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Palladium rises to a record high while gold prices...

December 13, 2018 (MLN): Gold prices finally plunged during initial hours on Thursday, as the dollar strengthened after declining from a near one-month high in the previous session, while palladium rose to a record high, trading at a premium to gold.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,244.56 per ounce, as of 0124 GMT. U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,249.5 per ounce. Spot palladium was up 0.1 percent at $1,262.35 per ounce. Prices hit an all-time high of $1,264.25 earlier in the session.

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PM Khan establishes 4-member Inspection Commision

December 13, 2018 (MLN): The Prime Minister of Pakistan has appointed four (4) Members at Prime Minister's Inspection Commission (PMIC). As per a notification issued by the Establishment Division, the names of these members are as follows:

  1. Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, a retired officer of BS-22 at the Pakistan Administrative Service
  2. Dr. Siraj Mustafa Jokhio, a BS-21 officer at Pakistan Audit & Accounts Services (PA&AS), presently posted as Deputy Auditor General in Auditor General of Pakistan office
  3. Mr. Waqar Ahmad, a BS-21 officer of Secretariat Group, presently awaiting posting in Establishment Division
  4. Dr. Mumtaz Ahmad Kamal, ex- Vice Chancellor, University of Engineering and Technology Taxila

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PRL margins go down owing to fluctuations in international...

December 13, 2018 (MLN): Pakistan Credit Rating Agency has maintained the entity ratings of Pakistan Refinery Limited at ‘A-’ for long-term and ‘A2’ for short-term, with a stable outlook forecast.

According to PACRA, the ratings reflect the resilient business profile of PRL emanating from its sustainable operational history, strong demand for its products and its strategic importance in the domestic context.

PRL's core business remains exposed to the vicissitudes in international crude oil, which in turn, may lead to reduced gross refining margins (GRMs).

In the recent period, PRL's refining margins have suffered deterioration due to unfavorable prices of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products heightened by Exchange loss. The design of PRLs’ plant offers relatively limited flexibility; in turn, low margin and high exposure to the volatile dynamics of international crude oil and refinery product pricing.

The respite is provided by the commissioned Isomerization plant, providing volumetric growth in petrol - a high-margin product. Additionally, margins are squeezed on account of HSD pricing, due to high Sulphur content, as the company did not install DHDS unit for making euro II compliant HSD, which in turn, affecting the profitability of the company.

The ratings could be impacted by prolonged constrain in refining margins and/or adverse changes in the existing regulatory framework leading to depressed core cash flows. Adequacy of cashflows viz-a-viz debt servicing remains critical for the ratings. Prudent management of financial matrix amidst new borrowing requirement is important.

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Asian markets build on trade optimism, pound faces pressure

December 13, 2018: Asian markets enjoyed more gains Thursday as investors are cheered by the more conciliatory noises from China and the US on trade, while uncertainty over Brexit continued to pressure the pound.

While the tariffs row between Beijing and Washington is far from being resolved, there is a lot more optimism on trading floors this week that the world's top two economies can make headway in talks over the next three months.

The latest buying queues came from a report that Beijing is considering replacing its "Made in China 2025" programme that aims to boost its technology sector, a key point in anger for Washington.

The Wall Street Journal said authorities were looking at putting back the scheme's timetable by a decade to concentrate on improving standards.

That followed news China had agreed to resume importing soybeans -- a major boost for US farmers -- as well as remove a levy on US autos imposed earlier this year in response to Donald Trump's initial tariffs.

China's technology concession "is far more relevant than China agreeing to restart purchases of American soybeans, or even reducing the tariff on US car imports", said National Australia Bank strategist Ray Attrill.

Canada's release on bail of a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, whose arrest had sparked fears of an adverse impact on the trade talks, also soothed worries.


SBP to Conduct 1 Day OMO

The State Bank of Pakistan announced that it will conduct a 1 day OMO (Reverse Repo) to inject funds into the market.

Quotes timing is 10:30 PST while result will be announced at 11:00 PST