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The total servicing of external public debt was $5.344 billion during July-February 2019-20 against the budgeted $10.423 billion for the entire fiscal year, says the Economic Affairs Division (EAD). According to the latest figures released by the EAD, total servicing of external public debt was $5.344 billion during the first eight months of current financial year; $4.190 billion (78 percent of total external public debt servicing) was repaid as principal and $1.154 billion (22 percent) as interest on the outstanding stock of external public debt. Owing to sharp decline in crude oil prices in the international market, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has recommended to the government to reduce petroleum products’ prices by up to Rs44 per litre for May, 2020. The federal budget 2020-21, to be announced in the first week of June, would focus on mitigating people’s sufferings through different measures including creation of job opportunities, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said.

Market View: The KSE100 Index gained 605.5 points on Wednesday, ending the session at 33,158.8 points. We expect the market to remain range bound in the upcoming session as Pakistan witnessed highest number of death toll in a single day yesterday due to COVID19.

Commodities:

Brent oil (USD/bbl): 24.60 (+9.14% D/D)

WTI Crude oil (USD/bbl): 17.07 (+13.35% D/D)

Gold (USD/oz): 1,726.40 (+0.76% D/D)

National News

July-February 2019-20: Total servicing of external public debt was $5.344bn

The total servicing of external public debt was $5.344 billion during July-February 2019-20 against the budgeted $10.423 billion for the entire fiscal year, says the Economic Affairs Division (EAD). According to the latest figures released by the EAD, total servicing of external public debt was $5.344 billion during the first eight months of current financial year; $4.190 billion (78 percent of total external public debt servicing) was repaid as principal and $1.154 billion (22 percent) as interest on the outstanding stock of external public debt.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/30/593401/july-february-2019-20-total-servicing-of-external-public-debt-was-5344bn/

Ogra recommends Rs20.68 per litre cut in petrol price

ISLAMABAD: Owing to sharp decline in crude oil prices in the international market, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has recommended to the government to reduce petroleum products’ prices by up to Rs44 per litre for May, 2020.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/651626-ogra-recommends-rs20-68-per-litre-cut-in-petrol-price

Federal budget 2020-21 to be announced in first week of June

ISLAMABAD – The federal budget 2020-21, to be announced in the first week of June, would focus on mitigating people’s sufferings through different measures including creation of job opportunities, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said.

https://nation.com.pk/30-Apr-2020/federal-budget-2020-21-to-be-announced-in-first-week-of-june

Foreign banks: Ministry urged to avoid loans at present rates

The Economic Affairs Division (EAD) has recommended the Finance Ministry to avoid heavy reliance on borrowing from foreign commercial banks at prevailing market rates for plugging fiscal as well as balance of payments gaps, as it is not only expensive but also had a very short maturity period.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/30/593400/foreign-banks-ministry-urged-to-avoid-loans-at-present-rates/

The power pandemic

The power sector, unfortunately, is often in the news for the wrong reasons — whether it be the growing circular debt, the infamous IPPs, the controversial RLNG deals or the rising cost of electricity, everyone and their uncle has an opinion on how to solve the crisis. The decline has been accelerated by the addition of about 14,000 MW in the last 3-4 years with no demand to match. The nose-diving rupee and the COVID-19 pandemic further seems to have sealed a bleak fate.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/651927-the-power-pandemic

Social, economic chaos over COVID-19: Razak Dawood assures support to wholesale, retail sectors

ISLAMABAD: The Adviser to the PM on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, has appreciated the role that the chain stores and Tier 1 retailers play in the national economy, especially in a crisis situation, and acknowledged the hardships being faced by the sector in the ongoing pandemic crisis.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/651924-social-economic-chaos-over-covid-19-razak-dawood-assures-support-to-wholesale-retail-sectors

Super-corona tax proposal for ultra rich in discussion

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is contemplating upon different options for slapping Corona Tax on super rich and wealthy in the next budget for 2020-21, The News has learnt.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/651625-super-corona-tax-proposal-for-ultra-rich-in-discussion

FBR HQ shut following detection of corona case

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) headquarters building here was closed on Wednesday after a coronavirus positive case was detected among one of its officials. However, an official told BR that the building has not been sealed. Sanitization work will continue Thursday but the employees have been asked to avoid coming to work till Monday.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/30/593384/fbr-hq-shut-following-detection-of-corona-case/

Dividend distribution, align tax rates: APTMA for elimination of tax

The country’s struggling textile industry has urged the government to eliminate tax on distribution of dividends and align tax rates with other exporting countries.

https://www.brecorder.com/2020/04/30/593405/dividend-distribution-align-tax-rates-aptma-for-elimination-of-tax/

Inflow of hot money begins slowly

KARACHI: While the outflow of foreign investment in the treasury bills still remains high, April also witnessed some uptick in hot money inflows.Latest data issued by the State Bank on Wednesday noted a change in March’s trend of foreign investment from the T-bills when no hot money was recorded in the government papers.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1553354/inflow-of-hot-money-begins-slowly

SECP guidelines for cross-border transactions

ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Wednesday issued guidelines for cooperation with international regulatory bodies to strengthen detection and deterrence of cross-border financial misconducts.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1553352/secp-guidelines-for-cross-border-transactions

Sharp reduction in cargo handling as land, air and sea routes closed

ISLAMABAD: Export cargo handling at the Karachi ports declined nearly 42 per cent in the last 38 days owing to closure of shipping lines and order deferrals by international buyers.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1553355/sharp-reduction-in-cargo-handling-as-land-air-and-sea-routes-closed

Ogra proposes up to Rs44 cut in fuel prices

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Wednesday recommended up to Rs44.07 per litre reduction in the price of major petroleum products for the month of May to share the benefit of lower international prices with the consumers.

https://www.dawn.com/live-blog/

Highest number of virus deaths in single day in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: As coronavirus cases surpassed the 15,000 mark with the highest number of deaths in a single day, the government on Wednesday decided to bring back 7,500 overseas Pakis­tanis in the first week of May.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1553372/highest-number-of-virus-deaths-in-single-day-in-pakistan

International News

Oil prices rise on early signs of slowing US glut build

Oil prices rose on Thursday, building on big gains in the previous session on signs the U.S. crude glut is not growing as fast as expected and that gasoline demand battered by Covid-19 restrictions is starting to pick up.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/30/oil-markets-coronavirus-crude-output-in-focus.html

Gold eases as virus treatment hopes lift risk sentiment

Gold edged lower on Thursday as risk appetite improved after positive trial results of an experimental Covid-19 treatment and a jump in oil prices, while the U.S. Federal Reserve’s vow to support the battered economy underpinned the safe-haven metal.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/30/gold-markets-coronavirus-in-focus.html

Japan stocks jump more than 2% on hopes of coronavirus treatment; China’s manufacturing data misses expectations

Stocks in Asia rose in Thursday morning trade following positive developments overnight on a potential new treatment for Covid-19.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/30/asia-markets-coronavirus-china-pmi-currencies-in-focus.html