ETDB signs SME loan agreement with Khushhalibank

ISLAMABAD (APP): ECO Trade and Development Bank (ETDB) Tuesday signed the second Micro SME loan agreement with Khushhalibank in order to facilitate the Micro Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (M-SME) financing provided by Khushhalibank in Pakistan. The signing ceremony was attended by Ghalib Nishtar, President of Khushhalibank and Saleem Akhtar Bhatti, Chief Financial Officer, says a statement issued by the bank here.Khushhalibank (KBL) maintains its position as the largest provider of microcredit in terms of active borrowers and its geographic presence, operating under the Regulations of State Bank of Pakistan.KBL was the first licensed microfinance bank established in Pakistan in the year 2000.

Its mission is to market financial services tailored for low income market segments in line with international micro finance practices through their distribution network across the country's rural and urban divides.

The Khushhalibank founded in the year 2000, was a part of the Government's Poverty Reduction Strategy and its Microfinance Sector Development Programme (MSDP).The MSDP was developed with the facilitation of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

With its headquarters based in Islamabad, Khushhalibank operates under supervision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) with commercial banks as its shareholders.The mandate remains to retail microfinance services and to act as a catalyst in stabilizing the country's microfinance sector.

Eurozone business activity hits four-year high

BRUSSELS (AFP): Eurozone business activity rose sharply in June to hit a more than four-year high, which analysts said suggested a better-than-expected recovery in the making despite the Greek crisis. The closely watched Markit Economics Composite Purchasing Managers Output Index (PMI) came in at 54.1 points in June, up from 53.6 in May, for its best performance since May 2011. Any reading above the boom-or-bust line of 50 points shows the economy expanding. The 19-nation eurozone has been recovering steadily but modestly for the past 18 months as fears Greece could default on its debt and crash out of the bloc have dampened business confidence.

Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said the latest data suggested the eurozone economy was doing better than expected, with overall growth in the second quarter likely to be in line with the first quarter's 0.4 percent.

That would give a full-year gain of 2.0 percent, a respectable performance after recent weakness, with the upturn broad-based.

"Despite the cloud of the Greek debt crisis hanging over the region, the eurozone saw economic growth accelerate," Williamson said.

"The uncertainty generated by the recent escalation of the (Greek) crisis appears to have taken some of the steam out of hiring growth, but employment over the second quarter as a whole has nevertheless shown the largest rise for four years to suggest that -- at present at least - the eurozone economy is weathering the Greek storm relatively well," he said.

By component, Markit said the index for the services sector -- which accounts for about two-thirds of all economic activity -- rose to 54.4 points in June from 53.8 in May, while manufacturing showed a more modest gain to 52.5 points from 52.2.

US durable goods orders fall in May

WASHINGTON (AFP): New orders for US manufactured durable goods fell in May, pulled lower by slumping aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Orders fell 1.8 percent in May, widely exceeding analysts' average estimate of an 0.5 percent decline. The decrease, the third in the last four months, followed a downwardly revised 1.5 percent April decline, previously reported as a 1.0 percent drop. Transportation equipment orders also fell for the third time in four months, down by 6.4 percent. That included a 35.3 percent plunge in orders for civilian aircraft and a 6.3 percent decline in defense aircraft. Orders for motor vehicles were flat. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, durable goods orders were up 0.5 percent, slightly below expectations.

Analysts pointed to an encouraging 0.4 percent rise in core capital orders -- those for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft -- as a bright spot in the report for the US economy. Core orders had fallen 0.3 percent in April and risen 1.6 percent in March.

"It does now seem that the downdraft which began last fall as oil companies slashed their capex (capital expenditures) is now over. The underlying trend in capex ex-oil is rising, so we now expect to see better numbers over the second half," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

World oil prices steady

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices steadied Tuesday as traders eyed the possible return of Iranian crude to the global market with supplies already at high levels, analysts said. The market was responding also to movements in the euro against the dollar, and how that affects demand for dollar-denominated crude oil, awaiting a deal on Greece's bailout terms. Iran and major Western powers are racing to agree a deal by June 30 that would see Tehran open up its nuclear programme to allay concerns it is seeking atomic weapons, in return for the West lifting punishing economic sanctions. Any agreement could result in Iranian crude returning to the world market, adding to the current oversupply which sent prices plunging from more than $100 a barrel last year.

In Tuesday trade, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery was down 23 cents at $60.15 a barrel compared with Monday's close.

Brent North Sea crude for August edged up eight cents to $63.42 a barrel in London midday deals.

Oil prices had risen modestly on Monday amid hopes of there finally being a breakthrough on Greece's financial rescue.

Elsewhere is the key issue of "Iranian crude possibly coming back to the market", said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

He said market-watchers are concerned over how fast Iran can resume exports to the West after a deal is reached.

"If the speed is very fast, this could push the market into further oversupply," he said.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- had agreed in April on the main outlines of what would be a historic deal scaling down Tehran's nuclear programme.

In return, they agreed that sanctions would be progressively lifted if regular inspections confirm that Tehran is sticking to the accord.

CDNS mobilises Rs315b savings

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) has achieved Rs 315 billion savings target during current fiscal year from July 1, 2014 to June 15,2015 against the revised target of Rs.329 billion. An official of CDNS giving breakups of set targets for coming fiscal year 2015-16 of National Savings told APP here on Tuesday that "Net target for new financial year 2015-16 is Rs. 302 billion and gross target would be 1043." "People have shown confidence in National Saving's different schemes as in "Behbood Saving Scheme" pensioners, widows and senior citizens benefit account now enhanced from Rs.3 million to Rs.4 million",he said. The official,said that "our institution believes in accountability and transparency to build the confidence of customers.

He said that currently people trends have shifted from short term to \ medium and long term investments for which CDNS facilitates the investors.

The CDNS has launched comparatively better schemes for senior citizen and gave them higher rate as compared to other products, he added.

He said that this phenomena is also evident in case of investment of institutions and as same in banking sector and Treasury Bills,where T. Bills substantially reduce and Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIB) increased in long terms schemes.

Regarding the future outlook of the CDNS ,he said that in order to strengthen the secondary market of debt instruments, CDNS can offer Bonds/Certificates through depository as well stock exchanges.

The deliberation with stakeholders Central Depository Company (CDC) and KSE has already been completed.

He further said that a long Term Paper under the nomenclature of Children Protection Scheme is also under consideration.

He said that the CDNS has also proposed launching of Shariah Compliant Security in domestic market as products has great appetite.

The official of the CDNS said that the proposal to launch registered prize bond with offering coupon as well as prize is also under consideration.