- The ECC has revised conditions regarding mode of payment and time period for realization of export proceeds of sugar and decided that cane commissioner Punjab would allocate quota of sugar to the exporters.
- The Rupee depreciates to Rs. 261 in the interbank market and to Rs. 265 in the open market. Experts predict more pain as inflation sets to jump. The forewarning of a meltdown began as soon as the ‘unannounced’ peg on the dollar rate would be lifted and materialized as market forces corrected the artificial peg.
- A Russian company will start supplying crude oil to Pakistani refineries at an affordable price by the end of April following the signing of a commercial agreement in March.
- The IMF on Thursday announced sending its mission to Pakistan next week in a bid to break a deadlock over critical conditions regarding plugging a fiscal hole of around Rs 2.5 trillion.
- The US economy beat expectations in the last quarter of 2022, as the GDP rose 2.9%. The global economic growth is projected to slow down to only 1.9 % in 2023, sharply lower than the 3% in 2022.
COMMODITIES - CROPS, LIVESTOCK & HORTICULTURE
- Wheat Shortage: Pakistan faced an initial shortfall of 3 million metric tonnes in wheat production in the current fiscal year, ie, 2022-23, the federal government admitted before the upper house of the parliament on Thursday. [BR] [The News] [DT] [PO] [The Nation]
- Wheat Procurement as Per Requirement: Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on Thursday directed Food and Agriculture Sectors to conduct a joint survey to estimate the expected production of wheat in the year this year and to make a comprehensive plan for the purchase of wheat according to the needs of the province so that there is no shortage of wheat and flour in any part of the year. [UP]
- Flour Prices: On the instructions of the Sindh Chief Secretary, centers have been established at 50 places in the Larkana district to provide flour to the people at low cost. In this regard, 32 centers have been established in different areas of Larkana city and 18 in the three talukas of Ratodero, Dokri, Bakrani, and in Naudero town. [UP]
- Potato Harvesting: The agriculture experts have advised the potato growers to take full care of their crops while harvesting it and use latest techniques to save production from pro and post harvest losses. [UP]
- Sugar Export Quota: The meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has revised conditions regarding mode of payment and time period for realization of export proceeds of sugar and decided that cane commissioner Punjab would allocate quota of sugar to the exporters. [BR] [Dawn] [ET] [The News] [The Nation] [ProPakistani]
- Cotton Market: The local cotton market on Thursday remained bullish and the trading volume remained satisfactory. Cotton Analyst Naseem Usman told Business Recorder that the rate of cotton in Sindh is in between Rs 17,000 to Rs 20,000 per maund. The rate of cotton in Punjab is in between Rs 19,000 to Rs 21,000 per maund. The rate of Phutti in Sindh is between Rs 6,500 to Rs 8,000 per 40 kg. The rate of Phutti in Punjab is between Rs 7,500 to Rs 10,500 per 40 kg. [BR]
- Cotton Strategy: Punjab Secretary Agriculture Ahmad Aziz Tarar has constituted a joint committee with All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to finalize cotton strategy ahead of cultivation of fresh crops in the province, a statement said on Thursday. [PO] [The News] [The Nation] [Dunya]
AGRI-INPUTS, WEATHER, WATER & POWER
- Russian Oil: A Russian company will start supplying crude oil to Pakistani refineries at an affordable price by the end of April following the signing of a commercial agreement in March. [BR]
- Railways Allowed to Lease Its Land: The Supreme Court conditionally allowed Pakistan Railways to lease its land after getting approval of its rules from the Parliament or the federal cabinet. [BR]
- Gas, Power Rates Uniform: The government firmed up key principles on Thursday for hiking gas prices to the extent of full cost recovery so as to compel consumers to shift to electricity for space and water heating during winter. [Dawn]
- Illegally Selling Pesticides: A dealer was arrested for selling pesticides illegally in Bhera tehsil on Thursday. According to official sources, Inspector Agriculture Saleem Hussnain and his team raided the shop of pesticides in Bhera where the dealer, Hammad, was selling pesticides without a license. To which, the team sealed the shop and registered a case against the dealer. [ET] [UP]
AGRI UPDATES & PAKISTAN POLICY
- Dollar Shatter All Records: The Rupee depreciates to Rs. 261 in interbank market and to Rs. 265 in the open market. Experts predict more pain as inflation sets to jump. The forewarning of a meltdown as soon as the ‘unannounced’ peg on the dollar rate would be lifted materialized on Thursday when the USD value shot up by a record. [Dawn] [ET]
- After KP, Punjab Cabinet Takes Oath: An eight (8) member caretaker cabinet of Punjab took oath here at the Governor House on Thursday. Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman administered oath to the caretaker cabinet. Chief Secretary Punjab, Chaudhry Zahid Akhtar Zaman read out the notification regarding the appointment of interim cabinet. [BR] [Dawn] [ET] [PO] [ARY] [P] [Geo] [UP] [Dunya]
- Imran on IMF: Former prime minister Imran Khan believes that Pakistan cannot shun the idea of reaching out to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout any sooner and says his party, if it returns to power, will “have no choice” but to depend on support from the lender, Dawn.com reported on Thursday. [Dawn]
- Polls in Punjab: The President says there is no justification to delay elections and warns that arresting Imran may exacerbate chaos in the country. Alvi ays PDM, PTI chief not ready to sit together for dialogue. [Dawn]
- Country’s Bad Finance: Two former finance ministers bitterly criticized the policies pursued by Ishaq Dar, saying the incumbent finance minister was responsible for the woeful state of the country's economic affairs. [ET]
- Loan Talks Revived: In a major development, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday announced sending its mission to Pakistan next week in a bid to break a deadlock over critical conditions regarding plugging a fiscal hole of around Rs2.5 trillion through a combination of taxation, expenditure and power tariff measures. [ET]
- IMF’s Ramifications: Pakistan is expected to narrowly escape defaulting on its international payments after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finally agreed to continue discussions under the ninth EFF (Extended Fund Facility) review, now that the government gave up control of the rupee-dollar exchange rate. [ET]
- Tax Collection: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has drafted a proposal for new tax measures to collect Rs 300 billion through Tax Amendment Ordinance, 2023. Initially the revenue impact was Rs 200 billion, but now has been increased to Rs 300 billion. The revenue impact of non-filing bankers is estimated at Rs 45 billion, which is expected to be collected. [PT]
- Chinese Red Chilli Project: A red chili farming project launched by Pakistan and China under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework would help Pakistan's agriculture sector, experts said. [UP] [ET]
INTERNATIONAL – OVERVIEW & MARKET OUTLOOK
- Global Economic Growth: A new United Nations report warns that the global economic growth is projected to slow down to only 1.9 % in 2023, sharply lower than the 3% in 2022. However, the report says, the global growth is forecast to moderately pick up to 2.7 % in 2024. [Dawn] [Economic Times]
- US GDP: The US economy beat expectations in the last quarter of 2022, posting the kind of mild slowdown that the Fed wants to see as it attempts to tame inflation without choking off growth. GDP rose at a 2.9% annualized pace, down from 3.2% in the third quarter. A separate report on labor markets also pointed to a resilient economy. Nonetheless, a recession remains a big risk this year. [Bloomberg]
- Smart Urban Farming: An Israeli agritech startup that set out on a mission to make highly nutritious superfoods as accessible to the masses as Diet Coke, on Thursday revealed what it called the first urban breeding farm to grow and produce fresh, affordable ready-to-eat duckweed-based green “caviar” all year round. [Times of Israel]
- China Covid Deaths: The number of daily Covid-19 deaths in China has fallen by nearly 80 percent since the start of the month, authorities have said, in a sign that the country´s unprecedented infection surge may have started to abate. [The News]
- Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant Explosion: The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) report about powerful explosions in the vicinity of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is not true and is a provocation, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Zaporizhzhya regional administration's main council, told Sputnik on Thursday. [UP] [Al Jazeera]
PAKISTAN - REMAINDERS
- Read this interview of Business Recorder with Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin, Former Finance Minister and Senator from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). [BR]