Good Morning

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said its executive board had approved $1.386 billion in emergency financing to Pakistan to meet balance of payment need stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic. In a surprise move, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday cut the benchmark interest rate by 200 basis points to a 17-month low at 9% to help businesses and people to avert default on loans and help banks to stave off losses. According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) weekly report issued on Thursday, Pakistan’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves surged to $ 17.296 billion as on April 10, 2020 compared to $16.988 billion as on April 16, 2020 3, 2020.

Market View: The KSE100 Index gained 87.27 points on Thursday, ending the session at 31,329.46 points. We expect the market to rebound  as  IMF has approved USD 1.4bn emergency financing to Pakistan. Moreover, SBP has also cut the policy rate by another 200bps to 9% in order counter economic impact of COVID19.

Commodities:

Brent oil (USD/bbl): 28.34 (+1.87% D/D)
WTI Crude oil (USD/bbl): 19.75 (-0.60% D/D)
Gold (USD/oz): 1,719.70 (-0.693% D/D)

National News

IMF approves $1.39bn in COVID-19 aid for Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said its executive board had approved $1.386 billion in emergency financing to Pakistan to meet balance of payments needed stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/590031/imf-approves-1-39bn-in-covid-19-aid-for-pakistan/

SBP slashes monetary policy rate to 9%

In a surprise move, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday cut the benchmark interest rate by 200 basis points to a 17-month low at 9% to help businesses and people to avert default on loans and help banks to stave off losses.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2199536/2-monetary-policy-sbp-cuts-interest-rate-significant-200bps-9/

Reserves up by $307m to $17.296bn

According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) weekly report issued on Thursday, Pakistan’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves surged to $ 17.296 billion as on April 10, 2020 compared to $16.988 billion as on April 16, 2020 3, 2020.

https://epaper.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/14-page/833860-news.html

PM for timely steps to avert any shortage

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed the Ministry for National Food Security to keep a strict vigil on the demand and supply of wheat and other food commodities to avert any shortage during the holy month of Ramadan.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/590183/pm-for-timely-steps-to-avert-any-shortage/

Good news for Pak economy: One-year breather for paying back loans

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday appreciated the debt relief measures by G20 countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for developing countries, including Pakistan providing one-year breather for Pakistan for paying back loans.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/645573-good-news-for-pak-economy-one-year-breather-for-paying-back-loans

Telecom industry suffers 12pc losses since lockdown

LAHORE: Telecom industry suffered around 10 to 12 percent which amounted to billions of rupees during the first three weeks due to countrywide Covid-19 lockdown while the industry provided almost Rs1.4 billion relief to the public in the form of free data, voice, WhatsApp, balance sharing and waiver of transaction fee on mobile financial service.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/645553-telecom-industry-suffers-12pc-losses-since-lockdown

561 new cases recorded: Casualties by corona spike, 17 die in a day

Pakistan has reported the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths from coronavirus during the last 24 hours.As many as 561 people across the country tested positive from amongst 5,494 tested in a day, and 17 confirmed patients died in a single day, taking the total number of fatalities to 131 thus far.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/645574-561-new-cases-recorded-casualties-by-corona-spike-17-die-in-a-day

Edrees new KE Chairman

The Board of Directors of K-Electric Limited has elected Riyadh S. A. A. Edrees as the new Chairman of the Company with effect from April 09, 2020, at its recent meeting.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/590172/edrees-new-ke-chairman/

Investment policy for pension funds revised: Maturity period for government Ijarah Sukuk fixed at five years

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has revised investment policy for pension funds, according to which the time of maturity of any government Ijarah Sukuk shall not exceed five years in case of Shariah-compliant money market sub-fund.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/590178/investment-policy-for-pension-funds-revised-maturity-period-for-government-ijarah-sukuk-fixed-at-five-years/

MoF-FBR body to resolve liquidity issues: Refunds held up since 2014 to be paid next week: Hafeez

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Thursday assured the industry and businesses of the government’s resolve to provide liquidity, cash flow and other allied issues to ease their difficulties in the prevailing situation and work in this regard was started with the release of more than Rs115 billion of the sales tax and income tax refunds as well as duty drawbacks held up for years.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/590174/mof-fbr-body-to-resolve-liquidity-issues-refunds-held-up-since-2014-to-be-paid-next-week-hafeez/

FBR directs completion of processing before 20th  

LAHORE: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed all the chief commissioners, Inland Revenue, to complete processing of the refunds claims before 20th April 2020 in view of the sensitivity of COVID19 relief package implementation, says a notification available with Business Recorder.

https://epaper.brecorder.com/2020/04/17/22-page/833924-news.html

International News

Brent oil jumps nearly 3% after Trump lays out plan for easing coronavirus restrictions

Oil prices rose on Friday with Brent gaining nearly 3% after President Donald Trump laid out guidelines on reviving a U.S. economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic that has punched a huge hole in global demand for crude and refined products.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/17/oil-markets-coronavirus-pandemic-in-focus.html

Gold pares gains on US jobless claims; recession fears caps pullback

Gold retreated slightly after climbing as much as 1.3% earlier on Thursday, as U.S. jobless claims fell marginally and on hopes virus-led restrictions will ease, though concerns of a global recession kept bullions’ appeal intact.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/16/gold-markets-coronavirus-pandemic-in-focus.html

South Korea jumps 3%; China reports first-quarter GDP drop on coronavirus impact

Stocks in Asia rose in Friday morning trade as investors shrugged off an official data release that showed China’s economy shrinking by 6.8% in the first quarter.South Korea’s Kospi led gains among the region’s major markets as it surged 3.26% while the Kosdaq index added 1.35%.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/17/asia-markets-china-q1-gdp-china-growth-coronavirus.html