Businessmen asked to explore areas of interest in Gwadar

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai invited all the businessmen and industrialists of the country to explore areas of interest in Gwadar and various other places of Balochistan with potential for investment. He was addressing the participants at “4th National Business & Industry Best Achievement Awards” ceremony held in a local hotel under the auspices of Business Industry Promotion Association of Pakistan (BIPAP). Senator SM Zafar, Dr Salman Shah, former finance minister, and Farooq Ali Awan, secretary general/organiser, BIPAP also addresses the award winners. Governor Balochistan congratulated all the awards winners in different categories.

SECP organises awareness seminar

ISLAMABAD (INP): The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) organized an educational seminar for the M. Com students of University of Sargodha (Gujranwala campus). The seminar held at the SECP Head Office under its campaign ‘Jamapunji’ which has been lunched to create awareness for safe investments. The aim was to build the capacity of students in the area of Capital markets and its related products. The initial session focused on the introduction of SECP as the apex regulator of Non-Banking Financial Sector followed by its role & functions, whereas, the later part covered the significance of savings and personal financial planning for the students. The students were told about the need for inculcating the habit of saving at an early stage.

They were also made familiar with different financial products and services available in Pakistan.

PTCL signs agreement with SSC

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): PTCL has signed an agreement with Service Sales Corporation (SSC) for provisioning of state-of-the-art Information Communication Technology (ICT) services. The agreement was signed by Kamal Ahmed, Chief Digital Services Officer (CDSO) PTCL and Jalal Ahmed, CIO, SSC. Waqar Ahmed, GM Corporate Sales, PTCL, Shahid Hussain, CEO SSC, and other senior officials from both organizations were present at the occasion. Kamal Ahmed said, “This partnership is a prime example of the vast potential PTCL holds in catering to the country’s data communications solutions at the industrial level. Our current collaboration with SSC would enhance the reliability and user experience of their systems at multiple levels.”

Sri Lankan delegation visits PBIT

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): A three-member delegation from Sri Lanka visited PBIT to discuss bilateral trade. Ranjith Bandara, Minister for Public Administration and Management (Sri Lanka), was heading the delegation. Accompanying him was Gamini Rathnayaka, CEO of Gal-Oya Plantations, Udyama Kurukularatne and Tousif Peracha, CEO of Gharibwal Group. Chairman Abdul Basit represented PBIT in the meeting. The discussion focused around expanding trade and investment between the two countries. The delegation stressed upon the benefits of multiple small scale hydro power generation units along the canal system. Gal-Oya is keen to invest in these units allover Punjab. The minister said that Sri Lanka is meeting 50% of its energy needs from such units.

and Pakistan has one of the largest canal systems in the word so it can benefit greatly.

The minister also said that the trade balance between the two countries is 90% favorable towards Pakistan as Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka being much greater than its imports.

Kurukularatne raised the point that the non-trade barriers between the countries are the biggest hurdle in the way of free trade agreement.

Basit proposed to enhance the spice trade between the countries as Sri Lanka is one of the biggest consumers of spices in the world. Both parties stressed on promoting tourism and collaborating in the fields of training and education.

It was also decided that Pakistan will send a business delegation to Sri Lanka in the near future and feasibilities will be shared with the Sri Lankan business community prior to the delegation’s visit so that concrete results can be obtained.

Oil holds near multi-year lows

LONDON (AFP): Oil prices firmed on Tuesday but held near recent multi-year lows as dealers weighed S Arabia's budget in a market dogged by stubborn oversupply and tepid data. At 1300 GMT in London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in Feb was up 12 cents at $36.74 a barrel. US benchmark WTI gained 11 cents to $36.92 compared with Monday's close. The market struggled Tuesday, one day after major crude exporter and OPEC kingpin S Arabia cut subsidies on fuel, power and water to counter the impact of plunging oil prices on its finances. Riyadh posted a deficit of $98b in 2015 after a sharp decline in oil revenues. And with crude prices expected to remain low, Saudi authorities also projected a shortfall of $87b in the 2016 budget, the third year in a row with a shortfall.

"The Saudi budget ... reinforced the 'lower for longer' sentiment in that market," said analyst Augustin Eden at traders Accendo Markets, in reference to OPEC's Saudi-backed policy of pushing oil prices lower to hurt non-OPEC producers.

The swift action to cut subsidies was unexpected, even if there had been no doubt Saudi Arabia would post a deficit this year as oil prices have dropped below $40 a barrel since mid-2014.

Oil had collapsed early last week, with Brent striking an 11-year low on December 22 on the back of a stubborn global supply glut that has plagued the market all year.

Prices then attempted to rally but tanked Monday on downbeat Chinese and Japanese data, alongside a Saudi budget plan that suggested the petroleum-exporting giant was planning for oil prices to stay low.

"Oil prices ... have stabilised and that's stopped the rot for now, but the headlines are all about the Saudi fiscal response to the sustained weak price," added Societe Generale analyst Kit Juckes.

Trading volumes were meanwhile thin with many investors absent for an extended holiday break.

In November 2014, OPEC embarked upon a new strategy to maintain its collective oil output despite abundant supplies of crude that have ravaged revenues.

And earlier this month, OPEC refused again to slash record high output at their latest gathering.

The plan is aimed at pushing oil prices lower in order to squeeze less-competitive players, including US shale producers, out of the market.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, whose 13 member nations pump about 40 percent of the world's crude.

Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore, said the price weakness could also have been sparked by data showing Japanese industrial production fell 1.0 percent in November from a month earlier.

The figures came after separate data last week showed persistently weak inflation and household spending.

Early last week, on December 21, WTI oil slumped to $33.98 -- the lowest price since mid February 2009. One day later, Brent crude tumbled to $35.98 -- the weakest point since early July 2004.

OPEC countries are currently producing about 32 million barrels per day, the highest in three and a half years and beyond the cartel's 30 million ceiling target.