PRODUCTION OF LOCAL BUSES FALLS BY 54PC
After recording a 28 per cent rise in
bus production during 2004-05, the local bus makers find themselves in hot
waters because of continuous decline in sales of buses for the last five months
owing to investors' reluctance in bringing new large buses in the city.
Rising diesel prices can be attributed
as one of the main reasons in making investors' reluctant in buying new buses
due to low profit margins and higher per day operational cost of a bus.
Production and sales of locally-
produced buses have declined by 54 per cent and 32 per cent to 328 units and 395
units, respectively, during July-November, 2005 as compared to 722 units and 587
units in the same period of 2004.
In sharp contrast, bus production in
2004-05 rose by 28 per cent to 1,762 units from 1,380 units in 2003-04 due to
the availability of bank credit, introduction of intra-city bus routes and
rising sales under the Urban Transport Scheme (UTS) in Punjab and Sindh.
Hinopak and Nissan, are the main market
players besides, Dong Feng, Master and Isuzu. Nissan has not produced any unit
during July-November 2005 as compared to 54 buses produced in the same period of
2004. Hinopak produced 278 buses in July-November, 2005 as compared to 626 units
in the same period of last year.
"We are hardly getting 10 per cent
orders from the investors these days," a leading assembler of buses was
quoted as saying. Only those investors are buying the buses who intend to ply
them on inter city routes.
There has been no booking of buses by
the investors for the UTS during the last five months. Many buses of the
operators have already been seized by the banks for default on payment of loan
PAKISTAN RETAINS US MARKET SHARE
Pakistan has succeeded in protecting
its US market share for apparel products at the Sixth Ministerial Conference
held in Hong Kong from Dec 13 to 18, by restricting market access of Least
Developing Countries (LDCs) at 97 per cent of products under annexure F of the
final WTO's declaration.
The annexure F tabled by Pakistan
withhold the balance of three per cent of products originating from LDCs from
getting quota and duty-free access to US market. This was adopted in the final
draft of the WTO's HK declaration on the insistence of Pakistan. This would mean
that US could use this space of three per cent for political pressure on LDCs
including Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam as their apparel exports to US have
grown manifold soon after the quota-free regime started from January 1, 2005.
Most of the LDCs have been giving tough
time to Pakistani exporters of apparel products in the US market and their
exports have shown tremendous growth owing to duty and quota free market access
to US market.
Pakistan's apparels compete with
Bangladesh and other LDCs in 40 products in the US market and it constitutes 20
per cent of its exports. However, the annexure F will help the country to
safeguard its market share in the US.
Despite the fact that China and India
also have big stakes in global textile market of around $300 billion but unlike
Pakistan they have diversified their exports and could sustain some cuts in
their market share.
The rapidly growing textile and apparel
industry in LDCs, Bangladesh and Cambodia and Vietnam in particular, have
threatened Pakistan's exports to US and recently some producers of textile
made-up visited Bangladesh in order to relocate their industry by entering into
COTTON BODY ESTIMATES OUTPUT AT 12.7M
The Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC)
was informed that 10.219 million bales had reached the ginning factories by
December 15, 2005 which was 12.9 per cent short when compared with the arrivals
on the same date last year.
The committee met to review the current
crop size with Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Sikandar Hayat Khan
Bosan in the chair. The meeting was attended by Minfal ADC, FDPP DC,
vice-president PCCC, Secretary Agriculture Sindh, other senior officers of the
department, TCP and representatives of PCGA, KCA and growers.
It was reported that the wide gap in
arrivals noticed at the early season had declined from 46 per cent to 13 per
Besides, the ginning output this season
was also reportedly better than last year.
ETISALAT TO MAKE PTCL PAYMENT IN FIVE
Pakistan has given United Arab Emirates
firm Etisalat five years to pay for a 26 per cent stake in Pakistan
Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (PTCL), Etisalat's chief executive as quoted as
Pakistan's biggest privatization ran
into trouble when UAE monopoly Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) failed to
meet payment deadlines after offering $2.6 billion for a 26 per cent stake in
PTCL, topping the next highest bid by $1.2 billion.
The UAE and Pakistan said they had
clinched a deal to salvage the sale but gave no details.
"There were several pending issues
... part of the deal between us and the Pakistani government was to pay part of
the amount over the next five years," Etisalat Chief Executive Mohamed
Hassan Omran said on Al Arabiya television.
DOMESTIC GAS TARIFF RAISED BY 15.87PC
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra)
has determined an average increase of about 15.87 per cent in domestic gas price
and 13.06 per cent for the remaining categories of consumers, including
commercial, industrial, CNG, cement and power but excluding fertilizer. The
tariff increase is set to go into effect from January 1, 2006, throughout the
Ogra has revised these prices through
two separate interim orders relating to the tariff schedules of Sui Northern Gas
Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL).
BUDGETARY BORROWING SURPASSES TARGET
The government's borrowing for
budgetary support in five months and ten days has crossed the target for the
whole year 2005-06. The speedy borrowing took a jump of Rs27 billion in just a
week to reach a total of Rs101.379 billion against the target of Rs98 billion
set for the year 2005-06. The government had borrowed Rs89.674 billion in the
corresponding period of the last year.
The budgetary borrowing, last week,
stood at Rs83 billon but the fast growth in borrowing has set a new trend which
might lead to a very high figure of budgetary borrowing by the end of the fiscal
INVESTMENT IN T-BILLS
Investing in Treasury bills has become
more attractive as it provides a chance to earn double digit profit. It is risk
free and encourages banks to invest more in government papers.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)
siphoned off the liquidity from the money market as it went far beyond its
target of Rs45 billion in the Treasury bills' auction.
The SBP realized Rs68.479 billion
through the auction but no change in T-bills rates were offered.
However, most of the bids were received
for one year T-bills and the bank raised Rs64.016 billion alone for the same
maturity. The SBP received bids worth Rs89.022 billion. The banks found one year
maturity more attractive for investment as the spread between 3 months and one
year is substantially higher for lucrative investment.
The cut-off yield for 3-month, 6-month
and 1-year maturity remained unchanged with 8.100 per cent, 8.29 per cent and
8.79 per cent respectively. The SBP raised Rs2.734 billion and Rs1.728 billion
for 3-month and 6-month T-bills, respectively.
THAILAND KEEN TO BOOST TRADE
The Consul General of Thailand, Praphat
Chantaharn, has emphasized the need to identify bottlenecks to promote trade
between Pakistan and Thailand.
"These irritants should be removed
so that the existing potential of bilateral trade and investment could be
exploited to the fullest," he remarked while addressing the members of the
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
FTAS WITH 4 STATES LIKELY
China, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey
have agreed to separately sign Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Pakistan
preferably during the current fiscal year.
According to a newspaper report, the
signing of FTAs with China, Malaysia and Thailand was in the final stages, while
talks with Turkey were scheduled to start on Thursday.
The sugar mills in Sindh indicated that
they would resume sugarcane crushing in this week following government assurance
to link sugarcane prices with sugar contents, a senior government official was
quoted as saying.
The representatives of the sugar mills,
sugarcane growers and other stakeholders held a meeting with Minister for Food,
Agriculture and Livestock, Sikandar Hayat Bosan, in Karachi, in which the mill
owners indicated that they would start crushing this week, Sugarcane
Commissioner, Inayatullah Khan told from Karachi where he also attended the
INFLATION TO BE BROUGHT DOWN, IMF
The government has assured the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take more measures to bring down inflation
from 8.4 per cent to 8 per cent by the end of the current financial year as it
is still hurting the common man in the country.
According to a newspaper report, the
Fund officials were assured that the average inflation rate for 2005-06 was
likely to be less than 8 per cent by June 30, 2006 due to the base effect viz-
a-viz oil prices.
Since IMF's assessment on Pakistan's
economy is taken seriously by international lending agencies including banks,
the government wanted to further reduce inflation, particularly the Consumer
Price Index (CPI).
TEA SMUGGLING CAUSES RS470 MILLION LOSS
The smuggling of tea continues unabated
registering 100 per cent increase in July-October 2005, as against the same
period of 2004. Pakistanis had sipped 40 million kg of the smuggled tea during
2004-05 besides, consuming 130 million kg imported through legal channels.
An estimated 14.182 million kg of tea
(813 containers) arrived in the country under the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT)
during July-October 2005, as against 6.845 million kg (457 containers) in the
same period of 2004.
The national kitty is reported to have
suffered a loss of Rs470 million in July-October 2005 based on the average tea
price of $1.80 per kg on account of smuggling of 14.182 million kg of tea and
the total incidence of duty and taxes of over 30 per cent is taken. This
information based on documentary evidences was conveyed to the Central Board of
Revenue (CBR) by the Pakistan Tea Association (PTA).
CELLPHONE FIRM PLANS TO INVEST $500M
A leading cellular mobile telephone
company plans to invest $500 million during the year 2006, taking its total
investment in the country to well over $1.75 billion by the year end.
"We have been encouraged by the
positive economic and infrastructure development trends in Pakistan and have
decided to raise the level of our investment portfolio in Pakistan,"
Chairman Orascom Telecom, Naguib Sawiris told reporters soon after his meeting
with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
Mr Sawiris was flanked by President and
CEO of Mobilink Pakistan Zouhair A. Khaliq during a news conference at a local
hotel. About the quality of service issue, Mr Sawiris, who is on a short visit
to Pakistan, said Mobilink had launched its own fibre optic cable laying project
which would provide the company independence from relying on other carrier
(Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited) for its telecom services.
IRON SHEETS IMPORT FROM INDIA ALLOWED
The Ministry of Commerce has allowed
the import of corrugated galvanized iron sheets from India for a period of one
month commencing from December 14, 2005 to January 13 for exclusive use in
rehabilitation of earthquake victims.
The import of such sheets would only be
made via land route and would subject to the verification and recommendation of
the Federal Relief Commission, Ministry of Commerce stated in an SRO dated
December 13, 2005.
EXPORTS FROM SIALKOT DRY PORT DECLINE
Exports from Sialkot Dry Port declined
by Rs685 million during the month of November compared to the same month last
year. The dry port handled 2,400 export consignments destined for other
countries with a value of Rs2,257 million during the month of November
2005,compared to exports worth Rs3,040 million handled during the month of
October marking a monthly decline of Rs783 million.
Giving details Chairman Sialkot Dry
Port Trust Mehboob A. Shaikh told newsmen that the goods exported, include
sports goods (worth Rs55 million); leather goods (worth Rs679 million); surgical
instruments (worth Rs593 million); cotton products (worth Rs75 million); Nylon
products (worth Rs130 million); cutlery products (worth Rs77 million); furniture
(worth Rs8.5 million); rice (worth Rs0.50 million); and machinery (worth Rs2