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Last updated: Friday 23 Dec, 2005-12.30 P.M (PST)

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3 DAYS FORECAST
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KARACHI
Today 12 26 38 Sunny
Tomorrow 11 27 38 Sunny
Day after 11 28 38 Sunny
LAHORE
Today 1 20 87 Sunny
Tomorrow 2 20 87 Sunny
Day after 2 21 87 Sunny
ISLAMABAD
Today 0 18 59 Sunny
Tomorrow 0 18 59 Sunny
Day after 0 21 59 Sunny
HUM%: Humidity In %
FOR.: Weather Forecast
updated: Fri - Sun 23-25 Dec, 2005

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KARACHI         - 021 LAHORE          - 042 ISLAMABAD    - 051 FAISALABAD   - 041 MULTAN          - 061 PESHAWAR    - 0521 CANADA          - 1 KUWAIT           - 965 INDIA               - 91 IRAN                - 98 U.K                   - 44 U.A.E                - 971 U.S.A                - 1

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IN THE NEWS
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. PAKISTAN
 

 

 

 

 
  PAKISTAN

Nov 21 - 27, 2005

SSGC STARTS LAYING 42" DIA GAS PIPELINE

Sui Southern Gas Company Limited achieved another historic landmark, by becoming the first natural gas utility in Pakistan to begin laying a 42" diameter natural gas pipeline, the largest-ever commissioned in the country, in the Port Bin Qasim area of Karachi.

Mr. Ahmad Waqar, Secretary Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the pipeline project, designed entirely by SSGC engineers and technical staff. SSGC corporate partners, representatives of banks, financial institutions and oil and gas sector companies were present to mark the inauguration.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony the Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources stated that: "the Government of Pakistan is actively pursuing all three pipeline options as they are all of strategic importance to the country." He further said that: The LNG import project launched by SSGC would complement the transnational pipelines and even precede them."

Talking about the Government's directive to SSGC to distribute LPG in Gwadar, the Secretary said: "he is confident the company would meet the deadline of 31st December 2005, set by the President, General Pervez Musharraf".

SSGC will set up an LPG storage and gas-air-mix facility in Gwadar and create a local distribution network to distribute piped gas to customers.

The Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources commended the engineers, workers and technicians who are participating in the 42" diameter pipeline project. He said: "None other than the President of Pakistan had appreciated the hard work and tenacity you had shown in completing the Ziarat and Kalat pipeline projects. And I am sure you will complete this one too on time.'

The Managing Director SSGC Mr. Munawar Baseer Ahmad pointed out that the 42" diameter pipeline was "the largest diameter gas pipeline ever laid in the country and a tribute to the technical skill and expertise of the company's engineers. It was also proof of the company's readiness to handle large-scale gas infrastructure projects, such as the transnational pipelines within and outside Pakistan."

Being built at an estimated cost of nearly Rs.800 million, the pipeline would be linked with SSGC's main transmission and distribution network servicing Karachi, the main load centre, as well as the rest of Sindh and Balochistan. High-quality, locally manufactured steel being used in the pipeline conforms to API standard 5L, Grade X42 with three layers of P.E. coating.

With a design capacity of 220 mmcfd, this pipeline will allow for more gas to be made available for new and strategic industrial projects such as the Textile City, Power Plants, Steel Mills and other industrial estates. Industrial customers already account for nearly 80% of the volume of natural gas sold by the company last year.

The MD SSGC said that the 42" pipeline project is a key component of SSGC's Five-Year Rs.43 Billion (US$ 800 million) Strategic Development Plan, designed to expand transmission and distribution (T&D) capacity to 1.8bcfd by the year 2009. It will also enhance system efficiency and optimize service delivery to customers. He also spoke about the significance of SSGC's integrated LNG import project, due for completion in 2009.

COTTON PRICING SYSTEM TERMED FAULTY

Cotton price was one dollar a kg in 1947 which is more or less static in the international market indicating a nasty fault in cotton pricing system internationally.

Despite geometrical increase in price of every thing the cotton prices are stuck, which creates doubt that, the international market forces are out to deprive the cotton producing countries of their genuine rights .

Fritz Alexander Grobren of International Cotton Association, Liverpool felt that there is something wrong with the international pricing system of cotton as presently it is cheaper than what it was 20-30 years ago. He was of the view that the system has not taken into account increase in input costs and impact of inflation that has enhanced prices of all other commodities except cotton.

He called for carrying out a serious study on the world cotton pricing system.

Pakistan's Punjab and Indian Punjab are of the same soil characteristics but the crop size in Indian side has increased many folds due to introduction of Bt Cotton.

This was stated by Binod Kumar Patodia, a delegate from India accompanied by a 9-member delegation of the Spinners Committee of International Textile Manufacturers Federation, Zurich, currently visiting Pakistan.

The delegation, led by Andrew Macdonald, visited APTMA office to discuss issues related to cotton and spinning industry.

Regarding cotton contamination issue in India, Binod said that the problem has been controlled by bringing basic research in development of seed cotton and transfer of farming technology to growers through government and NGOs, besides modernizing ginning industry and developing infrastructure.

Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed Kuli Khan Khattak, Chairman APTMA, said he would take up the matter regarding import of cotton from India through land with the authorities in view of competitive prices, which would ultimately help the industry.

The delegation was informed that despite tremendous growth in the spinning sector and Pakistan being a key cotton buyer now importing about two million bales annually from worldwide sources, however, it lacks knowledge and experience of international cotton buying and still follows primitive system of cotton trading for local buying.

The delegation was requested to assist APTMA in enhancing awareness and know how in international cotton buying.

Andrew Macdonald strongly recommended that Pakistan must invest in ginning industry to improve cotton ginning to control contamination and emphasized the need for pre-cleaning of cotton. He also strongly recommended that Pakistan should develop a centralized system for classification and grading of cotton to encourage quality and fair trading, as being practiced in the United States.

JULY-OCT TRADE GAP WIDENS BY 162.5PC

Pakistan's trade deficit rose by 162.57 per cent to $3.372 billion during the first four months (July-Oct) of the fiscal year 2005-60, as against $1.284 billion over the same period last year. Official figures released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics indicated that in October 2005, the trade deficit was recorded at 117.65 per cent to $998.212 million, as against $458.638 million in the same month last year.

The commerce ministry had projected a trade deficit of $4.79 billion in the trade policy for the whole fiscal year 2005-06. This shows that the projected target would be surpassed next month.

The statistics showed that trade deficit increased by 21.28 per cent in October 2005 when compared with September 2005. The gap may further widen as the government and the private sector would also start importing materials for construction in the quake-devastated areas.

The analysis of trade figures showed that Pakistan exports increased by 22.89 per cent during the July-Oct period this year to $5.508 billion, as against $4.482 billion during the same period last year.

On monthly basis, the exports increased by 33.23 per cent to $1.329 billion in October 2005 as against $997.771 million in the same month last year. However, the exports recorded a slight decrease of 11.34 per cent during the month under review as compared to $1.499 billion in September 2005.

The import bill increased by 54 per cent to $8.881 billion during four months of this fiscal year as compared to $5.766 billion during the same months last year. On monthly basis, the import bill stood at $2.327 billion in October 2005, as against $1.456 billion in the same month last year, indicating an increase of 59.81 per cent.

FIVE UREA IMPORTERS GET CONTRACTS

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has accepted bids for the import of urea at higher rates despite having been offered much lower rates by some of the contending bidders.

Moreover, the tenders were called for the import of 75,000 tons of urea but surprisingly the Purchase and Price Evaluation Committee (PPEC) of the corporation has granted import of 300,000 tons of the fertilizer.

As many as 14 importers had submitted bids, which were, opened on November 8. The prices quoted by them were ranged from $234 to $289 per ton.

The bids that were discarded had offered the price of $234, $238, $247 and $249 per ton. One of the bidders that had quoted the price of $271.7 was reportedly convinced to 'rationalize' the offer to $270.5 per ton.

FALLING EURO HURTING EXPORTS TO EU

Exports to European Union (EU), the biggest trading partner of Pakistan, are becoming costlier and incompetitive owing to a host of factors including the falling value of euro.

Earlier exporters used to complain of punitive duties and high export refinance and mark-up rates, but the falling value of euro has now further aggravated the situation which made exports to EU member states almost unviable.

According to official statistics, most of European currencies had declined by more than 10 per cent during the period of last one year. The euro, which is official currency of the EU member states for external trade, also depreciated by 12 per cent (Dec 30, 2004 to November 8, 2005).

JULY-OCT INFLATION RISES BY 8.55PC

Inflation rose by 8.55 per cent year-on-year during July-October of the fiscal year 2005-06 mainly because of increases in house rents and prices of transport and communication items.

Official data released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) indicated that in October, the year-on-year increase in inflation was 8.27 per cent.

Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been creeping steadily upward during the current year. However, it declined slightly to 8.27 per cent in October 2005 from 8.70 per cent in the corresponding month last year. This means average prices of 374 items of daily use rise over eight per cent between July and Oct 2005, over June-July 2004-05, putting more pressure on the consumers and restricting their buying power.

MINISTER FOR CHANGES IN SUGAR FACTORY ACT

Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Sikandar Hayat Bosan has urged the need of revision in Sugar Factory Control Act, 1950 to make it comfortable for growers and sugar industry.

He has asked the Cane Commissioners of the provinces to persuade the matter on priority in order to bring the new changes in the Act.

Bosan was chairing a meeting on the problems of sugarcane growers and sugar industry last week.

RECONSTRUCTION IN QUAKE-HIT AREAS

The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution tabled by Pakistan calling on the UN to mobilize the international community to address the medium and long-term reconstruction needs of the areas affected by last month's earthquake.

The resolution entitled 'Strengthening emergency relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and prevention in the aftermath of South Asia earthquake disaster' was co-sponsored by 133 countries from all regions and continents.

SAUDI GROUP TO INVEST MORE IN KARACHI

Al-Jumaih Group of Saudi Arabia, the buyers of the Karachi Electric and Supply Corporation (KESC), has announced to make further investment in the city. A delegation of the Saudi group led by its Managing Director Abdul Aziz Al-Jumaih called on Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad abnd expressed interest in investment opportunities available in the city and said that at this stage they were strengthening their bonds with the people of Pakistan through KESC.

POLYETHYLENE PLANT

Trans Polymers Ltd, a UK-based company, has planned to establish a polyethylene plant at Karachi with an initial investment of $480m.

UBL PROFIT

United Bank Limited earned a pre-tax profit of Rs6.5 billion in the first nine months of 2005, recording an increase of 110 per cent. According to a press release, UBL had earned a profit before tax of Rs3.1 billion last year.

RICE EXPORTS MAY PICK UP ON ARRIVALS

Pakistan's rice exports are likely to rise on increasing supplies from the new crop, and sellers expect higher overseas demand in December, dealers were quoted as saying. Export prices were steady during the past week as domestic rates were higher. But domestic prices are expected to drop with more new crop rice available.

 
 

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