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Asian markets on course to end week on positive note

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HONG KONG: The upbeat tone that has characterised this week helped Asian markets to fresh gains on Friday, with Hong Kong on course for a sixth straight day of rises.

Investors globally have been riding a wave of optimism since last week when the head of the Federal Reserve indicated it will likely slow its pace of interest rate hikes, while there were also signs that China and the US could eventually reach a trade deal.

And the gains were not limited to equities, with oil rising about 20 percent from 17-month lows at the end of December, while high-yielding currencies were being supported by a new-found demand for riskier assets.

Friday’s rally followed another positive lead from Wall Street, where dealers brushed off disappointing retail figures as they focused on the prospect that borrowing costs will not rise as much as previously feared.

Fed minutes Wednesday showed policymakers are happy to hold off any more rate hikes as they assess the state of the economy, backing up dovish comments last week by its head Jerome Powell.

There was a slight wobble in New York after Powell on Thursday suggested the bank’s securities holdings should be “substantially smaller” — a sell-off by the Fed of such assets would lift interest rates.

But the general mood remained upbeat as a number of other top Fed officials indicated they were happy to see a break in hikes.

“Markets are ultimately waiting to see if the Fed’s new rhetoric related to stepping back, does it translate to action, and does the Fed actually pause at some point,” Morgan Stanley economist Dan Skelly told Bloomberg TV in New York.

“That’s really what we are waiting for to see a sustained move higher” in stocks, he said.

 

 

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Business

Is Uber buying Careem for $3.1b?

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DUBAI: According to the rumors making rounds here today it seems that Uber is about to acquire Careem for $3.1b!

Sources privy to NPTV have insinuated that the deal will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 26th March). Initially Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and the rest in notes convertible to Uber shares.

It comes as Uber prepares for its initial public offering — expected next month — which could see the rideshare giant’s value increase to $100 billion.

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Pakistan to receive $2.1b from China

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China remains largest holder of U.S. Treasuries

ISLAMABAD: According to the Ministry of Finance, it has completed all procedural formalities with Chinese counterpart for a facility of $ 2.1 Billion. 

The amount, due to be received on Monday 25th of March, would further strengthen the country’s balance of payment situation. The funds that would be deposited in SBP would also strengthen foreign exchange reserves position.

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Pakistan to receive US $ 2.1 bln from China by Monday: Spokesman

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will receive US $ 2.1 billion from China by Monday March 25, which would further strengthen country’s balance of payment situation, Adviser and Spokesman for Ministry of Finance, Dr Khaqan Najeeb said.

“The ministry of finance has completed all procedural formalities with Chinese counterpart for facility of RMB 15 billion equivalent to US $ 2.1 billion,” the advisor said in a tweet here Saturday.

He said that the funds would be deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) account by Monday March 25, adding that it would further strengthen foreign exchange reserves position and ensure balance of payment stability.

Meanwhile, the advisor clarified that the discussions with international partners do not entail any target level of exchange rate.

In a tweet, the spokesman said that focus was on further strengthening the exchange rate regime, aligning it and keeping it consistent with the evolving macroeconomic fundamentals of the economy.

He said the news related to fixing exchange rate target was baseless and unfounded. “Clearly no target PKR/USD exchange rate is envisaged. Speculation baseless and unfounded,” he tweeted.

He said State Bank of Pakistan’s (SPB) economic models point to the real effective exchange rate at equilibrium value.

He said stability in balance of payment was ensured with a fall in current account deficit and more than adequate foreign financing availability.

 

 

 

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