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Pakistan’s Refinery Sector in hot water yet again!

November 15, 2019 (MLN): The refinery sector of Pakistan has found itself in hot water yet again, considering the changes that have been made to international laws with respect to environmental sustainability.

Sharing some insight on the same, a research report by JS Global says that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has directed marine sector to curtail their emission of Sulphur to at least 0.5% by the beginning of next year.

With all due respect to the cause and purpose of this move, it is likely that the outcome of this plan shall be devastating for Pakistan’s refinery sector. In case the sector doesn’t, or fails to comply with the new IMO policy, the relevant authorities will retort by taking serious measures, such as heavy fines, penalties, or even detainment of ships of non-complying countries.

Now here comes the worst part, if and when these changes are implemented, the price of Furnace Oil in both international as well as domestic markets will fall substantially, owing to a decline in demand. According to JS Global’s report, the price for FO in Pakistan has fallen by 33% in November alone, and might fall even further when the new IMO policy comes into action.

It goes without saying that to bring the Sulphur emission down to such level, the refinery sector will have to make some significant changes to its operations, such as installing scrubbers or by switching to Low Sulphur Furnace Oil instead of High Sulphur Furnace Oil.   

The report also points out that the refinery sectors across the globe have prepared themselves enough for this inevitable change, whereas Pakistan continues to lag way behind due to its continued reliance on outdated hydro-skimming technology.

Now the good part is that there is a solution for abovementioned complications, but the bad part is that for Pakistan, this solution comes with an unaffordable cost. To successfully comply with IMO policy, Pakistan will have to invest substantially in new technology to catch up with the rest of the nations. However, looking at the current fiscal challenges of the country, it is highly unlikely that the government of Pakistan will even consider this as an issue, let alone investing a colossal amount of money into it.

Copyright Mettis Link News

SBP to Conduct 7 Day OMO

Nov 15, 2019 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced that it will conduct a 7 day OMO to inject funds into the market.

Quotes timing is: 10:45 PST while result will be announced at: 11:15 PST

Settlement is same day - November 15, 2019

 

Copyright Mettis Link News

Disbursement of Loans under Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme to Kick...

November 15, 2019: Mr. Muhammad Usman Dar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs; along with Mr. Asad Umer, Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, chaired a high-level meeting with the representatives from State Bank of Pakistan, Presidents and senior officials of National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Punjab, and Bank of Khyber to review the processing of loan applications received under Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) of Kamyab jawan Programme.

It was agreed in the meeting that the disbursement of loans to the successful applicants under the scheme would start in December 2019 after completing all the required formalities. All the three executing banks of the scheme: National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Punjab, and Bank of Khyber would strengthen their infrastructure both in terms of human resource and technology to cope with the huge challenge of processing 1 Million applications received so far under the scheme.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Muhammad Usman Dar reiterated his resolve to strictly follow merit and transparency in the processing and disbursement of loans to the potential entrepreneurs. This would not only create several employment opportunities for youth but would also contribute remarkably to the national economic growth.

Mr Muhammad Usman Dar appreciated the commitment and efforts of State Bank of Pakistan and the three executing banks: National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Punjab, and Bank of Khyber, in making this scheme a real game-changer for the creation of jobs through the promotion of SME sector in the country.

European stocks sag on weak eurozone growth

November 15, 2019: Europe's stock markets retreated Thursday as official data confirmed the news of weak eurozone growth, while lingering US-China trade talk uncertainty weighed on New York equities.

Economic growth in the eurozone stood at 0.2 per cent in the third quarter, unchanged from the previous estimate, according to official Eurostat figures published Thursday.

Economic activity was weighed down by Germany, which nevertheless dodged a recession with growth of just 0.1 per cent in the same period.

New York had a low-key day, meanwhile, with the S&P 500 hundred nudging its way to another record close, leaving stocks little changed overall.

Markets got encouraging signals from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who in his second day of congressional testimony said that he expected America's record economic expansion to continue.

- Narrow escape - "While the second estimate of Q3 GDP for the eurozone was unchanged, and Germany narrowly avoided a technical recession, we think that the cyclical downturn in the region still has further to run," warned analyst Andrew Kenningham at research consultancy Capital Economics.

China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday said the lifting of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump was a "condition" to reaching the preliminary deal announced last month -- suggesting a deal is not imminent.

Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities told AFP the markets needed positive news in the trade talks to continue gains.

"We need to see any new trade developments to resume the rally," he said.

In more economic news, data released Thursday showed further signs of strain in China's economy, with a sharp slowdown in consumer spending and factory production, while investment growth hit a record low as the trade war with the United States takes its toll.

But Shanghai added 0.2 per cent as dealers brushed off the data.

Tokyo meanwhile fell 0.8 per cent after data showed Japan's economy grew at a slower pace than forecast in the third quarter as it was hit by trade wars.

Hong Kong tumbled 0.9 per cent following another night of unrest in the city, which has seen an increase in violence since the weekend, while on Thursday protesters blocked roads in certain districts -- closing businesses -- and disrupted public transport for a fourth day.

The standoff has hammered the Hang Seng Index -- which had lost around four percent by Wednesday night -- while there are concerns about possible intervention by Beijing.

- Key figures around 2200 GMT - New York - Dow: FLAT at 27,781.96 (close) New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 3,096.63 (close) New York - Nasdaq: FLAT percent at 8,479.02 (close) London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,292.76 points (close) Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 13,180.23 (close) Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,901.08 (close) EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,688.81 (close) Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 23,141.55 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.9 percent at 26,323.69 (close) Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 2,909.87 (close) Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2881 from $1.2851 at 2100 GMT Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.55 pence from at 85.65 pence Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1020 from $1.1007 Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.42 yen from 108.82 yen Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $62.28 per barrel West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.6 percent at $56.77.

AFP/APP

Asian markets boosted by fresh China-US trade optimism

November 15, 2019: Asian markets rose Friday as trade hopes were given a boost by Donald Trump's economic aide saying "enormous progress" had been made in talks with China, easing recent concerns that they were stumbling.

Hong Kong enjoyed a much-needed leg-up after a bruising week but sentiment remained fragile after the city endured another night of violent protest, with the transport network partially shut down and many businesses closed for a fifth day.

The broad regional gains came after top White House adviser Larry Kudlow that the long-awaited mini trade deal with China was on track as part of a wider pact.

"The deal is not complete but we've made enormous progress," he told reporters, adding that the talks were "coming down to the short strokes".

His comments follow a week of unease about the much-vaunted talks, after Trump dismissed Chinese claims of a plan to roll back tariffs as the negotiations progress, while reports said Beijing was uneasy about some aspects of the developing deal.

And on Thursday, China's commerce ministry had said the US lifting of tariffs was a "condition" to reaching the preliminary deal -- suggesting it was not imminent.

- Xi's Hong Kong warning - "Maybe, just maybe, we are finally nearing a long-awaited indication from President Trump that the protracted period of market adversity is mercifully nearing its end," said AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes.

But he added that "the big question should be about what comes next. How long will phase two take?" He also pointed to "some recriminations, with the US claiming that China is delaying the deal, which would seem to play into the view that President Trump is under pressure, having effectively announced a deal a couple of weeks ago".

Tokyo went into the break 0.7 percent higher, Sydney jumped 0.8 percent, Seoul climbed one percent and Singapore was up 0.1 percent. Taipei, Wellington and Jakarta also posted healthy gains. Shanghai was up 0.4 percent, boosted by the central bank's decision to pump $29 billion into the financial system.

Hong Kong added 0.4 percent in early trade, having shed almost five percent over the previous four days as the city was wracked by violent protests, with police saying the rule of law was on "the brink of total collapse".

The increasingly violent standoff has also fanned concerns about possible intervention by Beijing, with Xi Jinping warning Thursday that Hong Kong's cherished "one country, two systems" principle was being threatened by the protests, which are in their sixth month.

AFP/APP

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