Tag: pak news
January 19, 2021: Brent crude futures edged up on Tuesday as optimism that government stimulus will buoy global economic growth and oil demand trumped concerns that renewed COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns globally could cool fuel consumption.
Brent crude futures for March rose 17 cents, or 0.3%, to $54.92 a barrel by 0150 GMT after slipping 35 cents in the previous session.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $52.25 a barrel, down 11 cents, or 0.2%. There was no settlement on Monday as U.S. markets were closed for a public holiday. Front-month February WTI futures expire on Wednesday.
Investors are upbeat about demand in China, the world's top crude oil importer, after data released on Monday showed its refinery output rose 3% to a new record in 2020. China was also the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Yesterday's data out of China was positive for oil prices," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney said.
Investors are watching out for U.S. President-elect Biden's inauguration speech on Wednesday for details on the country's $1.9 trillion aid package.
Oil prices have also been supported by Saudi Arabia's additional supply cuts in the next two months which are expected to draw down global inventories by 1.1 million barrels per day in the first quarter, ANZ analysts said.
Concerns about rising COVID-19 cases globally and renewed lockdowns weighing down fuel demand kept a lid on oil prices.
ANZ analysts flagged concerns about falling fuel sales in India in January from December and rising COVID-19 cases in China and Japan that could dampen oil demand.
"In Europe and the U.S., the slow rollout of vaccines is also raising concerns that a rebound in demand will remain elusive," the bank said.
January 19, 2021: Pakistan approved the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Monday, a government statement said, two days after AstraZeneca's vaccine developed with Oxford University received a similar authorization.
The Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) said the vaccine, manufactured by China National Pharmaceutical Group (SinoPharm), had been given emergency use approval (EUA).
Pakistan's health ministry has said the country was in process of speaking to different vaccine makers.
"The two COVID-19 vaccines have been granted EUA with certain conditions," a DRAP's spokesman said, adding that both vaccines have been evaluated for their safety and quality.
The authorization will be reviewed on a quarterly basis for further data regarding safety, efficacy, and quality, the spokesman said.
Pakistan has been engaging with a number of vaccine makers, health minister Faisal Sultan said over the weekend, adding that the country could get "in the range of tens of millions" of vaccine doses under an agreement with China's Cansino Biologics Inc.
The vaccine company's Ad5-nCoV COVID-19 candidate is nearing completion of Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan. The preliminary results of the Cansino vaccine may come in by mid-February, Sultan said.
However, Pakistan has yet to place an order to procure any vaccine.
The minister said Pakistan planned to cover vaccines for the majority of the population for free, adding that private companies could also be allowed to import and sell vaccines once supply was available to an authorized company.
Pakistan reported 1,920 new coronavirus infections and 46 deaths on Monday, taking the total number of cases to more than 521,212 with fatalities approaching 11,000.
January 19, 2021: President Dr. Arif Alvi says Pakistan wants to further strengthen relations with Vietnam in diverse fields, including trade and economy.
He was talking to the outgoing Ambassador of Vietnam Pham Hoang Kim, who called on him in Islamabad on Monday.
The President said Vietnamese investors need to take advantage of Pakistan's improved business environment as Pakistan offers an on-arrival visa facility to Vietnamese nationals.
Highlighting the need to institutionalize high-level bilateral exchanges, the President said the exchange of parliamentary delegations will open up new avenues of bilateral cooperation.
He underlined the need to foster people-to-people contacts by promoting cooperation in the fields of tourism and education.
The President congratulated Pham Hoang Kim on the successful completion of his tenure in Pakistan and appreciated his efforts towards the promotion of bilateral ties between Pakistan and Vietnam.
January 19, 2021: Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar has said the government is taking concrete measures to bring down sugar and wheat prices in the country.
Speaking in the Senate on Monday, he said more sugar will be imported to ensure its smooth and cheap supply.
Hammad Azhar said in this regard we will seek permission from ECC to import 5000 tons more sugar.
The Minister said to ensure an adequate supply of flour, the Punjab government timely enhanced the release of wheat to flour mills, however, at the same time Sindh government limited the release which resulted in a price hike of flour in Sindh.
He said for the first time in history, sugarcane farmers are being paid the real price of their crop due to the support price announced by the PTI government.
The Minister said petroleum prices in Pakistan are lower than that of the neighboring countries.
Hammad Azhar said a major part of external debt during the PTI government was utilized to repay the interest on the loans obtained by the previous governments.
Minister for Finance and Revenue Hafeez Sheikh has said the government is focusing on reducing foreign debt as it is a big burden on the country's economy.
Taking the floor, he said blaming the government for the current debt spike is unfair because it is also paying the loans obtained by the previous governments.
The Minister said during the initial days of the PTI government our first priority was to save the country from the impending default and resultantly the government took result-oriented decisions and had a landmark agreement with International Monetary Fund.
He said the current government inherited a very precarious economic situation in 2018 and therefore had to introduce strict financial discipline to curtail excessive government expenditure, increase revenue collection, introduce market-driven exchange rate, remove large tax exemptions and discourage imports.
He said that the government did not borrow even a single penny from the State Bank of Pakistan during the last one and a half year, while no supplementary grants were provided.
He outlined that since the spread of Covid-19, the government has taken several initiatives to facilitate agriculture and construction sectors to accelerate economic recovery.
He said due to primary surplus, we don’t need loans if we don’t have to repay previous loans.
The Minister said now the combined impact of various progressive economic indicators show that the country is moving forward.
January 19, 2021: Minister for Finance and Revenue Hafeez Sheikh has said due to the government's tough, result-oriented decisions and prudent policies economic indicators now have become positive.
Speaking in the Senate, he said soon after coming into power, the country foreign reserves had dipped to $ 9 billion from $ 18 billion adding that the gap between exports and imports had also widened to $ 32-35 billion.
He said the government had to take tough decisions to cope with the challenges and its top priority was to save the country from the impending default.
Hafeez Sheikh said now the country is going towards stability owing to the steps taken by the government and the current account is now in surplus and country's exports witnessed sharp increase after the decades in the textile sector.
Moreover, the large-scale manufacturing industry was also on a path of recovery and witnessed a growth of 7.5 per cent.
The minister said the government is investing in such programmes which help generate employment opportunities.