Jan 22 -
SBP resells dollar to banks
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has so far sold
back to banks about 50 per cent of the total $255 million, it had
purchased from them in one-month swaps against the rupee last month.
The SBP had swapped $255 million for rupees with banks between
December 13-22 to keep the market liquid at the year-end.
Senior bankers say the SBP will sell back the
remaining amount of foreign exchange in a couple of days, according to
the maturity schedule of the swaps.
Bankers say the maturity of about $120 million
worth of swaps in past few days has made the rupee stronger against
the dollar. "Further maturity of $135 million swaps in next few
days may add more strength to the rupee...and keep it up amidst oil
payments," said a bank treasurer.
Bankers said the SBP had started footing import
bills of previous quarter (October-December 2000) on its own —
without asking banks to pay part of the bills through purchases from
the open market. They said SBP was not financing oil import bills —
even through its own kerb purchases.
"This time SBP has been making oil payments on
its own. They have not involved us," said a local banker. In the
past, the State Bank was financing part of oil import bills leaving it
upon oil marketing companies to pay the remaining part through open
market purchases of dollars. Oil marketing companies (OMCs) used to
purchase dollars from the open market through banks. And at times the
central bank would simply buy dollars from the open market for footing
large import bills.
Bankers close to SBP say the central bank has not
been making heavy dollar buyings from the open market only because the
time is not ripe. "Lately they have not made big buyings,"
confirmed a leading money changer.
So far this month, the rupee has lost 70 paisa
against the US dollar in kerb as the greenback is in demand among
those overseas Pakistanis, who are returning after celebrating Eid in
NBP asks govt to pay $0.268m
The National Bank of Pakistan has asked the
government to immediately pay $268,000 to a US shipping company, which
had recently won a case against Pakistan, so that the food accounts
frozen by the US government on court orders are restored.
Official sources told on Tuesday that the National
Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Karachi management had contacted the concerned
ministry and asked them to arrange payment to the company so that the
accounts were unfrozen.
An inquiry into the circumstances which led to the
freezing of accounts in the United States last week had held the food
wing of the agriculture ministry responsible for making
"deliberate" payment of $268,000 to another shipping company
instead of paying the money to the contracting shipping firm.
Pakistan bank accounts were frozen by the US
government after Islamabad failed to pay $268,000 to the shipping
company, as directed by a US District Court in Washington.
Interest to invest $50m in LPG shown
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman
Aminuddin has said that a number of foreign investors have shown keen
interest in investing about $50m in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
Reviewing the performance of Sui Southern Gas
Company (SSGC) on Thursday, he directed that the gas supply from
Zamzama and Miano gas fields must be available as projected in March
and July this year respectively, says a press release.
He also directed the project installation of LPG
extraction plant at Hyderabad and added it should be expedited to
complete within two and a half years.
The rupee gained 20 paisa against a US dollar in
the inter-bank market on Wednesday as corporates stayed away from
greenback buyings. Senior bankers said the rupee closed around
59.15/59.25 to a dollar against the previous close of 59.35/59.45 for
spot buying and selling.
Gold price declines
Fluctuation in the international bullion market
continued as on Wednesday downslide in the price of gold in local
bullion market was registered at Rs8 per 10 gram. The traders in the
domestic bullion market adjusted the gold price in accordance with the
changes in the global bullion market. The new price was registered at
Rs 5290 from Rs 5298, indicating the decline of Rs8.
Shell reduces furnace oil rate
Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) has slashed the
furnace oil prices by Rs802.70 per metric tons to Rs9,579.50pmt from
Rs10,382.20pmt on Tuesday.
An official in the company said the prices have
been reduced due to cut in rates by the local refineries.
Shell had cut the furnace oil prices on January 2
to Rs10,382.20pmt from Rs11,337.85pmt.
PSO cuts fuel oil prices
The Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has slashed the prices
of high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) and light sulphur oil prices by eight
per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.
The new prices will be effective from January 16,
says a PSO spokesman on Monday. The selling price of HSFO has been
reduced to Rs9,533 per metric ton from Rs10,354 pmt. The LSFO will now
be available at Rs12,923 pmt as compared to Rs13,122 pmt.
Is ABL re-nationalized?
Has the Allied Bank Limited (ABL) been re-nationalised?
This is the question that is now being hotly debated in the banking
circles following the reports that Habib Bank Limited has been
persuaded to buy back about two per cent shares in ABL from its
employees to raise government's stake from 49 per cent to 51 per cent.
"Effectively it means that the Government has added the
privately-privatised ABL again into its fold of nationalised
banks", stated a seasoned banker.