Default fears keep PKR under pressure
The forthcoming repayment of $1 billion by Pakistan for a maturing Sukuk on December 5, 2022 has kept the rupee under pressure against the US dollar as the foreign exchange reserves continued to deplete over the past 11 months. The domestic currency inched down by 0.05 percent (or Rs0.11) to a new six-week low at Rs223.92 against the greenback in the inter-bank market on Thursday. A market expert pointed out that the forthcoming repayment of $1 billion had built pressure on the rupee. Earlier, the delay in International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) ninth review of its $6.5 billion loan programme led to the rupee’s depreciation for the second consecutive working day.
Deadlock between govt and sugar mills
Deadlock between the government and the sugar mills over permission for sugar export continued on Thursday, as the authorities concerned decided to go for a third-party audit of the available stock in the country much to the dismay of the mill owners. The latest round of negotiation failed to make any headway on the export of sugar despite the Punjab government’s opinion that a large quantity of sugar was available. After the meeting, Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema that no decision could be reached on the export of sugar. “The government has not allowed the export. Presently, the Punjab government took a 180-degree turn on its first stand. Earlier, it said that the stocks of sugar were low therefore the export should not be allowed, but now it is of the opinion that sugar is available in large quantities,” Cheema said.
No oil import on discounted rates: NA
The government informed the National Assembly on Thursday that the country was not importing oil at discounted rates from any country, while matters pertaining to the import of oil and gas from Russia were currently under consideration of the petroleum division. During the session, chaired by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the members congratulated the newly-appointed chief of army staff (COAS) and chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and expressed the hope that the new military leadership would amicably deal with the challenges facing the country.
Markets anxious as state bank mulls policy
Pakistan’s central bank is scheduled to meet on Friday to, review developments in the domestic and global economy and, announce its key policy rate to maintain a balance between economic growth and inflation readings. Going forward, financial experts and market surveys strongly anticipate that the rate will remain unchanged at the current level of 15 percent. Speaking to source, Head of Research at Ismail Iqbal Securities, Fahad Rauf said, “The current objective of the government and central bank is to achieve economic stability – not the revival of growth.”
Minister seeks firms’ input on energy agreements with Russia
A “breakthrough” between Pakistan and Russia on the projects agreed between the two countries in the energy sector is expected in December. According to source, way has been paved for the import of petroleum products, crude oil and gas from Russia, as refineries in Pakistan have expressed their willingness to produce yields from the Russian crude oil. In this regard, State Minister for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik has sought suggestions from the petroleum companies for the strategic meeting. The petroleum firms have been directed to complete the paperwork and submit it in the session. The meeting will mull over the objectives, goals, problems and financial benefits of the energy projects agreed with Russia.
Kinnow exporters seek government’s assist
All Stakeholders in kinnow production and exports have sought the government’s assistance in coping with the emerging challenges because of climate change and extreme weather events. Kinnow exports are expected to begin in the first week of December while the export price has been set at Rs2,000 per maund, according to a notification of the district administration, because of lower output. “Consumers may have to pay more for kinnow this time around,” remarked Ahmad Jawad, CEO of Pakistan Businesses Forum. In order to facilitate exporters, he stressed, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should timely issue E-forms and make special arrangements for establishing banking channels, for shipments particularly to the Iranian and Russian markets.
Over 88,000 tax cases pending in different courts
Around 88,317 cases, involving an amount of Rs2.611 trillion, had been pending in different courts by the end of October 2022, according to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data. Of those, 75,021 cases involving Rs2.382 trillion were related to the Inland Revenue Service whereas 13,296 cases involving Rs229.7 billion were related to the Customs department, according to the data breakdown. The data came after the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, in its November 23 meeting, gave the FBR 15 days for submitting the details of cases awaiting adjudication in various courts. Committee Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwala expressed concern over the delay in settling tax cases, which was causing a huge revenue loss.
Government refuses sugar export demand
The government on Monday turned down the demand of sugar millers for export of 1 million tons of sugar and said that surplus stocks were not independently “verifiable”, staving off the pressure for now. A meeting between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the representatives of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) remained inconclusive. In the huddle, Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema contested the claim that about 1.065 million tons of sugar was available in the country. “Export permission has not been given and we will meet again on Thursday,” Cheema told source after the meeting. He added that until the sugar stocks were verified independently, the government would not grant permission for export.