Pakistan Stock Exchange bled profusely today. Rising number of covid cases coupled with sharp rise in the infection rate propelled Punjab government to impose lockdown is several cities with higher than 12% infection rate. However, industrial activities would not be suspended. Sentiment has dampened over similar expected measures in Sindh. Similarly, SAPM’s Nadeem Babar’s being asked to resign by the PM also dismayed Refinery investors. Meanwhile, currency has strengthened continuously against USD to touch Rs 154 today.
KASB Market View
Lockdown restrictions reduce the demand for USD in Pakistan as economic activities grind. We expect negativity to prevail as well as selling pressure continues & buyers wait for the dip. We saw major off-market transaction in MCB from insiders, as per the PSX notice. From FX reserves perspective, World Bank’s $1.3n + IMF’s $500m and potential, $2-2.5b Eurobond would keep sentiment strong in the upswing once covid cases decelerate.
PM Imran removes Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh
Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to remove Abdul Hafeez Shaikh from the post of finance minister, Federal Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz confirmed on Monday while speaking to private news channel. He said that Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar will be given an additional charge of finance ministry.
ECC to allow import of cotton, yarn from India
ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet is to allow import of cotton and yarn through land route (including India) aimed at ensuring provision of raw material to the value-added sector at cheaper rates.
No NOC required for provincial govts to procure any registered Covid vaccine: PM’s aide
As Pakistan continues to grapple with the third and potentially more deadly wave of the novel coronavirus, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr Faisal Sultan has clarified that no no-objection certificate (NOC) is required for any provincial government to procure any registered Covid-19 vaccine.
President Alvi, Defence Minister Khattak test positive for Covid-19
After Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus. “I have tested positive for Covid-19. May Allah have mercy on all Covid affectees,” Alvi wrote on his official Twitter handle.
Opposition parties object to tax ordinances
ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties on Monday declared the Income Tax Ordinance and Nepra Ordinance unconstitutional and urged the National Assembly speaker to withdraw the ordinances. The opposition also demanded that the government withdraw proposed legislation that seeks greater autonomy for the central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Rupee at its strongest since Feb 17
The rupee continues to strengthen against the dollar and has now returned to its pre-Covid level. During intraday, the rupee is trading at 154.15 as of 1 pm PST after gaining 42 paisas compared to Friday. This is the strongest the rupee has been since February 17, 2020, when the rupee traded at Rs154.16.
NA proceedings: Opposition demands withdrawal of proposed draft of SBP Bill
ISLAMABAD: The opposition members in the National Assembly Monday criticised the government on proposing a draft of “State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2021” and vowed not to let the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) become a “subsidiary of International Monetary Fund (IMF).”
Payment to IPPs: Ministry says process put on hold due to NAB notice
ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Energy (Power Division) said on Monday that payment of Rs 85 billion-first installment of agreed amount to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), established under the pre-1994 Power Policy and the 1994 Power Policy was due on March 29, 2021 but the process has been put on hold due to a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) notice.
Pakistan, ADB agrees to expand economic portfolio
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday agreed to continue discussing ways to deepen bilateral development partnership and ensure effectiveness of the ongoing economic portfolio.
Moody’s says Robust growth in Pakistan’s Islamic banking a credit positive
International credit rating agency Moody’s has termed the impressive growth in Pakistan’s Islamic banking assets as credit positive for banks. On Wednesday, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), released its quarterly Islamic Banking Bulletin for December 2020, which showed that Shariah-compliant banking assets grew 30 percent in 2020.
China’s Century Steel to invest $242.2 m in Rashakai SEZ
China’s Century Steel will invest a total of $242.2 million in Rashakai SEZ in three phases, Gwadar Pro reported on Monday. The firm recently announced to have acquired 40 acres of land in the SEZ with plans to invest $50 million to produce 0.25 million tonnes of steel products. The firm is presently building its plant in Rashakai, being the first ever investment in the SEZ. However, as against the earlier plans of $50 million, the company will invest $79 million in the first phase to double its capacity to 0.5 million tonnes of reinforcing or construction steel.
Govt retains corporate income tax exemption to REITs
ISLAMABAD: The government has retained the corporate income tax exemption available to the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) through the Tax Laws second Amendment Ordinance, 2021, to encourage investment in the REITs.
Complete lockdown with over 12pc positivity rate from April 1
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Monday announced that the provincial government will not impose any restrictions on economic activities but lockdown will be imposed in districts with a Covid-19 positivity rate of more than 12 percent from April 1 to 11, to curb the spread of the disease.
Private sector likely to import LNG by April 21
ISLAMABAD: The private sector is likely to start import of LNG by April 21, 2021 as grant of unutilised Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal capacity is currently in process. According to a private sector importer, the private sector has suggested some changes in third-party rules to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
Honda hikes bike price by Rs 2,000 in Pakistan
Pakistan’s top selling motorcycle company Honda has announced that it will be increasing its bike prices by Rs2,000. It is the third time company has increased its prices this year. The new prices will be applicable from April 1. Earlier in January and February, the company increased bike prices by as much as Rs3,000 and Rs3,400, respectively.
Cars to Get Cheaper as Govt Mulling to Remove Additional Customs Duty
The government is considering abolishing 7 percent Additional Customs Duty (ACD) on the auto sector in the next federal budget (2021-22), top government officials revealed to Propakistani on Monday.
Import of raw sugar: SBP allows 100pc advance payment
KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed sugar mills to make advance payment up to 100 percent of the value of the contract for import of raw sugar. The federal government has recently allowed import of 300,000 metric tons of raw sugar by the sugar mills with tax concession.
Sugar ‘Satta’ scam of Rs110 bn: FIA issues notices to eight major sugar mill owners
LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday issued call up notices to eight sugar mill owners for their alleged involvement in sugar ‘Satta’ (speculative pricing) scam worth Rs110 billion.
PNSC plans to acquire Aframax tanker for expansion
KARACHI: Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) has planned to acquire a used AFRAMAX tanker, with a deadweight of 10,5000 tons, to expand its customer base in the tanker segment.
4,000 corona cases reported for third consecutive day
ISLAMABAD: The country has recorded over 4,000 coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day as 4,525 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of the Covid-19 cases to 659,116.
-Word of the Day-
A dividend is the distribution of some of a company’s earnings to a class of its shareholders, as determined by the company’s board of directors. Common shareholders of dividend-paying companies are typically eligible as long as they own the stock before the ex-dividend date