UAE-Pakistan’s pharmaceutical sector to work together

Islamabad: A delegation from the United Arab Emirates, led by the chairman of an Abu Dhabi-based biotechnology firm, called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his office. It expressed a “keen interest” to invest in Pakistan’s pharmaceutical sector, said an official statement. The Gulf country is Pakistan’s third-largest trade partner after China and the United States and is also home to more than 1.6 million Pakistani nationals.

Plunging coca prices create ‘humanitarian emergency’ in Colombia

Bogotá: Farmers in parts of Colombia say sales of coca, the raw ingredient used to make cocaine, collapsed after a recent surge in production of the illicit drug. “We’ve seen a complete collapse of buyers,” said Andres Rojas, a coca farmer in the Catatumbo region who advocates for sustainable farming practices among growers. “Entire crops are going unsold, and families are going hungry,” he added.

Nepra hikes power tariff for KE consumers

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has approved Rs0.56 per unit hike in the power tariff for K-Electric consumers on account of fuel charge adjustment (FCA) for February. The power regulator conducted the hearing on the request of Karachi’s power utility for the FCA and quarterly adjustment.

IMF rejects Pakistan’s initial proposal on fuel subsidy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rejected Pakistan’s initial proposal for subsidy on petroleum. “The lending institution has demanded the complete plan of the petroleum subsidy from the government,” sources said. “The IMF has demanded a comprehensive plan of per litre 50 rupees subsidy on petroleum,” sources at the Ministry of Finance shared.

Asian markets rise on Alibaba boost

Asian stocks have been broadly up to buck losses on Wall Street, led by massive gains for Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba after it announced it would split into six groups. The Hangzhou-based firm said the changes were intended to "unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness". Alibaba is one of China's most prominent tech firms, with operations spanning cloud computing, e-commerce, logistics, media and entertainment and artificial intelligence.  

US, Japan strike deal on electric vehicle battery minerals

The United States (US) and Japan on Tuesday announced a trade deal on electric vehicle battery minerals that is key to strengthening their battery supply chains and granting Japanese automakers wider access to a new $7,500 US EV tax credit. The swiftly negotiated agreement prohibits the two countries from enacting bilateral export restrictions on the minerals most critical for EV batteries, according to senior Biden administration officials.

“Global economic growth to slump to three-decade low”: World Bank

According to the World Bank, the global economy is set to reach its “speed limit” and slump to a three-decade low by 2030. Systemic banking crises and recessions are expected to have lasting effects on the world's economic growth and development. "Between 2022 and 2030, the average global potential gross domestic product growth is predicted to decline to 2.2 percent a year," the Washington-based lender said in its latest report on Monday.

Alibaba chief makes rare public appearance

Jack Ma, the founder of tech giant Alibaba, made a rare public appearance in China. The country’s best-known entrepreneur kept a low profile since late 2020 when a speech he made was followed by Beijing pulling Alibaba affiliate Ant Group’s planned initial public offering. A record fine of $2.75bn was then imposed on the company for alleged unfair practices.

Saudi Aramco inks billion dollars deal with China oil refinery

Saudi Aramco signed an agreement with Chinese partners on Sunday for an oil refinery and petrochemical project in northeast China that is expected to start in 2026 to meet the country’s growing demand for fuel and chemicals. The project in Liaoning province’s city of Panjin will be Aramco’s second major refining-petrochemical investment in China and follows the world’s top oil exporter reporting a record profit of $161 billion in 2022.

Failed lender Silicon Valley Bank bought by rival

The assets and loans of collapsed US lender Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) are being bought by rival First Citizens BancShares. The failure of SVB earlier this month triggered fears about the stability of other lenders, sparking sharp falls in bank shares around the world. In Europe, worries over the strength of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse led to a rushed takeover by rival UBS.

SBP-held forex reserves maintain uptrend

The central bank said that its foreign exchange reserves increased by $280 million to $4.6 billion as of the week ended March 17. The net forex reserves held by commercial banks stand at $5,540.5 million, $941.8 million more than the SBP, bringing the total liquid foreign exchange reserves of the country to $10,139.2 million, the statement mentioned. Pakistan received $500 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) which boosted the foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank.

Gold price in Pakistan jumps on seasonal demand

Gold prices jumped on Friday as demand for the safe-haven metal was boosted by seasonal demand in Ramadan which was followed by a wedding season. Data released by All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed that the price of gold (24 carats) soared by Rs. 5,600 per tola and Rs. 4,801 per 10 grams to settle at Rs. 207,500 and Rs. 177,898.

Toyota carmakers to halt production

Pakistan’s leading car assembler, Indus Motor Company (IMC), announced a four-day plant shutdown due to “hurdles in import and clearance of consignments”. The company, in a notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), revealed that the production plant would be completely shut down from March 24 to March 27 (both days inclusive). The IMC management mentioned that the company and its vendors faced hurdles in the import of raw materials and receiving clearance of their consignments from commercial banks.

Work on Dasu hydropower, Islamabad sub station commenced

The Senate Standing Committee on Power Division on Wednesday informed that work on all three lots including Dasu Hydropower Project, Mansehra Sub Station and Islamabad Sub Station has already been started. The committee which met with Senator Saifullah Abro in the Chair was told that the total length of the transmission line was 254.6 kilometres which included 686 towers, the state news agency reported.  

Gold rate declines after rupee recovery

The gold rate in Pakistan continued to decline on Tuesday in line with the international market and the appreciation of the rupee against the US dollar. Data released by All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed that the price of gold (24 carats) plunged by Rs. 3,100 per tola and Rs. 2,658 per 10 grams to settle at Rs. 204,200 and Rs. 175,068.

Amazon to cut 9,000 more jobs

It emerged that Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, would lay off about 9,000 employees, or nearly 3 percent of its workforce. The new layoffs are on top of the previous round which began in November last year and stretched into January. That round affected more than 18,000 Amazon workers. “Given the uncertain economy in which we reside and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount,” chief executive Andy Jassy said in a letter sent to employees on Monday.

Central banks boost global dollar liquidity

The US Federal Reserve and other major central banks have announced a coordinated effort to improve banks' access to liquidity, hoping to calm worries rattling the global banking sector. The special drive was launched on Monday by the Fed and the central banks of Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, the European Union and Switzerland.

Fears of banking crisis haunt global stock markets

Stocks markets have tumbled again as fears of a banking crisis resurfaced despite massive financial lifelines thrown at embattled lenders to prevent contagion across the sector. Markets had rallied on Thursday after Wall Street titans including JP Morgan, Bank of America and Citigroup pledged to inject $30 billion into First Republic Bank.

First cargo of Russian crude to arrive in Pakistan

Lahore: State Minister for Petroleum Dr. Musadik Malik said that Pakistan would receive the first cargo of crude oil from Russia in April this year. In a television talk show, the state minister said the government had fulfilled '80 percent to 85pc' of negotiations with Russia. “In April, we will give them the first shipping order. The first cargo of crude oil from Russia will arrive by the end of April."

‘Details of agreement with IMF to be made public’: Ishaq Dar

Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Thursday assured that details of the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be made public. Speaking at the Senate Committee of the Whole, the minister said once the staff agreement is signed, it will be put on the website of the Finance Ministry and nothing will be concealed.

US government approves Alaska oil and gas development

US President Joe Biden has approved a major oil and gas drilling project in Alaska that faced strong opposition from environmental activists. The company behind the Willow project, ConocoPhillips, says it will create local investment and thousands of jobs. But the $8bn proposal faced a torrent of online activism in recent weeks, particularly among youth activists.

Oil prices fall $1 as SVB collapse spooks financial markets

Oil prices fell more than $1 on Tuesday, extending the previous day’s slide, as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank rattled equities markets and sparked fear about a fresh financial crisis. Brent crude futures were down 87 cents, or 1.1%, at $79.90 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) dropped 85 cents, or 1.1%, to $73.93 a barrel. On Monday, Brent fell to its lowest since early January, while WTI dropped to its lowest since December.

Stocks gain 452 points on expected IMF deal

Shares at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed a bullish trend in early trading session on Monday. The benchmark KSE-100 index gained 452.03 points, or 1.08 percent, to reach 42,246.69 points at 10:38 am. According to market analysts, positive sentiments prevailed at the PSX because of reports of expected IMF deal this week and reported extension in Saudi Arabia's deferred oil facility by a year.

Money in failed US bank is safe: Government

People and businesses who have money deposited with failed US bank Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) will be able to access all their cash from Monday, the US government has said. A statement from the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said depositors would be fully protected. The taxpayer will not bear any losses from the move, the statement said.‌ (more…)

Most Asian markets sink after US lender’s collapse

Most Asian markets fell on Monday as the closure of two regional US banks sparked fears of contagion in the financial sector, even as officials promised to support customers. The collapse on Friday of Silicon Valley Bank, which specialises in venture-capital financing largely in the tech sector, came after a huge run on deposits left it unable to stay afloat on its own.

Aramco’s profit soars due to higher oil prices

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil-exporting company, said that annual net profit surged 46 percent in 2022, driven by higher oil prices. Net profit for the 12 months to the end of December, increased to a record $161.1 billion, from $110 billion in 2021, the company said in a regulatory filing. Brent, the global benchmark for two third of the world's oil, soared to a notch under $140 a barrel in March last year.

Silicone Valley Bank collapses after failing to raise capital

Silicon Valley Bank collapsed on Friday morning after a stunning 48 hours in which a bank run and a capital crisis led to the second-largest failure of a financial institution in US history. California regulators closed down the tech lender and put it under the control of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC is acting as a receiver, which typically means it will liquidate the bank’s assets.

Gold price falls on rupee’s recovery

Gold rate slipped under Rs. 200,000 per tola on Monday as the Pakistan rupee continued to recover against the dollar for the third straight session. The price of gold (24 carats) fell by Rs. 2,000 per tola and Rs. 1,715 per 10 grams to settle at Rs. 198,000 and Rs. 169,753, respectively, data from the All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed. The substantial decrease in the price of gold came after the rupee recovered by 0.19%, against the US dollar to close at 277.92 in the interbank market.