Oil rebounds in Asian trade

SINGAPORE (AFP): Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade Monday on bargain hunting and concerns over Iraqi exports after militants bombed a major pipeline in the north of the country. However analysts said prices still faced downward pressure due to easing demand and the return of normal Libyan oil production, set to bolster supplies. NY’s main contract WTI for February delivery was up 12 cents at $94.08, while Brent North Sea crude also for February rose 15 cents to $107.04. WTI fell $1.48 on Friday, ending the week down more than $6. “Everyone is talking about how this year is going to be better but if you look at the data from the bigger countries like US and China, they are all trickling down slightly,” said Kelly, market strategist.
 at IG Markets in Singapore.
“You have all these countries that want to increase production but the demand is stabilising or flat at best,” she told AFP.
The US Energy Information Administration’s most recent report on weekly stockpiles appeared at first glance to support a price rise after commercial crude inventories fell 7.0 million barrels to 360.6 million in the world’s biggest economy.
But the data also showed rises in product stockpiles such as gasoline, suggesting demand was not as strong as the fall in crude reserves implied, analysts said.
The easing of crude demand comes as Libya resumes normal production.
A spokesman for the Libyan National Oil Corporation told AFP last week that the 330,000 barrel-a-day El Sharara field is expected to resume normal output, after protesters had agreed to stop a strike.
In Iraq, militants bombed a major oil pipeline in the north Thursday, causing a fire and forcing pumping to be suspended, an official from the North Oil Company said, adding that repairs were already under way.



SBP exempts govt housing schemes from 10pc exposure limit

KARACHI (APP): State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has exempted the government housing schemes and initiatives from the exposure limit of 10 percent on real estate sector. In a circular addressed to chiefs of all banks and Development Financial Institutes (DFIs) here on Monday, the central bank clarified that with a view to promote the low cost housing for low income segment of population of the country, the limit of 10 percent notified through a circular of Jan 02, 2014 will not be applicable on financing under Government Housing schemes and initiatives. By linking exposure with the advances and investments (net of Government Securities), a substantial cushion is available to the banks for promoting housing finance.
All other instructions will remain unchanged, the circular said.



KBP urges govt to form
task-force for agriculture

LAHORE (APP): Kisan Board Pakistan (KBP) has urged the government to form a special task force for the agriculture sector and ensure the representation of farmers organizations in it. Talking to a gathering of farmers representatives here on Monday, KBP President Sardar Zafar Hussain said the taskforce should consist of agriculture experts. He urged the govt to formulate farmer-friendly policies in the light of recommendations of the taskforce so that the sector could grow more effectively. Zafar Hussain said that after getting the GSP plus status, Pakistan’s agriculture sector had become more important, adding that there was space for progress and development in the agriculture sector.



Trade among Saarc countries
to help alleviate poverty

KARACHI (OUR STAFF REPORTER): President of Indo Pak Chamber of Commerce has appreciated the decision of present govt for reducing the import duties of 340 items from SAARC countries. S M Muneer said at the occasion of decision of implementation of reducing the import duty vide Notification No.1274 (I)/2006 issued by the FBR. Due to trade between SAARC countries, poverty and unemployment will be reduced in South Asian countries. Muneer said that federal government has reduced the custom duties to 5% on import of 340 items including vegetables, VCR and VCP and this would be implemented from 1st January, 2014. Before this, custom duties were 7% to 20%.
The reduction of custom duties made on onion, ginger & other vegetables and its mixture.
He said that SAARC countries should introduce common currency like in European countries and revolutionary steps should be taken for issuance of visas, banking system, restoration of mobile phone service and relaxation on arrival and departure of air planes.



Minister orders construction of wheat storage platforms

KARACHI (APP): Sindh Food Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dher has ordered the construction of platforms at all the wheat centres in the province to ensure proper wheat storage. He issued this directive during a meeting with Chief Engineer Buildings Sukkur Ahmed Junaid Memon at his office. The minister also instructed to protect wheat from rain and other weather effects. Executive Engineer Ghotki/Sukkur Zafar Khokar was also present. Jam Mehtab said that Rs 30 million development funds allocated for Food Department in District Ghotki should be increased, while funds for development schemes of the Food department in other districts should also be raised, besides reducing unnecessary expenditures.
He said that the present democratic government wants to provide relief to the masses and it is taking all necessary steps for this purpose.
The minister said that every possible step is being taken for proper storage of wheat.
He directed the Chief Engineer to ensure transparency and quality in development schemes.