars mark in a quarter for the first time.
- Mitchell’s Fruit Farms Limited (MFFL)’s announced depressing results for the year ending September 2018, as its losses increased by nearly Rs.262 million. The company stated its losses at Rs.292 million and Loss per share at Rs.37.16. It also announced earnings result for the period ended December 31, 2018, which reported losses of Rs.5 million and Loss per share of Rs.0.76.
- Jubilee General Insurance Company Limited (JGICL) suffered a decline of Rs.50.7 million (or 43%, YoY) during CY18, as its annual profit logged in at Rs.1.07 billion and EPS stood at Rs.5.91. The company also announced a final cash dividend at Rs.4 per share, that is, 40%.
- Gadoon Textile Mills reported bottom-line earnings of Rs.565 million and Earnings per share of Rs.20.18 for the half year ended December 31, 2018, depicting a year on year growth of around 40%.
- Pakistan’s non-energy imports amounted to $10.4 billion during the first quarter of fiscal year 2018-19 (Q1-FY19), showing a decline of 5.3%, YoY.
- Pakistan’s Forex reserves increased by USD 82.60 Million during the week and the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at USD14,885.1 million on Feb 01, 2019.
- The overseas investors once again indulged in excessive purchasing of securities as during the week ended February 1, 2019, the net purchase of securities via Specially Convertible Rupee Accounts (SCRA) was recorded at Rs. 2,143 million i.e. approximately ten times more than that of previous week.
- Cement sector posted double digit decline of 10.70 percent in growth in the month of January compared with corresponding month last year raising alarm bells among producers sitting on huge production capacity.
- Engro Fertilizer (EFERT) recorded a 56% rise in annual net income for the period ended December 2018, marking its profits at Rs.17.4 billion and EPS at Rs.13.04.
- The imports of agriculture machinery into the country during first half of current financial year witnessed 8.95 percent growth as compared to last year.
- Engro Foods Limited (EFOODS)’s net income logged in at Rs.63.8 million (EPS: Rs.0.08) while last year’s net earnings were Rs.379.3 million (EPS: Rs.0.49). This marks a decline of over 83%, YoY.
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