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Is the wait finally over? Last week the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoIT) announced that it had sent the draft “Telecommunication Policy 2015” to the ECC for approval. Recall that the first consultative draft was published in July last year, followed by a revised draft in October. It seems that the consultation process is over and the ball lies in the cabinet’s court.
It’s the season of single-digit returns. With the SBP slashing the discount rates by a cumulative 200bps since last year, the rates on government securities and mutual funds have been following a declining trend. National Saving Schemes have been no exception as their returns have dropped sharply by 190-216bps since the beginning of CY15.
These are interesting times. Iran may soon be truly open for business again. Wall Street was buzzing all day on Monday, the first day after the Easter holiday, thanks to the optimism the recent negotiations have generated. While the financial world seems excited in anticipation of taking a piece of the Iranian market, caution should prevail because of lingering questions.
Pakistan’s largest bank is up for grabs. Expect Ishaq Dar and company to be boasting of another success pretty soon. Just how selling one of your best assets at hefty discounts is a matter of pride can be left to another day. But the government is now on its way to offload its entire 41.5 percent holding in HBL, at a floor price of Rs166/share.
Islamic finance has become the most cherished child of the global financial sector. From the government to the central bank, everyone seems enthusiastic about the Islamic segment. Following the aggressive footsteps of SBP in this regard, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is also getting its head down to promote the Islamic capital market.
It is all because of low prices. The volumetric growth of petroleum products continued to benefit from the low price environment in March 2015 as well. Total petroleum sales by the oil marketing companies saw a growth of 14 percent year-on-year in March 2015, primarily due to low price environment and corresponding improvement in volumetric sales of major petroleum products.
With President Xi Jinping expected to inaugurate the Pak-China Economic Corridor this month, one becomes giddy thinking about all the increased prospects of trade with China. But as it stands, trade with China is no cause for celebration.

 



 
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Banking Review 2014


Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyMarch
Trade Balance $-1.586 bln
Exports $1.932 bln
Imports $3.518 bln
WeeklyApril 16, 2015
Reserves $16.818 bln