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Last update: Sun, 07 Feb 2016 10am

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Loans to private sector businesses fell by 40 percent or about Rs31 billion in the first five months of current fiscal year, the biggest reason for which appears to be soft commodity prices that has reduced the demand for working capital and trade financing needs.
After three straight years of steep returns, Pakistans equity market didn%9 pay out much to investors in 2015. Stock trading in the second half of the year was filled with downside volatility and cluelessness for participants, leaving a big mark on the markets activity.
Sindh might finally be distributing some 3,000 tractors of the promised 29,000 under the tractor scheme announced in its budget - not a lot but at least its getting the ball rolling. The initiative couldn%9 come at a better time; as per the latest data from PAMA, tractor production in December nosedived by 78 percent year-on-year to just 813 units - an all-time low. Meanwhile, sales plummeted by 60 percent year-on-year to just 957 units, the lowest in almost two years. Indubitably, FY16 is turning out to be one of the worst months for the tractor industry.
Now in its fourth year, the ongoing YouTube ban in Pakistan may have received something of a jolt this Tuesday. YouTube has just launched homepages for Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka that are customized in each country's local language and domain.
In the past few days, different political parties have once again voiced their concerns over CPEC. And in the absence of transparency, this hue and cry can only be expected to grow, even if give and take strategy by political masters is able to temporarily silence the critics and political rivals.
The VTCS offered to traders as an incentive to file returns has been presented to the Parliament and with PML-Ns simple majority in the lower house, the deemed amnesty scheme is likely to be passed. The scheme is far from an ideal scenario but given the ground realities it seems to be in the right direction as this may help expand the tax base.
The home remittance numbers for December 2015 are out and there is not much you can read from a months number. Home remittances at $1.6 for December 2015 stayed flat year-on-year, taking the cumulative six month figure growth down a bit. The 1HFY16 remittance year-on-year growth has come down to a much modest 6.2 percent - from the highs of 18 percent in the same period last year.