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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Oct 22 - 28, 2001

Mill cotton consumption to reach 10.5m bales

Mill cotton consumption is set to reach an all-time annual record of about 10.5 million bales during the current year, which ended in September 2001.

According to official figures (Sept 2000-June 2001) released by the Textile Commissioner, the organized sector comprising 400 odd units have already consumed over 8 million bales during the last 10 months of the year and the remaining two months' intake could touch the high mark of 2 million bales.

The unorganized sector, on an overage, consumes between 0.5 to 0.8 million bales each year, that may push the total consumption figure to 10.5 million bales, a new record for the textile industry.

Spinners claim that higher mill intake could mean higher exports and more foreign exchange earnings during this period, but apprehend that the same will tapper off in coming months when export orders, which are in the pipeline, will exhaust.

"Apart from revival of more than a 100 sick textile units, the larger consumption will be largely due to expansion undertaken by the textile sector," a leading spinner said. However, the textile industry is presently facing difficulty in selling its yarn even at a break even price. But due to normal quantum of export orders, raw cotton consumption for next two months would stay on the higher side, exporters said.

"I would say the real impact on textile export would start emerging early next year when the industry will not have any orders in hand to process," chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) Mohammad Kamran Chandna told.

The chairman APTMA, Sindh-Balochistan Zone, Mushtaq Ahmed Vohra told that after Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the demand for yarn in the domestic as well as world market dropped sharply.

Export-oriented units to get SBFC priority

Export-oriented small and medium industries have received top priority from Small Business Finance Corporation (SBFC) for lending especially in non-conventional sectors.

There is no dearth of funds with the corporation, but only genuine borrowers are being entertained to ensure viability of the projects along with recovery of loans, SBFC sources said on Tuesday.

Several applications worth Rs500 million were in the pipeline and around Rs100 million would be disbursed by the end of current financial year, sources added.

Applications, being processed for loans, pertain to different projects including information technology, engineering, garments, CNG stations, CNG kits, agro-based projects, dairy farms, fast food etc.

Hotel industry in crisis

In the aftermath of terrorist attacks on United States on September 11 and resultantly retaliatory strikes on Afghanistan, hotel industry in the Pakistan is "badly hit by the crisis" and has lost around 80 per cent business in past five weeks.

Following air strikes on Afghanistan on October 7, a large number of foreigners left Pakistan. Besides, a number of foreign airlines operations for the country were halted which dragged the industry into severe financial crisis making it difficult to run their business.

Presently more than 80 per cent rooms of Karachi's five star hotels are vacant. Some hotel owners were planning to lay off employees in order to reduce financial burden.

Strike impact on industries

The Monday's strike by Pak-Afghan Defence Council partially affected the industrial output in three main industrial areas but industries in SITE did not feel much impact because of the arrangements made a day earlier.

Industrialists in Korangi, North Karachi and F.B. Area said that only 30-40 per cent of production activities were affected on Monday as the situation was not as tense as on Friday's strike, which curtailed the manufacturing output by 50 per cent. Some industries observed Monday as weekly holiday and Sunday as the working day, to offset the impact of the strike.

Pakistan, Brunei to expand cooperation

Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam on Monday agreed to foster the existing volume of interactions in the oil and gas sector, activating the already established Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) for mutual benefit of the two brotherly Muslim countries.

According to a press release this was agreed in a meeting between high commissioner of Brunei Darussalam Brig Gen (Retd) Dato Paduka Haji Ibrahim bin Haji Mohammad and minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Usman Aminuddin when he paid a courtesy call on him.

During the meeting they discussed possibilities of expanding Pak-Brunei cooperation in the oil and gas sector which would bring the two countries closer.

Inflation rises in July-Sept

Inflation rates based on Sensitive Price Indicator and Consumer Price Index recorded increase by 2.14% and 2.92% respectively during July-September in the current fiscal year over the same period of 2000-2001.

While Wholesale Price Index ascended by 5.71% during this period over the corresponding span during last fiscal, official sources said on Saturday. The inflation increased in 2000-2001 by 4.23%, 4.82% and 4.01% respectively over the corresponding period of 1999-2000 and in 1999-2000, the rate of inflation increased by 3.13%, 3.31% and 2.89% respectively over the same period of 1998-1999.

The inflation rates based on SPI, CPI and WPI for September, 2001 increased by 2.33%, 2.87per cent, and 4.63% respectively over September, 2000.