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Energy-deprived Pakistan remains on radar of LNG marketing companies

Pakistan remains high on the radar of LNG marketing companies across the world as it has emerged as one of the largest importer, and is now expected to further strengthen its position with more terminals slated to come online at seaports shortly. “Pakistan is a very well developed gas market,” Shell Energy Executive Vice President Steve Hill said on ‘Shell LNG Outlook 2018’ in Singapore on Friday. “It (Pakistan) may emerge as the second or third largest importer of LNG this year or the next …it was the sixth largest importer of the gas last year,” he said. He added that Pakistan it has put in place reliable and quality infrastructure to import the gas after its domestic gas supplies failed to meet local needs. Pakistan’s economy is growing and its gas “demand growth is a very positive story”, he remarked. China, Korea, Turkey, Spain and France remained the top five importers of LNG gas in descending order in 2017. An official of Woodside, a leading Australian oil and gas exploration firm, also expressed high hopes to make direct supplies of LNG to Pakistan in near future.

Women’s role is pivotal for societal development: Dr. Nasreen

The International Women’s Day was also observed in Pakistan including port city on Thursday (8th March). Various programs were held to mark the Day with an aim to spread awareness of women‘s rights in the society. On this Day, Director, Center of Excellence in Women Studies, University of Karachi, Prof Dr. Nasreen Aslam Shah has organized one-day seminar Titled “Traditional Knowledge and Cultural History of Pakistani Women” for the celebration of National Women’s Day. Talking to Kamal Hayder-Research Analyst-PAGE, Prof Dr. Nasreen said the intelligent and educated women must stand up against the feudal anti women customs and traditions. Our women are hard working but they don’t get well deserved compensation for their work due to the presence of middleman. Domestic violence, child labor and child abuse are some of the major problems of our society, Dr Nasreen further added to him.

Coca-Cola Içecek to start bottling plant in K-P

As Pakistan’s population continues to increase consumption of carbonated drinks, Coca-Cola Içecek (CCI) has decided to speed up its investment plans in the country. The Pakistani subsidiary is now looking at setting up a bottling plant In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), after its Faisalabad facility is expected to come online next month. “We will open a plant in K-P next,” CCI Pakistan Public Affairs and Communications Director Cagdas Donmez told. “The company will inaugurate its sixth plant in Faisalabad in April this year at an investment of $45 million. After this, we will pursue the plant in K-P.”

Currency: PKR stable against $

The rupee remained stable against the dollar at Rs110.3/110.5 in the inter-bank market on Friday compared with Thursday’s close of Rs110.3/110.5. In the last couple of months, the rupee has cumulatively shed over 4% of its value after the central bank reportedly abstained from intervening in response to the pressure due to a widening current account deficit. The State Bank of Pakistan has maintained that the slide in the rupee’s value is due to supply and demand dynamics of foreign exchange in the inter-bank market.

TDAP facilitating all exporting sectors

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is endeavouring to help and facilitate exporters of all sectors to capitalise on their potential for growth of trade and investment in the country, TDAP DG Mian Riaz Ahmed said on Friday. He was talking to a two-member delegation led by All Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (Tumsiad) Pakistan Chapter President Chaudhry Anees Iqbal. The DG apprised the delegates about trade facilities which the TDAP is providing to exporters of the country. Iqbal informed the TDAP DG that the 8th International Health Congress, being held in Turkey in the first week of May this year, will offer tremendous opportunities for Pakistani exporters of surgical instruments.

Future cooperation: Finland asks private sector to improve interaction

Finland and Pakistan have a huge scope to expand relations in various areas of economy and private sector in Pakistan should enhance its interaction with Finnish counterparts, suggested Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in Finland Wille Eerola.

“Existing trade volume between Pakistan and Finland is enough to make the point that both sides have multifaceted and strong trade ties. A number of Finnish companies have already recognised Pakistan’s potential and are working here,” he said.

He made the remarks while talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javaid at the chamber premises. Other senior officials of the LCCI were also present.

Javaid said trade between Pakistan and Finland had been losing momentum for the past three years which must be reverted. In 2014, the trade volume stood at $121 million that dipped to $90 million in 2016. In 2014, Pakistan exported goods worth $60 million to Finland which dropped to $27 million in 2016.

UK, US contribute more as Pakistan’s remittances increase 2.3pc

Pakistan received remittances amounting to $1.639 billion in February 2018, up 2.32% compared with $1.417 billion in the same month of the previous year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Overall, overseas Pakistani workers remitted $12.834 billion in the first eight months (July to February) of fiscal year 2018, up 3.4% compared with $12.411 billion received during the same period of the preceding year.

Remittances play a major role in stabilising Pakistan’s external sector as it largely covers the deficit in the trade of goods account. Nevertheless, in recent times, they have come under pressure due to a global economic slowdown on the back of low crude oil prices.

In February 2018, Pakistan received $201 million in remittances from the UK, which is 17.5% higher than $171 million that the country received in the same month of the previous year.

In the first eight months (Jul-Feb) of fiscal year 2017-18, remittances coming from the UK jumped by 23% to $1.786 billion from $1.449 billion in the same period of last year.

The value of the UK pound has gained over 6% against the rupee in the last few months. This is one of the highest jumps shown by any major foreign currency against the rupee in the open market.

Analysts believe, apart from other factors, the increase in the value of any particular foreign currency encourages overseas Pakistanis to send back more money.

Reaching potential: UNWTO gives recommendations to Pak

A comprehensive report prepared by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recommended Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation’s (PTDC) transformation into the National Tourism Authority at the federal level to promote tourism in the country.

According to details, a UNWTO workshop was held here in January this year under supervision of experts Harry Huang and George Drakeop. The two UNWTO representatives also prepared a comprehensive report on Pakistan’s tourism sector.

Urea sales increase 42pc in Feb

Urea off-take increased 42% year-on-year in February 2018 to touch 365,000 tons, despite decreasing 32% month-on-month, according to sales data released by the National Fertiliser Development Centre (NFDC).

Lower sales on a monthly basis were on account of high base effect of January 2018, said Arif Habib Limited (AHL) Research in a report on Thursday.

Cumulative urea sales of Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC) and Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim (FFBL) recorded 42% year-on-year increase but decreased 24% month-on-month to 179,000 tons in February 2018. Likewise, sales of Engro Fertilizers surged 41% year-on-year while declining 47% month-on-month to stand at 139,000 tons.

Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited’s sales showed 50% year-on-year and 6% month-on-month jump to reach 39,000 tons. On the other hand, no off-take was recorded for the National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML).

On a cumulative basis, urea off-take posted a significant growth of 36% year-on-year in the first two months of the current calendar year. Company-wise data reveals that Engro Fertilizers outperformed its peers with a stunning 95% year-on-year increase in sales in the two months of 2018.

Imports grow: only 8pc; PM’s aide hints at export incentive package

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail revealed on Wednesday that Pakistan’s exports had increased 15% in February this year.

Talking to a private news channel, Ismail said imports on the other hand remained restricted at 8% because of the duties imposed by the government, adding further improvement would be made in the export sector for which an incentive package would be announced soon.

Implementation deals for two thar coal projects inked

Implementation agreements for two Thar coal-based power generation projects totalling 990 megawatts were signed at the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on Thursday for securing financing of $1.49 billion to cover the cost of the projects.

The agreements were signed by PPIB Managing Director Shah Jahan Mirza, Lucky Electric Coal Project Director Mohammad Asad and Siddiqsons Energy Coal Project Chief Operating Officer Muhammad Abdul Vakil. Earlier, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) of both projects were executed on March 7, 2018.

The 660MW Lucky Electric Coal Project, being developed by Lucky Electric Power Company at Port Qasim, is receiving an investment of $1.08 billion whereas the 330MW Siddiqsons Energy Coal Project of Siddiqsons Energy, located at Thar Block-II, is getting investment of $410 million.

Both projects will utilise Thar coal supplied by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), which is engaged in mining operations for coal extraction in Block-II of the Thar field. Letters of Support have already been issued to both the projects by the PPIB, which are currently at advanced stages of achieving financial close.

Lab test findings: oil refineries, importers use chemicals to rise petrol quality

Laboratory tests conducted by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) show that oil refineries and importers are using high dosages of chemicals in low-quality petrol to improve quality, posing a serious threat to car engines, environment and human health.

In order to conduct the tests, Ogra and HDIP took samples of domestically produced and imported gasoline (petrol) which showed the application of chemicals to give a boost to the quality of Research Octane Number (RON) 90 and 92 gasoline to save cost.

However, the practice was casting an adverse impact on human health and was also leading to choking of vehicle engines.

The tests were undertaken after Honda Atlas Cars Pakistan lodged a complaint with the regulator and claimed that RON 92, 95 and 97 motor gasoline had high manganese content.

This, Honda said, resulted in blocking of catalytic converter, engine knocking due to low-quality fuel and adverse impact on human health.

The automaker revealed that because of the poor-quality fuel it had to suspend production of its latest variant, the 1.5-litre Turbo VTEC.

In addition to Honda, Hascol oil marketing company also complained that refineries were still using chemicals like Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl (MMT) or alcohols that had a high RON to achieve desired specifications for motor gasoline.

According to the company, the refineries as well as suppliers to Pakistan were adding high MMT dosage to motor gasoline in order to meet the revised RON specifications and save cost as producing RON 90 and 92 would be expensive.

MMT increases manganese content in motor gasoline that reacts with catalytic convertor and chokes it besides having adverse effect on human health due to air-borne metallic particles.

Following such complaints, a committee was constituted comprising representatives of the HDIP, Ogra, Petroleum Division and Oil Companies Advisory Committee.

In the samples of RON 90 and 92 gasoline tested by Ogra, the results indicated that locally produced gasoline had concentration of manganese in the range of 63.31 to 315.5 parts per million (ppm) whereas the concentration of iron was in the range of 6.2 to 36.1 ppm.

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