PAR News - Wed, 15th Mar 2023

15/03/23 - Wheat Issues, Textile Sector Concerns, LSM Decline, IRSA Water Release, Petrol Price Levy

PAR News - Wed, 15th Mar 2023
PAR News - Wed, 15th Mar 2023
PAR News
March 15, 2023


  • Two bids to smuggle 637 wheat and flour bags were foiled in Rawalpindi while millers in Karachi have warned of a flour shortage during Ramadan. The Flour subsidy has ended in Punjab.
  • Rs 3.5 billion was the import value of textile machinery in Jan 2023, down 71% from Jan 2022. Rs 6.13 billion was the export value of leather garments in Jan 2023, up 26% compared to Jan 2022. Restriction on Letters of Credit and shortages have brought the textile sector to the verge of collapse.
  • Pakistan’s industrial output has declined by 7.9% in January 2023 in the past 7 months.
  • Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Tuesday released 89,800 cusecs of water from various rim stations with an inflow of 61,200 cusecs.
  • The Government is most likely to increase the petroleum levy on HSD by Rs 5/liter to meet one of the conditions of the IMF, where a deal with the lender is being delayed due to the political conditions of Pakistan.
  • Oil prices dropped about 3% to a nine-week low on Tuesday after a US inflation report and the recent US bank failures sparked fears of a fresh financial crisis that could reduce future oil demand.
  • A U.S military MQ-9 surveillance drone crashed into the Black Sea after being ‘‘intercepted by Russian fighter jets’’. Moreover, Moody’s downgraded its rating of the US banking system to “negative” from “stable”.


  • PSO Receivables & Cotton Intervention: Amid looming international default threat on national fuel supplier — Pakistan State Oil (PSO) — owing to a record Rs 775 billion receivables, the government on Tuesday approved extending sovereign guarantee for Rs 50 billion commercial borrowing and fixed Rs 8,500 per 40kg minimum intervention price for raw cotton known as phutti to revive a faltering cash crop. [Dawn] [DT] [Dunya] [The News] [The Nation]
  • Smuggling Bid Foiled: The Food Department Rawalpindi and district police here on Tuesday foiled two bids to smuggle 637 wheat and flour bags. [The Nation]
  • Textile Machinery Import: Rs 3.5 billion was the import value of textile machinery in Jan 2023, down 71% from Rs 12.27 billion in Jan 2022, according to the PBS. [ET]
  • Leather Garments Export: Rs 6.13 billion was the export value of leather garments in Jan 2023, up 26% compared to Rs 4.86 billion in Jan 2022, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. [ET]
  • Flour Shortage Warning: Millers in Karachi have accused the Sindh Food Department of seizing its trucks while warning of flour shortage in the metropolis during Ramadan. [ET]
  • Canal Breach Inundated Wheat Crop: A breach in the Muzaffargarh Canal near Head Bakaini in Jatoi tehsil on Tuesday inundated standing crops on dozens of acres, while the water also entered houses near Bet Mir Hazar. [Dawn]
  • Officers Suspended Over Wheat Theft: The Sindh Food Department has suspended 67 officers and issued show-cause notices to them after 40,392 tonnes of wheat worth billions of rupees were stolen from the government’s warehouses located in 10 districts. [The News]
  • End of Wheat Subsidy in Punjab: The decision for ending the subsidy on official stock of wheat and flour in Punjab has been taken on Tuesday. The targeted subsidy will be given instead of the general subsidy in Punjab. Moreover, 11 thousand shops licensed by the Food Department will also be included in distribution of free flour in Ramadan. The price of a 10 kg official flour bag has increased by Rs 510 making it Rs 1158 from Rs 648. [Dunya] [PO]
  • Textile Sector: A restriction on letters of credit (LCs), natural gas and electricity shortages, unavailability of raw materials and long delays in refunds have brought the textile sector to the verge of collapse, exporters regret. [BR]
  • Mangrove Restoration in Balochistan: Around 16 acres of mangrove forest have been successfully restored in the Sonmiani Marsh Dam area of Balochistan, as the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCSIO) has made smooth progress in the construction of the mangrove biodiversity and mangrove restoration demonstration zones in Pakistan. [ET] [PT]


  • Punjab Development Schemes: Rs 6.48 billion has been set aside by the PDWP for three development schemes in Punjab. [ET]
  • IRSA Water Release: Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Tuesday released 89,800 cusecs of water from various rim stations with an inflow of 61,200 cusecs. [PO] [APP]
  • Polluted City: Lahore jumped more than 10 places to become the city with the worst air in the world in 2022, according to an annual global survey by a Swiss maker of air purifiers. [Dawn] [Al Jazeera] [VOA]
  • Industrial Output Decline in Pakistan: Pakistan’s industrial output has persistently slipped in the last seven months and it declined by 7.9% in January 2023 over the same month a year ago, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Tuesday. [The News] [Dawn] [ET]
  • Petroleum Levy on HSD: The federal government is most likely to increase the petroleum levy (PL) on high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs 5 per liter to meet one of the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with effect from March 16, 2023, in the fortnightly review of petroleum products. [BR]
  • PSO Halts Payments to Refineries: State-owned oil marketing company, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has stopped making payments to the local refineries after it ran into financial troubles, The News learnt on Tuesday. [The News]
  • Lotte Chemical Plant Closure: Lotte Chemical, a major petrochemical company in Pakistan, has announced a temporary closure of its plant on obstacles in the import of raw materials. [BR] [ET] [The News]
  • Fiber Network Investment: The Sunwalk Group intended to invest $ 2 billion in the telecom sector for the deployment of an optical fiber network, encompassing an area of 100,000 km over a period of time in Pakistan. [BR]
  • WASA Seeks Subsidy Increase: Citing financial difficulties due to a deficit of billions of rupees every year, the Water and Sanitation Agencies (WASA) across Punjab have requested an increase in subsidy support from the provincial government. [ET]
  • Pakistan-US Energy Dialogue: Pakistan and the United States (US) are all set to hold an Energy Security Dialogue on Wednesday (today) which will cover entire energy sector issues and prospects of future cooperation between the two countries. [BR]
  • KE Seeks Coal Power Deal: K-Electric (KE) has urged the Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) to expedite progress on the proposed mutually beneficial deal on development and power purchase from the Jamshoro Coal Power Project (2x660 MW). [BR]
  • Govt Approves Gas Company Loans: The federal government on Tuesday approved the issuance of Rs 50 billion worth of sovereign guarantee to facilitate a gas distribution company in taking commercial loans and allowed the recovery of interest cost from gas consumers, again passing on its inefficiency cost to the customers. [ET]
  • China's Concerns on CPEC: China has expressed serious reservations about overdue payments of $1.5 billion to the Chinese independent power plants (IPPs), installed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as currency exchange restrictions imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan, which hamper coal import. [ET]


  • Politics Delaying IMF Deal: The political situation in Pakistan has become a factor in delaying a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that may stabilize the national economy, diplomatic sources told Dawn. [Dawn]
  • Pakistan's IMF Review: While noting sluggish progress on two prior policy actions, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) Mission has underscored that Pakistan should remain on track as the country is in the process of negotiating the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 9/10th Review of Extended Fund Facility (EFF). [BR]
  • Toshakhana Gift Policy: The federal cabinet on Tuesday introduced a new policy for Toshakhana gifts, under which public office-holders can only retain presents worth less than $300. [Dawn]
  • Violent Clashes in Punjab: Tear gas shells, burnt tyres and vehicles litter the site of clashes; 30 policemen, including DIG, were injured. Fresh troops, prison vans called in for ‘final push’ after Punjab admin’s late-night huddle. Imran says he’s ready to go to jail; scores rounded up as protests spread across the country. [BR] [Dawn] [Dunya] [The News] [The Nation]
  • Election Security Without Army: Defence ministry says the army is not available for election duty. Punjab says foolproof security for elections is impossible, without the army's assistance. [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET] [PT]
  • IFC to Double Portfolio in Pakistan: International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group that invests in the private sector in emerging markets, is going to double its portfolio in Pakistan over the next three years. [Dawn]
  • Customs Collectors Can Refund: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has empowered the Collectors of Customs to issue refunds of customs duties or charges to the importers/exporters without any specific monetary limit. [BR]


  • US Natural Gas Futures Rise: US natural gas futures held near a one-week high on Tuesday on forecasts for more cold weather and higher heating demand this week than previously expected, a preliminary drop in daily output and near record amounts of gas flowing to liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants. [BR]
  • EU Soft Wheat Exports Rise: Soft wheat exports from the European Union in the 2022/23 season that started in July had reached 21.54 million tonnes by March 12, compared with 19.84 million by the same week in 2021/22, data published by the European Commission showed on Tuesday. [BR]
  • Oil Prices: Oil prices dropped about 3% to a nine-week low on Tuesday after a US inflation report and the recent US bank failures sparked fears of a fresh financial crisis that could reduce future oil demand. Brent futures fell $2.53, or 3.1%, to $78.24 a barrel by 1:59 p.m. EDT (1759 GMT), while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $2.48, or 3.35, to $72.32. [BR] [ET]
  • Malaysian Palm Oil Falls: Malaysian palm oil futures fell for a third session on Tuesday, hitting their lowest closing in nearly a month, due to weakness in rival edible oils amid global economic concerns. The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange slid 61 ringgit, or 1.51%, to 3,982 ringgit ($888.44) a tonne, its lowest closing since Feb. 15. [BR]
  • Saudi Arabia-Turkey: A deposit of $5 billion from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) entered the accounts of the Turkish Central Bank on Monday, bankers said on Tuesday. The Turkish Central Bank declined to comment on the issue. Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan had announced his country’s intention to make the deposit in December and the SFD said on March 6 it had signed such an agreement. [BR] [Al Arabiya]
  • US Surveillance Drone Intercepted: A U.S military MQ-9 surveillance drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday after being ‘‘intercepted by Russian fighter jets’’, in the first such incident since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over a year ago. [Dawn] [ET] [Al Jazeera] [BBC] [Aviation 24]
  • Meta Announces Job Cuts: Facebook owner Meta announced a fresh wave of 10,000 job cuts on Tuesday, part of what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the company’s “year of efficiency” as the US tech sector continues to downsize. [Dawn] [FT] [CD] [CP] [Barron’s]
  • Moody's Downgrades US Banks: Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday revised its outlook on the US banking system to “negative” from “stable”, citing heightened risks for the sector after the rapid unraveling of SVB Financial Group fuelled fears of contagion. [Dawn] [CNBC] [CNN] [UP]
  • Saudi Airlines Buy 78 Dreamliner Planes: Riyadh Air and Saudi reached agreements to purchase 78 Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes to support Saudi Arabia’s expanding aviation plans, Boeing announced on Tuesday. [Dawn] [CNBC] [Reuters]
  • ChatGPT App Updates AI Technology: The company behind the ChatGPT app that churns out essays, poems or computing code on command released Tuesday a long-awaited update of its artificial intelligence (AI) technology that it said would be safer and more accurate than its predecessor. [ET] [QZ] [CNN] [Gulf News] [The News]
  • Ukrainian Grain Exports: The UN was scrambling Tuesday to ensure a Ukrainian grain exports deal aimed to ease the global food crisis can continue. Its fate remained unclear days before the March 18 expiry date. [ET] [AN]


  • Ishaq Dar Accused of Retaining most valuable gifts from Official Foreign Visits. [BR]
  • 140 Pharma Firms Halt Production of 1,300 Medicines Due to the Economic Crisis. [Dawn]
  • Possible Arrest of Chairman: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and supporters took to some roads in Karachi against the possible arrest of their party Chairman and the former Prime Minister Imran Khan by the Lahore Police, causing massive gridlocks on various city roads, and creating hurdles for the motorists to make their ways. [BR]
  • Opinion: Shifting Middle Eastern Sands - “The unexpected thaw between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a major diplomatic triumph for China. In a rapprochement mediated by Beijing, the two archrivals, which had been engaged in a bitter proxy war in the Middle East for the past several years, have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and ease tensions.” - By Zahid Hussain [Dawn]

PAR News - Wed, 15th Mar 2023

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.