Shaukat for listing of
NBP on stock market
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz has indicated a strong desire to list
National Bank of Pakistan on the stock market so that a self-governing mechanism of
monitoring could be created.
Views to this affect were expressed by the Finance Minister during a
visit to the NBP Head Office along with the State Bank Governor, Dr. Ishrat Husain. During
his visit he exchanged views with the NBP President, Board Directors and other senior
members of the bank.
According to a press release, Shaukat Aziz said the bank's listing will
also sustain efficiency and later the benefits could be shared with the public at large.
During a briefing session, the Finance Minster was informed that the
NBP has already decided to further increase teller availability at peak hours in the bank
branches where utility collection volumes are high and extend service timings at such
locations. The first phase of this upgradation is targeted to be ready in time for the
February bill collection.
Pakistan prefers China-led Asian trade bloc
Pakistan would strive to join the upcoming economic bloc being
conceived under the leadership of China with three other regional countries
Bangladesh, India and Myanmar as its members.
The idea for forming a new trade bloc came up at a three-day regional
conference held last year at Kunming (China) where participants from other three countries
also agreed on setting up a trade bloc for closer economic cooperation among the four
After coming to know that China is playing active role in carving out a
new economic bloc, Islamabad initiated moves to become its member as well, official
The last year's conference organized with the concurrence of Chinese
government, was reported to have attracted over 100 business leaders, experts, researchers
and scholars from these countries.
Diplomatic circles feel that it would be a great setback for Islamabad
if it was left out of the membership to a new trade bloc.
The gold prices fell to Rs 5251 per 10 grams in the local bullion
market on Wednesday from Tuesday's Rs 5358, showing a decline of Rs 107.
Merchandize exports up by 8.6pc
Merchandize exports of Pakistan registered a growth rate of 8.6 per
cent during the first seven months of current financial year but fell short of the target
by about 9.7 per cent, according to the aggregate foreign trade figures available.
The exports totalled $4.741 billion in July-January (1999-2000). With
the imports jumping by 13.3% to $5.754 billion, however, the trade gap soared to $1.013
Thus the country has already exceeded the target of $800 million for
trade gap for the whole year by a whopping $213 million.
What is particularly worrying about the situation is that the export
figure for January 2000 is the lowest when compared with the figures for the preceding
three months. In October 1999, exports totalled $676 million; these climbed to $714
million in November 1999 and to $797 million in December 1999. In January itself, exports
totalled $612 million, showing a sharp decline of 23.2% over the preceding month.
It is, therefore, obvious that the overall increase of 8.6% in exports
during the seven-month period was due to the surge in exports during the initial months of
the year 1999-2000.
When compared with January 1999, however, the exports showed an
improvement of 11.97%.
Besides, sluggish performance of exports in January 2000, a key factor
in the rise of trade gap was the acceleration in imports. The 26% increase in imports
during the month under report was in sharp contrast to 23% drop in imports, compared with
the preceding month.
Almost the same ratio is evident when we see that in January 1999, the
import bill had totalled $694 million.
The import figure for January 2000 is $894 million, showing the
vertical increase of 23.8% over the comparable month of last year.
Consequently, the trade deficit which was $40 million in January 1999,
surged to $247 million for the single month of January 2000.
Musical gadgets worth Rsl20m exported
Sialkot's annual exports of musical Instruments to the US, Canada and
Western Europe have reached the Rs 120 million mark which can be enhanced manifold if the
industry gets the government support in acquiring modern technology to produce electronic
instruments, manufacturers say.
'The industry has a great potential for expansion, especially in the
production of electronic instruments, although the process has been slow in the past,'
says Naeem Akhtar, a director at Halifax, a leading musical instruments manufacturer and
Karachi Stock Exchange on Tuesday announced that the induction of
Karachi Automated Trading System (KATS) has enabled it to handle up to 1,00,000 trades a
The KSE said that after the induction of new high-end servers and the
implementation of the new version of trading software Horizon 3.5 systems, the capacity of
KATS has enhanced considerably.
Trade gap widens
Pakistan's balance of trade deteriorated further in January 2000,
expanding overall deficit to $1.013 billion in seven months of this fiscal.
The deficit for 1999-2000 was projected at $800 million, but it had
reached $1.013 billion during July-January 1999-2000, $213 million above the official
estimate, sources in the Ministry of Commerce told.