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“Amid growing concerns about the potential economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the SBP with the collaboration of the PBA has announced a comprehensive relief package that will help relevant stakeholders including households and businesses (microfinance, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate, commercial, retail, and agriculture) to manage their finances through this temporary phase of disruption,” said the central bank in a statement issued on Thursday. On the other hand, The State Bank of Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves posted a notable decline of $800 million in two weeks primarily due to external debt and other official payments.The SBP’s reserves are on the decline for the last two weeks due to massive outflow of foreign investment in the government debt securities. Foreign investors have divested some $1.6 billion from the investment in government of Pakistan Market Treasury Bills (T-Bills) this month. Furthemore,The US Dollar continued its impressive run against the Pakistani Rupee in the currency market, after the USD value increased by Rs5.90 at interbank reaching the highest level in history at Rs167.50.The value of the US Dollar has been rising against PKR for the past three days, USD rose to Rs162 after a rise of three Pakistani rupees at the interbank on Wednesday.The latest increase in dollar value has hiked the debt burden on the country by billions of rupees.

Market View: The KSE100 Index gained  38.40 points during yesterday’s trading session. Investor sentiment strengthened after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank called for suspending debt payments by the poorest nations. Additionally, the measures taken by the central bank to facilitate virus-hit local markets lent further support.

Commodities:

Brent oil (USD/bbl): 26.62 (+1.06% D/D)
Crude oil (USD/bbl): 23.04 (+1.95% D/D)
Gold (USD/oz): 1,639.90 (-0.70% D/D)

National News

SBP’s reserves plunge $800m in 2 weeks

The State Bank of Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves posted a notable decline of $800 million in two weeks primarily due to external debt and other official payments. The SBP’s reserves are on the decline for the last two weeks due to massive outflow of foreign investment in the government debt securities. Foreign investors have divested some $1.6 billion from the investment in government of Pakistan Market Treasury Bills (T-Bills) this month.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/27/583999/sbps-reserves-plunge-800m-in-2-weeks/

SBP unveils debt relief measures for individuals, businesses

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in collaboration with the Pakistan Banks Association (PBA) unveiled a comprehensive package to help households, businesses and other stakeholders in the wake of cornonavirus-driven economic slowdown.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1544076/sbp-unveils-debt-relief-measures-for-individuals-businesses

Bourse turns bullish over improved investor sentiment

KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) exhibited a turnaround on Thursday as the KSE-100 index soared over 900 points in intra-day trading before giving up almost all the gains and closing with a meagre increase of 38 points.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2184681/2-stocks-rally-800-points-intra-day-trading-2/

ECNEC approves projects worth over Rs95bn

A meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Thursday approved over Rs95 billion projects for water, irrigation, transport, and other sectors. he ECNEC meeting chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh considered and approved the “Toiwar/Batozai Storage Dam Project District Killa Saifullah, Balochistan” at the 2nd revised cost of Rs4,905.667 million.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/27/584009/ecnec-approves-projects-worth-over-rs95bn/

US Dollar reaches the highest level in history against PKR

The US Dollar continued its impressive run against the Pakistani Rupee in the currency market, after the USD value increased by Rs5.90 at interbank reaching the highest level in history at Rs167.50.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/26/583700/us-dollar-reaches-the-highest-level-in-history-against-pkr/

Govt to provide Rs12,000 cash grant to deserving families from next month: Nishtar

(Karachi) Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar has said that the government will provide cash assistance of Rs12,000 each to the deserving families affected by the negative impact of coronavirus next month.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/26/583699/govt-to-provide-rs12000-cash-grant-to-deserving-families-from-next-month-nishtar/

Private sector seeks removal of hurdles to LNG import

ISLAMABAD: Following a crash in global liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices, the private sector is pressing the government to remove bureaucratic hurdles in the way of import of cheaper gas.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2184234/2-private-sector-seeks-removal-hurdles-lng-import/

Importers unable to collect goods from port: PCDMA

The Chairman of Pakistan Chemical and Dyes Merchant Association (PCDMA) and a former director of the Karachi Stock Exchange, Amin Yousuf Balgamwala, said that due to lockdown in the city commercial importers are unable to collect imported goods especially the industrial raw material from the port, and the imported goods are piling up at the ports, which can affect the supply of raw materials to textile, pharma and other industries.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/27/583997/importers-unable-to-collect-goods-from-port-pcdma/

CM Murad Ali Shah releases Rs580 million to provide rations to daily-wagers

Sindh’s chief minister on Thursday released Rs580 million from the provincial exchequer to provide rations to daily-wagers and other needy people amid the province-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 emergency.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/634938-cm-murad-ali-shah-releases-rs580-million-to-provide-rations-to-daily-wagers

Pakistan’s National Refinery shuts down as oil demand drops due to pandemic

ISLAMABAD: The slump in oil demand in the wake of coronavirus pandemic has now led to the closure of National Refinery Limited (NRL) and the government has directed oil marketing companies (OMCs) and oil refineries to cancel orders for import of petrol and crude oil respectively.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2184988/2-pakistans-national-refinery-shuts-oil-demand-drops-due-pandemic/

Deferred payment of power bills: PD issues instructions to Discos

Power Division on Thursday issued instructions to the power Distribution Companies (Discos) about Prime Minister relief package for deferred payment of electricity bills of domestic consumers using up to 300 units in a month due to COVID 19 pandemic

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/27/584003/deferred-payment-of-power-bills-pd-issues-instructions-to-discos/

ECC approves tariff hike of up to Rs2.89 for K-Electric

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Thursday approved an increase of up to Rs2.89 per unit in the tariff for K-Electric consumers.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2184978/2-ecc-approves-tariff-hike-rs2-89-k-electric/

International News

G20 leaders pledge $5trn, ‘united’ response to coronavirus crisis

RIYADH: G20 nations pledged a “united front” Thursday in the fight against coronavirus, saying they were injecting $5 trillion into the global economy to counter the pandemic amid forecasts of a deep recession. US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin joined the emergency video conference chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who called for coordinated action while facing pressure to end an oil price war between Riyadh and Moscow that has roiled energy markets.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/27/583805/g20-leaders-pledge-5trn-united-response-to-coronavirus-crisis/

Oil prices fall more than 7% as demand continues to shrink

Oil prices fell on Thursday following three days of gains, with the prospect of rapidly dwindling demand due to coronavirus travel bans and lockdowns offsetting hopes a U.S. $2 trillion emergency stimulus will shore up economic activity.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/26/oil-markets-coronavirus-stimulus-measures-in-focus.html

ECB primes money-printing gun to combat coronavirus

The European Central Bank has ditched a cap on how many bonds it can buy from any single euro zone country, clearing the way for potentially unlimited money-printing as it scales up its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/27/584011/ecb-primes-money-printing-gun-to-combat-coronavirus/

Gold eases on profit-taking, but poised for best week in 11 years

Gold eased on Friday as some investors booked profits after prices hit a two-week high in the last session amid hopes for further stimulus to curb the coronavirus’ economic toll, but the metal was headed for its best weekly gain in more than 11 years.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/27/gold-markets-coronavirus-in-focus.html