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Last update: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07am

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Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering reduction in its crude export sales to its partners, by as much as seven percent, in an attempt to show the first signs of compliance to the Opec deal. The news has been received well by the market, as it sent oil prices soaring by over 3 percent yesterday, after earlier fears of non-compliance from some smaller Opec players.
Petroleum consumption has increased significantly over the last two years due to lower prices despite the government not passing on the entire impact of lower prices to consumers. Volumetric sales for key petroleum products (motor gasoline, furnace oil and diesel) for 2016 show an increase of 12 percent year-on-year in 2016, whereas the growth over 2014 cumulative figure has been over 20 percent.
One of the challenges faced by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar these days is to keep the balance between sales tax revenues from petroleum products and the prices consumer pay in the days of rising international oil prices. The fiscal revenues are getting hit from right and left; numbers for both tax and non -tax revenues this year so far are not encouraging for the Ministry of Finance.
Cement players had indicated that cement prices would be increased in accordance with coal price increase globally. Coal prices had been falling for a number of years but recently rebounded, starting to move upward, shooting by nearly 58 percent in the past six months.
The latest annual Payment System Review (the Review) by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) shows an all-round growth in retail payment infrastructure and transaction-mix during FY16. The numbers surely look good on their own. But it is the quality of growth in alternate delivery channels (ADCs) that seems like a massive work in progress, especially in the context of financial inclusion in this largely un-banked country.
The closing month of 2016 was one of the best performing months for the Pakistan Stock Exchange. The benchmark KSE-100 galloped 12 percent in December and finished off the calendar year with a return of 46 percent.%D%AJust two months ago the situation was looking bleak for the market in the wake of protests and political uncertainty. The market action following those events has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Petroleum consumption has increased significantly over the last two years due to lower prices despite the government not passing on the entire impact of lower prices to consumers. Volumetric sales for key petroleum products (motor gasoline, furnace oil and diesel) for 2016 show an increase of 12 percent year-on-year in 2016, whereas the growth over 2014 cumulative figure has been over 20 percent.