Exports up by 9.66pc in December

ISLAMABAD (APP): Exports from the country increased by 9.66 per cent during the month of December 2014 compared to the exports of November 2014, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Exports in December 2014 were recorded at $2.156 billion compared to the exports of $1.966 billion in November 2014, showing positive growth of 9.66 per cent. During the month the imports also increased by 6.31 per cent and reached to $3.859 billion compared to the imports of $3.630 billion in November 2014. Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the exports from the country decreased by 4.64 per cent in December 2014 as compared to the exports of $2.261 billion in December 2013.

The imports into the country, however, increased by 8.37 per cent in

December 2014 when compared to the imports of $3.561 billion in December 2013, the PBS data revealed.

The overall exports during first half of current fiscal year decreased by 4.31 per cent as compared to same period of last year.

The exports in July-December (2014-15) were recorded at $12.073 billion compared to the exports of $12.617 billion in July-December (2013-14). On the other hand the imports increased by 11.68 per cent, going up from $21.671 billion in 2013-14 to $24.203 billion in the current fiscal year.

Based on the figures, the trade deficit during the first half of the current fiscal year increased by 33.97 per cent when compared to the last fiscal year.

The trade deficit during July-December (2014-15) was recorded at $12.130 billion compared to the deficit of $9.054 billion in July-December (2013-14), showing growth of 33.97 per cent, the data revealed.

Oil prices sink further, dollar hit by wage data

HONG KONG (AFP): Oil prices tumbled again Monday, while most Asian stock markets also retreated after a sell-off in New York at the end of last week in response to data showing weak US wage growth. The news on wages, which overshadowed another forecast-beating rise in job creation, pushed the dollar down against the euro because it complicates the Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates. Sydney fell 0.78 percent, or 42.9 points, to close at 5,422.7 and Seoul closed 0.19 percent lower, or 3.75 points, at 1,920.95. Shanghai -- which has surged more than 50 percent over the past year -- slipped 1.71 percent, or 56.09 points, to 3,229.32.

However, Hong Kong edged up 0.45 percent, or 106.51 points, to 24,026.46 thanks to a surge in market heavyweight Cheung Kong Holdings after it unveiled a multi-million-dollar restructuring plan last week.

Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

Weak demand and a supply glut sent crude to new five-and-a-half-year lows, with analysts tipping further losses this week.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, lost $1.06 to $47.30 a barrel, while Brent was down $1.32 to $48.79.

Singapore's United Overseas Bank said in a commentary: "Oil prices continued to tumble and headed for a seventh straight weekly loss as key producers show no sign of cutting output in the face of a supply glut."

Crude prices have lost more than half their value since the middle of last year, with weakness in key markets China and the eurozone adding to the supply and demand crisis.

Wall Street provided a negative lead for stock markets after figures showed US wages grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in December, barely keeping up with inflation and indicating consumer spending power remained low.

The Dow slipped 0.95 percent Friday, the S&P 500 fell 0.84 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.68 percent.

Pakistan’s Islamic banks

post $94 million profit

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan’s Islamic banking industry posted a profit of Rs 9.4 billion ($94 million) in July-September 2014, a substantial rise compared to Rs 5.6 billion during the same quarter of 2013, reported The Gulf Today Newspaper. The Newspaper, quoting State Bank of Pakistan bulletin for July-September quarter said that Islamic Banking’s share in the overall banking has been increasing, but growth is significantly slow. Assets of the Islamic banking industry grew by 1.3 per cent to Rs1,102 billion during the quarter compared to Rs1,089 billion in the previous quarter. Similarly, its deposits rose to Rs 934 billion during the quarter, the newpaper said.

The Newspaper further said, the market share of Islamic banking  assets and deposits in overall banking industry increased from 9.8 per cent and 10.6 per cent by end-June 2014 to 9.9 per cent and

10.7 per cent respectively by end-September 2014,” said the bulletin.

Among asset quality indicators, non-performing financing

(NPF) of Islamic banking industry increased during the quarter resulting in an increase in provisions against financing, it added.

As for earnings and profitability indicators, both ROA (return on assets) and ROE (return on equity) also rose during the three-month period. The industry has been investing heavily in government papers like conventional banks, according to the SBP report.

It added that the Net investments of the Islamic banking industry declined to Rs 354b by end-September 2014 from Rs358 billion by end-June 2014, reflecting an on-quarter fall of 1 per cent.

“The decline in investments was mainly due to non-issuance of any new sukuk during the quarter that has generally been the key investment option for Islamic banking industry,” said the report.

This is also reflected in decline of 1.2pc in federal government securities during July-September, though they still remain the highest contributor in investments, it added.

In terms of share, nearly 60 per cent of investments made by the industry are contributed by Islamic banks and 40 per cent by the Islamic banking departments of conventional banks.

Gross financing of the industry grew by 2.8 per cent to Rs 348.5 billion by end-September from Rs339 billion by end-June.

The industry’s NPF rose for the first time since September

2013 to reach Rs 18.4 billion by end-September 2014, said the report, adding that all categories of non-performing financing except ‘loss’ witnessed decline. Deposits reached Rs 934 billion by the end of the quarter, posting a quarterly growth of 0.2pc.

“Share of Islamic banking industry deposits in overall banking industry increased from 10.6 per cent in June 2014 to

10.7 per cent by end-September 2013,” said the report.

However, fixed deposits in Islamic banks have been increasing faster than any other deposits. “Within customers’ deposits, fixed deposits as well as saving deposits registered positive growth during the period under review, though fixed deposits grew at a faster pace compared to saving deposits,” The Gulf Today said.

KCA urges exporters to

strictly comply with ISPM-15

KARACHI (APP): The Karachi Cotton Association on Monday urged all the members of textile sector to strictly comply with International Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM-15) to avoid imposition of a ban on import of perishables from Pakistan to European Union. In a press communication based on a letter received from the country’s Ministry of Textile Industry, KCA has reminded all textile companies and exporters of textile goods that under EU policy decision no textile product carrying wooden pallets or any wood material should be exported to any of its member states without fumigation with methyl bromide from registered fumigator of the Plant Protection Department.

This textile specific warning issued by Pakistan Ministry of Textile Industry was said to be due to the fact that some textile companies have used wood packing material, wooden pallets with harmful organism carrying exported textile products to member states of EU.  It was reminded that Pakistan is also signatory to International Plant Protection Organization and IPPC Portal, under which wooden material are not only required to be fumigated with methyl bromide but have to be also certificated from National Plant Protection Organization.

The relevant authority, in context of Pakistan was said to be Department of Plant Protection.

KCA officials on basis of letter received from country’s Ministry of Textile particularly referred to the warning issued by the DG SANGO (Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs) European Union that a ban may be imposed on import of perishables from Pakistan if the international agreement signed by it is ignored or violated,

MEDA initiates process to

promote red meat export

LAHORE (APP): Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has initiated a process to evolve concrete measures for promoting Pakistan’s red meat industry in the world market. Alamgir Chaudhry, CEO SMEDA said chairing a consultative meeting with key stakeholders of the meat sector here on Monday.  Officials from various public and private sectors including Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Punjab Halal Development Authority (PHDA), representatives of Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP) of USAID and members of Meat Exporters Association attended the meeting.  

CEO SMEDA highlighted the importance of sector and informed about initiatives being taken by SMEDA for the development of Dairy and Livestock sector.  He informed that the global red meat market bearing trade volume of over US $ 48 billion had a great scope for Pakistan, which is currently exporting meat worth US $ 200 million with a meager share of 0.44% only in the world market.  He said that the volume can be enhanced manifold by transforming the red meat resources of Pakistan into value added products, which can only be possible by enabling the industry to meet the international compliance issues.  He disclosed that SMEDA was in the process of preparing comprehensive guidelines to make the exporters of Red Meat well aware about the compliance requirements of world meet market.

A detailed presentation on functions of SMEDA, international trade trends vis-a-vis export of Red Meat from Pakistan and compliance requirements across value chain of Red Meat was also given to the participants.  Stakeholders shared their views about the meat sector and also offered their support to SMEDA for developing guidelines on compliance requirement for export of Red Meat.