Pakistan foreign exchange reserves surged to $18.01 billion from $17.595 billion with the fresh inflows of $582 million from various global agencies by the end of 2019. The foreign exchange reserves held by commercial banks stand at $6.592 billion. The exchange reserves of commercial banks are slightly reducing as Dollar’s investors are offloading their savings in the open markets.
HBL has become the first Pakistani bank to be awarded the much-coveted branch license to offer financial services to clients in Beijing, China. The branch license was awarded by China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) in December 2019. The preparatory work of setting up the HBL Beijing branch is now underway.
Pakistan’s rice exports during the first five months of the current financial year increased by 38.58% as compared to the corresponding period last year. Over 1.601 million tons of rice worth $835.686 million were exported from July-November 2019 versus 1.115 million tons worth $603.149 million exported last year, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Exports of basmati rice grew by 61.47% during the last five months compared to the same period of last year.
The multinational company MVM Energy (PVT) Ltd. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Yutong, a renowned bus manufacturer to introduce electric buses in Pakistan. The project will be officially launched in February 2020. A trial run will be initiated in the first stage with the long term aim to revolutionize the Pakistani public transport system keeping in line with PM Imran Khan’s vision of a clean green progressive Pakistan.
International banks are willing to invest in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), according to the PIA CEO, Air Marshal Arshad Malik. The interest was shown after observing steady improvements in PIA’s financials as the national carrier’s revenue is increasing. The CEO noted that the losses have been brought down considerably and will be evident from 2019’s audited reports.
China uses pig’s bones to create tasbeeh; which is then sold to Saudi Arabia. According to a recent video released, the prayer beads sold in Saudi Arabia are manufactured by China. But, the material used by the Chinese to create them is from the pig. There are various factories in China producing prayer beads for the Muslims from the bones of a haraam animal.
A recent report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked Pakistan ranked 151 out of 153 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index Report 2020 index. The country has drastically slipped from 112 in 2006 to 151 in 2020 and only managed to surpass Iraq and Yemen. Among the seven South Asian countries included in the index, Pakistan charted at the very bottom.
Switzerland has rejected Pakistan’s request to provide five years old tax information under the Automatic Exchange of Information. The bank accounts’ information that Switzerland will share in September 2021, will pertain to the accounts positions for the calendar year 2020. Since Pakistan’s demand had no legal justification, the Swiss authorities have informed that they cannot provide any information before January 2019 period.
To promote tourism in the country, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved Rs. 5 billion for construction of roads and new tourism spots across the province. The budget will be used to build fourteen roads in Hazara and Malakand Divisions. On the directives of the provincial Minister for Tourism Atif Khan, the construction work will start this week.
Pakistan has initiated talks with central Asian countries of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for electricity export during winter under the (Central Asia-South Asia) (CASA-1000) agreement. As per the agreement, Pakistan will import 1,000MW of electricity per day at 9.50 cents per unit in summer from May to October. A 750 kilometer-long high-voltage direct current (DC) transmission line between Pakistan and Tajikistan via Afghanistan will be built at a cost of $1.7 billion for this purpose.