TAPI pipeline to help overcome energy shortage

ISLAMABAD (APP): Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Dr Miftah Ismail Friday said that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project would help Pakistan in overcoming its energy shortage. Talking to Pakistan Television, the chairman said Pakistan would get 35 percent gas from TAPI pipeline with an initial investment of five percent. Miftah said Pakistan would get more than 750 mcf gas daily through the project and will increase its shares with more investment in the project in future. He said two Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals were being set up in the country and gas from these terminals would be provided to power sector for enhancing electricity generation capacity to meet the growing demand.

He said gas supply from TAPI project would be provided to all sectors including power, industrial and domestic. Replying to a question regarding security of the pipeline, he said a monitoring system of modern technology would be used.

SECP holds roundtable on Employees Provident Fund

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has conducted a consultative round-table meeting on Employees Provident Fund (Investment in Listed Securities) Rules. The conference aimed at to obtain feedback from market participants about the proposed rules, as a part to comply with legal requirements, said a statement issued by SECP on Friday. Office-bearers and members of the Pakistan Business Council, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan, attended the event. Besides, eminent industry specialists, representatives of trade and professional bodies, and other capital markets were also participants of the meeting.

Owing to market dynamics and in order to encourage provident funds to make investments in listed securities in order to earn better returns, Employees Provident Fund (Investment in Listed Securities) Rules, 1996 were introduced in 1996. With continuous innovation in equity markets and development of new products introduced by non-banking finance companies for better returns, provident funds have better choice now available in market.

World oil prices rally to two-month highs

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices rallied to two-month high points Friday on hopes that producers will shortly strike a deal to tackle a global supply glut. Positive US jobs data handed a further boost to crude futures and commodity prices in general, which enjoyed a strong week overall as gold hit a 13-month peak at just under $1,280 ($1,164) an ounce. The pick-up in oil prices this week comes after crude recently wallowed near 13-year lows below $30 a barrel, also owing to a strong dollar and tepid demand growth. Brent North Sea crude reached $38.72 a barrel on Friday -- the highest level since early January. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate hit a two-month high of $35.94.

"The price rise was boosted by reports of declining supply" from OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and the United States, according to Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

"What is more, efforts are ongoing to persuade other countries to cap their oil production, as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar (have) agreed to do."

Nigeria on Thursday said key crude producers plan to meet this month in Russia to discuss a proposed output freeze.

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu predicted there would be a "dramatic price movement" after the March 20 gathering, Bloomberg News reported.

Crude has picked up recently following speculation over plans by major oil producers including OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia to cap output.

Nigeria is also a part of the cartel, while major oil producers Russia and the United States sit outside OPEC.

"If the big players such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, agree to freeze output, it could help somewhat. But, the fundamentals of the market remain largely unchanged, it is still quite oversupplied," strategist Bernard Aw at IG Markets Singapore told AFP.

"Maybe in the short term... we could see a return to maybe $40," Aw said.

- Easing concerns -

Concerns about the oversupplied market were eased this week as US government data showed oil production falling to around nine million barrels per day.

At about 1730 GMT on Friday, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April was trading up $1.13 at $35.70 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for May surged $1.46 to $38.55 a barrel compared with Thursday's close.

"Commodity markets have in general benefitted from the improved sentiment in financial markets over the past month," Danske Bank said in a note to clients.

"Sentiment has improved on the back of expectation of easier global monetary policy as the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are expected to cut interest rates and the Federal Reserve is expected to delay a further hike in interest rates."

The US Labor Department on Friday reported that the world's biggest economy added a robust 242,000 jobs in February, adding however that wages fell.

The headline jobs figure came in much above the 190,000 new jobs expected by analysts. The report also upgraded jobs figures for January and said the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent.

But the drop in wages suggests a big pickup in part-time hiring, said FTN chief economist Chris Low. He expressed doubt the US Federal Reserve would raise interest rates later this month.

"Lots of poor-quality jobs might encourage the Fed to raise rates, but falling wages and hours should keep them at bay in March at least," he said.

Economic corridor a game changer

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Leading businessman and chairman MCB Bank Mian M Mansha has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a game changer for the country. He was talking the participants of a seminar organised by the Institute of Architects Pakistan Lahore Chapter at Alhamra Hall. Salman Shah, former Finance Minister and Nayyer Ali Dada were also guest speakers. Chairman, Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP), Ali Zafar Qazi, President Lahore Chapter Sajjad Bukhari, Azhar Mamnoon, Fasial Riaz, Faizullah Qurashi, Saeed Ahmed, Ahmed Mirza and students from different institutes participated in the seminar. Salman Shah, former minister for Finance, said that the project can be a game changer provided that we are focused about who will make it a game changer.

EDB CEO opens Auto Show 2016

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): CEO Engineering Development Board Tariq Chaudhry on Friday inaugurated the Pakistan Auto Show 2016 at the Expo Centre in Lahore. The event features more than 135 international & local Auto-manufacturers and related enterprises. This pioneering exhibition showcases the robust growth and vast potential of Pakistan’s Automobile industry. It reflects the nation’s pursuit to become the future hub for auto manufacturing, since Pakistan is already the cheapest source in the world, for producing tractors. Speaking to the media, Tariq Chaudhry stated that Pakistan’s automobile industry continues to play a pivotal role in strengthening the national economy and elevating the image of Pakistan as a progressive country with a strong industrial base.

The government is deeply committed to take all possible measures to encourage large-scale investments and enhance the business friendly environment for the Automotive and engineering sectors. We endeavour to provide a more enabling infrastructure, on war footings, to set up industries all over Pakistan. I congratulate our local industrialists and engineers who have achieved remarkable success in establishing a sophisticated engineering sector, which is creating tremendous new opportunities for value-added exports.