SALES SURGE 9.3PC IN FIRST QUARTER
sales grew by 9.3 per cent to 4.474 million tons during the first
quarter of the current fiscal year as compared to 4.093 million tons
in the corresponding period last year.
of cement during the period under review registered a decline of
3.39 per cent over the corresponding period last year whereas
domestic demand grew by 10.85 per cent, according to the All
Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).
consumption in the domestic market augurs well for the future and
reinforces the fact that the GDP growth is heavily reliant on
continuing quick pace of construction activity," it said.
the period under review, the overall capacity utilization increased
to 92.15 per cent from an expanded capacity base made available by
optimization of production capability undertaken by several plants.
first of the new kilns has also come into operation in the last
month and additional capacity will come on stream during the
remaining part of the financial year, it said.
this period, upon recommendations of the APCMA, the government has
permitted duty-free import of cement to meet any temporary shortages
that might occur before the expansion in capacity becomes
operational by mid 2006.
owing to high demand in the petroleum-rich countries and for
reconstruction work in the tsunami-hit areas, cement supply position
remains tight all over the world. Extremely high energy and
transportation costs have led to a price hike in this commodity in
the international markets and it will be a real challenge to
maintain the cement prices at the current levels in view of sharp
increases in the cost of production and transportation," the
APCMA views with some concern that despite making all efforts to
increase supplies in the domestic market including despatches on
holidays, prices in the open market continue to rise.
LOWERS ISLAMABAD'S GROWTH FORECASTS
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reduced Pakistan's economic growth
forecast to 6.5 per cent owing to higher deficits on fiscal, trade
and current account fronts and lower than targeted cotton output
during the current fiscal year (2005-06).
its quarterly Pakistan Economic Outlook, the bank projected trade
deficit widening to about $5.8 billion and a negative impact of high
oil prices, necessitating revisions in the major economic targets
for the year 2005-06.
growing at a very high rates in the last two years, the
manufacturing sector is projected to settle down to a more
sustainable, but still robust, growth of about 11 per cent in fiscal
production capacity built in the last two years will come on line
during the year and exemption of major export industries from GST
will also boost production.
growth is also likely to decline in 2006, mainly because of the high
base effect, it adds.
growth of the agriculture sector is projected at about three per
cent in fiscal year 2006. The government had projected a 4.8 per
cent growth in agriculture sector during the current year. In the
services sector, the rapid growth of telecom services, banking and
trade is likely to sustain in 2006.
ADB said the tightening of monetary policy since last quarter of
2005 and opening up of imports of essential items will dampen
inflationary pressures in 2006. However, expansionary fiscal policy,
continued high oil prices and the large monetary overhang may make
it difficult to reduce inflation significantly. Hence inflation has
projected to decline only marginally to 8.5 per cent in 2006,
compared with a government target of eight per cent.
high GDP growth, projected double-digit increase in imports and
ongoing improvements in tax administration, tax revenues are
projected to grow by 17 per cent in 2006.
CROP MAY FALL SHORT OF TARGET
their assessment on a shortfall of 46 per cent in first arrivals
this year in comparison with the previous year, cotton sector
experts and most of farmers feel that the current crop is unlikely
to be above 11 to 12 million bales.
would be three to four million bales below the target of 15m bales
set by the government for the crop. The government had fixed the
produce figure because of last year's bumper yield of 14.6m bales.
experts are of the view that firstly the very target was unrealistic
reflected hopes of the government rather than consistent potential
of the sector and, secondly various negative factors comprising
weather conditions, floods in Sindh, wind storms, excessive heat in
August causing widespread flower shedding and current low
temperature that is conductive for breeding of certain pests have
combined to restrict the yield from the crop.
EXPORTS TO US REMAIN SLUGGISH
in knitwear exports to the US after the removal of quotas from
January 2005 remained sluggish as compared to China, India and
Bangladesh which registered a manifold increase during the same
to a study carried out by a textile body, the growth in Pakistan's
knitwear exports to the US was the slowest as compared to these
countries which are main competitors in textile exports.
fast running category 338 (men's upper) during the period under
review recorded a growth of 21.74 per cent, whereas exports from
China of this category scrambled by 1,241.03 per cent. Similarly,
exports of this category from India registered a rise of 117.43 per
cent and Bangladesh 232.19 per cent.
astonishing to note that per dozen price of this category quoted and
received by Indian exporters stood higher than what Pakistani
exporters received but still the growth in exports remained much
lower than India. The average per dozen price quoted by Indian
exporters stood at $40 and by Pakistani exporters at $38. The price
received by Bangladeshi exporters stood at $26 per dozen, which is
the lowest, and by Chinese exporters at $30.
FOR PROMOTING TRADE WITH PAKISTAN
Foreign Minister Kunwar Natwar Singh has said that trade
normalization at a time when both India and Pakistan are in the
midst of growth spurt has opened up immense opportunities for the
private sector on the either side. He called upon the private sector
to pounce on this opportunity for a better and prosperous future of
the two nations.
FIRM INTERESTED IN PAKISTAN STEEL
Steel, Russia's largest steel producers, is interested in purchasing
Pakistan Steel with the aim to upgrade and modernize the existing
plant's position, capacity and environment, company's
deputy-director general Rafaat S. Pakhaupinov has said.
MMK group also wanted to invest in Pakistan's steel sector, he
expressed this in a meeting between Industries and Production
Minister Jehangir Khan Tareen and a ten-member Russian delegation
representing MMK Steel.
minister informed the delegation that there existed tremendous
opportunities for investing in Pakistan's steel sector because of
rapid demand for steel products.
TO CHALLENGE EU DECISION ON BEDLINEN
bedlinen exporters have decided to challenge the dumping margin of
European Union's technical team by October 13 before European
decision was taken in a meeting headed by Commerce Secretary Syed
Asif Shah. The meeting was attended by the eight bedlinen exporters
and representatives of textile associations.
to a newspaer report, all the eight exporters received notices from
the EC, which indicated the dumping margin of the investigated
exporters would individually challenge calculations methods,
mistakes, concepts and statistics in their respective cases before
SETS TERMS FOR FUNDING PROJECTS
World Bank has linked private sector investment in the development
of Pakistan's hydropower sector to an immediate settlement of
institutional, regulatory and commercial issues such as riparian
rights and hydrological risks.
bank made the observation in an aide memoire finalized in
consultation with the Pakistan government as part of a power sector
investment programme which is currently in the process of
finalization. A World Bank team had been in Islamabad to push things
to the document, about 80 per cent of the country's economically
viable hydropower potential has not yet been developed. The World
Bank has cited the paucity of relevant information, prioritization
problems and multi-user nature of water reservoirs and required
pricing as impediments in the way of public and private investment
in this sector.
CHINA EYEING $8BN TRADE BY 2008
and China enjoy bright prospects to take their bilateral trade
volume to around $8 billion by the end of 2008, when tariff on most
items would be reduced to zero under the Early Harvest Programme (EHP).
2008 we are confident to achieve this target, since the two
countries registered a rapid growth in their trade interactions in
the recent years, a senior Pakistani official was quoted as saying.
to Chinese Custom data, bilateral volume of trade is expected to
touch $4 billion by the end of this year, since the growth rate,
registered in seven months from January to August, 2005 was around
42 per cent, as compared to the corresponding period.
increase in the trade was amounted to about $600 million during this
period. "We are quite optimistic, expecting a big jump in trade
volume taking it to $8 billion within next three years, since
Pakistan starts exporting rice, mango, orange and some other food
products to China from this year," the official said.
TO MAINTAIN STRICT FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE
government has decided to strictly maintain financial discipline and
macroeconomic stability for achieving what is termed "hard and
demanding" GDP growth rate of 8.2 per cent by 2009-10.
to a newspaper report, the government had asked its economic
managers to ensure the sustained annual average growth of 7.6 per
cent without compromising "macroeconomic stability" during
the next five years period.
ROMANIA SIGN PROTOCOL
and Romania have signed a protocol of Joint Government Commission of
Economic, Technical, and Scientific Cooperation to further
strengthen relations and boost bilateral trade.
protocol was signed at the conclusion of the two-day 18th
Pak-Romania Joint Government Commission last week.
Finance, New York, one of the leading financial journals, has placed
National Bank of Pakistan as "The Best Foreign Exchange Bank in
Pakistan - 2005."
is second consecutive year the NBP has won this prestigious award.
The bank has also been recognized as the Best Domestic Bank in
Pakistan - 2005.
SEEK THIRD COUNTRY ARBITRATION
investors have asked Pakistan to provide third country arbitration
and sovereign guarantees for $1.6 billion buyer's credit required
for the construction of 969-mw Neelum-Jhelum hydropower projects in
Azad Kashmir, said a newspaper report.
new conditions had raised many questions in the federal government
whether a second attempt to award contract for the development of
one of the most strategically crucial projects would be successful
to protect Pakistan's priority rights over river Jhelum, a senior
government official was quoted as saying.
and financial proposals for the development of the project to be
received by October 22 through an international competitive bidding
would be opened later this month under the original schedule.
and power ministry officials said most of the companies showing
interest in the project belonged to China and a few from Europe. So
far about 10 companies have indicated to participate in the bidding.
Majority of these companies, the officials said, had appealed to the
government to replace the condition of providing supplier's credit
of about $1 billion with buyer's credit.
TO RUSSIA CAN BE RAISED'
can increase its exports to Russia up to $500 million from the
current level of $20.3 million per annum if an appropriate strategy
is evolved and due facilities are provided to exporters.
was stated by the director, Pakistan-Russia Business Council of the
FPCCI, Mohammad Farooq Afzal, on his return from a textile
exhibition recently held in Moscow.
second South Asian Women Entrepreneurs exhibition will be held next
week in Dhaka to promote products prepared by the womenfolk of the
exhibition is organized by the Women Entrepreneurs Association of
Bangladesh (WEAB) in collaboration with the Pakistan High Commission
scheduled for October 10-15.