PAR News - Wed, 03 Apr 2024

PAR News Bulletin - Wed, 03 Apr 2024

PAR News - Wed, 03 Apr 2024
PAR News - Wed, 03 Apr 2024
PAR News
April 3, 2024
News

TOPLINE

  • In the Senate elections, the ruling PDM coalition won 19 Senate seats. Elections in KPK were postponed due to a dispute over the swearing-in of opposition members elected to reserved seats. PML-N now has 19 seats, PPP 24, and PTI holds 20 in the 96-member Senate. Omar Ayub was named Opposition Leader in the National Assembly.
  • The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) advisory committee projects a 30% water shortage for early Kharif 2024 and a 7% shortage for late Kharif 2024, with 59.94 MAF water available during the season. Anticipated higher temperatures and a nearly 31% lower snowbank than usual pose challenges for major crops in the Kharif season.
  • The sugar industry is lobbying for 1 million tonnes of sugar exports to secure payments to farmers amidst a 42% increase in sugar prices. Millers are engaging political channels for export permissions and government procurements for strategic reserves. Millers believe they bought sugarcane at prices higher than the support price.
  • Pakistan's cotton yarn exports to China surpassed $100 million in the first two months of 2024, showing a nearly 98% increase compared to the same period last year. Textile exports in March rose by 3% year-on-year to $1.3 billion, marking the fourth consecutive month of growth.
  • In March 2024, the country experienced a 4% rise in petroleum product sales due to a slight economic upturn and reduced product smuggling. Total dispatches reached 1.15 million tonnes, with petrol sales up by 3% and High-Speed Diesel (HSD) sales increasing by 17% year-on-year.
  • President Biden and President Jinping clashed over US trade restrictions on technology and Taiwan during a telephone call, lasting nearly two hours, which marked their first direct interaction since a summit in November that saw a thaw in tone between the world's two largest economies.

COMMODITIES - CROPS, LIVESTOCK & HORTICULTURE

  • Sugar Industry Pushes for Export Amid Price Surge: The sugar industry is lobbying for significant exports, around 1 million tonnes, to secure payments to farmers amidst a 42% increase in sugar prices. Millers are engaging political channels for export permissions and government procurements for strategic reserves, prioritizing profitability despite inflationary pressures. Sources within the Commerce Ministry disclosed that mills bought sugarcane at significantly higher prices than the support prices set by the government in Punjab and Sindh. [Dawn] [BR]
  • Pakistan Denies India's Basmati Variety Theft Claim: Pakistan's rice scientists dismissed India's claim of basmati variety theft, calling it propaganda. Dr. Muhammad Ijaz from the Rice Research Institute deemed the allegation baseless and urged the government to counter Indian efforts to undermine Pakistan's rice exports. India accused Pakistan of "seed technology piracy," alleging renaming of Indian basmati varieties PUSA 2011 and 1509. [Dawn]
  • Pakistan's Cotton Yarn Exports to China Surge in 2024: Pakistan's cotton yarn exports to China surpassed $100 million in the first two months of 2024, showing a nearly 98% increase compared to the same period last year. Experts anticipate continued growth in Pakistan's cotton yarn exports globally this year due to favorable yields. [ET]
  • Textile Exports: March Resilience - Textile exports in March rose by 3% year-on-year to $1.3 billion, marking the fourth consecutive month of growth, as per provisional figures by APTMA. Despite this, the sector's exports for the first nine months of fiscal year 2023-2024 experienced a slight decline of 0.3%, totaling $12.44 billion, with March exports showing an almost 8% decrease compared to February. [The News] [ET]
  • Pakistan's February Service Exports Rebound: In February, services exports in Pakistan saw a year-on-year rebound, with a 6.11% increase to $627.05 million, following four months of contraction, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data. In rupee terms, service exports grew by 11.08% to Rs 175.06 billion, up from Rs 157.59 billion in the corresponding month last year. [Dawn]
  • Cement Industry: March Recovery - In March 2024, the cement industry showed a modest recovery with total dispatches up by 3.85% compared to the previous year, according to APCMA data. Local dispatches dipped slightly by 0.62%, but exports saw a significant increase of 38.02% over the same period. [The News] [Dawn]
  • Unmilled Wheat Import: Rs 63.2 billion was the import value of unmilled wheat in February 2024, up 134% compared to Rs 26.98 billion in February 2023. [ET]
  • Footwear Export: Rs 3.24 billion was the export value of leather footwear in Feb 2024, down 1.63% compared to Rs 3.29 billion in Feb 2023, according to the PBS. [ET]

AGRI-INPUTS, WEATHER, WATER & POWER

  • March 2024: Petroleum Sales Surge - In March 2024, the country experienced a 4% rise in petroleum product sales due to a slight economic upturn and reduced product smuggling. Total dispatches reached 1.15 million tonnes, with petrol sales up by 3% and High-Speed Diesel (HSD) sales increasing by 17% year-on-year, totaling 0.57 million tonnes and 0.46 million tonnes, respectively. [The News] [ET]
  • IRSA Forecasts Water Shortage for Kharif 2024: The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) advisory committee projects a 30% water shortage for early Kharif 2024 and a 7% shortage for late Kharif 2024, with 59.94 MAF water available during the season. In their recent meeting, they reviewed the Rabi 2023-24 system operation and noted a 17% shortage against an anticipated 15% shortfall. [BR] [ET]
  • Challenges for Kharif Crops Amidst Water Issues: Anticipated higher temperatures and a nearly 31% lower snowbank than usual pose challenges for major crops in the kharif season (April-October). Operational constraints at major water reservoirs like Tarbela and Mangla dams, along with administrative weaknesses in the irrigation network, further complicate water regulation efforts. [Dawn]
  • WASA Halts Indus River Water Extraction: WASA has stopped extracting water from the Indus river and its canals due to increasing total dissolved solids (TDS), making the water unfit for human use. This action may worsen water shortages in Hyderabad as impurity levels in the city’s reservoirs continue to rise. [Dawn]
  • KP PDMA's 2024 Monsoon Contingency Plan Launched: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa PDMA has launched a comprehensive 2024 contingency plan to address potential monsoon-related disasters. It involves engaging stakeholders to identify hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks, mapping resources, and coordinating responses effectively. [ET]
  • Diamer Bhasha Dam Restart: A Chinese company has restarted work on the Diamer Bhasha Dam, with plans to resume work on the Dasu Dam soon after it was suspended due to a terrorist attack. The Diamer-Bhasha Dam project, aiming to generate 4,800 MW of hydroelectricity, involves over 350 Chinese nationals and 6,000 local staff. [The News]
  • CCP Show-Cause: Urea Price-Fixing - The CCP issues show-cause notices to FMPAC and six fertilizer companies for suspected price-fixing of urea, possibly breaching the Competition Act 2010. This action may raise farm costs and, consequently, prices of essential food items, affecting consumer affordability. [Dawn]
  • PRL's Expansion Plan: Environmental Compliance - Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL) plans to sign an agreement with the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to double its refining capacity to 100,000 barrels per day and produce EURO V standard fuel, saving the company billions in penalties for non-compliance with environmental regulations. [The News]
  • Sindh High Court Halts Tractor Sale: The Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court has halted a leading tractor manufacturer, M/s Millat Tractors Limited (MTL), from selling 954 tractors to third parties, as per contractual obligations to the original buyer, following a petition by Shahzad Riaz. The petition alleges MTL raised tractor prices and failed to deliver to poor farmers, despite full payment for 1001 tractors, with only 47 delivered. [BR]

AGRI UPDATES & PAKISTAN POLICY

  • Senate Election Results: Coalition Victory - The ruling PDM 2.0 coalition won 19 Senate seats, with PML-N securing six, PPP 11, and MQM-P one seat. However, elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were postponed due to a dispute over the swearing-in of opposition members elected to reserved seats. PML-N now has 19 seats, PPP 24, and PTI holds 20 in the 96-member House. [BR] [ET] [BR] [Dawn]
  • Omar Ayub Named Opposition Leader in NA: PTI-backed Omar Ayub was appointed as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly after his name was submitted by opposition leaders. The announcement followed a meeting with NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, according to a press release. [Dawn]
  • Credit Card Decline Amid Fintech Rise: Credit card usage is declining due to high-interest rates and the rise of alternative fintech products like advanced salary offerings. The State Bank of Pakistan reported a decrease in issued credit cards from 2.069 million to 2.004 million by the end of the second quarter of FY24. [BR]
  • WB Warns Pakistan on Poverty, Economic Growth: The World Bank warned of Pakistan's 1.8% economic growth, behind the government’s 3.5% rate and the WB believes this is inadequate to tackle its 40% poverty rate without urgent reforms. Highlighting SOEs' significant fiscal impact and projecting over 10 million more Pakistanis falling into poverty due to slow growth (1.8%) and high inflation (26%), the bank cautioned against missing major macroeconomic targets and consecutive deficits, contrary to IMF stipulations. [Dawn] [ET] [BR]
  • PIDE Urges Market Liberalization for Revenue Boost: PIDE urged the government to prioritize market liberalization to unlock revenue potential from real estate, agriculture, and public land in Islamabad. Their reform advice, "ISLAAH: Immediate Reform Agenda — IMF and Beyond," proposes digitization-led reforms to address Pakistan's urgent need for external financing exceeding $120 billion over the next 5 years. [Dawn]

INTERNATIONAL – OVERVIEW & MARKET OUTLOOK

  • Israeli Attack on Iran Embassy: A deadly strike blamed on Israel targeted Iran’s diplomatic mission in Damascus, potentially escalating the Gaza crisis across the region, analysts warned. The strike leveled the consular annex of the Iranian embassy, killing 13 people, including seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Iranian state media. [Dawn] [Dawn]
  • Biden, Xi Clash Over Trade & Taiwan in Phone Call: President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping clashed over US trade restrictions on technology and Taiwan during a Tuesday telephone call but sought to manage tensions. The call, lasting nearly two hours, marked their first direct interaction since a summit in November that saw a thaw in tone between the world's two largest economies. Two top US officials are set to head to Beijing shortly. [ET] [Moneycontrol] [Ashe Post]
  • Growing Doubt: Stocks and bonds dropped around the globe as solid economic data and a rally in commodities spurred speculation that major central banks will keep interest rates higher for longer. In a revival of the “good news is bad news” trade, better-than-estimated data on US job openings and factory goods orders added to skepticism about the pace of Fed easing. The S&P 500 had its worst day in almost a month, while the Nasdaq 100 slid more than 1%. US 10-year yields jumped as high as 4.4% for the first time since November. WTI crude oil climbed to $85, copper rallied to around $9,000 a ton and gold hovered near all-time highs. Bitcoin sank. [BBG] [BBG]
  • Gold Hits Record High Amid Middle East Tensions: Gold reached a new record high on Tuesday, driven by escalating Middle East tensions, despite a stronger dollar and reduced expectations for US rate cuts. Spot gold rose 0.8% to $2,268.44 per ounce, hitting an all-time high of $2,276.89, while US gold futures settled 1.1% higher at $2,281.8. [BR]
  • Palm Oil Futures Extend Gains: Malaysian palm oil futures extended gains for the third straight session on Tuesday, supported by short coverings and strength in Chicago soyoil after trading flat earlier. The June delivery benchmark palm oil contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange closed up 41 ringgit, or 0.96%, at 4,308 ringgit ($906.57) per metric ton. [BR]
  • Brent Crude Surges Amidst Ukrainian Attacks: Brent crude briefly exceeded $89 a barrel for the first time since October due to Ukrainian attacks on Russian energy facilities and escalating Middle East conflict. Brent futures hit $88.76, peaking at $89.08, while US WTI crude rose to $84.98, touching $85.46, the highest since October. [Dawn]
  • Opinion: Unproductive Agriculture Is Holding Africa Back - “Africa is increasing its output of crops, livestock and so on, it’s managing to do so only by massively increasing its inputs. That means many more farmers and much more land under cultivation or pasture. It’s better than if farm output hadn’t increased at all, but it’s not what the subcontinent needs to get ahead economically.” - By Peter Coy [NYT]

PAKISTAN - REMAINDERS

  • Imbalance in Bureaucracy as Punjab Dominants, Balochistan Underrepresented - Among 38 serving federal secretaries, 28 are from Punjab, with no representation from Balochistan at the highest level of federal bureaucracy. Additionally, there are 20 officers at grade 18 and above with dual nationality. [Dawn]
  • Tourism Police to Deploy During Eid Holidays: During the upcoming Eid holidays, tourism police personnel will be deployed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He mentioned that their deployment at tourist spots would follow the extension of their employment contracts. [Dawn]
PAR News - Wed, 03 Apr 2024

Stay on par with the daily happenings of the news cycle with the PAR Daily News Bulletin!

Get In Touch

Have any questions or comments?

Your message has been submitted.
We will get back to you within 24-48 hours.
Oops! Something went wrong.