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Feb 14 - 02, 2000

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

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 countries.

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 sources said.

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.

Gold prices

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 billion.

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 exporter.


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 day.

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.