SINGAPORE: World oil prices extended losses in Asia Tuesday on weak economic data from top energy consumer China and realisation that a hoped for deal among producers to cut output would not happen.
Prices had been given a boost late last month by speculation that Russia and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reach agreement to slash output in the oversupplied petroleum market.
But the upward momentum hit a snag after traders became increasingly sceptical about such a deal, and the latest news that manufacturing activity in China contracted at its fastest pace in more than three years in January dealt a further blow to sentiment.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in March was down 50 cents, or 1.58 percent, at $31.12 and Brent crude for April dipped 45 cents, or 1.31 percent, to $33.79 a barrel by 0320 GMT. Both contracts settled lower on Monday.
The rise in oil prices last month “was based on shaky foundations, namely hopes that Russia and OPEC would agree to cut output,” Capital Economics said in a market commentary.
“We doubt that there will be any coordinated agreement even though the market remains oversupplied. Meanwhile, US inventories of both crude oil and gasoline have continued to build over the last month. Indeed, US crude oil stocks are now at record highs.”
Dollar Appreciation: Ministry to bear extra Hajj expenses!
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony has decided to bear extra expenses of Government Hajj Scheme by not passing the impact of the appreciation of dollar value against rupee to the consumers.
Talking to APP here Wednesday, the Ministry’s spokesman Imran Siddique said the Hajj expenses have been increased significantly as a result of an increase in dollar-rupee parity ratio. He said that the government had in principle decided in Hajj policy that the extra expenses of 107,000 government scheme hujjaj would be borne by the government. According to media reports, the Hajj expenses have increased by Rs 40,000 per person as a result of an increase in dollar price. The government has to bear around Rs 4 billion in additional expenses.
A piece published earlier: With the onset of Hajj season, the pilgrims have started reaching Saudi Arabia from across the world with the first flights arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Malaysia today. The pilgrims are arriving at King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport of Madinah where the airlines from public and private sectors had finalized their operations to carry the pilgrims from across the world. The first flight PK-7001 carrying 171 Pakistani pilgrims from Karachi landed in Madinah on Saturday morning, Arab News reported.
The second flight PK- 741 with 186 Pakistani pilgrims reached the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah from Islamabad. The pilgrims were welcomed by the officers of the Pakistani consulate. Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj Abdullah Al-Fataah and other Saudi officials were also present. According to Hajj policy 2018, a total of 107,000 Pakistanis would perform Hajj under the government Hajj scheme and 77,210 pilgrims under private Hajj schemes. More Hajj flights are also scheduled from other cities of the country including Peshawar, Multan, Sukkur, Lahore, and Faisalabad. “We have made an excellent accommodation, food, and transportation arrangements for all the pilgrims with the cooperation of the Saudi government,” Imran Siddiqui, spokesperson for the Pakistani Ministry of Religious Affairs, told Arab News.
He said the flight operations will continue till August 15 and Saudi Embassy in Islamabad remained open, even on weekends, to process visas and other official requirements for people intending to perform their Hajj. The Jeddah airport also received the first flight carrying 419 pilgrims from Bangladesh. Pilgrims were offered dates and prayer mats by the Saudi authorities. The passengers were received by Vice President of the General Authority for Civil Aviation Sulaiman bin Hamad Al-Bassam, Director General of King Abdul Aziz International Airport Essam Fouad, and a number of government and airport officials.
The Madinah airport also received the first flight carrying pilgrims from Malaysia. The first Hajj flight from Kabul also arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, carrying 345 Afghan pilgrims. Hajj flights have started from Kabul and Herat but others will soon leave from Kandahar and Balkh airports, confirmed Faiz Mohammad Osmani, Minister for Hajj and Religious Endowments. Around 30,000 Afghans will perform Hajj this year, out of which the government will sponsor 500, mainly the family members of those who fell victim to the country’s ongoing war.
Paper merchants want duty-free import of paper for textbooks
LAHORE: All Pakistan Paper Merchants Association (APPMA) today urged the government to reduce import duty on paper and paperboard.
The government should also allow duty-free import of paper used for the printing of textbooks that would help the students to get textbooks on cheaper rates.
While leading APPMA delegation, Khamis Saeed Butt made this demand in a meeting with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Acting President Muhammad Nadeem Qureshi here at LCCI on Wednesday. They have discussed in detail the issues pertaining to trade and economic with a special focus on the paper industry.
During the meeting, Nadeem Qureshi assured the delegates that Lahore Chamber would continue its untiring efforts to promote the paper and paperboard sector, adding that this sector was doing a social service by keeping the education in the reach of the common man.
All Pakistan Paper Merchants Association was playing a significant role for the promotion of education sector, he opined.
He said that government and private sector were important for each other and could not move separately. He called upon the government to develop policies to ensure conducive business environment and address genuine issues of the business community.
LCCI Acting President said that business community was the driving force of the economy but it could not play its due role for the economic well-being of the country because of various challenges. He said, there was an urgent need to reform the taxation system by engaging all the stakeholders.
He also stressed the need for widening the tax base and bringing untaxed sectors into tax net instead of burdening existing taxpayers.
Isfahan hosting Int’l Exhibition of Precious Metals, Gold Industry
TEHRAN: Isfahan is holding an international exhibition of precious metals and gold industry that is to continue till the 20th of July.
The exhibition is sprawling over an area of over 8,500 square meters Ten Italian companies, as well as Iranian firms, are displaying their products in the ongoing event.
Acquaintance of producers, exporters and service providers with modern technologies, machinery and products in the gold, gem and precious stones industries and promoting competition in the production and export of the items are among the objectives of the exhibition.
Iran is considered one of the main origins of the gold and gem industries, as Isfahan has been designated as the capital of Iran’s gold.