KARACHI: Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 index started the first week of the New Year off on a positive note as it gained 481 points or 1.3 percent, snapping its two consecutive-week close in the red, closing the weel ended January 4, 2019 at 37,548 points. “Positive sentiments this week were driven by reports that China has pledged to lend $2 billion to Pakistan to shore up its foreign exchange reserves. Furthermore, Finance Minister Asad Umar’s recent statements that the biggest investment in Pakistan’s history from Saudi Arabia will be announced soon, also uplifted investors’ sentiments,” a note issued by Topline Securities said. Foreign selling for the week was $0.51 million versus $1.1 million in the previous week. This was their 35th week of consecutive selling. Market participation also improved as average daily traded volumes clocked in at 118 million shares, up 7.0 percent WoW, while traded value also increased by 14 percent. With UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman expected to visit Pakistan in January and February, respectively, any potential agreement on lucrative deals could trigger a positive sentiment at the index. “Furthermore, decision regarding IMF program is also anticipated during this month. Therefore, we expect the market to be positive next week,” an analyst at Arif Habib Limited said. Important news and developments during the week include: Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan decreased by $170 million to $7.29 billion on account of external debt servicing and other official payments during the week ended on December 28, 2018. The government has jacked up the price of indigenous liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by Rs2/kg or Rs22.92/11.8kg for the month of January 2019, which translates into an increase of 1.71 percent over the previous month. Pakistan LNG is seeking five liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for delivery over March to April, a tender document showed. A consistent fall in cotton cultivation area for the last seven years has eventually reduced crop production to little over 10 million bales this year from the bumper crop of 15 million bales in 2011-12. OPEC oil supply fell in December by the largest amount in almost two years, as top exporter Saudi Arabia made an early start to a supply-limiting accord while Iran and Libya posted involuntary declines. Foreign exchange firms provided $13 billion to the government through commercial banks over the last nine years to stabilize the currency market, an official said. Pakistan has dropped its initial idea to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 after the lapse of presidential ordinance arguing that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could freeze assets of prescribed organizations/ individuals through a notification of SRO for complying with the UN Security Council Resolutions of 1267 and 1373. Prime Minister Imran Khan met with a delegation of the Turkey-Pakistan Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey. Gold prices scaled a more than six-month peak as fears of a global economic slowdown embellished safe-haven demand for bullion, with a weaker dollar adding further support. Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Turkish businessmen and investors to invest in various fields and industries in Pakistan, including construction, tourism and exploration of natural resources.