- The wheat sowing target was missed by 4% for the Rabi season 2022-2023 due to heavy rains and floods in the country.
- KCA decreased the spot rate by Rs 500 per maund and closed it at Rs 20,500 per maund. The local market remained bearish and the trading volume remained satisfactory.
- NEPRA has notified a reduction in electricity rates by Rs 2.32 per unit for consumers of all Discos except KE on account of fuel adjustment for the month of December 2022.
- A Senate panel endorsed the Rs 170 billion mini-budget while FBR Chairman said the government will review the taxation measures of Rs 170 billion taken through the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023 in the coming budget.
- Country’s total debt and liabilities rose to Rs 63.9 trillion at the end of the first half of this fiscal year (FY23) due to massive borrowing from the domestic and external resources to meet the financial requirements.
- Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio might be one of the largest environmental disasters in US history. Residents near the derailment report dead fish and chickens because of exposure to hazardous chemicals.
COMMODITIES - CROPS, LIVESTOCK & HORTICULTURE
- Gold Prices: Today 1 tola (11.66 grams) Gold Rate in Pakistan for 24 karat is Rs 194,500, 22 Karat Gold price for today is Rs 178,290, 21 karat rate for per tola is Rs 170,188 and 18k gold rate is Rs 145,875 for 1 tola. [GOLD]
- Wheat Sowing Target: The country has missed the wheat sowing target by four percent for the Rabi season 2022-2023 due to heavy rains and floods in the country. [BR]
- Cotton Spot Rate: The Spot Rate Committee of the Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) on Thursday decreased the spot rate by Rs 500 per maund and closed it at Rs 20,500 per maund. The local market remained bearish and the trading volume remained satisfactory. The rate of cotton in Sindh is in between Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,500 per maund. The rate of cotton in Punjab is in between Rs 19,000 to Rs 21,000 per maund. [BR]
- Stale Fish Disappoints: The widespread sale of stale fish across markets in Lahore has dampened the charm of the popular winter delicacy for many regular consumers. [ET]
AGRI-INPUTS, WEATHER, WATER & POWER
- Fuel Adjustment: The federal government allowed the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) an exchange rate adjustment of Rs 9.92 per litre on petrol and Rs 13.12 per litre on high-speed diesel (HSD) with effect from February 16 while keeping the petroleum levy (PL) rates on both products unchanged. [BR]
- Reduction in Feb Bills: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has notified a reduction in electricity rates by Rs 2.32 per unit for consumers of all power distribution companies (Discos) except K-Electric (KE) on account of fuel adjustment for the month of December 2022. [ET]
- Terminal Storage Shortage Hits Import Business: There has been a rush of imported containers at the terminals in Pakistan but the place to keep the containers has finished. Due to the lack of clearance, the huge amount of revenue usually received by these terminals has also come to a stop, with operators now facing a major decrease in income. [ET]
- Sindh Solar Project: Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh on Thursday said that the provincial government had decided to install solar panels in all districts of the province under the Sindh Solar Project. He said 200,000 units/houses would be solarised in the rural and urban areas of the province as part of the provincial government’s major initiative to end the energy crisis. [BR] [Dawn]
AGRI UPDATES & PAKISTAN POLICY
- Mini-Budget Approved: A Senate panel on Thursday endorsed the Rs 170 billion mini-budget with a razor-thin 3-2 majority but recommended the government reduce the proposed federal excise duty rates on juices by half aimed at addressing the concerns of the industry. [ET] [PT]
- Tax Target: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Asim Ahmad Thursday said the government will review the taxation measures of Rs 170 billion taken through the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023 in the coming budget and the FBR’s annual target has been increased from Rs 7,470 billion to Rs 7,640 billion for 2022-23. [BR]
- Debt-Liabilities Rise to Historic level: The country’s total debt and liabilities rose to a historical level of Rs 63.9 trillion at the end of the first half of this fiscal year (FY23) due to massive borrowing from the domestic and external resources to meet the financial requirements. [BR] [PT]
- External Public Debt: Pakistan’s external public debt shrank by $4.7 billion in the past one year and stood at $97.5 billion primarily due to the decision of foreign commercial banks not to roll over their maturing debt – a gain that did not translate into any real benefit due to steep currency devaluation. [ET] [The News]
- PM Halts FBR's Luxury Vehicle Purchase: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday barred the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) from the purchase of 155 luxury vehicles as the World Bank too was baffled by the move to buy 13 dozen vehicles at a cost of Rs 1.6 billion. [ET]
- US Alarmed by Pakistan's Debt to China: The United States is concerned about debt owed to China by Pakistan and other countries, US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet said on Thursday during a visit to Islamabad as the country dealt with an economic crisis. [BR]
- SC Imposes Super Tax on Big Industry: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the large-scale manufacturing industries to pay a 4% super tax. [Dawn] [ET] [DT]
- SC Raises Alarm on Constitutional Violation: A division bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday referred the matter of the Punjab Assembly elections to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial for invoking suo motu jurisdiction, warning that there was an imminent danger of violation of the Constitution. [Dawn] [ET] [PT]
- Imran Khan's Protective Bail Dismissed: After a day’s long confusion over whether or not PTI Chairman Imran Khan would appear before the Lahore High Court (LHC), his one protective bail was dismissed as “non-prosecution” despite promises that the former premier would appear before the court, while the second was adjourned till Monday after the party furnished an assurance regarding his appearance. [ET]
INTERNATIONAL – OVERVIEW & MARKET OUTLOOK
- Ohio Train Derailment: Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio might be one of the largest environmental disasters in US history. Residents near the derailment report dead fish and chickens because of exposure to hazardous chemicals. [BBC] [NBC]
- Soybean & Crude Oil Market: ICE canola futures weakened to their lowest in more than two weeks on Wednesday, pressured by declines in crude oil and soybean markets. Traders said most-active May canola dropped 60 cents to settle at $817.10 per tonne. The contract hit technical resistance around its 20-day moving average. March canola dropped $3.00, to $823.10 per tonne, bottoming out at $819.10, the lowest for the front month contract since Jan 30. [BR]
- Palm Oil: Malaysian palm oil futures rebounded on Thursday, posting their biggest gain in nearly three weeks, as rival vegetable oils in Dalian and Chicago strengthened and a weaker ringgit supported the market. The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery rose 3.19% to close the afternoon trade at 4,070 ringgit ($924.58) per tonne, its best since Jan. 27. [BR]
- US Stock Indexes Slide on Inflation Data: US main stock indexes slipped on Thursday after unexpectedly strong inflation data and a fall in weekly jobless claims fed into fears that the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates to tame high prices. [BR]
- Turkey-Syria Quake Toll: The death toll from the Turkey-Syria earthquakes is nearing 44,000. Turkish authorities say at least 38,044 people have been killed in the country. The Syrian government and the United Nations say more than 5,800 people have died there. A teenage girl has been rescued 248 hours after last week's devastating earthquake in Turkey. 17-year-old Aleyna Olmez was pulled from the rubble in Kahramanmaraş, a southern city near the epicenter. [Al Jazeera] [ET] [CNN] [BBC] [The Guardian]
- Turkey TV Show Raises $6Billion for Quake Survivors: A seven-hour show broadcast on hundreds of TV and radio channels in Turkey raised 115.1 billion liras ($6 billion) in aid for survivors of the February 6 twin earthquakes, with the country’s central bank leading the donation drive. [Bloomberg] [BNN Bloomberg]
- Sri Lanka Hikes Power Tariff: Sri Lanka’s electricity board hiked consumer rates by up to 275%. This is the second steep increase in months as the bankrupt island nation works to secure an IMF bailout. [BR] [ET]
- Afghan Girls Seek Madrasas Education: Girls enroll in madrasas after secular high school ban. Some fear loss of professional career prospects. Madrasas devoted to study of the Koran, Islamic texts. Taliban say they're examining adding secular subjects. New administration took power after Western withdrawal. [ET] [Reuters]
- Opinion: U.S.-China Relations - “The detection and downing of a Chinese spy balloon in American airspace earlier this month, and the attendant decision by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone the first trip to China by America’s top diplomat since 2018, was just the latest episode in a longer story of deteriorating relations between the world’s two great powers.” - By Spencer Bokat-Lindell [NYT]
PAKISTAN - REMAINDERS
- K-P Caretaker Minister Stresses on Economic Growth & Tourism. [ET]
- Editorial: Catering to the Rich - “Despite branding agriculture as the backbone of our economy, agricultural output per worker has been almost unchanged since the 1990s. A recent World Bank report notes that Pakistan’s agriculture worker productivity went up by a meager 0.7% every year between 1991 and 2019.” [ET]
- Opinion: Debt Relief for Developing Countries - “Vaccine inequities that many countries in the global South faced, especially in Africa, resulted in a number of dangerous coronavirus variants, and a lack of capacity to deal with them effectively meant that developing countries went into longer, stretched U-shaped economic recovery.” - By Dr. Omer Javed [BR]
- Opinion: Rule of the Rich - “The IMF issues commandments, and our finance czars comply. The most recent iteration of this merry-go-round saw the government going through the motions of farcical parliamentary legislation to levy yet more indirect taxes on a helpless populace. No need to whisper it: this is a banana republic.” - By Aasim Sajjad Akhtar [Dawn]