Aug 11 - 17, 2003  
ISSUE # 32  

Pakistan, like a great part of the world, is also facing water crisis. Though heavy rains across the country has helped reduce the severity of the problem substantially the time should be used by the related authorities to come up long-term and permanent solutions to ensure smooth supply to a population which is growing at over 2.5 per cent each year.





The arrival of the commercial banks in the area of housing finance has started lending an indirect support to various sub-sectors of the construction industry, especially the cement industry. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in line with the government policy to use the construction industry as the engine of economic growth of the country, has allowed the commercial banks to operate in the area of Housing Finance. The way the commercial banks are coming in the sector it appears that the cement industry may have to increase its production capacity in near future. The policy to encourage the construction has started producing results as the demand for cement increased by 1.5 million tons during the last financial year. The demand of cement during the current financial year is likely to touch the level of 13-14 million tons. If the cement prices were not brought down by the so-called cartel of the cement producers, the government may import at a much cheaper price to pass on the benefit to the consumers.


Stock Market
The KSE-100 index gained 303 point during this week and closed at 4,323. Now all eyes are set at 5,000 level. Economic fundamentals are strong, liquidity is over flowing and sentiments are bullish. Dividend yields are still attractive. However, the only point of concern is growing gap in demand and supply of quality scrips.