The benchmark index of Pakistan Stock Exchange closed the week ended 24th March 2017 at 48,971, up paltry 1.16%WoW. Investors remained cautious and activity remained lackluster with average daily traded volume registered at 257.8 million shares. KEL led volume charts with 140.9 million shares) as NEPRA determined the company’s multi‐year tariff (MYT) reducing its base tariff from PkR15.57/kWh to PkR12.07/kWh which was followed by news reports of PM Sharif forming a committee to review the tariff after a meeting with Chairman of SPIC (Shanghai Electric’s parent company). Other key developments for the week included: 1) current account deficit for February 2017 was reported at US$744 million, taking cumulative 8MFY17 deficit to US$5.47 billion, up 120%YoY, 2) PIB yields remained flat at the latest auction with GoP raising PkR28.5 billion, 3) February 2017 fertilizer off‐take declined by 19%MoM/2%YoY to 491,000 tons, 4) HBL announced plan to sell its Kenyan branches in exchange for 4.18% holding (13.28 million shares) in Diamond Trust Bank Kenya and 5) PSMC considering shelving its planned US$450 million investment in spare parts plant and capacity expansion. Stocks leading the bourse were: SNGP, AGTL, MEBL and EFERT and laggards were: KEL, ICI, UBL and APL. Foreign interest was positive during the week with inflows of US$3.47 million compared to US$11.07 million net outflow a week earlier. Little surprise is expected at the Monetary Policy announcement scheduled on 25th March as marker expects rates to remain unchanged. On the global front, representatives of the five monitoring OPEC/Non‐OPEC countries will meet to review compliance with the members’ deal to curb supply by 1.8 million bpd. Market is likely to remain volatile till clarity about the upcoming FY18 federal budget.
Current account continues to steadily deteriorate with 8MFY17 cumulative deficit to 1.7% of GDP or US$5.47 billion. This reflects rising imports (+11.2%YoY) this fiscal year on the back of higher oil prices (8MFY17 oil imports up 15.4%YoY) along with greater machinery (12%YoY) and auto (36%YoY) imports. This has been exacerbated with weak exports (down 2%YoY in 8MFY17) and tepid remittance flows (down 2.5%YoY). In February 2017 deficit was registered at US$744 million, lower than US$1.2 billion recorded in January 2017 helped by lower imports for the month ( down 6.2%MoM) and US$350 million CSF inflows under service exports received earlier. Going forward, unfavorable trade dynamics will prompt further weakness in the deficit, with additional CSF inflows of US$200 million received in March 2017 and expected recovery on the remittance in 4QFY17 based on seasonal trends.
NEPRA has released KEL’s MYT for the years FY17‐23 with numerous details still to be sorted. Salient features of the tariff include: 1) seven year period covered under the determination as opposed to the request for ten years, 2) raising of T&D benchmark, 3) allowance for passing through of increased O&M expense with inclusion for WPPF and WWF, 4) allowance of write-offs up to 1.78% of Electricity sales revenue in any given year, and 5) planned CAPEX of PkR237.6 billion allowed for in the tariff and adjusted in the base tariff. Contrary to increased allowances and benchmarks, the base tariff for the utility has been decreased to PkR12.00/ KwH (after adjusting for T&D and fuel), a reduction of PkR0.94/KwH over FY16’s tariff, raising concerns of a tapered bottom‐line. Analysts from ADK Securities believe KEL may approach NEPRA for a Review, with specific aspects being highlighted.