Newsbrief

Light irrigation advised to save crops from frost

MULTAN (APP): Agriculture experts have advised farmers to opt for light irrigation at night to keep their crops safe against frosty-weather threat that usually looms large on crops from December to January end. Experts said that frost could hamper crop growth from December to mid February, however, the threat was usually more intense from December to January end. Experts said that water in plants started freezing when temperature went down below 4C at night time and start damaging cells of plants. It affects fruit growth at its initial stage drying it from inside and deforms its shape. Orchard owners must be attentive to weather forecast aired on televisions and Radio to be fully prepared to act properly. When farmers suspect at night time that frost might hurt their crop, they should opt for light irrigation. Moreover, they can also apply white Bordo mixture on trunks of plants and in case of small fruit plants they should cover them by a structure covered by husk or polythene sheet.
One per cent spray of Potassium Nitrate can also save plants from negative effects of frost to a great extend.
In case of plants affected by frost, farmers should cut the affected parts of plants and apply Bordo paste on the injured parts in spring season, the release concluded.

US oil prices end above $60 for 1st time in 2-1/2 years

NEW YORK (AFP): US oil prices finished above $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015 after new data suggested American producers were being cautious about ramping up output. The benchmark US contract, West Texas Intermediate for February delivery, climbed 58 cents to finish at $60.42 a barrel. Meanwhile, Brent North Sea crude for March delivery advanced 71 cents to $66.87 a barrel. The jump came as the number of US rigs drilling for oil held steady at 747 this week, according to the Baker Hughes rig count, a closely-watched benchmark of industry activity released Friday. Phil Flynn, of the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said it was not clear from the data whether the flat number of drilling rigs reflected “an end of the year slowdown,” or “a sign that maybe producers are not producing that much.” The data come on heels of a bullish US oil inventory report that showed lower crude oil supplies as well as a dip in production, according to the weekly Energy Department data released Thursday.
The price increase also follows a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to extend its agreement on production limits through 2018.
Experts have been watching for signs of whether the OPEC agreement triggers increased drilling among US shale producers.

ECB’s Coeure sees ‘reasonable chance’ bond buys will not be extended
FRANKFURT (Reuters): The man in charge of carrying out the European Central Bank’s bond purchases sees “a reasonable chance” the 2.55 trillion euros stimulus program will not be extended again when it expires in September, he told a Chinese financial magazine. Benoit Coeure, the ECB board member in charge of its market operations, was once a key supporter of President Mario Draghi’s ultra-easy policy but has been opening the door to an eventual withdrawal of stimulus in recent months. “Given what we see in the economy, I believe that there is a reasonable chance that the extension of our asset purchase program decided in October can be the last,” Coeure told Caixin Global. He said the ECB could keep the program in place if needed but also had “plenty of instruments with which to react” if inflation in the euro zone, currently seen below 2 percent for years to come, turned out higher than expected.

China to cap overseas withdrawals using domestic bank cards

BEIJING (Reuters): China’s foreign exchange regulator will cap overseas withdrawals using domestic Chinese bank cards at 100,000 yuan ($15,370) per year in an effort to target money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, it said on Saturday. Individuals who exceed the annual quota will be suspended from overseas transactions for the remainder of the year and an additional year, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a notice posted on its website. Under the new rules SAFE will submit a daily list of individuals banned from making overseas bank card withdrawals, and banks must suspend the users by no later than 5 p.m. the same day, the notice said. Domestic card users will also be barred from withdrawing more than 10,000 yuan a day overseas, it said. The new rules come into effect on Jan. 1, and reporting adjustments must be adopted by banks by April 1, 2018, it said.
China has strengthened regulatory oversight of overseas card transactions in the past year, targeting illegal cross-border transfers and money laundering.
In September SAFE brought in regulations requiring Chinese banks to report daily their bank card holders’ overseas withdrawals as well as every transaction exceeding 1,000 yuan.
China’s foreign exchange reserves rose for the 10th straight month in November due to tighter regulation and a stronger yuan, which continue to discourage capital outflows.

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