Pakistan Economy

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  • جو شخص بہانہ بنانے میں بہت اچھا ہو ، وہ کسی اور کام میں اچھا نہیں ہو سکتا
  • پیسہ بدترین آقا ہے، مگر بہترین غلام بھی ہے
  • کسی فرد یا قوم کو برباد کرنا ہے تو اس کی امید کو مار ڈالیے اور اگر اسے تعمیر کرنا ہے اس کی امید کا دیا روشن کیجئے
  • کامیابی سوچ سے ملتی ہے
  • زندگی کی دوڑ میں دوسروں سے آگے نکلنے کیلئے تیز چلنا ضروری نہیں، بلکہ ہر رکاوٹ کے باوجود چلتے رہنا اور مسلسل چلتے رہنا ضروری ہے
  • جب باتیں آمنے سامنے ہوتی ہیں تو جھوٹ اور غلط فہممی کا خاتمہ ہو جاتا ھے
  • بہت اونچے پہاڑ پر چڑھنے کے لئیے قدم آہستہ آہستہ اٹھانا پڑتے ہیں
  • تین چیزیں نیکی کی بنیاد ہیں، تواضع بے توقع, سخاوت بے منت اور خدمت بے طلبِ مکافات
  • غربت اور افلاس کی وجہ پیداوار کی کمی نہیں، بلکہ اسکی غلط تقسیم ہے
  • دولت ہونے سے آدمی اپنے آپ کو بھول جاتا ہے اور دولت نہ ہونے سے لوگ اس کو بھول جاتے ہیں
  • مصروف زندگی نماز کو مشکل بنا دیتی ہے , لیکن نماز مصروف زندگی کو بھی آسان بنا دیتی ہے
  • گناہ کو پھیلانے کا ذریعہ بھی مت بنو, کیونکہ ہوسکتا ہے آپ تو توبہ کرلو, لیکن جس کو آپ نے گناہ پر لگایا ہے وہ آپ کی آخرت کی تباہی کا سبب بن جائے
  • اپنی زندگی میں ہر کسی کو اہمیت دو, جو اچھا ہوگا وہ خوشی دے گا اور جو برا ہوگا وہ سبق دے گا
  • درخت جتنا اونچا ہو گا اس کا سایہ اتنا ہی چھوٹا ہو گا, اس لیے اونچا بننے کی بجائے بڑا بننے کی کوشش کرو
  • جو شخص کوشش اور عمل میں کوتاہی کرتا ہے, پیچھے رہنا اس کا مقدر ہے
  • جو لوگ میانہ روی اختیار کرتے ہیں, کسی کے محتاج نہیں ہوتے
  • حقیقی بڑا تو وہ ہے جو اپنے ہر چھوٹے کو پہچانتا ہوں اور اس کی ضروریات کا خیال رکھتا ہو

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News Pulse (December 27, 2017)

Nawaz launches ‘AdlTehreek’
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif Tuesday announced to launch "Justice Movement (AdlTehreek)" to ensure provision of speedy justice across the board in real sense. While addressing the PML-N social media activists' convention here at Model Town on Tuesday, Nawaz said: "Time has come to launch "Adl (justice) Tehreek for justice for all." He said provision of cheap and speedy justice to all was part of the PML-N manifesto in 2013 but they could not make progress over it due to sit-ins and conspiracies against the PML-N government.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171227330437/

Imran ready to sit with Zardari for Qadri’s anti-government move
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan promised full and unconditional support to PAT chief DrTahirulQadri in his proposed anti-government movement, saying he is ready to sit with PPP Co-chairperson AsifZardari in the leadership of Qadri for seeking justice for the victims of the Model Town massacre.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/261182-imran-ready-to-sit-with-zardari-for-qadri-s-anti-government-move

NAB chief finally orders inquiry into Panamagate
After putting it off for nearly two years, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has finally decided to tighten the noose around owners of offshore companies exposed in the Panama Papers. At a meeting on Tuesday, NAB Chairman retired Justice JavedIqbal ordered an immediate inquiry into the companies held by 435 Pakistanis in tax havens abroad.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1379117/nab-chief-finally-orders-inquiry-into-panamagate

Rs 318.5 billion released under PSDP
The government has released Rs 318.5 billion (31.8 percent) including Rs 67.6 billion foreign aid for different development projects under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2017-18 against total budgeted allocation of Rs 1,001 billion. According to the latest data released by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, the government has released Rs 78.37 billion (24.7 percent of total budgeted amount of federal ministries) including Rs 2.34 billion for development projects of various federal ministries against the total budgeted allocation of Rs 319.9 billion.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171227330448/

CPEC could be extended to Afghanistan
China and Pakistan will look at extending their $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, part of China''s ambitious Belt and Road plan linking China with Asia, Europe and beyond. China has tried to position itself as a helpful party to promote talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan, both uneasy neighbours ever since Pakistan''s independence in 1947.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171227330443/

PDWP okays seven roads’ improvement plan
The Punjab Provincial Development Working Party approved widening/ improvement of seven rural roads of the province with an estimated cost of Rs 3963.65 million. The approval was given in the PPDWP's 40th meeting of current fiscal year presided over by Chairman P&D Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan. Secretary and all members of P&D, Provincial Secretaries concerned, and other senior representatives of the relevant Provincial Departments also attended the meeting.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171227330533/

CPEC power projects expected to up GDP by 2 percent
The enhanced power generation capacity, resulting from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, is expected to add two percentage points to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the medium to long-term, an official said on Tuesday. “All the energy projects are aimed at adding 17,045 Megawatts (MW) to mitigate chronic electricity shortfall and provide a reliable support for domestic economic activities and exports,” an official at Planning, Development and Reforms Division told APP.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/260959-cpec-power-projects-expected-to-up-gdp-by-2-percent

Ministry withdraws ”exceptional” support to K-E
Ministry of Energy (Power Division) has reportedly withdrawn "exceptional" support to Karachi Electric (KE) extended by a senior officer of Power Division purportedly on "direct" instructions of Prime Minister aimed at granting upward revision in Multi-Year Tariff (MYT) in accordance with the company''s own assumptions.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171227330469/

Oil near June 2015 high as output cuts tighten market
Oil prices were stable on Tuesday, with Brent crude lingering near 2015 highs on the back of an outlook for healthy demand amid ongoing production cuts led by OPEC and Russia. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $65.28 a barrel, up 3 cents from their last close, but near the $65.83 per barrel briefly on Dec. 12 - the highest since June 2015.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/260957-oil-near-june-2015-high-as-output-cuts-tighten-market
 

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News Pulse (December 29, 2017)

Forex reserves decline by $194 million
The country's total liquid foreign reserves fell $194.4 million during the last week due to external debt servicing. According to State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP), weekly foreign exchange reserve report issued on Thursday, with current decline, the country's totaled foreign reserves were stood at $20.189 billion as on December 22, 2017 compared to $20.383 billion as on December 15, 2017.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171229331125/

Pakistan has to repay $6b foreign debt in six months
Pakistan has to pay back $6 billion to foreign creditors in the next six months, announced Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal, but hastily added the government was in a position to manage these repayments. In his maiden interaction with media after taking oath a day earlier, Afzal said in order to broaden the tax net, an amnesty scheme was also under consideration to facilitate Pakistanis in bringing back money from abroad.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1595463/2-pakistan-repay-6b-foreign-debt-six-months/

ABAD fears $250 million commitments in jeopardy
ArifJeewa, chairman, Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) said that commitment of US$250 million made during ABAD expo 2017 were now in jeopardy, following the ban on high rise buildings and skyscrapers. He said that investors now appear reticent in pouring investments worth Rs 900 billion in the city that led to jobs cut and anticipated that if the said ban persists, two million workers including engineers, architects and other skilled and unskilled labours would lose their jobs.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171229331133/

Army warns US against ‘unilateral action’ in Pakistan
The military on Thursday warned the US against ‘unilateral action’, saying that despite its desire for cooperation on Afghanistan, there could be no compromise on national respect and sovereignty. “The armed forces are working with friends and want to continue doing so, but there can be no compromise on our national honour. We do not want a conflict with our friends, but will ensure the security of Pakistan,” Military spokesperson Maj Gen AsifGhafoor told a media briefing, recalling that the country was being threatened with “unilateral action” by the US.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1379499/army-warns-us-against-unilateral-action-in-pakistan

Additional 2 percent duty drawback on exports to Russia allowed
The government has allowed the textile and non-textile sectors to get an additional two percent duty drawback on exports to Russia under the revised Prime Minister''s Export Incentives Package. The government revised the Prime Minister''s Export Incentives Package on October 20, 2017 and again on December 12, 2017, where an additional two percent duty drawback was allowed for exports to non-traditional markets ie Africa, Latin America, non-EU European countries, Commonwealth of Independent States and Oceania, but Russia was not included in any of the list.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171229331060/

Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project delayed further
The completion of Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project has been delayed further, as it is now expected to be fully operational in June instead of earlier completion date of April 2018, an announcement said on Thursday. The formal launching of 969MW Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project has also been delayed further.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/261698-neelum-jhelum-hydropower-project-delayed-further

After losing 27pc this year, power sector braces for more shocks in 2018
With the operations of scores of inefficient thermal power plants hanging in balance, country’s listed power sector eroded by an alarming 27 percent in 2017, analysts said fearing several generators would go out of business as a capacity addition of over 14,000 megawatts (MW) was due by 2020.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/26...r-power-sector-braces-for-more-shocks-in-2018

Govt urged not to raise POL prices
The government should not even think about any increase in petroleum prices at this critical stage when all indicators are not in favour of the economy and instead bring down the sales tax on petroleum products to the level charged from other sectors, a statement said on Thursday. LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeeshan Khalil said that any increase in POL prices will badly disturb the industrial, trade, economic and social activities.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/261716-govt-urged-not-to-raise-pol-prices

Nepra scales down tariff by Rs3.11/unit
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Thursday approved Rs 3.11 per unit reduction in power tariff for ex-Wapda distribution companies for the month of November under the head of monthly fuel adjustment formula. In a public hearing on a petition filed by Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G), the Nepra decided that a relief of Rs3.11 per unit or Rs 25 billion shall be passed on to consumers for the month of November. The hearing was chaired by Chairman Nepra Tariq Sadozai.
http://nation.com.pk/29-Dec-2017/nepra-scales-down-tariff-by-rs3-11-unit
 

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News Pulse (January 01, 2018)

Banking sector profit down 2pc in 3Q 2017
Pakistan Banking Sector profit declined by 2 percent, excluding HBL’s one off loss of Rs14 billion booked during 3Q2017 (due to $224 million fine imposed on its New York branch). Net Interest Income (NII) of the sector was up 5 percent YoY to Rs113 billion due to 14 percent growth in sector’s deposits. Margins of the sector have come down due to maturity of high yielding Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs).
http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/karachi/2018-01-01/page-8/detail-6

APCMA regrets increase in duties on coal
While all the issues raised by the cement manufacturers in the last few months had remain unaddressed, increase in duties on coal had increased the cost of production, said the APCMA spokesman on Sunday. He said that the increased consumption of cement did not mean that the government imposed duties on its inputs instead of providing relief to the industry, which was badly hit by decline in exports, adding that the government should also honour its commitment made to the cement sector that excise duty would be withdrawn in a phased manner. “The government can generate revenue by stopping the smuggling of cement from Iran and under-invoicing as inaction against the culprits is not only disturbing the industry, but eating up major chunk of the revenue,” he suggested.
http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/karachi/2018-01-01/page-8/detail-3

Prices revision tomorrow: Ogra recommends hefty increase in POL prices
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Friday recommended hefty increase in prices of petroleum products following the recent fluctuation in global oil prices. The regulator recommended an increase of Rs 4.06 per litre (5.2%) in the price of petrol, Rs 6.03 per litre (16 percent) in high speed diesel (HSD), Rs 13.58 per litre (23.6%) in the price of superior kerosene oil (SKO) and Rs 12.49 per liter (24%) in the price of light diesel oil (LDO).
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171230331350/

Power generation from Thar coal to begin next year
Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair said on Friday that Pakistan for the first time is going to use Thar coal for power generation, as a single unit of 660 megawatts (2x330MW), expected to start supplying power to the national grid from next year. Speaking at an interactive session held by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) at the Governor House, he said there is going to be a combined investment of $4.5 billion, which is not restricted to only coal mining, but about transforming the entire landscape of the area.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1379576/power-generation-from-thar-coal-to-begin-next-year

Urea sales jump 60pc in Nov on strong demand for Rabi crops
Urea manufacturers posted their best-monthly sales in November, growing volume by 60 percent to 602,000 tons on robust demand from the local farmers, though the government allowed further extension in export deadline, industry officials said on Saturday. They added that the sales of diammonium phosphate (DAP) hit a historic high during November 2017 getting a strong thrust by the government’s subsidy scheme, while urea off-take also remained in top gear fueled by a high demand for the major winter crops.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/262572-urea-sales-jump-60pc-in-nov-on-strong-demand-for-rabi-crops

Textile exports improve
Textile exports have started showing a positive trend, giving rise to hopes that the full-year proceeds will hit USD 13 billion after a gap of two years. Textile exports jumped 7.66 percent year-on-year to USD 5.51 billion in first five months of current fiscal. Upsurge in the value-added textiles has become the main driver of growth in the country's overall exports. Reviewing the export performance of 'Textile Sector' during the ending year, Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, Shaiq Jawed, mentioned that during fiscal year 2016-17, textile exports witnessed continuous negative growth; however, from beginning of current year, textile exports have taken an upsurge.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171230331433/

Imports from Pakistan to Afghanistan drop by 80pc
As its trade with Central Asia states has been on the rise, Afghanistan’s imports from Pakistan have declined by 80 percent, say traders in northern Balkh province. Due to commerce and transit issues between Afghanistan and Pakistan, businessmen in the province say imports through the Torkham port have precipitously fallen. Meanwhile, officials of the customs department say their revenue in 2017 had increased by 16 percent over the last year, thanks to increased imports via Hairatan port from Central Asia. Customs Director Abdur Rahman Rasikh told Afghan media that most of Afghanistan’s customs revenue came from taxes on imported business goods.
http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/karachi/2018-01-01/page-8/detail-5

Diamer-Bhasha Dam: China refuses to finance project
China has reportedly refused to finance $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam power project due to transboundary dispute between Pakistan and India, citing the stance already taken by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB), well informed sources told Business Recorder. This has been informed by Secretary Water Resources Shamail Ahmad Khawaja at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on CPEC presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. This update was also placed before the federal cabinet a couple of days ago.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2017/12/20171230331333/

FBR misses tax collection target by Rs50b
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) collected Rs1722 billion during first half (July to December) of the current fiscal year, missing the target by a wide margin. The FBR has missed the first half’s target by Rs50 billion. However, despite missing the target, the FBR’s tax collection has shown healthy growth during first six months of the year 2017-18. The FBR remains on track to achieve annual collection target of Rs4013 billion. During first half of the current financial year, the FBR has received provisional net revenue of over Rs1722 billion as against Rs1466 billion collected during the same period in the previous year, registering an increase of around 17.5 percent over the revenue collected during the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.
http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/karachi/2018-01-01/page-8/detail-4

Reports on country's gross financing needs highly exaggerated
Ministry of Finance on Sunday rejected the recently published reports regarding high gross external financing requirements of Pakistan and the risks they pose to sustainability of the external account going forward and said that Pakistan's gross external financing requirements in FY 2018 had been misreported with different media reports putting the figures differently; either between $31 billion and $26 billion or $17 billion and $12 billion. "Such reports misinterpret external account data and are entirely misleading. First, Pakistan continues to maintain a healthy level of foreign exchange reserves despite pressures. Second, the gross financing need for the year 2018 is not as high as reported in the media," a spokesman of the ministry said in a statement.
http://nation.com.pk/E-Paper/karachi/2018-01-01/page-8/detail-1
 

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News Pulse (January 02, 2018)

‘US has gotten nothing from aid’: Trump’s grim New Year gift to Pakistan
US President Donald Trump said on Monday that the United States has "foolishly" handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while getting nothing in return and pledged to put a stop to it. "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump wrote on Twitter. "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools."
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180102332031/

Circular debt soars to Rs 525 billion
The country''s circular debt has reached Rs 525 billion due to highly mismanaged power sector after top positions of public sector''s power companies have been occupied by Power Ministry''s officials, well- informed sources told Business Recorder. The circular debt piled up again after the government cleared Rs 480 billion soon after coming to power in June 2013 due to less recovery and high losses.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180102332067/

MoF finalises consolidated fund, public accounts bill
The Ministry of Finance has finalized the ''Federal Consolidated Fund and Public Accounts (Maintenance and Operations) Bill, 2017'' for submission to the cabinet for approval. Sources said the draft law is ready for approval of the finance bigwig and soon after getting his nod, it will be put up to the federal cabinet for approval. They added that Finance Ministry was directed by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance to take immediate steps for making legislation in respect of the federal consolidated fund and public account as required under Article 79 of the Constitution. The Finance Ministry was also directed to submit a monthly compliance report.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180102332061/

Government plans record borrowing in third quarter
In order to meet rising fiscal deficit, the federal government has planned to borrow a record amount of Rs 4.9 trillion from banking sector during January-March period of current fiscal year (FY18). Bankers said that slow foreign inflows and rising expenditures have compelled the government to enhance its reliance on banking system for borrowing. However, they said, the planned amount is much higher than previous auctions.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180102332048/

SBP restricts import of cash USD
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has restricted cash US dollar import by Exchange Companies (ECs) at 35 percent of total export of permissible foreign currencies in a month. Previously, there were no limitations on cash import of US dollar and exchange companies were importing US Dollars against export of permissible foreign currencies in shape of cash or directly in their foreign currency accounts maintained with banks in Pakistan without any restrictions.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180102332051/

Afghanistan loses interest in APTTA
Afghanistan has reportedly lost its interest in existing Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and wants a new trade agreement with inclusion of India, a condition not acceptable to Islamabad, well-informed sources told Business Recorder. Pakistan, sources said, had made several political and diplomatic attempts to hold a scheduled meeting of Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Co-ordination Authority (APTTCA) but the response from Kabul remained discouraging.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180102332039/

Inflation rises to 4.6pc
Inflation edged up 4.6 per cent year-on-year in December 2017 on the back of a persistent increase in petroleum products and regulatory duties on imported consumer goods. This was the highest month-on-month increase since April 2017, heralding a trend that consumer inflation will go up in coming months, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Monday. The rupee was recently depreciated, which will also reflect in the prices of imported goods in the next couple of months.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380209/inflation-rises-to-46pc

32 power projects in pipeline: PPIB
The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) is processing 32 multiple fuel-based power projects of 20,686 megawatts, which are in various stages of development, the body informed the Ministry of Energy in a recent presentation. The PPIB is also taking part in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by processing 12 multiple fuel-based projects of 10,934MW and the Matiari-Lahore transmission line. In recent years, the PPIB issued letters of interest for 22 power projects of 17,090MW and letters of support for 15 projects of 13,150MW. Eleven projects of 10,275MW achieved financial close and commenced construction.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380207/32-power-projects-in-pipeline-ppib

Trade bodies slam hike in POL prices
The increase in petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) prices by the government has attracted strict criticism from the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). Both the chambers rejected the price hike and denounced the move for the effects it will have on the wider economy. SCCI Vice-President Abid Ahmed Khawaja said the price increase will push up the cost of production rendering Pakistani products uncompetitive on the world markets against cheap exports from China, Taiwan and India.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380206/trade-bodies-slam-hike-in-pol-prices

Pak Suzuki cars get costlier
Pak Suzuki Motor Company Ltd (PSMCL) on Monday increase retail car prices by Rs 10,000-20,000. The price of Mehran, Ravi and Bolan has been raised by Rs10,000 while customers will have to pay Rs20,000 more for Wagon R. After increase, the new price of Mehran VX and VXR is Rs689,000 and Rs742,000 respectively. Ravi, Bolan and Cargo Van will cost Rs 706,000, Rs 764,000 and Rs 730,000 respectively while Suzuki Wagon R (VXR and VXL) will be sold at new price of Rs1,074,000 and Rs1,114,000 respectively.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380205/pak-suzuki-cars-get-costlier

PPL finds tight gas in lower Indus Basin
The tight gas potential is being explored in the lower Indus Basin, an official of the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) announced on Monday. The source said that PPL, one of the key players in the exploration and production sector, is playing its due role in the development of unconventional reservoirs in the country. In order to explore gas in the lower Indus basin, PPL drilled a well in Naushehro Feroze exploration lease. Tight gas potential was confirmed through successful drilling and testing of the first well at Naushahro Feroze X1 (NF X-1), it was further pointed out.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380204/ppl-finds-tight-gas-in-lower-indus-basin

PYMA demands removal of regulatory duty
Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) on Monday urged Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr. Miftah Ismail to remove regulatory duty imposed on yarn imports, a statement said. PYMA Central Chairman Khurshid A Shaikh, Zonal Chairman Muhammad Aslam Moten and Zonal Vice Chairman Muhammad Khalid Gader have expressed their satisfaction over the appointment of Miftah Ismail and expressed the hope that as he possesses an in-depth understanding of the issues being faced by the trade and industry, he must implement his decisions for the enhancement of commercial and industrial activities, it added.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/263214-pyma-demands-removal-of-regulatory-duty

CDWP approves projects worth Rs12.2b
Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved different project worth Rs 12.2 billion for improvement in higher education and science and technology sectors. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission (PC) Sartaj Aziz has said it is first and foremost mission of government to ensure bright future for the young generation through education under government of Pakistan vision -2025 program. The CDWP accorded this approval in its meeting held here on Monday.
https://nation.com.pk/02-Jan-2018/cdwp-approves-projects-worth-rs12-2b
 

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News Pulse (January 03, 2018)

China defends Pakistan after Trump’s outburst
China has reiterated that Pakistan had made enormous sacrifices for the fight against terrorism and the international community should acknowledge its outstanding contributions to the global cause of counterterrorism. “As we have previously said Pakistan has made enormous sacrifices for the fight against terrorism and made very outstanding contributions to the global cause of counterterrorism,” spokesperson for Chinese Foreign Ministry Gen Shuang said during his regular briefing here on Tuesday while responding to a question about US President Donald Trump’s statement regarding Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380456/china-defends-pakistan-after-trumps-outburst

SBP says businesses free to choose yuan for bilateral trade with China
The central bank on Tuesday said trade in local currencies between Pakistan and China is already in place andbusinesses from both the countries are free to choose Yuan for bilateral trade and investments. “The State Bank of Pakistan, in the capacity of the policy maker of financial and currency markets, has taken comprehensive policy related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in CNY (Chinese Yuan),” the central bank said in a statement. “Both public and private sector enterprises (i.e. both Pakistanis and Chinese) are free to choose CNY for bilateral trade and investment activities.”
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/26...to-choose-yuan-for-bilateral-trade-with-china

US confirms new Pakistan aid cuts
The White House has confirmed suspending $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, a move seen as the first step to implementing President Donald Trump’s pledge to tighten economic restrictions on Pakistan. In his first tweet of the New Year, President Trump accused Pakistan on Monday of basing its relationship with the US on “nothing but lies and deceit”. He claimed that the US gave $33 billion aid to Pakistan over the last 15 years but in return “they give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more”.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380457/us-confirms-new-pakistan-aid-cuts

RLNG-based industrial, commercial connections: SNGPL begins working on pipeline augmentation project
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has started working over a project to enhance pipeline capacity fortransmission of imported RLNG to new general industry and commercial areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The pipeline augmentation project would be completed by September 2018 as the SNGPL board has approved the project. Sources said that the federal government relaxedmoratorium on the new RLNG-based industrial and commercial connections in April 2017 after which the SNGPL started receiving fresh applications for general industry and captive power prospective consumers. The management of the SNGPL has received 250 applicationsfor new industrial and commercial connections and out of total, 212 applications are under process following the federal government RLNG policy.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180103332352/

Honda pushes up bike prices
Atlas Honda Ltd (AHL) on Tuesday increased the price of three models of its motorcycles by Rs500-1,000. With an addition of Rs1,000, effective from Jan 1, the Honda CG-125 and CG-125 Delux are now available at Rs107,500 and Rs126,500. The price of 100cc Pridor has been raied by Rs500 to Rs87,000. According to a dealer, prices of other models were left unchanged and no reason was mentioned by the company for the said move.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380400/honda-pushes-up-bike-prices

Korean companies eager to invest in Punjab
Two South Korean companies are eager to invest in primary healthcare and infrastructure development. Punjab Board of Investment and Trade signed memorandum of understanding with Chang Co. Ltd, operating in information technology, consulting with regards to Public Welfare Services, and C&S CO., LTD, a reputed investment company operating private equity fund specializing in infrastructure investment, project management & consultancy on a local and global scale.
https://nation.com.pk/03-Jan-2018/korean-companies-eager-to-invest-in-punjab

PPDWP okays Rs 6.1 billion for Dadhocha dam
The Punjab Provincial Development Working Party approved release of Rs 6.1 billion for the construction of Dadhocha water reservoir on river Soan, 35 km from Rawalpindi in Murree hills to supply drinking water to citizens of Rawalpindi and Islamabad after a delay of about ten years due to intervention of an influential housing society that wanted to consume project land for commercial purposes. However the Supreme Court rescued the Punjab government in 2015 and directed to construct the dam at the most feasible site to provide much needed matter to the citizens of the area.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180103332358/

Work on CPI rebasing complete
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has completed the in-house work on the re-basing of country’s ConsumerPrice Index (CPI), which now requires formal approval from the competent authority for implementation. However, the new base mechanism is likely to be implemented from 2018-19, officials sources said. So far the base 2007-08 is being utilised for evaluating CPI, which has now gone obsolete due to the arrival of many new products in the market, a PBS official said.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380398/work-on-cpi-rebasing-complete

Door open to yuan-based trade with China: SBP
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday made it clear that all arrangements for using Chinese yuan for bilateral trade as well as financing investment activity between Pakistan and China are already in place. On Dec 19, 2017, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that the government was considering a Chinese proposal to use renminbi (RMB or yuan) instead of the US dollar for payments in all bilateral trade between China and Pakistan.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380403/door-open-to-yuan-based-trade-with-china-sbp

LNG deal with QatarGas saves Pakistan $76 million
Buying of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from state-owned QatarGas under the long-term agreement saved Pakistan$76 million in the last three months when compared with the current spot market rates, documents revealed on Tuesday. Official documents, available with The News, showed that Pakistan saved almost Rs8 billion ($76 million) in December, January and February of the fiscal year of 2017/18 because of buying LNG under a 15-year agreement with Qatari government as compared with recent spot purchases.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/263677-lng-deal-with-qatargas-saves-pakistan-76-million

APTMA calls for implementation of long-term policy
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Aamir Fayyaz has urged the government to announce and lay down the implementation mechanism for the agreed long-term policy for the revival and growth of the textile industry. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his meeting with all textile industry stakeholders in September had very wisely desired the Federal Textile Ministry and the textile industry to come up with the long-term policy.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/263693-aptma-calls-for-implementation-of-long-term-policy

Millat Tractors achieves half-yearly production target
Millat Tractors Limited, maintaining its leadership role, achieved half yearly target by producing and selling over 20,000 MF tractors during the first six months of the FY2017-18 vis-à-vis 13,056 tractors sold out during the same period last year showing an increase of 54%. In this connection, a simple yet graceful ceremony was held in the company premises which was attended by Mr. Sikandar Mustafa Khan, Chairman, Millat Group,
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/263698-millat-tractors-achieves-half-yearly-production-target
 

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News Pulse (January 04, 2018)

Sazgar to spend Rs1.7bn on car plant
Sazgar Engineering Works said on Wednesday it will spend Rs1.76 billion on its four-wheeler assembly greenfield project. The project will have a production capacity of 24,000 units per annum and be completed in June 2019, it said in a stock notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange. The company has already signed a vehicle assembly cooperation agreement with a Chinese automaker for the manufacture, assembly, sales and after-sales service of passenger and off-road vehicles.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380603/sazgar-to-spend-rs17bn-on-car-plant

Power ministry to meet all Chinese investors
The Ministry of Power has decided to engage and meet all investors under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) energy projects individually to expedite projects and remove any difficulties. All stakeholders including the Private Power and Infrastructure Board, Alternative Energy Development Board and National Transmission and Despatch Company will be part of these consultations, Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari said during a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Wednesday.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380600/power-ministry-to-meet-all-chinese-investors

US aid cut worries economists; souring ties with foreign donors feared
US government’s decision to wean Pakistan off its financial aids may sour the country’s ties with international financial intuitions and could throw a spanner into much-needed foreign inflows, economists said on Wednesday. A former finance minister said the US decision seems to influence the various multilateral agencies/creditors, such as the International MonetaryFund (IMF), World Bank and Asian Development Bank to close or limit their financial pledges for Pakistan.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/26...mists-souring-ties-with-foreign-donors-feared

WHT system discourages manufacturing sector: PBC
Withholding tax system is promoting trading culture, destroying manufacturing sector and exerting pressure onexternal account position, a business advocacy group said. Pakistan Business Council (PBC) said presumptive tax regime (PTR) where taxes are withheld at the source on the sale of goods, contract execution and import causes huge outflows of foreign exchange in addition to hurt the balance of payments position. PBC recommended the Prime Minister to replace the presumptive tax regime for commercial importers with advance tax and adjustable tax in order to bring them into tax net.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264100-wht-system-discourages-manufacturing-sector-pbc

Reducing cost of power, plants efficiency big challenges: PM
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Wednesday said the government's major challenges are to make power plants more efficient and reduce the cost of electricity. Speaking here at a ceremony of power consumer friendly net-metering framework, the Prime Minister stated that net metering system is a step towards cheap, efficient and more sustainable energy in the country. The Prime Minister said that the concept of net metering is simple but changes are major and will bring benefits only if it is made available to the common man.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180104332594/

CPEC-Centre of Excellence is going ‘great guns’
CPEC-Center of Excellence is committed to democratic process and is open to accountability. Being a think tankthat it is dedicated to sound research and progress, we believe no research ever runs out of a margin to improve and thus grow. However, any investigation process, be it academic or journalistic in nature demands spirit of fairness. Hereby, we would take the opportunity to highlight some of the achievements of Center in merely 10 months’ time since its inauguration in March 2017 in response to the news story published in a section of the press on January 3, 2018.
https://nation.com.pk/04-Jan-2018/cpec-centre-of-excellence-is-going-great-guns

Russian gas exports to Europe hit all-time high
Russia’s gas exports to Europe and Turkey rose by 8.1 per cent to a record high 193.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2017, Alexei Miller, head of Gazprom, said in a statement on Wednesday, despite EU efforts to cut its reliance on Russian energy. Gazprom, run by Miller, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, supplies more than a third of the European Union’s gas.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380599/russian-gas-exports-to-europe-hit-all-time-high

Cotton production up by 7.2pc
Higher cotton production by Sindh and Punjab helped the country improve its overall output by 7.16 per cent year-on-year up to Dec 31, according to the latest figures issued by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association on Wednesday. Yet the production level remained lower than the official revised estimate of 12.6 million bales. The country produced 11.11m bales against 10.36m bales in the corresponding period of the last season. The government initially estimated that cotton production would be 14.1m bales because of the higher acreage of land coming under cultivation. But the cotton crop faced a lot of issues as the season progressed.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380604/cotton-production-up-by-72pc

Pakistan needs to earn the money it gets, says US
The US State Department has said that Pakistan needs to earn the money it gets from Washington while the WhiteHouse warned that President Donald Trump can follow through his pledge to stop US assistance to Pakistan if it does not change its Afghan policy. The two statements were part of the regular news briefings at the White House and the State Department on Tuesday where reporters appeared perturbed about the timing of the tweet Mr Trump sent out at 4am on Monday, threatening Pakistan with dire consequences of its alleged support to the militants.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380660/pakistan-needs-to-earn-the-money-it-gets-says-us

EU launches last crisis-battling finance reform
An EU directive called "MiFID II", the last of the big reforms sparked by the financial crisis, entered into force Wednesday with the promise of improving financial market transparency and offering better protection to investors. "MiFID II marks a real watershed moment for financial regulation," said Catherine McGuinness, head of the City of London Corporation lobby group. "It will be the last major piece of regulatory reform following the financial crash of 2008," she said in a statement Tuesday, adding that "financial and professional services firms have worked hard in recent times to implement these onerous and complex changes". It is that very complexity that caused the implementation of the directive, first planned for January 2017, to be postponed by a year to give companies time to adapt.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180104332609/
 

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News Pulse (January 05, 2018)

US suspends security assistance to Pakistan
The United States has ceased most security assistance to Pakistan alleging that the country has not acted as desired against terrorism. The security assistance also includes not just the foreign military aid but also the reimbursement amount that the Department of Defence provides to Pakistan. This also includes Coalition Support Fund (CSF) payments.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264567-us-suspends-security-assistance-to-pakistan

McMaster alleges Pakistan is using terrorists as part of foreign policy
While stating that US President Donald Trump is "frustrated" but also values a "partnership with Pakistan", United States National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has alleged Islamabad only goes after terrorists "selectively" while it "sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy."In an interview with Voice of America, McMaster said the US president's tweet was not a "blame game" rather termed it America's "effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that our relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions, and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilize Afghanistan."
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180105332935/

Aid cuts will not hurt us, says Miftah
Pakistan is shrugging off the proposed U.S.aid cuts but frets that Washington could take more drastic measures to deter what it sees as the South Asian nation's support for Taliban militants causing chaos in neighbouring Afghanistan. Washington plans to imminently slash "security assistance" to Pakistan, U.S.congressional aides told Reuters on Wednesday, although the type, scale and length of the cuts was unclear.A day earlier, the White House said it would suspend about $255 million in already delayed military assistance.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264575-aid-cuts-will-not-hurt-us-says-miftah

No need for IMF bailout package: ministerRanaAfzal
Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal on Thursday reiterated the government’s resolve that it won’t resort to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain funds.“Pakistan’s economy is on growth track and the government has sufficient resources to meet expenditures,” the newly-appointed state minister said, addressing a media briefing.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264501-no-need-for-imf-bailout-package-minister-rana-afzal

Forex reserves down to $20.154bln
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell $35 million to $20.154 billion during the week ended December 29, the central bank said on Thursday.The foreign exchange reserves stood at $20.189 billion during the previous week. The central bank’s forex reserves decreased $26 million to $14.107 billion due to external debt servicing payments.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264507-forex-reserves-down-to-20-154bln

Ministry shows willingness to revive ATTLO
Commerce Ministry has reportedly expressed willingness to revive its Afghan Transit Trade Liaison Office (ATTLO) at Chaman border to co-ordinate with all the relevant agencies as well as removal of regulatory duty (RD) on at least four Afghanistan-specific products if Kabul reciprocates in reduction of duty on Pakistani products and removal of unauthorized charges on Pakistani trucks.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180105332916/

Pakistan will meet repayment deadlines: minister
Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal has said that Pakistan will make payments to international organizations on time. Speaking at a meeting of federation of Pakistan chambers of commerce and Industry (FPCCI), he dispelled the notion of government facing a financial crunch; the minister clarified that Pakistan has enough financial resources to not only meet development expenses but also pay off the local and international debts.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180105332907/

RD on dozens of imported items revised
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has revised regulatory duty (RD) on dozens of imported items on the proposal of different sectors. It includes 5 percent RD on the import of sacks and bags of polymers of ethylene by registered units for in-house use for packaging food and dairy products. The FBR has amended SRO1035(I)/2017 through an SRO 06(I)/2018 here on Thursday.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180105332980/

SBP chief expresses optimism about SME financing
State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa has expressed the hope that the SME finance policy, recently launched by the prime minister, will achieve its desired objectives.Speaking at a meeting held at SBP, Sukkur, MrBajwa asked banks and business community to extend their cooperation to boost financing to the small and medium enterprises to achieve economic targets.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380809/sbp-chief-expresses-optimism-about-sme-financing

July-December 2017: Cement sector’s despatches reach 22.243 million tons
Cement sector's total despatches reached 22.243 million tons in July-December 2017 against 19.806 million tons during corresponding period of last fiscal. According to data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers' Association (APCMA), in first six months of this fiscal the domestic consumption stood at 19.836 million tons, an increase of 17.41 percent from 16.895 million tons in July-December 2016.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180105333015/

KPOGCL discovers huge oil & gas reserves in district Kohat
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) in a joint venture with OGDCL has discovered the huge oil and gas reserves in Baratai, district Kohat. Although well testing is in progress but sources tell that the Baratai well is to produce about 30 MMCFD of gas and 700 barrel of crude oil, according to an official communiqué issued here on Thursday.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180105332995/

Over 37 million payment cards issued in first quarter: SBP
The number of total payment cards issued in Pakistan rose 3.2 percent to 37.8 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year from 36.6 million in the last quarter of the previous fiscal, the central bank’s payment systems review said on Thursday.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264505-over-37-million-payment-cards-issued-in-first-quarter-sbp
 

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News Pulse (January 08, 2018)

Fertiliser policy on the cards
The government is set to announce within one week a new fertiliser policy, which will reduce the cost of production for farmers and attract investments.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381218/fertiliser-policy-on-the-cards

PIA has flown into oblivion, but its new CEO wants to steer it back
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) epitomises everything right and wrong about the country. From a national pride, able enough to be a role model for other airlines, to a loss-making state-owned entity that is often the subject of debate, and embarrassment, the company has travelled a long way. Among its several achievements was its instrumental role in establishing what is now among the world’s top airlines. Emirates will forever remain indebted to PIA’s jets and crew as it ascended into glory, while Pakistan’s national carrier flew into oblivion.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1603039/2-pia-flown-oblivion-new-ceo-wants-steer-back/

Rupee depreciation only a temporary relief for exporters
The Pakistani rupee, which was touted as one of the most stable currencies in Asia since 2014, depreciated 4.7% against the US dollar in December 2017. Rising trade and current account deficits and declining foreign currency reserves were cited as major contributing factors to the rupee’s weakness.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1603047/2-rupee-depreciation-temporary-relief-exporters/

New auto players to invest over $800m in Pakistan
The government has given new projects of five vehicle manufacturing companies including Hyundai, Kia, Regal Automobiles, Khalid Mushtaq Motors and United Motors Greenfield investment status under the Automotive Development Policy 2016-21, which is expected to bring investments of over $800 million to Pakistan. According to the Engineering Development Board (EDB), which works under the Ministry of Industries and Production, it is facilitating fresh investments in the auto sector from new companies including joint ventures with foreign players.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1602551/2-new-auto-players-invest-800m-pakistan/

‘Energy tariffs could come down in 10 days’
In a positive development, Dr Miftah Ismail, the newly-appointed Adviser to the Prime Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs, said that power tariffs could come down in the next 10 days, as the government makes efforts to lower the cost of doing business. Instead of giving rebates, the government will look to ensure affordable power tariffs, said Ismail, the de-facto finance minister, who was also quick to dismiss the possibility that gas would be provided at a uniform rate across Pakistan.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1602557/2-energy-tariffs-come-10-days/

Sales tax, duties on import of cotton waived
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved on Friday a waiver of sales tax and customs duty on the import of cotton.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381013/sales-tax-duties-on-import-of-cotton-waived

Plan to settle refund claims thru post-dated cheques
State Minister for Finance Rana Mohammad Afzal on Saturday said the government was actively considering a proposal to clear Rs137 billion pending refund claims of exporters by issuing monthly post-dated cheques
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381223/plan-to-settle-refund-claims-thru-post-dated-cheques

Ministry plans more duties on imports
Government is considering regulatory duties to discourage non-essential imports in the country after it recently slapped levies on them.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/265324-ministry-plans-more-duties-on-imports

Govt still undecided over its final budget
The incumbent regime has not yet formally decided to either announce the budget for next financial year 2018-19in May or leave it up to the next elected government to present the budget.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/265816-govt-still-undecided-over-its-final-budget

Exports likely to reach $23 billion in FY18
Pakistan is expected to fetch $23 billion in export earnings during the current fiscal year of 2017/18 considering the growth momentum in the past couple of months, secretary commerce said on Friday.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/264924-exports-likely-to-reach-23-billion-in-fy18

Cotton prices climb to six-year high of Rs7,500
Brisk buying pushed cotton prices to a six-year high level at Rs7,500 per maund on Friday. The undertone was highly volatile and outlook bright.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1376871/cotton-prices-climb-to-six-year-high-of-rs7500

Dollar strengthens in kerb trade, stable in interbank
The dollar was traded at Rs112 in the open market on Friday, setting a record against the local currency although the rate in the interbank market remained almost unchanged all week.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381010/dollar-strengthens-in-kerb-trade-stable-in-interbank

Abbasi promises two million gas connections by June
Two million new gas connections will be given to consumers by June 2018, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Saturday while inaugurating a re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) pumping station near Bhong.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381219/abbasi-promises-two-million-gas-connections-by-june

Govt, allies suspect no-trust move plot against Senate polls
The political crisis that unfolded last week after some legislators submitted a no-trust motion against CM Zehri deepened to such an extent that the ruling party in Islamabad now believed that it would impact not only the Senate election but also the current set-up.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381141/govt-allies-suspect-no-trust-move-plot-against-senate-polls
 

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AHL RESEARCH
08 JANUARY 2018


US takes “Specific Actions”
Impact on Pakistan Inconsequential

White House Makes an Aggressive Move

Keeping true to its word, the US has taken “specific actions” against Pakistan in a span of 2 days from Tuesday when a White House spokesperson said Pakistan needs to do more to fight terrorism. Disbursements of all security assistance funding to Pakistan have been frozen, not cancelled though. As per the latest press release by US Department of State “The suspension includes FY16 Foreign Military Financing (FMF). According to the latest CRS report, that’s USD 255 million.” To recall, this was a two-year funding appropriated by the Congress in FY16. Pertinently though, the FMF for FY17 (another USD 255mn) does not expire until September 30th, 2018 and no decision has been taken to waive-off those funds until now. While blocked payments also include coalition support funds (CSF) for Pakistan – USD 700mn as per 2018 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-2018), a final and total number of suspended funds was not disclosed. That said, the U.S. civilian assistance programs in Pakistan are not included in the suspension.

Déjà Vu But Not So Much; What Was Different in 1998?
This is not a first for the United States. The country had previously imposed sanctions on Pakistan as she and her neighbor (India), tested nuclear bombs in May’98. These ranged from suspension of foreign assistance under Foreign Assistance Act, termination of foreign military aid, ban on loans and credit assistance from US banks to Government of Pakistan and India, denial of dual-use items controlled for nuclear and missile programs as exports, amongst others. Whereas widely influential America also convinced fourteen (14) other countries to suspend bilateral relations with Pakistan, with Japan in particular imposing its own set of sanctions in 1998. Meanwhile US lobbying at the IMF resulted in the fund blocking all major credit facilities alongside the World Bank.
With the country virtually being sidelined at a stage where its economy was fragile, loss to Pakistan was exponential. In a matter of a year, Workers’ Remittances dropped from USD 1,490mn to USD 1,060mn in FY99 (depicting a drop of 29% YoY) as overseas Pakistanis living in the US remitted a mere USD 82mn in said year vis-à-vis USD 166mn in the prior year. In parallel, direct investments in the country shrunk by 16% YoY to USD 472mn amid an identical drop in FDI from US to USD 215mn (USD 257mn in FY98). This had a massive adverse effect on the PKR - USD parity with the Pak Rupee receding a stunning 16% in a single year to 50.05 / USD in FY99 (second to the 20% depreciation against greenback observed in 2009 ever since).

Now though, the tables have turned. Pakistan is on its way to achieve a decade high GDP growth of over 5.5%, aid from US is insignificant for the economy, regional giant China stands ready to counter any foreign threats and its stakes are high in the widely publicized USD 55bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is set to remove bottlenecks and further attract investments in the country. More details below.

Aid not Material for Pakistan Anymore
Although stringent, we believe the US action has little to no impact on Pakistan given reliance on aid from US has now taken a back seat. We recap the post 9/11 (2001) period whereby Pakistan played a vital role to counter terrorism in the region and in-return, the US compensated by means of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). This remained a hefty amount during the General Musharraf era and until the May’11 raid that reportedly killed Osama Bin Laden (the US security assistance monitor suggests that on average USD 1.58bn was disbursed to Pakistan during 2002 - 2008 as total aid, while on average ~USD 1.00bn/annum remained ring-fenced for CSF). Albeit, as the US forces in Afghanistan have started withdrawing and Pakistan’s economy shows signs of improvement – particularly due to support from China – aid (economic and otherwise) from US become an insignificant USD 320mn in FY17 with no payment under CSF and a minor USD 265mn under FMF.
 

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News Pulse (January 09, 2018)

Pakistan launches tender to buy three April LNG cargoes
Pakistan launches tender to buy three liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for delivery in April, according to documents posted on Pakistan LNG's website. ** The state-run company sets out delivery windows of April 7-8, 17-18 and 27-28, breaking with its recent program of buying four cargoes per month to fill out the country's second terminal. ** The tender was launched on January 6 and closes on February 6.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180109333940/

Tiles, ceramics from Iran: over Rs 1.87 billion duty/tax evasions detected

Customs Intelligence has detected blatant evasion of duty/tax on the import of ceramics and porcelain tiles from Iran to the tune of Rs 1.873 billion. According to sources, Customs Intelligence in a major anti-evasion drive has detected blatant evasion of duty/taxes in the import of ceramics and porcelain tiles from Iran at Quetta and Gwadar. Magnitude of the evasions runs to Rs 1,873 million over a span of just 18 months. Sources said that acting upon the specific information of its Director General Shaukat Ali, Customs Intelligence Quetta and Gwadar have detected evasion of duty/taxes of Rs 1873.32 million in clearance of ceramic and porcelain tiles from MCC Quetta and Gwadar.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180109334035/

DISCOs asked to plug power leaks, cut losses
The Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) on Monday tasked all chief executive officers (CEOs) of distribution companies (DISCOs) to come up with robust proposals to reduce rising power losses at hundreds of feeders across the country. “The CEOs should prepare the proposals to cut Aggregate Technical & Commercial Losses (AT&C), including but not limited to the options of outsourcing billing and collection on the feeders in question,” Musaddiq Ahmed Khan, MD PEPCO, said while giving directions to the DISCOs chiefs.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266071-discos-asked-to-plug-power-leaks-cut-losses

Rupee touches record high of 113 against dollar in open market

Rupee hit an all-time high of 113 against the US dollar in the open market on Monday as the exchange companies struggled to keep the greenback’s supply intact after the central bank restricted their currency imports.The rupee/dollar parity touched as high as 113.50 in the kerb market in an intraday trade. However, dealers closed the rupee sale at 112.40 and buying at 112.80 after some correction.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266116-rupee-touches-record-high-of-113-against-dollar-in-open-market

RLNGIII project: SNGPL, SSGCL asked to arrange guaranteed financing

Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has reportedly directed both Sui Companies ie SSGCL and SNGPL to arrange Rs 175bn GoP guaranteed local and foreign financing to finance RLNGIII project, sources close to Secretary Petroleum Division told Business Recorder. Giving the background, the sources said ECC on August 29, 2017 had directed Petroleum, Finance and Economic Affairs Divisions to examine the financing options of the project, incorporating a mix of local loans, financing by IFIs and loans under sovereign guarantee. It was directed that once finalised, the financing plan should be submitted to the ECC for approval.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180109333965/

Reduction in electricity, gas rates under consideration, Abbasi says

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the government completed the power generation projects of 10,000 Mega Watts (MW) and reduction in rates of electricity and gas was also under consideration. Addressing the PML-N workers at the residence of Khawaja Asif on Monday afternoon the Prime Minister regretted that several attempts were made in the last four years to spread anarchy in the country, however the government moved on undeterred and only focused on completion of development work. He said that different projects of National Highway amounting Rs 150 billion were underway in Sialkot district.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180109333976/

Trade deal with Saudi Arabia likely
The government is developing a comprehensive package for the promotion of bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia. The package is being developed in consultation with all stakeholders to identify potential areas for cooperation. It will be discussed at the next Saudi-Pak Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC). Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told Dawn on Monday he chaired several meetings with various ministries to identify the areas for bilateral cooperation for the next JMC meeting.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1381754/trade-deal-with-saudi-arabia-likely

Oil, gas output down during second quarter of fiscal year 2018
Oil and gas production witnessed decline during the second quarter of FY18 as indicated by Pakistan Petroleum Information Service (PPIS) data. During the quarter, oil production declined by 2.5 percent on year-on-year basis to 89,662bpd. Lower crude oil offtake can broadly be attributable to lower production in December 2017 from Nashpa, Makori East, Makori Deep and Mardankhel fields in the aftermath of lower Furnace Oil (FO) based power generation and restrictions imposed by the government.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180109333980/

Provinces demand representation in OGRA

Provinces have forcefully demanded that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) should be restructured on the model of power-sector regulator as they seek due representation in policymaking and regulating the oil and gas industry under the proposed reforms. “Provinces want the Council of Common Interests (CCI) – an inter-provincial body – to approve the restructuring of oil and gas industry regulator Ogra and give them due representation,” a senior government official said.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1603768/2-provinces-demand-representation-ogra/

After Indus and Suzuki, Honda also raises car prices
Barely a month after the rupee lost value against the US dollar, and subsequently other currencies, Honda Atlas Cars has raised prices of its cars by up to Rs60,000. The company increased the price of its Honda City 1.3L variant by Rs50,000, City 1.5L became expensive by Rs60,000, while Civic’s retail tag also got heavier by Rs50,000.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1603571/2-indus-suzuki-honda-also-raises-car-prices/
 

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News Pulse (January 10, 2018)

Pakistan’s debt affordability will decrease if rupee weakens: Moody’s
Pakistan’s currency is likely to come under further pressure due to the widening current account deficit, and any further depreciation weakens the country’s debt affordability besides stoking inflation, Moody’s credit ratings agency cautioned on Tuesday. Moody’s – one of the top three global credit rating agencies – published the note a month after the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) let the rupee weaken by close to 5%. “If the PKR (Pak rupee) depreciates markedly further, the country’s central bank will face the difficult challenge of anchoring inflation expectations at moderate levels,” said Moody’s.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/160456...rdability-will-decrease-rupee-weakens-moodys/

China’s largest investment bank eager to enter Pakistan
A leading Chinese investment bank on Tuesday said it was resolved to exploit the existing investment opportunities in Pakistan by expanding its business in the country as it sees it to be more preferable than United Kingdom. “China enjoys warm relations with Pakistan especially in the backdrop of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), where potential for investment seems more promising,” said Zhenyi Tang, chairman Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA), at a meeting with Daniyal Aziz, the federal minister for privatisation, in the federal capital.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266513-china-s-largest-investment-bank-eager-to-enter-pakistan

Company registration witnesses 44pc growth in H1

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) registered 4,954 new companies in the current half of fiscal year 2017/18, showing growth of 44 percent when compared to the registrations in the first half of the last financial year.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266510-company-registration-witnesses-44pc-growth-in-h1

Further depreciation of rupee to pose short-term challenges: Moody’s

Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday the rupee will likely face ongoing depreciation pressures against the dollar after a five per cent downward adjustment last month. If the rupee depreciates markedly further, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will find it difficult to keep inflation under control, it added. However, Moody’s said if the depreciation is limited to 5pc, the weakening of the rupee will pose no significant credit implications for the sovereign.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382015/further-depreciation-of-rupee-to-pose-short-term-challenges-moodys

Proposals to finalise 12th five-year plan discussed

Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday reviewed proposals to finalise the 12th five-year plan. The meeting, held at the Planning Commission, was jointly chaired by the Mr Iqbal and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz. Senior officials and members of the Planning Commission presented their recommendations for onward deliberations and final approval.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382009/proposals-to-finalise-12th-five-year-plan-discussed

Installation of cement plants banned in Punjab
The Punjab chief minister has approved a summary for the imposition of ban on installation of new cement plants in the entire province, The Nation has learnt. As per details, a summary for the standing committee of the cabinet on legislative business was moved for imposition of ban on establishment of new cement plants . The summary said, “The Punjab Industries (Control on Establishment and Enlargement) Ordinance 1963 is the legal instrument for the organized growth of industries in the province. Under Section 3 of the Ordinance, mandatory prior permission from the government for the establishment of any industrial undertaking is required. Section 11 of the ordinance empowers the provincial government to relax any industry or class of industries from any or all provisions of the ordinance.”
https://nation.com.pk/10-Jan-2018/installation-of-cement-plants-banned-in-punjab

Karandaaz to invest Rs700mln
Karandaaz Pakistan is providing a loan of Rs700 million to ORIX Leasing to increase access to finance for small enterprises, a statement said on Tuesday. ORIX will use this facility to on-lend to small businesses and grow the share of loans to small enterprises in its portfolio. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are vital to economic and social progress.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266521-karandaaz-to-invest-rs700mln

Brokers struggle to survive new equity rules, tax structure

New capital market rules to improve public participation in equity trading and tax burden are compelling brokers to exit with two more brokerage houses set to pack up, dealers said on Tuesday. Two stock brokers applied with the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) to relinquish their trading rights, following suit of their counterparts.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266509-brokers-struggle-to-survive-new-equity-rules-tax-structure

Attock launches new cement plant

Attock Cement Pakistan Ltd (ACPL) has started operations of its new production line at Hub, Balochistan. The production capacity of this line is 4,000 tonnes per day (1.2 million tonnes per annum), the company informed in a filing to the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Tuesday. A company official told Dawn that $130 million was spent on this expansion, which increases the total plant capacity to 10,000 tonnes per day.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382011/attock-launches-new-cement-plant

Punjab PDWP approves two uplift schemes

The Punjab Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) Tuesday approved two development schemes of agriculture & road sectors with an estimated cost of Rs 1884.103 million. The development schemes were approved in the 44th meeting of PDWP of current fiscal year 2017-18 held under the chair of chairman P&D Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan.
https://nation.com.pk/10-Jan-2018/punjab-pdwp-approves-two-uplift-schemes

SBP reverses decision, allows cash dollar import to improve supply

Reversing its earlier decision, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is reported to have allowed dealers the import of 100 per cent cash dollars against the export of other foreign currencies. The central bank restricted the cash dollar import to 35pc through a circular on Jan 1 — a move that resulted in a shortage of the greenback in the open market. The exchange rate surged to a record high of Rs113 on Monday from Rs110.80 since the implementation of the 35pc condition.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382016/sbp-reverses-decision-allows-cash-dollar-import-to-improve-supply

Chinese company looks for investment

State-owned Chinese investment company CITIC Ltd will send a delegation of experts to Pakistan to explore avenues of cooperation. The decision was taken at a meeting between Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail and a CITIC delegation led by Zhenyi Tang, chairman of CLSA, a subsidiary of CITIC Securities. CITIC Ltd is among China’s biggest conglomerates and owns large foreign assets.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382010/chinese-company-looks-for-investment
 

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Economy News

Exports register 15pc growth Economy | Positive
Exports grew nearly 15 per cent year-on-year in December 2017, raising hopes about a revival in the overseas sales of Pakistani goods. In absolute terms, exports edged up to $1.97 billion in December from $1.72bn a year ago. Imports recorded an increase of 19.1pc to $28.97bn in July-December. They grew 10.1pc year-on-year to $4.91bn in December. Click here for more

Auto sales charge on, imports at a standstill Autos | Positive
Auto sales in the country charged on in December, as total car sales jumped to 103,432 units in July-Dec 2017 as compared to 85,901 units in same period last year, a rise of 20 per cent. Click here for more

Ishrat nominated for IMFC chair Economy| Neutral
The government has nominated Dr Ishrat Husain as Pakistan’s candidate for the coveted position of chairman International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) Click here for more

Stock exchange CEO to arrive ‘in a day or two’ PSX | Positive

The take-over by Richard Morin, the Canadian national, as the first-ever foreign Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), has been delayed by a day or two. Click here for more

Remittances grow to $9.7bn in six months Reserves| Positive

Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $9.7 billion in the first half of 2017-18, up 2.5 per cent from the same period of the previous fiscal year Click here for more

‘75pc foreign investors foresee business growth’ Pakistan | Positive

Three quarters of foreign investors foresee continued growth in their businesses and plan to make further investments in Pakistan, according to the Perception and Investment Survey (November 2017) released by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI). Click here for more

Trade deficit widens 24.5pc to $17.963 billion in July-Dec Economy | Neutral

Trade deficit widened 24.5 percent to $17.963 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year of 2017/18 as growth in imports continued to outpace recovery in exports, official data showed on Wednesday. Click here for more

Tariq Glass expansion project completed TGL | Positive

Tariq Glass Industries, a leading glass manufacturer of the country, has completed its new state-of-the-art Opal glass dinnerware project with a capacity of 35 tons/day, a bourse filing said. Click here for more

Crisis likely as importers threaten to suspend LPG import LPG | Neutral

The LPG shortage crisis is on the cards as LPG importers Wednesday warned to suspend import of LPG from next month in case government refused to withdraw regulatory duty and advance tax. Click here for more

Nepra unlikely to revise KE”s MYT upward KEL | Negative
Nepra) is unlikely to revise Karachi Electric''s (KE''s) Multi Year Tariff (MYT) upward on the reconsideration request forwarded by the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) claiming to be the federal government. Click here for more

Cabinet decides to assess cotton production pattern Cotton | Neutral

The federal cabinet on Wednesday constituted a committee to assess cotton production pattern in the country with directive to submit recommendations within two weeks. Click here for more

Relocation of three sugar mills of Sharif family: SC seeks response HWQS | Positive

Aitzaz Ahsan has been asked to come up with a viable proposal before the Supreme Court on January 11 (today) that his client is ready to purchase sugarcane from growers in the vicinity; otherwise, the court may accept the farmers' plea in the matter. Click here for more

Economic growth to pick up pace in Pakistan, says World Bank report Economy | Positive

The World Bank says that economic growth in Pakistan is forecast to increase to 5.5 per cent in the fiscal year 2017-18, and reach an average of 5.9 per cent over the medium term on the back of continued robust domestic consumption, rising investment and a recovery in exports. Click here for more

Political News

Justice for Zainab
Riots erupted in Kasur on Wednesday as residents agitated against perceived police inaction over the rape and murder of a 7-year-old resident of the city. Click here for more

International News

US oil prices hit highest since 2014, but analysts warn of overheated market
US oil prices hit their highest since 2014 on Wednesday due to ongoing production cuts led by OPEC as well as healthy demand, although analysts cautioned that markets may be overheating. Click here for more

Oil prices are close to levels not seen since the Thanksgiving 2014 bloodbath

A rally that kicked off in June has boosted oil prices to the highest closing levels in more than three years. Click here for more
 

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News Pulse (January 11, 2017)

Pakistan won’t seek release of suspended US aid

Pakistan will not seek release of the suspended US military aid as it no longer considers it “crucial”, diplomatic sources said. Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation, that Pakistan wanted to “live on” without the US aid. One official said: “There have been contacts. We have discussed how to improve the ties but not a single time did we speak about the release of the suspended aid. We don’t think it is crucial anymore.”
https://nation.com.pk/11-Jan-2018/pakistan-won-t-seek-release-of-suspended-us-aid

US company to invest in Pakistan in wake of CPEC

A leading US-based company has shown interest for investment in Pakistan in the wake of opportunities offered by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). A high level eight-member delegation of the US based international company , World Technological & Trade, Inc (WTTI), led by its chairman Dr. Robert Y.NI, visited Intellectual Property Organization (IPO-Pakistan). Muhammad Irfan Tarar, Director General, IPO-Pakistan, welcomed the delegation and briefed visitors about Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) protection in Pakistan.
https://nation.com.pk/11-Jan-2018/us-company-to-invest-in-pakistan-in-wake-of-cpec

Power sector receivables stand at Rs788.39 bn

The receivables of power sector have surged to Rs788.39 billion, according to official data of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) during July-November 2017 period. The receivables also include Rs18.6 billion assessed for KP consumers from September 5, 2008 to September 15, 2010 on account of differential of tariff after the withdrawal of KP petition from Peshawar High Court.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266975-power-sector-receivables-stand-at-rs788-39-bn

Trade deficit widens 24.5pc to $17.963 billion in July-Dec

Trade deficit widened 24.5 percent to $17.963 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year of 2017/18 as growth in imports continued to outpace recovery in exports, official data showed on Wednesday. Trade deficit amounted to $14.428 billion in the July-December period of FY2017, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266886-trade-deficit-widens-24-5pc-to-17-963-billion-in-july-dec

Foreign investors eyeing more stakes in Pakistan: survey

The majority of foreign businesses operating in Pakistan are looking to increase their stakes in various ongoing ventures owing to country’s investment-friendly environment and policies, a survey conducted by Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) showed on Wednesday.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266893-foreign-investors-eyeing-more-stakes-in-pakistan-survey

WB forecasts growth at 5.5 percent

The World Bank on Wednesday projected growth at 5.5 percent for the current fiscal year of 2017/18 on rise in investment and recovery in exports sector, but the Bank termed the domestic risks, including fiscal slippages as the challenge to the outlook.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266892-wb-forecasts-growth-at-5-5-percent

Car sales up 20.4pc in six months

Sales of passenger cars rose 20.4 to 103,432 units in the first half of the current fiscal year of 2017/18, official data showed on Wednesday. Car sales stood at 85,901 in the same period of last fiscal year, according to Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA).
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/266890-car-sales-up-20-4pc-in-six-months

Remittances grow to $9.7bn in six months

Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $9.7 billion in the first half of 2017-18, up 2.5 per cent from the same period of the previous fiscal year, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Wednesday. Despite a wide gap in the dollar rates in open and banking markets, overseas Pakistanis preferred to send money mostly through the banking channel. This reflects their confidence in the government as well as banks operating in Pakistan.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382108/remittances-grow-to-97bn-in-six-months
 

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Economy News

Government debt stocks touch Rs 21.8 trillion mark Economy| Neutral

The federal government''''s total debt (domestic and external) stocks continue to rise and reach Rs 21.8 trillion mark in November 2017 mainly due to a rising fiscal imbalance. Click here for more

WB to provide $1 billion in near future Economy | Neutral

The World Bank would provide one billion dollars to Pakistan in near future for new projects and development programme of the country. Click here for more

Pakistan’s GDP to remain at 5.5pc in current fiscal year: WB Economy| Neutral

While lowering down GDP growth projections, the World Bank (WB) has estimated that Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would touch 5.5 percent for the current fiscal year 2017-18 against officially envisaged target of 6 percent. Click here for more

Forex reserves down $134 million Economy | Neutral

The country''s liquid foreign exchange reserves fell slightly by $134 million during last week. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Thursday reported that the country''s total foreign exchange reserves stood at $20 billion as on January 5, 2018 compared to $20.154 billion on December 29, 2017. Click here for more

Higher imports widen trade gap in services Economy| Neutral

Overseas Pakistanis sent remittances amounting to $9.7 billion in the first half of 2017-18, up 2.5 per cent from the same period of the previous fiscal year Click here for more

No more deadline extensions to six power projects Economy | Neutral

Clearing three preferred energy projects for implementation, the government on Thursday put on hold deadline extensions to about six power projects based on indigenous fuels under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Click here for more

Japan plans to diversify auto sector in Pakistan Autos | Positive

Japanese government planned to help Pakistan improve exports and build up the country’s automobile industry Click here for more

Sugar mills pledge to buy cane at Punjab government rate HWQS | Negative

Sugarcane growers of southern Punjab may heave a sigh of relief as owners of five sugar mills, including JDW Sugar Mills of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Jehangir Khan Tareen, ensured the apex court on Thursday that they would purchase the entire cane crop against provincial government''s fixed rate at Rs 180 per 40kg. Click here for more

Export of more urea allowed despite food ministry”s opposition Fertilizers | Neutral

Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has allowed export of additional 35,000 Metric Tons (MT) of urea to Sri Lanka, in addition to extending the deadline for export of the remaining quantity of 41,000 MT upto February 28, 2108 despite stiff resistance from Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Click here for more

PIBT to setup LPG handling facility PIBTL | Positive

Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited (PIBT) is all set to venture into liquid petroleum gas (LPG) business as the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) has allowed the company to setup LPG handling facilities at its existing terminal site. Click here for more

World Bank Country Director meets Miftah Economy | Positive

World Bank Country Director, Patchamouthou Illangovan here Thursday met Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail and discussed with him ongoing and future World Bank funded projects and progragmmes Click here for more

Richard Morin joins PSX as CEO PSX | Positive

Richard Morin joined Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited (PSX) as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from January 11, 2018 after following the due process prescribed under law. Click here for more

Political News

Opposition’s protest to start with rally at The Mall Lahore: Qadri

The alliance of opposition parties, headed by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, has announced starting its proposed agitation movement against the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) government by staging a protest at The Mall, Lahore, on January 17. Click here for more

PML-Q MPA set to become CM

Parliamentary parties in Balochistan Assembly announced on Thursday their consensus on Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo's as the next chief minister, days after Nawab Sanaullah Zehri resigned in the wake of a no-trust move against him. Click here for more

International News

Oil prices ease from 3-year highs after Brent crude rockets above $70 a barrel

Brent crude oil hit a more than three-year high on Thursday, breaking through the psychologically important $70 a barrel level for the first time since December 2014. Click here for more
 

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News Pulse (January 12, 2017)

Imran to join PAT movement with full force from 18th

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday announced joining the Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s movement on January 18, asking his ‘tigers’ to be ready, as he urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the Model Town tragedy. About ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s statement on Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, he alleged that this might be a kind of signal to India perhaps for raising Makti Bahni-like… He called Mujib a genuine leader, unlike Nawaz, who was brought up by the late Ziaul Haq.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267398-imran-to-join-pat-movement-with-full-force-from-18th

Senate election on time: Zardari

Former president and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari has said it would be foolish not to maintain friendly ties with the US. He said Mian Saheb's 'B' team, which is running the country, has no experienced diplomatic team which could have forged friendly relationship with the US.Talking to the media at the Zardari House, the ex president said he forsees holding of Senate election on time, but is not in favour of early elections. The government, he said, may not continue due to its severe negligence in managing the affairs of the country.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267400-senate-election-on-time-zardari

Domestic debt up 6 percent to Rs15.766 trillion in July-November
Domestic debt rose six percent or one trillion rupees to Rs15.766 trillion in the first five months of the current fiscal year of 2017/18, the central bank’s data showed on Thursday. Domestic debt amounted to Rs14.849 trillion by June-end last year, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The latest domestic debt was up 10.42 percent as compared to Rs14.278 trillion recorded till November last year.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267301-domestic-debt-up-6-percent-to-rs15-766-trillion-in-july-november

Japan plans to diversify auto sector in Pakistan

Japanese government planned to help Pakistan improve exports and build up the country’s automobile industry, a foreign envoy said on Thursday.“The Japanese government has plans to support the government of Pakistan in export promotion, improvement of security through the provision of security equipment at the airports and diversification of automobile industry,” Ambassador of Japan Takashi Kurai added.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267304-japan-plans-to-diversify-auto-sector-in-pakistan

CCP launches probe into possible poultry cartelization

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Thursday initiated yet another inquiry into possible collusion among poultry sector players to fix inflated prices to flay the consumers.“The commission launched the probe invoking its suo motu powers after finding strong indications that poultry businesses are involved in organised communication for the purpose of jacking prices,” the CCP said in a statement.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267305-ccp-launches-probe-into-possible-poultry-cartelisation

National electricity plan, new energy policy to boost generation: Leghari

A ‘National Electricity Plan’ along with a new ‘Energy Policy’ was being finalised in collaboration with provinces to help determine demand, supply, and future sources of power generation, a minister said on Thursday. “The policy will play a major role in reducing tariff, which will be based on international competitive bidding,” Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, the federal minister for power, said at the 113th meeting of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB). “All pending the Letters of Intent (LOIs) issued to sponsors will be accordingly evaluated under this plan.”
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267306-national-electricity-plan-new-energy-policy-to-boost-generation-leghari

Forex reserves fall to $20 billion

Country’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $20.020 billion during the week ended on January 5, 2018, State Bank of Pakistan said on Thursday. The reserves stood at $20.154 billion in previous week. The central bank’s reserves decreased $124 million to $13.982 billion due to external debt servicing and other official payments.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267307-forex-reserves-fall-to-20-billion

Matiari-Lahore transmission line project: PPIB okays execution of implementation accord

The Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on Thursday approved execution of Implementation Agreement (IA) with the +660kV HVDC Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project and extension in financial closing data for 1320 Hubco's coal-fired power plant.However, the Board did not approve conversion of four IPPs to RLNG due to unknown reasons. The projects were ie AEL Lalpir, AES Pak Gen. Fauji Kabirwala Saba Power .
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180112334863/

Sindh CM gives nod to four projects under public-private partnership

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Thursday gave approval for four projects in transport, finance and health sectors to be completed under the public-private partnership mode, read a statement issued by the Sindh government. The chief minister chaired the 23rd meeting of Public-Private Policy Board and approved the infrastructure component of BRT Blue Line project, intra-city buses project, Green Line and Orange Line bus operation service project, and regional blood centres project.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382285/sindh-cm-gives-nod-to-four-projects-under-public-private-partnership

China issues sweeping guidelines to push yuan for Belt and Road business

The People’s Bank of China (PBC) has announced a raft of new measures to push a greater cross-border role for the yuan that aim to “contribute to opening up on all fronts”.The measures go far beyond yuan settlement of cross-border trade. In a notice posted on its website, the PBC lists five seperate measures to be pursued.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382348/china-issues-sweeping-guidelines-to-push-yuan-for-belt-and-road-business

PIBT to setup LPG handling facility

Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited (PIBT) is all set to venture into liquid petroleum gas (LPG) business as the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) has allowed the company to setup LPG handling facilities at its existing terminal site. “In this regard, a supplementary implementation agreement will be executed with PQA,” a bourse filing said on Thursday.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/267308-pibt-to-setup-lpg-handling-facility
 

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Economy News

Bank deposits increase by 3.32pc Banks| Positive

According to the weekly statement of position of all scheduled banks for the week ended December 29, 2017 deposits and other accounts of all scheduled banks stood at Rs12,361.806 billion after a 3.32 per cent increase over the preceding week’s figure of Rs11,964.134bn. Click here for more

Miftah promises tax amnesty scheme Business | Positive

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Miftah Ismail has said the government will announce a tax amnesty scheme “very soon” to bring investment and money from abroad. Click here for more

Exports to EU grow almost 6pc Exports| Positive

Pakistan’s exports to the 28-member Euro pean Union (EU) posted a growth of nearly six per cent in January-September 2017 on a year-on-year basis. Exports of garments and hosiery witnessed a growth of 90.9pc to €2.05bn during the period under review. Click here for more

Abbasi calls for increased trade with Sri Lanka Economy | Neutral

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has invited Sri Lankan businessmen to see for themselves that Pakistan is not ‘what the West portrays,’ declaring that ‘Pakistan is not what one sees on CNN’. Click here for more

Political uncertainty clouds CPEC CPEC| Negative

China is understood to be on the verge of putting on hold further investments under CPEC beyond what has already been done – a decision linked to the prevalent uncertain political situation in Pakistan and surging fears of turmoil in the months ahead. Click here for more

SC allows Karachi builders to construct buildings up to six floors Cements | Steels | Positive

The Supreme Court on Sunday granted provisional permission to builders for construction of six floors in the city but restrained them from booking for more than six floors till further orders. Click here for more

Pakistan Business Council favours power generation from RFO-based plants PSO | Positive

PBC, a leading business advocacy group, urged the government to improve efficiency of oil-based power plants as prices of LNG, which is an alternative fuel, may escalate due to its growing global demand. Click here for more

Law to be amended to recover GIDC from CNG sector CNG | Negative

The government has decided to amend Gas Infrastructure Development Bill Act 2011 to recover stuck amount of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) from the CNG sector, Click here for more

RLNG-III pipeline project financing: PD asked to examine possibility of PPP SNGP | Neutral

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed the Petroleum Division to examine the possibility of Public-Private Partnership for financing of 1.2 Billion Cubic Feet Day (BCFD) capacity for Rs 175 billion RLNG-III pipeline project to be laid from Karachi to Lahore Click here for more

Government aims to sell PIA before election PIAA | Positive

Government will try to privatise its national airline before general elections due this year, privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz said, as the ruling party seeks to restart sales of state-run businesses. Click here for more

Imported cotton: FBR to notify waiver of GST and duty: official Cotton | Positive

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will issue a notification on the withdrawal customs duty and sales tax on the import of cotton. Sources told Business Recorder that the SRO will be issued in line with the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet. Click here for more

‘Emirates, Etihad Airways showed interest in buying PIA stake’ PIAA | Positive

Emirates and Etihad Airways showed interest in buying a stake in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), but the government was forced to retreat from its sell-off agenda as protests kicked off, said a top official privy to privatisation developments. Click here for more

Matco Foods looks to raise Rs758m through IPO MATCO | Positive

Matco Foods Limited, one of the basmati rice exporters in Pakistan, is targeting to raise close to Rs758 million through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that would be held towards the end of the current month. Click here for more

Political News

Pakistan can’t be forced to compromise on national interests: US historian

Pakistan cannot be bludgeoned into taking steps it believes dangerous to its security, even if it means losing the US aid, argues a new book on Pakistan-US relations.. Click here for more

Strange bedfellows to share stage at PAT’s Jan 17 rally

The two main opposition parties — Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — seem set to become ‘strange bedfollows’ when their top leaderships will share the stage at the public meeting Click here for more
 

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News Pulse (January 15, 2018)

Govt aims to sell PIA before election

The federal government will try to privatise national airline before general elections due this year, privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz said, as the ruling party seeks to restart sales of state-run businesses.
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jan-2018/govt-aims-to-sell-pia-before-election

Govt aiming to present business-friendly, pro-industry budget: Haroon
Federal Minister for Revenue, Haroon Akhtar Khan said on Friday the government was aiming to give a businessman-friendly and pro-industry budget for the next fiscal year (2018-19). “The next year budget would include several innovative policy measures to shore up the growth rate and jump start further economic activity in the country,”
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jan-2018/govt-aiming-to-present-business-friendly-pro-industry-budget-haroon

Cement exports down 11.25pc
The trend of decline in cement exports continued, going down by 11.25 percent to 0.328 million tons in December 2017-18 fiscal year as compared to 0.369 million tons of the same period of FY2016-17.
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jan-2018/cement-exports-down-11-25pc

‘Pakistan needs to undertake reforms to boost CPEC’
To advance industrial cooperation, especially construction of industrial parks, Pakistan needs to carry out deep reforms in several areas, amend laws and frame corresponding policies.
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jan-2018/pakistan-needs-to-undertake-reforms-to-boost-cpec

EU more dependent on Russian gas despite bid to diversify

Despite repeatedly vowing to reduce its energy dependency on Moscow, Europe is more reliant on Russian gas than ever before -- and there are few signs of this trend reversing. Russian gas giant Gazprom said this month it had completed record deliveries towards Europe and Turkey in 2017 at a total of 193.9 billion cubic metres -- eight percent higher than its previous record, set in 2016.
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jan-2018/eu-more-dependent-on-russian-gas-despite-bid-to-diversify

WorldCall Telecom on road to revival
Following a major restructuring, exit of previous international sponsors and re-invigorated drive for growth, WorldCall Telecom Ltd (WTL) highlighted its corporate turnaround credentials to investment participants.
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jan-2018/corporate-corner

OLMT project delayed due to PTI: Shahbaz
Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif criticising Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders has said due to their incompetence, they could not lay a single brick of metro bus project in their province during past four years and wasted time of KPK people.
https://fp.brecorder.com/2018/01/20180115335656/

Exports to EU grow almost 6pc
Pakistan’s exports to the 28-member European Union (EU) posted a growth of nearly six per cent in January-September 2017 on a year-on-year basis.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382753/exports-to-eu-grow-almost-6pc

Government slows down spending on uplift projects
The government appears to have slowed down spending on development projects in an effort to rein in the country’s fiscal deficit.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382622/government-slows-down-spending-on-uplift-projects
 

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16 JANUARY 2018

Economy News

Divestment of national carrier likely by June PIAA| Positive

With its liabilities atop Rs325 billion, the government has decided to complete by April the process of separating non-core assets from air transport business of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for its ultimate divestment by June Click here for more

‘Equitable taxation measures in next budget’ Economy | Positive

The government will consider taking measures for equitable taxation, strengthening of the economy and boosting the industry in the next fiscal budget. Click here for more

Tariff for solid waste-based power generation Waste| Positive

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Monday approved a 25-year levellised upfront tariff of 10 cents per unit (kWh) for Municipal Solid Waste-based power generation of a maximum 250MW capacity. Click here for more

Licensing regime simplified for brokers PSX | Positive

A single licence would be issued to a securities broker, dispelling the need to acquire all other mandatory licences including futures broker, securities advisor, futures adviser and accredited representative Click here for more

Euro hits 3-year high Textiles| Positive

The euro rose to a three-year high against the dollar on Monday, fuelled by growing economic optimism in the eurozone and expectations that the European Central Bank will tighten monetary policy. Click here for more

CDWP approves 20 development projects worth Rs80.6 billion Economy | Positive

CDWP on Monday approved 20 projects worth Rs80.6 billion and of which five projects with an estimated cost of Rs60.9 billion were referred to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for further approval. Click here for more

PM lauds achievements of Mari Petroleum MARI | Neutral

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday said that Mari Petroleum Company (MPCL) has played an active role in alleviating the energy deficiency in the country. Click here for more

Work on fiscal year 2019 budget in full swing Economy | Positive

The government wants to present next fiscal year budget to the federal cabinet and Parliament in the month of May 2018 and preparations to this effect are going on in the Finance Division. Finance Division has issued budget circular to ministries and divisions with request for submission of revised estimates for 2017-18 and budget estimates for 2018-19 along with medium-term budget estimates for 2018-21. Click here for more

Improvement witnessed in all business KPI during last quarter: PIA PIAA | Positive

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Monday claimed to have witnessed improvement in all business Key Performance Indicator (KPI) during last quarter of last calendar year. Click here for more

Six-floor buildings ABAD hails Supreme Court decision’ Cements| Steels | Positive

Arif Yousuf Jeewa, Chairman, Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD), on Monday hailed the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan for allowing construction of buildings up to 6 floors in Karachi. Click here for more

Refund payments to exporters to start next month: minister Textiles | Positive

The Refund Claim payments of textile exporters will start from the month of February, said Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan State Minister for Finance & Economic Affairs. Click here for more

Political News

Hudaibiya case: NAB files review petition with SC

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday filed a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, seeking the reopening of the case. Click here for more

Pakistan, US return to talks

Pakistan and the United States on Monday returned to talks amid a war of words between the uneasy allies who had been threatening to part ways in the recent weeks. Click here for more
International News

Oil markets near three-year highs, supported by healthy demand

Brent crude prices were on Tuesday settling in around $70 per barrel, levels last seen before the start of an oil market slump in late 2014. Click here for more

Oil markets near three-year highs, supported by healthy demand

Asian markets traded mostly higher on Tuesday as the dollar nursed overnight losses. Click here for more
 

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News Pulse (January 16, 2018)

PM lauds achievements of Mari Petroleum

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday said that Mari Petroleum Company (MPCL) has played an active role in alleviating the energy deficiency in the country.
https://nation.com.pk/16-Jan-2018/pm-lauds-achievements-of-mari-petroleum

Wapda union, Discos to prepare action plan to stop over-billing

A meeting with representatives of Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union (CBA) was held to discuss resolution of various issues faced by staff Wapda House Lahore. The discussions lasted for well over seven hours and almost 64 demands of the CBA were deliberated upon threadbare. For the first time, all CEOs of the Discos also participated in this session so that the issues could be resolved in a comprehensive manner with collective wisdom of all stakeholders.
https://nation.com.pk/16-Jan-2018/wapda-union-discos-to-prepare-action-plan-to-stop-over-billing

NBP, Bank of China sign MoU to promote banking services
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Bank of China Pakistan Operations (BOCP) have signed an MoU to promote banking services in the country. The MoU will focus on developing niches and creating synergies between the two institutions. The MoU will strengthen the ironclad brotherhood between the two nations.
https://nation.com.pk/16-Jan-2018/nbp-bank-of-china-sign-mou-to-promote-banking-services

Nepra fixes tariff for power from municipal solid waste
National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Monday announced the levelized tariff of US Cents 10/kWh (Rs 11 per unit with the current conversion rate) for municipal solid waste based electricity.
https://nation.com.pk/16-Jan-2018/nepra-fixes-tariff-for-power-from-municipal-solid-waste

Taxation won’t harm industry, says minister
Federal Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan has said the government has always stood for a just and equitable taxation which boosts the economy and strengthens the business industry .
https://nation.com.pk/16-Jan-2018/taxation-won-t-harm-industry-says-minister

PIA's core business to be sold off by April 15: privatisation minister
The government is committed to finalising the process of privatisation of loss-making Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) core business before April 15, Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz said on Monday.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383115/pias-core-business-to-be-sold-off-by-april-15-privatisation-minister

Oil on the boil is bad news for govt

THE recent sharp rebound in global oil prices on the back of supply cuts by the 14-nation Opec oil cartel and other producers led by Russia does not augur well for Pakistan’s economy, industry, exports and households.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382893/oil-on-the-boil-is-bad-news-for-govt

Karachi Circular Railway faces derailment — again
GETTING around is going to get tougher with time for Karachiites as the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) has hit snags — yet again. The mass transit project can potentially serve millions of distressed daily commuters and decongest roads of the megalopolis.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382892/karachi-circular-railway-faces-derailment-again

Preferential trade deal with Saudi Arabia
PAKISTAN has evolved a comprehensive package in line with Saudi Vision-2030 to promote bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382883/preferential-trade-deal-with-saudi-arabia

Everything comes at a price, even a stable rupee
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is fire-fighting on the forex front knowing well that it is now paying the price for keeping the rupee overvalued in the past.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1382886/everything-comes-at-a-price-even-a-stable-rupee
 

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News Pulse (January17, 2018)

Foreign direct investment drops 3pc despite growing inflows from China

Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 2.8 per cent to $1.38 billion in the first half of 2017-18, although inflows from China rose 2.4 times, the State Bank of Pakistan reported on Tuesday.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383339/foreign-direct-investment-drops-3pc-despite-growing-inflows-from-china

Sindh asks Centre to rescind unilateral changes to energy policy
Saying that the federal government is transgressing the powers of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), the Sindh government has asked the centre to “rescind unilateral changes” to the energy policy that are affecting the development of domestic sources of power generation.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383338/sindh-asks-centre-to-rescind-unilateral-changes-to-energy-policy

Modi launches $6.8bn refinery in Rajasthan
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched the construction of a $6.8 billion refinery in the western state of Rajasthan, in the hopes of meeting the rising fuel demand.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383331/modi-launches-68bn-refinery-in-rajasthan

EU still open to Britain changing mind on Brexit
Leaders of the European Union institutions weighed into a new British debate on whether to hold a second referendum on Brexit by saying on Tuesday that Britons would be welcome to stay in the EU.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383333/eu-still-open-to-britain-changing-mind-on-brexit

China urged to encourage imports from Pakistan
Pakistan has formally asked China to encourage its products — mainly the eatables — into its market to contain tilted expansion in bilateral trade and focus on future administration of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after completion of ongoing projects.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383428/china-urged-to-encourage-imports-from-pakistan

Europe’s central banks pile into yuan
More central banks in Europe revealed plans on Tuesday to hold yuan as part of their foreign currency reserves, highlighting the Chinese currency’s rise into an elite league of the world’s major reserve currencies.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383326/europes-central-banks-pile-into-yuan

Tariff to be introduced for solid waste-based power generation

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Monday approved a 25-year levellised upfront tariff of 10 cents per unit (kWh) for Municipal Solid Waste-based power generation of a maximum 250MW capacity.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383182/tariff-to-be-introduced-for-solid-waste-based-power-generation

Consumer confidence at an all-time high in Pakistan
Consumer confidence reached an all-time high increasing by nine points in July-September 2017, according to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383174/consumer-confidence-at-an-all-time-high-in-pakistan

AJK seeks centre’s support for completion of 2,000MW hydropower projects
Perturbed over policy shifts, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government has sought the centre’s support for completion and materialisation of the 2,000MW hydropower projects and encourage private investment in the region.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1383179/ajk-seeks-centres-support-for-completion-of-2000mw-hydropower-projects

Country to pay up to Rs4b annually on loans obtained under CPEC
Pakistan will start paying up to Rs4 billion annually on loans obtained under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in next few years, Senate standing committee on commerce and textiles was told on Tuesday.
https://nation.com.pk/17-Jan-2018/country-to-pay-up-to-rs4b-annually-on-loans-obtained-under-cpec
 

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