SINGAPORE: Oil prices slid in Asian trade on Monday, underpinned by weaker-than-expected unemployment data from the United States, the world's largest economy, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May, shed $1.21 to $102.10 per barrel. Brent North Sea crude for May settlement was down $1.08 at $122.35 in morning trade.
"The market is primarily driven by the US jobs report that showed slow hiring," said Victor Shum, senior principal at Purvin and Gertz international energy consultants in Singapore.
"The hiring numbers were poorer than expected... and we are seeing a selling in oil futures as well as equities," he added.
Despite unemployment in the United States dropping to the lowest rate in more than three years in March, the Labour Department reported Friday that the number of unemployed workers hovered close to 13 million and hiring slowed, a warning sign that its recovery may be in trouble.
The economy created a meagre 120,000 jobs in March, much lower than the 200,000 forecast by economists.
Retail trade employment fell by 34,000 in March, with most of the losses coming from large merchandise stores.
The health of the US economy is closely watched by the market because it is the world's biggest oil consumer. (AFP)
SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Monday as worries over supply disruptions in Nigeria outweighed concerns over the mass debt downgrade of eurozone nations, analysts said.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in February, gained three cents to $98.73 in morning trade.
Brent North Sea crude for February delivery was up 37 cents to $110.81 on its last trading day.
"Any shortage of supply caused by a disruption in Nigeria is likely to cause a direct spike on crude prices," said Ker Chung Yang, commodities analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Nigeria's labour unions Monday decided to call off street protests due to security concerns, but said a week-old nationwide strike over soaring fuel prices will remain in place.
The announcement came after talks between the government and labour leaders on Thursday and Saturday with President Goodluck Jonathan failed to find a compromise.
KARACHI: Karachi Electric Supply Company (Kesc) payables on account of gas bills have piled up to over Rs32 billion.
Sui Southern Gas Company officials said that Kesc as promised two weeks ago has not yet paid the sum of rupees one billion on account of the huge arrear amounts.
He said that despite Zamzama Gas Field breakdown, Kesc is being supplied 180 MMCFD gas.
The official told that the volume of piled up Kesc payables has now reached to a record level and it has become very difficult to further maintain continued supply of gas and face the shareholders’ grilling.
KARACHI: The Karachi Stock Exchange's (KSE) benchmark 100-Index fell 450 points Monday,
According to sources, shares at the local capital market witnessed decrease as investors remained worried over concerns of escalating tension between Pakistan and the United States.
At one stage, the market witnessed the level of 11,158 points, however, economists and experts are of the view that because of the volatility in the relationship between Pakistan and US investors are reluctant in trading.
On the other hand, the sluggish trend of US economy in the international market has also resulted in the downfall of up to 2% in the Asian markets.
SINGAPORE: Oil extended losses in Asian trade Thursday on data showing weak energy demand in the United States, the world's biggest oil-consuming nation, and persistent fears over the Greek debt crisis.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, was down 43 cents to $88.48 in morning trade and Brent North Sea crude for October settlement eased 53 cents to $111.87.
The US Department of Energy said Wednesday US crude oil inventories slipped by 6.7 million barrels last week, but analysts said the plunge was mainly a result of production shut in when tropical storm Lee passed through the Gulf of Mexico.
Investors focused more on gasoline stockpiles, which rose by 1.9 million barrels, indicating weak demand.
Global markets had been in turmoil on rising expectations of a Greek default or even an inglorious exit from the eurozone, stemming from its ongoing troubles to apply a recovery plan by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
"Markets still need to be convinced that it (Europe) has a credible mechanism to manage the crisis," DBS Bank said in a market commentary. (AFP)
SINGAPORE: Gold held steady near a record high on Wednesday after a Franco-German summit failed to convince investors that the euro zone debt crisis would be solved effectively, supporting safe-haven demand for bullion.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled far-reaching plans for closer euro zone integration, but stopped short of increasing the bloc's rescue fund and said joint euro bonds may be a long-term solution.
Adding to investors' anxiety, the euro zone economy slowed sharply in the second quarter, hobbled by sluggish growth in Germany and stagnation in France.
"People are uncomfortable with what's happening in Europe and the United States," said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals at Heraeus in Hong Kong.
He added that strong investment demand has helped gold bar premiums in Hong Kong remain steady at 50 cents to $1 an ounce above spot prices, in line with reports from dealers in other parts of Asia on muted scrap selling and resilient investment interest despite high prices.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,787.80 an ounce by 0658 GMT. It was just 1.4 percent below the record high above $1,813 struck last week.
U.S. gold inched up 0.3 percent to $1,790.70.
The short-term gold technical outlook suggested that gold could pull back to $1,772 an ounce, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
U.S. industrial output recorded its best gain in seven months in July, and home building last month recorded a smaller-than-expected decline, easing fears of a contracting economy.
But the world's largest economy is not out of the woods yet, and the Federal Reserve has pledged to keep interest rates near zero at least through 2012, which would benefit gold.
"The gold market's strength may be due to a continued focus on events in the economy and the likelihood that low interest rates remain a dominant theme," said MF Global in a research note.
Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, edged up 0.2 percent from a day earlier to 1,262.899 tonnes by Aug. 16.
This came after regulatory disclosure showed that large hedge funds in the United States had held onto their gold bets in the second quarter.
Spot platinum gained 0.2 percent to $1,815.75 an ounce, on its way to a seventh session of gains as a dip in its relative value versus gold triggered buying interest. (Reuters)
WASHINGTON: Standard & Poor's cut the US credit rating for the first time in history Friday, saying the country's politicians are increasingly unable to come to grips with its massive fiscal deficit and debt load.
S&P cut the US rating from its top-flight triple-A one notch to AA+, and added a negative outlook to it, saying there was a chance it could be downgraded again within two years if progress is not made cutting the huge government budget gap.
It was the first time the US was downgraded since it received an AAA rating from Moody's in 1917; it has held the S&P rating since 1941.
The rating came after a strong push back from the White House, which called S&P's analysis of the economy deeply flawed.
A Treasury spokesperson alleged that there was a "two trillion dollar error" in the S&P analysis, without offering any immediate explanation.
The blow came after the White House, Democratic and Republican lawmakers finally agreed on Tuesday to a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling after months of wrangling which sent jitters rippling through the global economy still trying to recover from the 2008 recession.
A debt downgrade will be a symbolic embarrassment for President Barack Obama, his administration and the United States, and could raise the cost of US government borrowing.
There were also worries that the downgrade would wreak unpredictable havoc in global financial markets where the US dollar has long been the most important currency.
It also comes after the eurozone debt crisis took a dangerous new downward turn this week with worries of default spreading to Italy and Spain. But some analysts have questioned whether a ratings cut would impact demand for US debt and dismissed raters as having low credibility.
Indeed, despite the threat of a downgrade hanging overhead, the Treasury has easily been able to auction off tens of billions of dollars in new debt this week, and Treasury yields were at the year's low.
S&P linked the downgrade directly to the stalemate in US politics. "The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics," S&P said in a statement.
"More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011."
S&P said US "political brinksmanship" of recent months shows that governance in the country is becoming "less stable, less effective, and less predictable."
That was a clear reference to the last-minute move to raise the country's debt ceiling last Tuesday to avoid a debt default after months of wrangling. S&P said the negative outlook pointed to the possibility of lowering the rating to AA within two years if the government does not cut spending as much as currently pledged, or if higher interest rates and new fiscal pressures worsen the country's financial picture.
"Our opinion is that elected officials remain wary of tackling the structural issues required to effectively address the rising US public debt burden in a manner consistent with a 'AAA' rating."
S&P is considered the most influential of the three major rating agencies which also include Moody's and Fitch -- both of which said this week that they continue to review the country's deficit reduction plan to see if it lives up to AAA standards. (AFP)
KARACHI: Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) fell on Tuesday, with volume striking a 13-month low, as investors stayed on the sidelines amid concerns over security in the metropolis.
Shortened trading hours during the holy month of Ramadan also contributed to the drop in trade.
"Volumes at Karachi Stock Exchange touched a 13-month low as investors remained out of market with the inception of Ramadan," said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities.
The KSE benchmark 100-share index ended 0.22 percent, or 27.06 points, lower at 12,226.33 on turnover of 14.94 million shares.
Dealers said investors were also cautious following the killing of another 26 people over the past 24 hours in the southern port city.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) will open at 9:15 a.m. and close at 2:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and at 1:00 p.m. on Fridays, throughout Ramadan.
Banks were closed on Tuesday.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has accepted resignation of Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Shahid Hafiz Kardar.
According to a communiqué issued from the PM House the Prime Minister has accepted resignation of Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Shahid Hafiz Kardar and appointed the senior most Deputy Governor Yasin Anwar as Acting Governor with immediate effect.
Shahid Kardar had in a letter dated July 15, addressed to the Prime Minister tendered his resignation.
KARACHI: The amount of foreign exchange reserves of the country has crossed 18 billion dollars which are sufficient for six months’ imports,
Spokesman State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Syed Wasimuddin said the foreign exchange reserves during the week ended on July 2 increased by 77.6 million dollars to hit a record level at 18.247 billion dollars.
The increase is mainly attributed to the assistance of 41.1 million dollars received from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB).
The foreign exchange held by SBP stands at 14.78 billion dollars while 3.46 billion dollars are with the commercial bank.
ISLAMABAD: The debate on the budget for fiscal year 2011-12 has concluded in the National Assembly Friday,
Finance Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh while concluding the budget debate said that no new taxes have been introduced in the budget infact several other taxes have been abolished. He also said that regulatory duty on 392 goods has been eliminated while no excise duty has been imposed on 100 items.
He added that government expenditures have been decreased by Rs20 billion and federal employees have been given a 15% increase rather than 25%.
Dr Shaikh said that subsidies would be decreased in such a way that it would not impact the poor.
Several PPP members boycotted the Finance Minister’s speech and later came with Rana Farooq after the speech was over. They were protesting against the general sales tax (GST) imposed on agricultural products.
ISLAMABAD: The government plans to impose the RGST, a new Minimum Assets Tax (MAT), tax on all domestic and foreign assets, cut duty on cars, tractors and motorcycles and raise tax exemption limit to Rs350,000 per year, The News has learnt.
These proposals and many others, finalised in the draft budget, will be approved by the federal cabinet on Friday and later presented by the finance minister in the National Assembly.
The News has been able to obtain the copy of the main taxation proposals to be tabled before the cabinet and these show a mix of new taxes and some reliefs. Only minor changes, if any, are expected in the cabinet meeting.
The main taxation proposals are as follows: RGST to be implemented in steps, first with 0, 5 and 16 per cent rates; Minimum Assets Tax on high net worth individuals, including those who are more than self-occupied house owners without exemption; tax on domestic as well as foreign assets; Agriculture Tax (adjustable) after consultation with the provinces and the Ministry of Law.
Defense goods; CNG buses; agricultural machinery, equipment and implements; CNG kit, cylinders, valves; computer software and commercial catalogues tax exemption to be withdrawn and tax imposed at 17%.
Duty on 1,800cc and above (hybrid) luxury cars, arms and ammunition, cigarettes and betel nuts imposed last year, to be withdrawn, including on another set of 390 items (facility to be availed by common importer); Cars and other vehicles (CBU) duty rates to be as follows: 1001cc to 1500cc from 60% slashed to 55%; 1501cc to 1800cc slashed from 75% to 70%; beyond 1800cc (no change); agricultural tractors 15% to 10%; motorcycles from 65% to 60%; CKD kits of cars ad jeeps from 32.5% to 30%; CDK kits of motorcycles from 15% to 10% (all facility to be availed by local producers);
Income-taxable limit of people increased from Rs 300,000 annual to Rs 350,000; Power-generating machinery import duty and sales Tax to be withdrawn; Tax increased to 17% from 16% on fertilizer, machinery, tractors, plant, machinery and pesticides; Exemption withdrawn and 17 percent tax imposed on buses, trucks, dumpers, trailers, prime movers and road tractors; Five percent tax imposed on the zero-rated items like textile; carpets; leather; sports goods and surgical goods; Health, food, education goods to remain exempted; There will be no extension in 15% surcharge on income tax and in special excise duty of 1.5 percent; Customs duty on 22 pharmaceutical raw materials to be slashed from 20% to 5%; Income Tax on non-residents to be 10% and no return-filing is required; Tax to be imposed on income of individuals from government securities at 10%; Dividend income of an asset management company from investment in government securities 40%; income of a banking company as interest on investment in government securities 40% as separate bloc of income.
The rate of tax on cash withdrawal has been reduced from 0.3 percent to 0.2 percent; Investment rebate in initial public offerings-IPO: increase in limit of investments in shares by individuals from 10% to 20%; Increase in tax for new corporate sector tax entity’s credit reduced from 15% to 5%; for investment in shares of IPOs insurance/ takaful and voluntary pension Rs300,000 to Rs500,000 (all these steps taken for promoting investment in banking sector); Regulatory Duty to be imposed on sugar in place of Sales Tax; Extension for facility of minimum tax on turnover to VPS.
Officials elaborated that the new MAT Tax on high net worth people will be extracted on assets out of untaxed income; there will be no exemption except on one self-occupied house. There will be no discretion on valuations and district collector’s assessed rate will be applicable. Tax credit for income tax paid/agriculture tax paid shall be admissible.
The theme of the budget, as per the available document, will be Tax On Property, reviving the economy, and promoting investment, power generation, prizes on sales tax receipts, effective monitoring and risk-based audit, improving tax-compliance, agriculture tax, sales tax on services, and capital formation.
MULTAN: All the CNG stations would remain closed for two days, from Monday till Tuesday, in Multan region under gas load management schedule, Geo News reported.
The CNG pumps have been closed for 48 hours from this morning and would reopen at 6 am on Wednesday.
Areas affected by the CNG stations’ closure are Khanewal, Vihari, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzzaffargarh, Layyah, Rajanpur and Chichawatni.
Owing to closure of CNG pumps, citizens are facing severe problems as transporters are overcharging the commuters.
LAHORE: The prices of food commodities including vegetables and fruits at Sunday Bachat Bazaars have risen to new high.
People looking for cheaper food items at bachat bazaars have complained of inflation in prices.
Vegetables and fruits prices have witnessed increase of Rs.3 and Rs.4 this week as compared to previous one.
People at bachat bazaars complained that continuous inflation in prices of food items have made their life miserable.
FAISALABAD: Gas supply to the industries in the city remained suspended for the third day in a row, which has rendered thousands of daily wage earners jobless.
Sui Gas Department had announced a schedule for the suspension of gas supply to the industries for three days. Accordingly, gas supply to the industries remained suspended for the third day today, prompting all productive activities in the mills and factories standstill and thereby throwing thousands of wage earners jobless.
All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association said that despite President and Prime Minister of Pakistan’s announcement of ending gas load shedding from March 15, the practice of weekly three gasless days continues unabated ruining the industries in the city. They said that gas load shedding for Punjab industries alone was a conspiracy against the province of Punjab unjustifiably.
SINGAPORE: Crude prices fell in Asian trade on Friday as first-quarter GDP in the United States slumped and rising jobless claims in the world's largest oil consumer depressed markets, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, fell 36 cents to $112.50 per barrel in the afternoon. London's Brent North Sea crude for June delivery dipped 32 cents to $124.70.
"I think worse-than-expected overnight economic news from the US is pressurising the market right now," said Serene Lim, oil and gas analyst at ANZ bank in Singapore.
US growth slowed to an annual pace of 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter, compared with a robust 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Commerce Department said in its first estimate for the period.
"That, probably plus the higher-than-expected jobless claims in the US, is weighing on the market," Lim said.
The US Labor Department said claims for unemployment insurance benefits surged more than expected last week to the highest level since January: a seasonally adjusted 429,000, up from the prior week's 404,000.
In addition, figures showed 8.8 percent of workers remaining jobless in March, underscoring the frailty of the US economic recovery. (AFP)
ISLAMABAD: India and Pakistan on Wednesday began their first trade talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, opening a two-day session designed to boost business between the two neighbours.
Secretary Commerce and Trade Zafar Mahmood and his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar led the talks at a five-star hotel in Islamabad.
"I believe that this meeting will take the dialogue process forward and by the end of the meeting all issues relating to facilitation and promotion of bilateral trade could be addressed with consensus," Mahmood said.
Mahmood said the talks had an "open agenda" and the two sides would discuss "all the issues" of interest to both countries.
He said improving trade would economically benefit both countries and the region. Pakistan's economy languishes far behind that of India.
"Pakistan understands that there is a great potential to further increase the bilateral trade," Mahmood said.
Khullar called for a quick turnaround of trade after four previous rounds of commerce talks ground to a halt in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
"This is a process that was interrupted and that must resume and go on. It must acquire significantly fast momentum if only to catch up for the time that we have lost," Khullar said.
"We are ready and willing to move forward and our only perspective here is one of constructive engagement to move the bilateral trade agenda and commercial agenda ahead and fast."
Trade between Pakistan and India is around $2 billion. (AFP)
SINGAPORE: Oil prices slipped in Asian trade Tuesday as investors locked in profits after the long Easter weekend, but unrest in the Arab world would keep prices high, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, lost 95 cents to $111.33 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for June dipped 46 cents to $123.20 in the afternoon.
"Traders and investors are now simply booking in profits after returning from a long weekend," said Victor Shum, a Singapore-based analyst with the
Purvin and Gertz energy consultancy.
But he added that the continuing unrest in the oil-producing Arab world would sustain high prices.
"The unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region continues to be a key factor supporting high oil prices, especially the protests in Yemen and Syria besides the ongoing unrest in Libya," Shum said.
Yemen's opposition said Monday it had agreed to a plan under which President Ali Abdullah Saleh would step down after 30 days, as two protesters were shot dead amid continued demonstrations demanding his ouster.
In Syria, government troops backed by tanks rolled into the flashpoint town of Daraa on Monday, killing at least 25 people, witnesses said.
And in Libya, rebels said they had pushed Moamer Kadhafi's troops out of the besieged city of Misrata, after his Tripoli compound was attacked in a NATO air strike. (AFP)
KARACHI: All Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in Karachi and Sindh Interior would close down their operations for 36 hours from midnight of Friday (April 22) till noon on Sunday April 24.
According to Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) spokesman, this was mutually agreed in a meeting of the SSGC’s top management and the elected representatives of several CNG associations at SSGC Head Office on Thursday, presided by SSGC’s Deputy Managing Director Azim Iqbal Siddiqui.
The decision was taken in the larger interest of maintaining uninterrupted gas supply across the company’s franchise areas in Sindh and Balochistan.
There was a need for this decision keeping in view of Bhit Gas Field Annual Turn-Around (ATA), which has been in effect since April 12.
It was also agreed between the SSGC and the representatives of CNG associations that the company’s monitoring teams will be strictly checking all the stations during this 36-hour agreed shut-down.
The CNG stations found operating during the agreed shut down period of 36 hours will have their gas supply disconnected and will not be restored for 24 hours beyond the closure period and until the filing of a ‘non objection certificate’ (NOC) from the respective CNG association.
The gas utility through its advertisements in national press has been requesting all its customers to voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 15 to 20 percent, which will facilitate the utility in providing uninterrupted gas supply to all its valued customers throughout its franchise area during the period of the annual maintenance of Bhit Gas Field. The SSGC regrets this situation for the inconvenience, which will be caused to the CNG users during 36-hour shutdown.
WASHINGTON: The final round of dialogue between Pakistan and IMF ended inconclusive as the former failed to persuade in getting next tranche of loan.
Pakistani delegation, headed by Federal Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh met IMF officials in a connection with ongoing talks between Pakistan and IMF for the release of next tranche.
Talking to Geo News, Finance Minister said Pak delegation briefed IMF delegation. He said although it was a successful visit to Washington but the issue of next IMF tranche release remained unresolved.
In a meeting, issues related current economic situation in the country, pledges with IMF and their fulfillment along with targets' achievements were discussed.
KARACHI: Flourmills today went on a three-day shut down in protest against the Sindh government’s ban on the inter-district transportation of wheat.
Flourmills Association said that the supply of wheat to the Karachi flourmills has stopped, following the enforcement of section 144, which has depleted stock with the mills to meet one-day requirements only. They said that sufficient stock of wheat was available in the country and the ban on its movement was a source of paving way for the corruption.
The association said that countrywide strike would be observed in case of non-acceptance of the demands and the future line action would be finalized in the next meeting on April 17.
Flourmills said that according to the government of Sindh, the food department would buy 1.3 million tons of wheat and in a bid to meet this target the April 10 ban was imposed.
LAHORE: Most of the CNG filling stations and petrol pumps were closed on the second day of strike announced by All Pakistan CNG Association and Petroleum Retailers Association, causing inconvenience to people.
There were long queues of vehicles at a few CNG filling stations and petrol pumps that opted to continue their business.
Comparatively thing traffic was witnessed in the province metropolis due to shortage of fuel. Public transport was also thin on roads, which resulted in more and more problems for commuters.
However, in absence of normal public transport, LPG-fuelled tri-wheelers were seen busy on city roads.
According to Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, chairman of APCNGA Supreme Council, 99 per cent CNG stations were closed in protest from Sadiqabad to Attock in the province. Out of total 2,267 CNG stations in the province, owners of 2,250 closed their business against unjustified gas distribution policy of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL), he added.
He maintained that CNG stations in big cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and central and southern Punjab, were shut, supporting the strike call.
Those who opted to open CNG filling stations were involved in gas theft while some of them were members of ruling elite and opportunists, he alleged.
He expressed concern over attitude of government functionaries, saying that high-ups did not want to resolve issue of increasing gas loadshedding for CNG stations despite start of summer.
We were forced to take extreme step of closing our business, he said, adding that the masses had to suffer only due to ill-planning of government departments.
He expressed regret over problems being faced by people due to closure of CNG stations.
However, he said, government should resolve this important issue and ensure smooth supply of gas to CNG stations, providing relief to the masses. We are fighting for the cause of people as unprecedented shortage of gas should be ended as there is no justification for reducing gas supply in summer months, Paracha observed. He claimed that there was no shortage of gas in the country and intentional steps were being taken to reduce supply to Punjab. The All Pakistan CNG Association leader vowed that his association would continue its strike till the acceptance of their just demands.
KARACHI: Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has started the provision of furnace oil to Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) on discounted rates.
According to the sources, government announced to grant Rs 1 billion to KESC.
KESC spokesman said they were informed that oil of worth Rs 1 billion would be provided to the company.
Earlier, the KESC sources had warned that load shedding would be increased to fourteen hours if furnace oil was not provided to them on discounted price rates.
Karachi: The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) has warned that loadshedding duration across the city would be increased to 14 hours a day when gas supply from the Sui Southern Gas Company decreases by up to 80 Million Metric Cubic Feet Daily (MMCFD) due to the Annual Turn-Around (ATA) of Bhit Gas Field that starts from April 11.
MANILA: Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said, “Pakistan economy is facing fundamental challenges---the financial deficit is mounting due to inordinate delay in increasing the income,
ADB in its Outlook Report-2011 released here said that the escalating global crude prices and the enhancement of power tariffs would intensify the inflationary pressure---the rate of inflation in the current fiscal year would be around 16 percent, while the volume of subsidies would shoot up to Rs200 billion due to flawed planning, the report forecast.
ADB report further said that the Pakistan economy severely hit by the last year flood devastations facing myriad problems and the failure of the government in expanding the tax net swelling the financial deficit.
Pakistan’s economy would grow by 2.5 percent during the current fiscal year, the report predicted.
SINGAPORE: Crude prices hit fresh two-and-a-half-year highs in Asian trade on Monday as a jump in US jobs creation inspired traders, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, rose 72 cents to $108.66 per barrel, topping Friday's peak of $107.93 and hitting its highest level since late September 2008.
Brent North Sea crude for May delivery advanced 40 cents to $119.10.
A strong showing in US jobs creation for March was leading crude prices higher, said Ben Westmore, minerals and energy economist for National Australia Bank in Melbourne.
"It seems to be demand factors that are causing the rise in prices.... In particular the non-farm payrolls number which was about 216,000 jobs in March which caused a slight fall in the unemployment rate," he told AFP.
"I would say the fall in the unemployment rate wasn't expected by the market so it probably gave a little extra upward impetus to oil prices," Westmore stated.
Statistics released by the US Labor Department late Friday showed unemployment in the world's biggest oil consumer at 8.8 percent in March.
"Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by 1.0 percentage point," the government agency noted in its press release.
Westmore said traders had over the past few sessions already priced in supply disruptions due to the ongoing Libyan conflict, but warned that crude prices could spike higher should the conflict spread to surrounding nations.
"The important thing going forward is any news on the spread of the conflicts to other countries. That would be the thing that is not yet reflected in prices and would cause prices to push higher," he said. (AFP)
ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has issued approval to cut tariff of Power Distribution Companies (PDC) by 9 paisa per unit on Wednesday.
The reduction has been approved against fuel adjustment surcharge for the month of February only.
As per media reports, the reduction has been allowed to power distribution companies. The decision was taken during hearing held here under NEPRA chairman Khalid Saeed.
WCB took the plea during the hearing 42 percent electricity was generated through thermosize during February which was recorded low by 6 percent as compared to the corresponding period of last year.
The reduction in tariff will be applicable to all consumers except lifeline consumers.
KARACHI: Uzbekistan has signaled agreement to Pakistan according to which the former would export 10 million cotton bales to latter by the end of June in the current fiscal year, Geo News reported.
As per a press release publicized by Pakistan Textile Mills Association (PTMA), Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s untiring efforts bore a fruit in form of a deal of cotton export with Uzbekistan government.
The association’s chairman Gohar Ijaz told media Uzbekistan is a ‘chief importer’ of Chinese cotton and for such imports; the former is in habit of making 80pc payments in advance.
However, he said that he was pleased with Uzbek government as Pakistan has been exempted from condition of advance payment for cotton import.
|SINGAPORE: Crude rose in Asian trade on Monday as the unrest in Libya and the Middle East showed no signs of abating, analysts said. |
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, rose 15 cents to $105.55 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May gained 25 cents to $115.84.
"Basically it is just the spread of political instability. Over the weekend, it got a lot worse in Syria and Yemen," said Jason Feer, analyst for Argus Media energy market researchers in Singapore.
As Moamer Kadhafi's hometown was attacked by a coalition air raid, Libyan rebels pushed west to Tripoli on Sunday and progressed towards Sirte, retaking towns they lost to government forces a week earlier.
Libyan rebels had promised that the uprising would not further hamper oil production in areas under their control, and the opposition plans to begin exporting oil "in less than a week", said a representative.
"We are producing about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels a day -- we can easily up that to about 300,000 (barrels) a day," Ali Tarhoni, the rebel representative responsible for economy, finance and oil, told a news conference at the weekend.
Oil-rich Libya was producing 1.69 million barrels a day before the unrest, according to the International Energy Agency. It is now producing 400,000 barrels a day.
In Syria, security forces strove to restore order in the northern city of Latakia on Sunday, after two days of chaos that left 15 dead and more than 150 injured in an anti-government uprising that began earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he does not want to cling on to power and warned that only dialogue can save the country he has ruled for three decades from sliding into civil war. (AFP)
KARACHI: The prices of edible commodities have seen an acute decline at Utility outlets across the metropolis city, Karachi, sending a sigh of relief for poor people amid skyrocketing times of hike,
According to details, the price of a 10-kg sack of flour has slid by 10 rupees while ghee and oil have gone down by Rs.2 per liter.
Bashir Babar, the zonal manager Utility Stores Corporation (USC), Karachi said the price of Special Chakki Aata has been slashed at all utility outlets, elaborating that a 10-kg bag of flour is now available at Rs.300.
He said the prices of ghee and oil have declined by Rs.2/liter. They are now selling at Rs.160 per liter at all utility stores across city.
ISLAMABAD: In an attempt to decrease government expenses, the federal government on Tuesday announced 50pc cut in fuel fund from the budget of federal ministers and other ministry divisions,
Meanwhile, all the same, the purchase of vehicles and other goods on federal government’s expense have been banned too.
This was announced in a notification from the federal government issued late Tuesday.
The notification further stated that those federal government officers who use official vehicles and enjoy fuel fund should have to drop the advantage by half so that the savings may be used for other purposes.
SINGAPORE: Crude rose in Asian trade Tuesday as the turmoil in Libya continued to rattle investor sentiment, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, gained 30 cents to $102.63 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May was up 43 cents to $115.39.
"Currently, we still have tensions in the Middle East underpinning oil prices. Investors are expecting that Libyan oil is not returning to the markets any time soon," said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Oil-rich Libya was producing 1.69 million barrels a day before the unrest, according to the International Energy Agency. It is now producing 400,000 barrels a day.
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's Tripoli compound was rocked by blasts late Monday, his southern strongholds targeted and a navy base bombed as the US-European coalition sought to pin down Kadhafi's military and protect Libya's civilians and opposition.
The intervention by French, American and British forces in Libya has hobbled loyalist forces but offers little hint of how the situation will be resolved.
"A stalemate at current positions leaves most of the oil export ports in the hands of the Kadhafi regime," noted PetroMatrix analyst Olivier Jakob in Zurich.
In London, the Centre for Global Energy Studies warned that the tightening market is in danger of repeating the 2008 price surge, when crude futures topped $147 a barrel.
It said the oil market needed "a clear unambiguous signal" from the OPEC cartel that the lost Libyan production would be replaced. (AFP)
SINGAPORE: Oil jumped by more than $2 on Monday, sending Brent to $116 after western forces launched a military campaign against Libya, raising the stakes in a civil war that has nearly paralysed crude exports from the north African nation.
Brent crude for May rose as much as $2.26 to $116.19 a barrel and was up almost 1.7 percent at $115.82 by 0026 GMT.
US crude for April rose as much as $2.12 to $103.19 and was up $1.93 at $103.
President Barack Obama has ordered US forces into the biggest military intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed to fight to the death.
Unrest over the weekend also flared in Syria and Yemen in the wake of popular uprisings that toppled long-time leaders in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year. A crackdown on protests in Bahrain last week also had oil traders on edge.
"I can see uncertainty and fear driving the price of oil higher in the short term," said Matthew Lewis, an analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"At this stage, it looks like Libya has further to play. Gaddafi still seems very defiant. We'll see further spikes and shocks in the oil market this week."
Military action on Libyan air defenses over the past two days, sanctioned by the United Nations in a Security Council resolution on Thursday, has crippled Gaddafi's capability to launch airstrikes and detect foreign aircraft, a senior US military official said on Sunday.
Still, the military intervention hit a diplomatic setback as the Arab League chief condemned the "bombardment of civilians".
The strikes began on Saturday, as a coalition of western nations vowed to prevent Gaddafi from launching attacks on civilians as he seeks to crush an uprising against his four-decade rule. (Reuters)
KARACHI: Shares at local capital market ended more than two percent lower on Friday in panic selling, amid ongoing tension between Pakistan and the United States following a deadly drone strike at tribal jirga in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, dealers said.
The Karachi Stock Exchange's (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 2.12 percent, or 251.66 points, lower at 11,606.61. Turnover was 125.13 million shares, compared with 117 million shares traded a day earlier.
"Panic selling was witnessed in blue chip stocks after the foreign office summoned the US Ambassador, and termed the US Strike as unjustified and intolerable," said Ahsan Mehanti, director at Arif Habib Investments Ltd.
In the currency market, the rupee firmed to end at 85.35/45 to the dollar, strengthening from Thursday's close of 85.40/50, and dealers said the local unit was expected to hold steady, thanks to rising dollar inflows largely from remittances.
Remittances rose by 20 percent to $6.96 billion in the first eight months of the 2010/11 fiscal year, compared to the same period the previous year, according to central bank data.
In the money market, overnight rates stayed at top level of 13.90 percent, unchanged from Thursday's close as there were scheduled net outflows of 111 billion rupees ($1.3 billion), against inflows of 43 billion rupees ($503 million).
Dealers expect rates to remain on the higher side amid tight liquidity in the interbank market. (Reuters)
SINGAPORE: Crude rose in Asian trade Friday, pushed up by ongoing tensions in the oil-rich Gulf region and impact from Japan's nuclear crisis, analysts said.
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has Wednesday said his ministry was anticipating export to cross twenty-four billion dollars during the current fiscal year, adding that more sectors will have to be brought under taxation for the betterment of the levy system,
He was addressing a press conference here. He said the export has been estimated to reach over 24 billion dollars this year, hoping that crops export will surge this year owing to acute cut in production across the globe.
aced loss of twenty billion dollars due to withdrawal of hike in POL prices some days ago,” he said. Inflation is directly linked to loans the government is seeking from central bank,” he underlined.
SINGAPORE: Oil fell in Asian trade Monday on concerns demand from quake-hit Japan would be affected, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, dipped $1.28 to $99.88 per barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for April delivery lost $1.39 to $112.45.
"In the short term, there might be some demand disruptions due to the Japanese earthquake, but there will be an increase in fuel oil imports due to the lost nuclear power capacity, which will be supportive of fuel oil prices in the near term," said Chen Xin Yi, commodities analyst for Barclays Capital.
Crude futures fell immediately last week in reaction to Friday's massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake off Japan, unleashing a tsunami that battered the country's northeast coast and stretched across the Pacific.
Traders worry the disaster will affect energy consumption in Japan, the world's third largest economy.
Tokyo shares fell sharply in opening trade Monday as investors remained jittery over the economic consequences from the biggest earthquake in Japan's history and the devastating tsunami.
Shares fell 5.42 percent in a post-quake sell-off as the key index sank below 10,000 to its lowest levels since November.
The Nikkei index fell 556.06 points shortly after opening to 9,698.37.
Meanwhile, investors are also keeping a nervous eye on the unrest in Libya where rebels continue to battle forces loyal to leader Moamer Kadhafi.
Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada had said on Sunday that the world oil output was sufficient despite the unrest in Libya which had slashed the country's crude production.
Libya was producing 1.69 million barrels per day (bpd) before the unrest, according to the International Energy Agency. Of this 1.2 million bpd was exported, mostly to Europe but with China and the United States also major customers.
Oil giant Total said on Friday that the unrest has cut Libya's output by 1.4 million bpd to under 300,000. The price of oil on world markets has soared since the mid-February outbreak of the anti-government uprising. (AFP)
WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund on Friday urged Pakistan to take further steps to curb inflation and buffer the economic shocks of higher oil prices.
After a mission to Pakistan that ended Friday the IMF reported "constructive" talks with government and central bank officials on measures to restore economic stability and structural reforms to bolster public finances and the financial sector.
"Significant fiscal consolidation will be needed in (fiscal) 2011-2012 in order to reduce inflation and ensure debt sustainability. The lower budget deficit would also help manage the impact of higher oil prices on the economy," Adnan Mazarei, head of the mission, said in a statement.
Pakistan's fiscal year begins on July 1.
The IMF in November 2008 approved a rescue package for Pakistan. The original 23-month loan of about $7.61 billion was extended to December 30, 2010 and its value increased.
In December the IMF executive board approved a nine-month extension of Pakistan's loan package through September 30, 2011.
Mazarei said that Pakistan's budget deficit and "quasi-fiscal operations" had fueled looser monetary conditions, adding to inflationary pressures. To help to counter those pressures, the IMF official said that the government should further reduce borrowing from the central bank.(AFP)
KARACHI: Stock prices remained flat at Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) on Thursday, however, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index sustained the level of above 12,100 points,
Today’s trade at the local bourse began with an upbeat mood and at one stage the Index was seen floating around 12,218 points. But, it failed to sustain this level and soon lost all the day’s gains and closed two points down at 12,125.
The trade volume stood at 100 million shares with Lotte Pakistan leading the most traded shares’ list. It gained paisas 24 to close at Rs16.07.
Meanwhile, the younger KSE-30 Index slipped 20 points to finish at 11,870.
The stock analysts are foreseeing more ups and downs in the market for the coming sessions.
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will send a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for granting approval to withdraw 50 percent exemption in the rate of Sales Tax on sugar, Chairman FBR Salman Siddique told reporters on Wednesday.
NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia's assurances Tuesday that it would counter any disruptions of the global oil market pushed crude prices down Tuesday, but Libya's ongoing turmoil kept a floor on the market.
The world's largest oil supplier has 3.5 million barrels of day in spare capacity and is building up inventories in strategic locations, Oil Minister Ali Naimi said in a statement clearly aimed at calming markets.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been committed to promoting market stability in the interest of both producers and consumers, and in support of global economic growth and development," Naimi said.
"Time after time we have delivered on that commitment by tapping our additional crude oil production capacity when supply conditions warranted, and Saudi Arabia will continue to reliably meet the world's petroleum needs," he said.
Prices dropped quickly following the statement, but traders clearly remained cautious over the tentative political situation in many Arab countries, including in Saudi Arabia.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April, shed 42 cents to settle at $105.02 a barrel, one day after soaring to $106.95 -- the highest level for 30 months.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for April delivery was down $1.98 to $113.06.
"Prices are rising and falling on the temperature of the Libyan situation," said John Kilduff of Again Capital.
But Tuesday's market was also driven by "all the chatter about OPEC putting more oil on the market," he said.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil, are holding talks over the oil market in light of the Libyan turmoil. (AFP)
KARACHI: Gold price has hit a new peak across the country at Rs46,000 per tola.
President All Sindh Sarafa Association, Haji Haroon Chand told Geo News that the price of gold on Monday witnessed a rise of Rs350 per tola to hit a new height at Rs46,000.
Earlier, the commodity had hit a record high at Rs45,575 on December 7, 2010.
Haji Haroon Chand said the prices of Gold in local market are experiencing a rise as a result of increased demand of the commodity in the international markets. Its price in the international market surged by 6.5 dollars to 1338 dollars per ounce.
Similarly, silver price across the country also rose by Rs20 per tola to a record level at Rs1,050.
SINGAPORE: Oil rose higher in Asian trade Monday with the New York contract surging past $106 in the afternoon, a new two-year high as turmoil in the Middle East continued to unsettle investors, analysts said.
LONDON: The price of a barrel of crude could double if the unrest in the Arab world deteriorates, oil trader turned British international development minister Alan Duncan warned Saturday.
Duncan, who has 30 years' business experience in the Gulf, told that the price of a barrel of crude could top $200 (140 euros), well above the record high of $147 reached in July 2008.
If extremists used the instability in the Arab world to bomb oil tankers, pipelines or Saudi reserves, prices could even hit $250 a barrel, Duncan said.
Analysts fear such highs could trigger another recession in Britain.
"I've been saying in government for two months... $200 is on the cards if this goes wrong, if anyone is reckless and foments unrest. All I'm predicting is danger," said Duncan. "It could be very serious. If crude oil doubles, you're going to have a very serious spike (in petrol prices). Try living without it for a week."
The British government is under pressure over the price at the pumps, with 63 percent of the cost going to the exchequer.
If the worst happened, current prices of #1.30 ($2.10, 1.50 euros) a litre at the pump "could look like a luxury", Duncan said, warning of #4 a litre.
"A Twittered-up generation now has massive power. All Arab countries are moving on. But they are all different," he said. "The powers are shifting but you can't do it overnight. We are asking them to do at the flick of a switch what we took centuries to do. "The majority of these rulers are not dictators. These are countries with their own history and cultures. Who are we to lecture? We must treat these countries with respect." The people who want all unelected leaders to go should remember Iran, Duncan said.(AFP)
KARACHI: Setting the example of an appreciating move, the government, after strong objections raised from opposition and allied parties, has taken back fifty percent rise in petroleum product prices, Geo News reported.
The slash of 50% is applicable on the recent 9.9 percent hike in POL product prices, which means after upping prices by 7 rupees, the government reversed the price by 3.5 rupees.
According to sources, in a major development late on Thursday night, the government announced that the recent increase in the POL prices was being slashed by half. This effectively means that instead of 9.9 percent increase in the prices, there would now be a 4.95 percent increase only.
Announcing the decision at a joint press conference with MQM leaders at the Sindh Governor’s House, Minister of Interior Rehman Malik said that there were many similarities in the PPP and MQM’s agenda.
He hoped that after this announcement, the transporters in Karachi would take back the strike call, which on Thursday had impacted business and social activities in the city. He said that for governments, it was difficult to take back decisions once announced and they would face problems in convincing the IMF. “Such decisions are taken under public pressure but then that is the strength of democracy.”
MQM leader Farooq Sattar said that his party had held a several hour-long session with the government team in this regard. Admitting that the economy was under pressure, he said that all issues can be resolved through talks. He credited Muttahida chief Altaf Hussain for the cut in the fuel price hike.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said they had wanted that there should be no increase in petrol prices. However, the world has seen a 26 percent increase in petroleum prices while Pakistan raised prices by 9.9 percent only.
He said that they would take along their coalition partners and the people would be provided relief. He added that coalition partners would also be consulted while preparing the next budget.
Earlier, on February 28, the government had increased the price of high-speed diesel by Rs7.76 per litre to Rs86.09 and of petrol (motor spirit) by Rs7.23 per litre to Rs80.19 per litre. Similarly, the price of Kerosene oil had gone up by Rs7 per litre, HOBC by Rs8.58 per litre and Light Diesel Oil (LDO) increased by Rs6.60 per litre.
However, the increase was greeted by countrywide protests with almost all political parties strongly reacting to it. Tahir Hasan Khan adds: Earlier, Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Shahid Kardar called on President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday night at the Bilawal House, where they agreed on a formula for a cut in fuel prices.
The economic managers briefed the president about the state of the economy and the steps being taken to address the challenges. The president emphasised the need for enlarging the social safety net for the poorest of the poor, broadening the tax base and giving special incentives for attracting remittances from the overseas Pakistanis through regular banking channels.
Earlier, the finance minister, along with the SPB governor, met a delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) at the Governor’s House and discussed the economic issues, including the latest fuel price hike. He also listened to the MQM’s reservations and demands in this regard.
The finance minister and the SBP governor went to the Bilawal House and briefed the president about their meeting with the MQM delegates. The three agreed on a formula to cut the fuel prices.
President Zardari separately met an ANP delegation, which called on him at the Bilawal House, and took them into confidence about the decision. The ANP team was led by the party’s president in Sindh Shahi Syed, who apprised the president of the problems being faced by transporters due to the increase in the fuel prices.
ISLAMABAD: Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has raised the prices of petroleum products by 9.9 percent, to be applicable from Monday midnight (March 1, 2011),
According to OGRA spokesman Jawad Nasim, petrol price has been hiked by Rs7.23 per litre to Rs80.19; High Speed Diesel by Rs7.76 to Rs86.09 per litre; Light Speed Deisel made expensive by Rs.6.60; HOBC Rs8.58 to Rs95.25; and Kerosene Oil Rs7 to Rs77.95 per litre.
The government had kept the price of petroleum products unchanged for the past two months as a result of pressure from all the mainstream political parties.
SINGAPORE: Crude prices jumped in Asian trade Monday with New York futures again in sight of $100 a barrel after unrest in the oil-rich Middle East broadened, analysts said.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April gained $1.28 to $113.42 per barrel while New York's main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, rose $1.66 to $99.54 a barrel.
The New York contract for West Texas Intermediate oil had hit $103.41 on Thursday, a level last seen in September 2008, and Brent came close to $120 before Saudi Arabia assured markets that it was ready to boost supplies.
"The unrest in the Middle East and fears that the situation will worsen are still supporting oil prices despite news that Saudi Arabia will increase output," said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst for Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Anti-government turmoil now convulsing Libya and much of the Middle East spread to Oman, another Gulf oil exporter, over the weekend with police shooting dead two demonstrators.
Major crude producer Iran on Sunday urged OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia, to refrain from any unilateral hike in oil output, saying current crude production was enough to meet any shortages arising over the unrest in Libya.
"There is no need for OPEC members to be hasty and take unilateral decisions" to raise output, Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said of Saudi Arabia, when asked to comment on Riyadh's offer to compensate for any shortage.
Mirkazemi, the current president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said the oil cartel had so far not decided to hold any extraordinary session to discuss a raise in output.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer of oil, pumps around 8.4 million barrels of oil per day and Iran is the cartel's second largest exporter.(AFP)
KARACHI: Shares at local capital market tumbled by more than 3.5 percent on Friday on foreign selling and political uncertainty, dealers said.
"There is panic selling in the market. Foreign investors are selling because of the global sell-off, political uncertainity and the rise in international oil prices," said Ayub Ansari, analyst at Invest and Finance Securities Ltd.
The Karachi Stock Exchange's (KSE) benchmark 100-share index was 3.59 percent, or 405.24 points, lower at 11,134.02 on turnover of 104.86 million shares by 3:32 p.m. (1032 GMT).
Global oil jumped by more than $2 to above $113 per barrel on Friday as another bout of nerves spread in the market on concerns that widening unrest in Libya could hit fuel supplies.
Brent oil had pulled back following a 7 percent surge to almost $120 on Thursday after rumours that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been shot, and on Saudi Arabia's reassurances that it could counter Libyan supply disruptions.
Saudi reassurances were not enough to calm jittery markets, with analysts predicting that further rise in oil prices could trigger more selling in stocks and other risky assets.
The KSE has a small market capitalisation and selling of $2 million to $3 million amid lack of buyers would spark a sell off, analysts said.
Dealers said political uncertainity also triggered the sell off at the local bourse.
"There are many reasons for the fall in the market, one being the outcome of the PML-N meeting," said Sajid Bhanji, director at brokers Arif Habib Ltd.
"There are also issues regarding the economic scenario, regarding the fiscal deficit following a rise in international oil prices," said Bhanji.
Government bowed to political pressure last month and reversed its decision to increase fuel prices, which is likely to further widen the country's fiscal deficit.
It has kept the fuel prices unchanged since November 2010.
Dealers said there was selling pressure also as investors wait for a decision regarding the Raymond Davis case.
KARACHI: Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has deferred import of one million tonne of different oil products owing to financial restraints, Geo News reported on Tuesday.
The decision to import oil for March-April period has been deferred for one week.
It may be noted here that large-scale consumers of POL products owed to PSO a cumulative sum of Rs158.4 billion. In turn, PSO owed Rs40 billion to Kuwait Petroleum and other international petroleum companies besides Rs86 billion to various refineries.
PSO had requested to the financial ministry for issuance of Rs80 billion, of which Rs30 billion are expected to be released this week.
KARACHI: Prices of local stocks ended down on Friday over concerns of escalating tensions between Pakistan and the United States, but dealers said some buying was seen at textile company Nishat Mills after it announced healthy results.
A Pakistani man is demanding the arrest of a second U.S. Embassy employee in Pakistan, his lawyer said on Friday, adding fuel to an incident that has severely strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.
The move comes as U.S. officials pressure Pakistan to release Raymond Davis, a U.S. consulate employee who is being held in prison after shooting and killing two Pakistanis in the city of Lahore last month, in what he said was an attempted robbery.
The Karachi Stock Exchange's benchmark 100-share index ended 0.17 percent, or 20.62 points, lower at 12,041.15.
Turnover rose to 70.36 million shares from 60.38 million shares, a four month low, traded on Thursday.
Dealers said investors accumulated shares of Nishat Mills, volume leader, at lower levels after its announced strong corporate results. It ended 2.56 percent higher at 62.90rupees. The rupee firmed on Friday amid a lack of import payments and dealers said the rupee is expected to move in a narrow band in the short term.
SINGAPORE: U.S. oil prices rebounded on Monday to near $86 a barrel, after sinking to a 10-week low in the previous session, as tension in the Middle East region dissipated following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
London crude prices extended their rally to near $102 a barrel, after the March contract expired with a gain in the previous session.
Mubarak's departure, after 18 days of mass protests, relieved fears over potential supply disruptions and the spread of turmoil to key oil producers in the Middle East region.
"Concerns over a potential disruption to supplies have eased, and now that the immediate threat is out of the way, the market will start focusing again on macroeconomic fundamentals," said Ben Westmore, a commodities analyst with National Australia Bank.
U.S. crude for March delivery rose 11 cents to $85.69 a barrel by 0715 GMT, after settling $1.15 lower at $85.58 a barrel on Friday, the lowest close in 10 weeks and down almost 4 percent on the week.
Brent crude for April delivery jumped 70 cents to $101.64 a barrel, after settling at $100.94 a barrel in the previous session. The expired March contract rose 56 centsto settle at $101.43 a barrel, off its $102.03 intraday peak.
The spread between the two grades was just below $16, after settling at a record of $16.27 a barrel in the previous session. Westmore expects U.S. crude prices to hold in the mid-$80 a barrel range this week, while Brent prices are expected to stay in a range of $98-$102 a barrel.(Reuters)