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It has been two years since Pakistan banned YouTube, the popular video-sharing platform. Last government imposed the ban; this government continues to enforce that. No exit is in sight. A few civil society organisations have been commendably campaigning for YouTube restoration on legal grounds, but their efforts have so far been stonewalled by the Federal Government.
With an abysmally low tax-to-GDP ratio, calls for urgent taxation reforms have taken a front seat in policy debate in Pakistan. In that vein, a recent study by the Brookings Institution is instructive. The study, by Senior Brookings Fellow William Gale and Dartmouth Professor Andrew Samwick, suggests that that there is no guarantee that tax cuts would raise the rate of economic growth over the long-run. The authors try to assess the effects of income tax changes on long-term growth patterns.
The power sector is in deplorable state once again. The circualr debt of Rs230.5 billlion has agonised the independent power producers (IPPs); liquidity crunch is confining their ability to service loans and continuing power production operations day after day, staining FY15 prospect. 22 IPPs including Nishat Power have signed a letter to the government urging it to rescue them.
With the gradual shift in investment preferences, asset management companies seem to be actively treating investors with the evolution of capital/principal preservation funds. So far in 2014, a good number of eight principal preservation funds have been launched, while two more funds namely Meezan Capital Preservation Plan (MCPP-I) and Alfalah GHP Capital Preservation Fund are in the offing.
The balance-of-payment concerns are back again. The central bank reports that 2M FY15 current account deficit stood at 2.8 percent of the GDP, compared to 1.4 percent in the year-ago period, as payments for petroleum imports stoked total imports whereas exports dropped by 11 percent year on year.
Good times seem to have come to mark the insurance industry. Investors are wild-eyed about investing in the sector while mergers and acquisitions are gaining momentum. To recall, in April 2014, IGI Insurance acquired a controlling stake in American Life Insurance (ALICO). Later Rosewood, a Switzerland based venture capital, expressed its intentions to acquire 74.9 percent stake in TPL Direct Insurance, which was then followed Bestway’s expression of interest to attain 12.23 percent stake in UBL Insurers.
While the government’s claims on economic growth may be an eye-wash, there is reason to believe that not all is dull when it comes to business growth. Or so suggest the numbers from one of the leading LSM sectors, cement and construction.
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Index Closing Chg%
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Banking Review 2013


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Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyAugust
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln