Stock market jubilant after UAE royal’s visit to Pakistan

A Pakistani stockbroker monitors share prices during a trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi on Jan. 1, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Stock market jubilant after UAE royal’s visit to Pakistan

  • Benchmark KSE 100 index gains 1,015 points riding high on the wave of growing economic ties
  • Country’s domestic and external debt stock rose by 10 percent to Rs26.45tr

KARACHI: Bulls on Monday gave a round of applause to the UAE as Pakistan Stock Exchange’s benchmark KSE 100 index soared by 1,015 points or 2.7 percent to close at the 38,562 level.

The reactions follow a visit by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces who was in Islamabad for a day-long trip on Sunday — his first after a gap of 12 years — on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Recently, the UAE announced plans to help Islamabad with $3 billion – which will be deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) — to support the country’s fragile balance of payments sheet. Other countries are also negotiating the import of oil on deferred payments, developments which further boosted investors’ confidence in Pakistan’s share market.

“Investors were in agreement that the UAE’s $6.2 billion bailout package to support [Pakistan in terms of its] economic crises, Fitch Solutions' analysis speculating stability in inflation, and the SBP's key policy rate in FY2018-19, in addition to surging global crude oil price and investor speculations — ahead of year end earnings to be announced later this week -- played a catalyst’s role in a record high close at the PSX,” Ahsan Mehanti, a senior stock analyst, told Arab News.

Trading volumes increased by 144 percent from 64 million shares to 157.1 million. Average traded value also increased by 122 percent to $50.4 million against $22.7 million.

“Sentiment improved over the weekend due to financial support from friendly countries and also due to the absence of selling from institutional investors. Healthy buying activity was observed across the board, particularly in the chemical sector which saw volumes of 23.6 million shares,” Misha Zahid, a stock analyst at Arif Habib Limited, said.

According to the analysts, Fitch Solutions has predicted that the SBP is likely to keep the interest rate unchanged at 10 percent in the remaining part of the current fiscal year FY19, while the inflation is likely to stabilize at around six percent.

Pakistan is expecting from the UAE a similar facility which was extended by Saudi Arabia which has pledged to import oil worth $3 billion at deferred payments – providing major relief to Islamabad to overcome its financial crisis.

“Among the major initiatives taken by the government to stabilize Pakistan’s balance of payments, oil purchases on deferred payments was a key one. The government has been finalizing this facility with both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The government is trying to highlight certain issues due to which the conclusion of the deal is taking time,” Samiullah Tariq, Head of Research of Arif Habib Limited, said. 

However, devaluation of the rupee, loans from friendly countries, and the condition of the domestic market have increased the government’s total domestic and external debt stock by 10 percent as of November 30, 2018 to Rs 26.45 trillion since June 2018, data released by the SBP showed on Monday.

The country’s domestic debt since June 2018 rose by 5.5 percent to Rs17.322 trillion while the external debt rose by 17 percent to Rs9.129 trillion.

“The debt numbers are in line with the market’s expectation and these numbers will rise in the coming days for a couple of reasons including rupee devaluation, borrowing for budget deficit financing, and borrowing from friendly countries,” Muhammad Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, told Arab News.


Instagram moves into e-commerce with shopping button

Updated 20 March 2019
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Instagram moves into e-commerce with shopping button

  • A new “checkout” button for instant purchasing launched in a beta version of the app in the US with a limited number of businesses
  • Facebook makes the bulk of its money from digital advertising but has dabbled with e-commerce in the past

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook-owned Instagram on Tuesday made a move into potentially lucrative e-commerce by adding an option to buy products shown off in posts by selected brands.
A new “checkout” button for instant purchasing launched in a beta version of the app in the US with a limited number of businesses, according to the popular image-centric messaging service.
“We’re introducing Checkout on Instagram,” the Silicon Valley based division of Facebook said in an online post.
“When you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app.”
Tapping the checkout button will allow shoppers to select options such as size or color and then pay for items without leaving the Instagram app.
Previously, people inspired to buy products featured in Instagram posts had to follow links to outside online shopping sites.
Information entered for an initial purchase will be stored for future use, according to Instagram.
It remained to be seen how people would feel trusting information such as credit card details to a service owned by Facebook, which has been hit with waves of criticism for its handling of personal data.
Brands taking part in the checkout feature included Adidas, Burberry, Dior, H&M, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, and glasses retailer Warby Parker.
Facebook makes the bulk of its money from digital advertising but has dabbled with e-commerce in the past. It has pitched its Messenger service as a communication platform for shops or brands to connect with customers.