Mid-tier banks comprising of Bank Alfalah, Bank Al Habib, Bank of Punjab, Askari Bank and Standard Chartered closed CY13 on a fragile note. Besides weak top line, what marred the cumulative bottom line of mid-sized banks was high provisioning charge, the credit to which primarily goes to AKBL which passing through a turnaround process under the management of Fauji group.
Business confidence in Pakistan is positive--thats the good news. But it is just positive--thats the worry. More worrisome is the dip in overall business confidence, albeit by just one point, barely keeping the confidence in green.
The annual budget season has begun. Between now and early August, a ton of ink will be consumed in preparing budget proposals, the budget itself, budget analysis, critique, commentaries and what not. Its quite an economic activity on its own. Anyways, two things demand a bit of attention.
Its usually the case near the end of a fiscal year that equity fund managers start pulling out all the stops to show up in the category of top performing funds. And now with only three months left in the conclusion of FY14, equity funds have been observed to perk up their performance to rank amongst the top funds.
The IMF released its third tranche ($555.6mn) after the completion of second review. The tone of one pager press release reminds of the infamous mantra of ‘do more’ for the country’s economic managers. There are number of items the Fund has asked the government and the central bank to push upon and the brief document is a kind of synopsis of IMF’s programme. This is despite the so-called exaggerated economic recovery prophesied by Ishaq Dar and company.
Perhaps the biggest cause for a share price to jump is when a suitor is looking to buy a company. Market pundits and analysts alike are busy analysing Pakistan State Oil’s stock performance in the wake of the company’s plans to acquire stake in Pakistan Refinery. But, there is very little focus on what’s going on with the latter; 79 percent increase in PRL’s share price in March 2014 alone needs some explanation.
It is true that loans to private sector business are up. The recently released central bank data shows that in the seven months ending February 2014, businesses took fresh loans of Rs259 billion (on a net basis), which is up nearly 50 percent over the same period of last year. Net borrowings to private sector on the whole—that includes consumer financing—were up 53 percent in the same period.