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Easter Break: European Bourse Bullish!

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Asian markets start the week on a cautious note

LONDON: Europe’s main stock markets found higher ground Monday in subdued deals, with many investors away for the Easter holiday break.
London won 0.1 percent approaching midday, while Frankfurt gained 0.3 percent and Paris added 0.2 percent heading into the afternoon.
The European single currency meanwhile bobbed back above $1.31.
“European equity markets are subdued … on the back of a strong finish on Friday,” said analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.
“It seems likes investors are taking a breather, and the lack of volatility in Asia overnight prompted some dealers to sit on their hands.”
The sentiment was partly supported by comments from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said he was “hopeful we’re getting close to the final round of concluding issues” in trade talks with China.
The remarks were picked up as another positive sign that the trade war between the world’s top two economies, which helped hammer global markets last year, could be nearing an end.
“Steven Mnuchin issued a positive statement about US-China trade talks over the weekend, and he claimed the negotiations are ‘close to the final round’ — and that is adding to the global feel-good factor, Madden added.
Investors set aside last week’s concerns about a possible new trade war between the US and the European Union after President Donald Trump threatened to hit the bloc with tariffs over subsidies to aviation giant Airbus.
They were given a boost on Monday when the EU member countries gave the final green light to begin new trade talks with the US.
Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic had pushed higher on Friday after two major US banks JP Morgan and Wells Fargo reported earnings ahead of analysts’ expectations.
Asia traded mixed on Monday, though investors remain upbeat thanks to a healthy start to the US earnings season and hopes for China-US trade talks.
Dealers noted that, for once, Brexit was not hogging the headlines this week due to Britain’s parliament being shut for the Easter holiday until April 23.
Britain’s Conservative government will resume talks with the main opposition Labour party next week on how to resolve the deadlock over Brexit, a senior minister said Sunday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s effective deputy, David Lidington, said they wanted to be able to “take stock” of any progress when parliament returns.
“With House of Commons in recess for the Easter break, the coming week is unlikely to be dominated by Brexit, thankfully, to the same extent as weeks gone by — with the focus for the UK markets shifting to a series of economic releases,” said XTB analyst David Cheetham.
British employment data is due Tuesday, followed by inflation numbers on Wednesday and retail sales figures on Thursday.
Elsewhere, traders raced out of the blocks, boosted by data last week showing a sharp jump in credit growth in China as easing measures kick in, while exports beat expectations and inflation perked up.
New York’s three main indexes provided a positive lead after JP Morgan recorded a pick-up in profits, suggesting the economy remains in rude health and fuelling optimism for upcoming corporate reports.
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,446.19 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 12,029.42
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,515
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,455.11
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3106 from $1.3074 at 2100 GMT on Friday
Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.31 pence from 86.40 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1312 from $1.1299
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.95 yen from 112.02 yen
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 22,169.11 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 29,810.72 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,177.79 (close)
New York – Dow: UP 1.0 percent at 26,412.30 (close)
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 60 cents at $70.95 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 56 cents at $63.33

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China welcomes Imran Khan’s attendance in 2nd BRF in Beijing

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BEIJING: China Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attendance in the second Belt and Road Forum scheduled for April 25-27 and termed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as highly demonstrative project and set a good example for other projects under Belt and Road Initiative.

“We welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attendance in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during his routine briefing held here.

He remarked that with concerted efforts of both China and Pakistan, the CPEC, a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative has delivered many tangible benefits to the people of two countries with concrete outcomes.

“We have every confidence to work with Pakistan to promote greater progress in this project to deliver greater benefits to our people,” he added.

The spokesperson observed that the CPEC was a highly demonstrative project and it set a good example for other projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, at the invitation of Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is scheduled to participate in the second edition of Belt and Road Forum.

He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising federal ministers and other senior officials.

On the first day of the forum, he will attend the inaugural session of the forum and deliver a keynote speech at the plenary meeting of high-level dialogue.

He will also attend the state banquet to be hosted by President Xi Jinping in the honour of world leaders attending the BRF.

The prime minister along with other world leaders will attend the leaders’ roundtable sessions on the second day of the forum.

 

 

 

 

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Pakistan highly values its ties with China: Hafeez Shaikh

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ISLAMABAD: Yao Jing, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China, called on Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs in Islamabad on Monday.

Both sides discussed matters of bilateral interest and underscored the need for enhanced collaboration between the two countries in the areas of mutual benefit.

The Adviser informed the Ambassador that Pakistan highly values its ties with China, which is a sincere friend and has always supported Pakistan in difficult times.

He said that environment in Pakistan for foreign investment was conducive and Chinese businessmen should benefit from it to make investment in various sectors.

He conveyed that the government would facilitate Chinese investors by providing them all possible support to invest in Pakistan. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh deeply appreciated China’s role in the social and economic development of Pakistan.

Appreciating the steps taken by government of Pakistan for revival of economy, the Ambassador said that the Chinese investors wanted to invest in Pakistan and their confidence over the policies and leadership of Pakistan is getting increased.

He reiterated his government’s resolve to continue its support for early execution of various projects under CPEC.

The Ambassador also congratulated Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on assuming the portfolio of Adviser. The meeting discussed the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to China and expressed the hope that the visit would further strengthen the existing multifaceted relations between the two neighbours.

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Pak-China FTA to be signed on 28th April

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ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing on Monday said that the Sino-Pak Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Phase II would be signed on 28th April.

Other important CPEC- related agreements will also be signed during China visit of the PM. He said the FTA had been finally concluded after eight years of negotiations and it would be inked by the commerce ministers of two countries during the visit of Pakistani prime minister.
Under the FTA-Phase II, Jing said, China would provide market access to 90% of Pakistani commodities at zero rated duty, while Pakistan would give China market access to 65% tariff lines.
He was addressing a press briefing here at the Chinese Embassy on the upcoming Second Belt and Road Forum to be held in Beijing from 25-27 April. The ambassador said world leaders, including heads of state and government from 37 countries, would attend the Forum’s roundtable summit, but Pakistan being a major partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was the most important of all.
“The Chinese Prime Minister and President are looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China where he will also hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership to build more consensus on bilateral trade ties,” he added. The Chinese envoy pointed out that China wanted a more prosperous and developed Pakistan as what he said without sustainable development in the neighboring countries, China could not sustain its development.
He said under the CPEC’s industrial cooperation, the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Rashakai was going to be inaugurated during the current month where 20 factories would be set up initially. He assured that employment in the SEZs would be given to the local people and the latest technology would be transferred from China to Pakistan.
Cooperation in industrial and social sectors would be the main focus of the second phase of CPEC, he added. “There are six areas in the social sector, including education, health, agriculture, water, irrigation, and poverty alleviation in which around 26 new projects will be initiated in Pakistan,” he said.
The ambassador said two model villages would be built in Pakistan under the social sector cooperation of CPEC to uplift the living standard of low-income segments of the society.  He said China was basically an agricultural country and it started its development journey with bringing reforms in the agriculture sector. It would now help Pakistan in revolutionizing its agricultural sector by linking it with the state of the art technology.
With respect to the multi-billion Railway ML1 project, the envoy said as its technical aspects had already been finalized, the project would hit the ground soon. He also invited the neighboring countries to become part of the mega-project as it was not only beneficial to China and Pakistan but also for the whole region. To a question, Jing said 11 out of 22 projects had already been completed while the work on the remaining was going fast. In total $19 billion had been invested by China on all the projects, $13 billion lent as commercial loans and $6 billion as a concessionary loan to be repaid by the Pakistani government in 25-30 years.
To a query regarding the Karachi Circular Railway, the Chinese envoy said the two sides were working on its financial model. Many options of the financial model, including build-operate-transfer (BOT), loaning, and financing from own resources, were under consideration, he added.  Regarding investment in Gilgit-Baltistan, Yao Jing said China was eager to upgrade and develop tourists sites in the area to provide facilities to local as well as foreign tourists.

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