Pakistan stock market remains lackluster

The benchmark of Pakistan Stock Exchange breached 40,000 mark during the week ended August 19, 2016. This prompted the investors to indulge in profit taking in the later part of the week to pull the index below 40,000 level. Foreign selling added to the pressure with outflows for the week at US$18.38 million considerably higher than US$1.03 million earlier. Daily average volume for the week also declined 12.9%WoW to average 230.69 million shares.

Key news flows during the week included: 1) MTB yields remain unchanged across all tenors in the week’s auction despite heavy participation with bids amounting to above Rs659 billion where the GoP raised Rs373 billion, 2) FDI declined 14.6%YoY with net flows of US$64.3 million in July’16 with total foreign investment for the month at US$113.9 million on rising portfolio investments, 3) the NA Standing Committee on Finance approved the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Bill, 4) ECC approved sale of imported urea available with NFML at a discounted price of Rs1310/bag compared to the subsidized local price of Rs1,400/bag, 5) GoP got ready to float fresh tenders for the import of 200 mmcfd of LNG to cope with the expected surge in demand during winter this year and 6) Privatization Commission sought comfort letter on PPA and generation license of KAPCO from the Ministry of Water & Power to offer GoP’s residual shares to investors during domestic road shows.

Interest in the coming week is likely to be centered on remainder corporate results for the quarter. Major companies scheduled to announce results include HUBC, KAPCO, OGDC, CHCC, BAFL, NBP and INDU. However lacking major triggers, the broader market is expected to remain listless. Global crude prices are likely to be tracked keenly ahead of OPEC’s meeting next month.

Renewing concerns on potential slowdown in remittance flows on worsening global financial dynamics, inflows during July’16 marked a sharp decline of 20%YoY/36%MoM to US$1.33 billion ‐ the lowest monthly flow since April’14. This reflected unfavorable developments that included: 1) slowdown in GCC economies on oil price slump and 2) US regulatory tightening on money transfer. While room remains for volatility in the Rupee on sluggish remittances, analysts maintain their FY17 forecast of 3% PkR/US$ depreciation on Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserve strength. In terms of its implication on the banking sector, some revenue dilution can be expected in UBL, HBL and NBP with remittances contributing more than 10% to total fee income approximately. However, expansion in branchless banking segment is likely to provide a buffer to any downside arising from slower remittances growth having no material impact on banks’ earnings.

Exhibiting the brunt of monsoon season, latest APCMA’s dispatches data depicts domestic demand growth of 3.9%YoY in July’16, far lower than 9.2%YoY growth in June’16. While flatter exports during July’16 as compared to the previous month indicated that freefall has likely ceased, settling at new normal levels post anti‐dumping duties imposed by major cement export markets (South Africa/Iraq). However, exports increased 20.2%MoM in July’16 as against a 15.7%MoM in July’15. While the slowdown in demand has much to do with the seasonal factors, analysts believe demand to start picking up from August’16 as construction activity is likely to pick pace post‐monsoon.


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