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Nov 13 - 19, 2000

Cotton prices heading to hit new seasonal peak

Cotton market on Wednesday remained in the tight grip of spinners, leading among them were out to grab all the floating stock at the current levels, but ginners were not that fool as they further raised their asking prices.

Some of the deals in the southern Punjab variety were done at the day's highest rate of Rs2,425 to Rs2,450 per maund without 15 per cent sales tax, which is said to be the new seasonal peak level.

"The crop may be short but not that short, which could cause price flare-up", said a leading floor broker, adding that "prices are heading to hit new seasonal peak level if sanity would not return to the spinning sector."

There was a wave of optimism among the growers, notably those who are holding their phutti stocks to sell them at higher levels and they appeared to be fairly compensated for their holding capacity, he said.

After having sold phutti at the lowest rate of Rs450 per 40kg during the last season, grower is now out to settle the score, both with the ginner and the spinner.

Prices of phutti may touch the peak level of Rs1,200 per 40 kg, but if the spinners continued to make panic buying, they could rise further.

Market sources said the exporters were watching the developing situation and the current tussle between the leading and weak spinners to grab the ready stocks and were not inclined to be a party to it.

However, they have to go a long way to cover their forward positions as the latest export sale figures have risen to 0.174m bales against which shipment of only about 61,000 bales has been made so far.

24 sick units revived in Kotri

Sindh Governor Mohammedmian Soomro has asked the industrialists to speed up investment activities to resolve the unemployment problem in the province.

He was speaking at a reception hosted in his honour by the Kotri Association of Trade & Industry (KoATI) at Kotri SITE on Wednesday.

He said that the revival of 24 sick industrial units in a year was a good sign and added that it also proved that Kotri SITE was an ideal site for investors.

The governor assured that all basic facilities including infrastructure would be provided to them to accelerate the pace of economic activities. He also lauded the role of KoATI for its cooperation with the government in the development of social sector and said that many problems of the people could be resolved with the help of philanthropists and on self-help basis.

SBP warns of sluggish growth

Pakistan had to sail through troubled waters for the second consecutive year in 1999-2000 and despite a 4.8 per cent growth in the economy average income of each Pakistani stood below Rs2000 per month.

The State Bank of Pakistan annual report, released on Monday said that the GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 4.8 per cent mainly due to a 7.2 per cent growth in agriculture sector. The report for the last fiscal revealed that the growth was far higher than 3.1 per cent in 1998-99 but fell slightly short of targeted 5 per cent.

Whereas major crops recorded an impressive growth of 13.1 per cent against targeted 3.2 per cent, manufacturing sector saw a nominal growth of 1.1 per cent against the targeted 6.2 per cent. Within that large manufacturing sector recorded a regression of 0.7 per cent. The services sector grew by 4.5 per cent against the target of 5.2 per cent.

Pakistan seeks ADB's assistance

Pakistan on Tuesday sought Asian Development Bank's assistance to overcome the shortage of irrigation water on a sustainable basis.

Agriculture Minister Khair Mohammad Junejo forwarded a formal request to the Bank at a meeting with an ADB delegation led by Toru Shibuchi.

The minister informed the delegation that Pakistan was facing a serious shortage of irrigation water, and briefed it about the efforts being made to overcome the problem.

Tea board being revived

The National Tea Board (NTB) is being revived after seven years to support the nascent tea industry and promote its cultivation on commercial basis in Pakistan.

An official of the agriculture ministry told that the Board, formed in 1991 on the pattern of tea growing countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, could not be made functional due to one reason or the other.

State Bank defends inflation figures

The rate of inflation in 1999-2000, as measured by the annual average percentage change in the consumer price index (CPI), stood at 3.6 per cent, which is the lowest in three decades.

The CPI in 1996-97 was 11.8 per cent followed by 7.8 per cent in 1997-98 and 5.7 per cent in 1998-99.

In terms of wholesale price index (WPI), the inflation rate in 1999-2000 was 1.8 per cent, also lowest in three decades, says the annual report of the State Bank of Pakistan, released on Monday.

According to the report, the inflation in terms of sensitive price indicator (SPI) was 1.8 per cent, the lowest since its inception in fiscal year 1975-76. This trend was also witnessed in the GDP deflator, showing an increase of 3.1 per cent in 1999- 2000 against six per cent last year.

Shaukat on Multan refinery

A new $886 million 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity oil refinery being established in Multan, Pakistan, by Pak-Arab Refinery (PARCO) with 40 per cent investment from Abu Dhabi would go on full stream by the end of this year, according to Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.

The refinery was commissioned in August this year with the production of furnace oil. Addressing a meeting of the UAE investors, Pakistani and foreign bankers and professionals, in Dubai on Monday, Aziz said that a $550 million pipeline to transport oil from Karachi to the refinery in Multan has been laid down.