NBP set up 110 branches of Islamic banking in one-and-a-half years

PESHAWAR (APP): National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), which is working on promotion of Sharia based banking, has set up about 110 branches of Islamic banking within a period of one and a half years. This was stated by Saima Rahim, Regional Head Islamic Banking NBP, while speaking to newsmen at an Iftar dinner hosted by NBP on Saturday. Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxation, Mian Jamshed Kakakhel was chief guest and President NBP, Iqbal Arshraf was also present on the occasion. Talking to newsmen, Saima Rahim said NBP is spreading its Islamic banking branches in every nook and corner of the country.  She said the decision to start Islamic banking was taken after appearance of reports about looting of public money by vested elements in the name of Mudarba. Speaking on the occasion, Mufti Ehsan Waqar, a religious scholar, appreciated promotion of Islamic banking in the country and role of NBP in this regard. He said NBP is planning to expand its branches from 110 to 175 within a year and it is a very good sign.

 Emerging market status to improve investors confidence: RCCI

RAWALPINDI (Staff Reporter): RCCI President Mian Humayun Parvez Saturday expressed acclamation over the joining of PSX to the emerging market index of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI). This is indeed a highly positive development and it will improve confidence of local and foreign investors, he added. Pakistan’s economy is taking a sharp leap and such news are much needed for more foreign inflows to the country, he said. RCCI president said that inclusion of Pakistan in emerging markets index reflected the fact that our country is achieving better growth in terms of liquidity and market size. He said that in developing countries MSCI Emerging Markets is the most widely-used index by investors and expressed hope that grant of emerging market status to Pakistan will lead to further strengthening of our capital market. This will generate more job opportunities and income for the common man and will ultimately lead to the sustainable economic development of the country, he added.

 California surpasses France as world's 6th-largest economy

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters): California is now the sixth-largest economy in the world, surpassing France, thanks to a robust state economy and strong U.S. dollar. California was the world's eighth-largest economy in 2014, Irena Asmundson, chief economist of the California Department of Finance, said in a phone interview on Friday. "California did exceptionally well in 2015." France is the world's seventh-largest economy with a growth domestic product of $2.42 trillion, and India is the eighth-largest with $2.09 trillion, according to the latest International Monetary Fund data. California is home to diverse strong economies, including Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Manufacturing and agriculture have performed well despite a severe drought, Asmundson said. The most populous U.S. state has outpaced the rest of the country on job growth, California's finance department said in its June bulletin this week. Gross state product was $2.46 trillion in 2015, with 4.1 percent of growth in real terms, it added.

U.S. gross domestic product grew by 2.4 percent in 2015. Growth slowed to 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

 Pound rallies as Brexit fears ease

NEW YORK (AFP): The pound rallied Friday as investors swung their bets to Britain voting to remain in the European Union next week. Long-running fears of a pro-Brexit vote on June 23 had been hammering the pound, and they were heightened in recent weeks as the "Leave" campaign pulled ahead in the polls. On Friday, the pound gained in part due to the three-day suspension of campaigning after the murder of pro-EU British lawmaker Jo Cox on Thursday. "The shocking news was seen, at least on the margin, as hurting public sentiment toward the Brexit move," said Omer Esiner of Commonwealth Foreign Exchange. The pound surged about one percent against the dollar to $1.4348. It was up 0.5 percent against the euro at 78.62 pence. The European single currency gained against both the dollar and the yen. Besides Thursday's Brexit vote, traders will be turning their attention next week to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony in on the US economic outlook on Tuesday and Wednesday in Congress.

Investors are expected to closely follow her remarks for clues on future rate hikes, after the Federal Open Market Committee kept rates unchanged on Wednesday in part due to concerns about the looming Brexit referendum.

"We expect Yellen to reiterate the cautious message of last week's post-FOMC meeting press conference," Deutsche Bank analysts said in a client note.

"However, we cannot discount the risk that she will deliver a slightly more upbeat message in case she is dissatisfied with the financial markets' interpretation of the path of monetary policy."

Markets have been decidedly more bearish than the Fed on the likely path of rate hikes, pricing in lower rates for longer on signs of weakness in the US economy and slowing global growth.