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Nov 22, 1999

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

Textile goods to be released

Pakistan and the US have reached an agreement to release textile goods worth millions of dollars blocked at US ports, officials said..

The customs authorities and Pakistani diplomats agreed to get the blocked products adjusted against year 2000 quotas so that these products could be released to importers and sold in the market.

An official said over 134,000kg of Category 666-P products were authorized to be released.

The official said a reconciliation process would also begin simultaneously to assign proper categories to the imported goods and adjustments would be made accordingly in 1999 and 2000 textile quotas, if needed.

The US authorities had placed an embargo on Category 666-P exports and all shipments under this category, including Category 666-C, were blocked at the ports.

Tender for gas oil

The Pakistan Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has tendered to buy lower 0.5 per cent sulphur gas oil for the first time in its quarterly tender, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

The tender sought up to 420,000 tonnes of 0.5% sulphur diesel for delivery between January to March 2000, instead of its usual 1.0% diesel requirement.

'We have tendered for 0.5% sulphur gas oil instead of 1.0% gas oil for the first time from January,' G.A. Sabri, the ministry's director general of Oil said.

'Basically, it's for environmental reasons.'

The new lower sulphur grade was also in line with changes in the industry, as few producers now want to make high sulphur diese1 because of shrinking demand.

A key buyer, India, stopped importing 1.0% diesel from April this year.

Sabri said Pakistan's on-going term contract with main diesel supplier Middle East refiner Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) would also be changed to 0.5% supplies instead of the current 1.0% from January next year.

Industry sources said the contract was for around four million tonnes of diesel per year.

Meanwhile, Sabri said the ministry was also introducing higher octane gasoline in the domestic market.

From January, only 87-octane gasoline would be sold in Pakistan instead of 80-octane gasoline, but the ministry would still import the lower octane grade to blend locally, he said.

The tender will close November 29 with offers valid until December 9.

Jet fuel exports

Pakistan will export up to one million tons per year of jet fuel and gasoline combined, after the start-up of a new refinery next year, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

The ministry of petroleum and natural resources' G.A. Sabri, Director General of Oil, told Reuters the Mid Country Refinery Project (MCRP) was slated to begin in September next year.

"When the refinery is roughly full capacity, we will have surplus of around half a million tons per year of each product (jet and gasoline) for exports," Sabri said.

PASSCO to buy onion

Provincial governor Justice (Retd) Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal has assured that the onion problem now being faced by Balochistan's growers will be soon resolved as PASSCO has agreed to purchase onion at the rate of Rs 550 per 100 kgs.

PASSCO would start purchasing Balochistan's onion very soon by implementing the decision taken earlier in this connection, Justice Mengal said here on Wednesday.

He was talking to a delegation of the Balochistan farmers who called on him with its chairman, Syed Taj Mohammad Agha, at the governor house.

Textile quota exports down by 15 pc

Textile quota exports to the USA, Europe, Canada and Turkey declined by 15 percent during the period from January to November 15 this year compared with the same period of last year.

According to latest figures released by the Quota Supervisory Council (QSC) of Export Promotion Bureau, the rate of utilisation in all quota categories stood at 56.16 percent during the period under review against the utilisation rate of 63.53 percent achieved last year.

The average unit price of textile quota exports declined by 0.72 percent.

KPT's one-window import terminal inaugurated

The one-window import terminal was inaugurated on Tuesday to facilitate trade by ensuring clearance of documents under one roof in just few hours. Chairman Karachi Port Trust (KPT), vice admiral Khalid M. Mir performed the inauguration.

The new terminal is at a central location under the Jinnah Bridge where two buildings have been earmarked separately for the KPT staff and other for KMC, Excise and Taxation and Banks.

All these agencies are now under one roof at the terminal. Parking spaces have been earmarked and the traffic flow has been planned to avoid any likely inconvenience to the visitors and port users.

Gold demand up

The demand for gold increased by 32.3 tonnes or 27 per cent in the third quarter (July-September) of the current year.

"Total gold demand also rose in the third quarter to 876.5 tonnes or 22 percent," said World Gold Council's Manager for Pakistan, Yousuf Akhtar Zaidi.

Pakistan to buy 0.5m tons wheat

Pakistan will buy half a million tons of wheat in an open auction at the Pakistan Embassy on Nov 22, the embassy announced on Tuesday.

The bids would be received on Nov 22 and a decision would be announced a day later both for the commodity and freight, the embassy said.

US companies will now be bidding for the sale as a credit of $125 million was just recently approved by the US agriculture department.

Australia's national wheat export board will also bid in the Pakistan.

An Australian announcement said: "As part of our relationship with Pakistan we'll be very interested in that tender." Pakistan purchased 1.1 million tonnes of Australian wheat in year 1998/99. The wheat would be purchased for shipments during the month of December, the embassy said.

The US agriculture departments says Pakistan will import three million tonnes in the 1999/2000.