Sep 24 - 30, 2001
Lint demand increases in world market
The export competitiveness of Pakistani lint cotton
on the world markets has significantly increased since the disruption
of supplies from the US after the last Tuesday's attack on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"A spate of enquiries from foreign buyers are
pouring in each day," claims a private sector exporter and added:
"the disruption of supplies from the US has heated up the global
After having fallen to a seasonal low of Rs1,750
per maund, the local prices have risen by Rs100 since Tuesday, but
"we still command a fair profit margin," he said.
The world cotton prices have declined to 15-year
low at 37 cents per lb on reports of 3.5 per cent or five million
bales increase in production at 96.4 million bales but the global
consumption is estimated to have shown a marginal rise of one per cent
or 90.2 million bales. But the attacks on the US business houses have
altogether changed the world cotton outlook, and Pakistan, just on the
threshold of harvesting another bumper crop, could well be the chief
The International Cotton Advisory Committee in its
recent report estimates a production glut and a sizeable exportable
surplus capable of keeping world prices depressed. However, the
post-US attacks scenario tells that users of Pakistani lint are in a
bit hurry, and wants to cover their forward positions fearing an
imminent price flare- up, exporters said.
According to US crop estimation of 20 million bales
against expected 7.72 million consumption would lead to large
quantitative exportable surplus.
Realizing this, cotton analysts said, the US
government was preparing long-term policies to promote their cotton in
large cotton consuming countries like India and Pakistan, which had
the potential to increase their consumption following moves to
relocate US and European spinning mills in South Asian countries.
Wheat export plan on track
Pakistan's ambitious plans to export up to two
million tons of wheat are on track despite political tension running
high at home, as Middle East buyers are stepping up enquiries, a
Pakistani government official said.
Although Asian grain traders feel Pakistan's wheat
exports could suffer a setback if the political situation in the
Middle East deteriorates, government officials said Pakistan was
considering another export tender soon.
Shaukat Usman, joint secretary in Pakistan's
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, said the government was
contemplating another tender due to buoyant demand from Yemen, United
Arab Emirates and Iraq.
Several states delaying shipments
Several countries are delaying shipments to
Pakistan as tension grips Islamabad amidst fears of a war between the
US and Afghanistan over the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York
"Many suppliers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri
Lanka, Singapore and Dubai are delaying shipments of our
imports," said president of the All-Pakistan Commodity Traders
Association Raees Ashraf Tarmohammad. "They are delaying
shipments as they fear breakout of a war here," he told.
Tension has gripped Pakistan after Islamabad agreed
to provide its airspace to the US for launching an attack on the
hideout of Osama bin Laden whom the US has described as the main
suspect in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon. What has intensified this tension is that Taliban have
threatened of retaliating against any country providing a base to the
US to launch an attack on Afghanistan.
Pakistan seeks more palm oil
Buyers from Pakistan are making fresh enquiries to
buy more palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia due to fears of a
possible US retaliation for last week's attacks on the United States,
traders said on Thursday.
"Local prices have shot up in Pakistan because
there's a shortage in edible oil. They need to buy palm oil now just
in case a war breaks out," said one Singapore-based trader.
"We already booked to ship 18,000 tons of oil to Pakistan. We
booked some more vessels," he said.
Exporters face liquidity problems
Hundreds of cases of sales tax refund and duty
drawbacks have piled up in the local Sales Tax Collectorate creating
liquidity problems for the exporters.
Due to ill-conceived policies of the Central Board
of Revenue high-ups, about 90 per cent cases of sales tax refund and
duty drawbacks had been "stopped" by the collectorate for
want of funds in this behalf.
Exporters were being asked by the sub-ordinate
staff of the collectorate that their files have been sent for
verification of shipping bills and invoices and the payment would be
made immediately after receiving instructions from the high-ups.
Afghan transit trade suspended
Suspending operations under the Afghan Transit
Trade (ATT), the Torkham-based authorities of the political
administration, Khyber Agency, on Monday stopped 29 trucks carrying
goods under ATT from crossing over to Afghanistan, senior government
"When the border is sealed, how can goods in
transit be allowed passage to Afghanistan," political agent,
Khyber Agency, Fida Gul Wazir said when contacted.
Foreign buyers stop placing orders
Negative effects had started emerging on external
trade as foreign buyers had either stopped placing new orders or
drastically reduced quantum, fearing non-delivery of goods in case of
outbreak of war in the region, exporters said on Monday.
"The government is pre-occupied with taking
measures in the aftermath of last Tuesday's catastrophic terrorist
attack in New York and Washington, but external trade of the country
is suffering badly," a leading exporter requesting anonymity