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Atlas Honda introduces first EV bike in Pakistan

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Atlas Honda — one of Pakistan’s largest motorcycle manufacturers — has unveiled the company’s first EV motorcycle Honda ‘BENLY e’, although it did not specify when it would be rolled out in the country.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the company said the launch took place at a ceremony held at Atlas Honda’s Sheikhupura Factory to commemorate Atlas Honda’s 60th year of operations in Pakistan.

Chief Officer of Motorcycle and Power Products of Atlas Honda Noriaki Abe, on the occasion, said that Honda BENLY e will be offered for test marketing while new products will be offered based on the market feedback so that society and customers get the best of what Honda has to offer.

“Honda products have become an essential part of the daily life of many in Pakistan,” said Abe, adding that the joint venture between Atlas Group and Honda Motor Company has been at the forefront of motorcycle and auto parts manufacturing since 1963.

Speaking during the same event, Executive Vice President and COO of Honda Motor Company Shinji Aoyama said that the mobility industry is going through a rapid transformation and “Honda Motor was well positioned for the future”.

Saquib H Shirazi, President and CEO of Atlas Honda, said that Atlas Honda has expanded its product line up and achieved localisation of up to 95%.

“The company developed the largest network of local auto parts manufacturers and dealers. With more than 10,000 touchpoints, the company has created direct employment opportunities for more than 150,000 people,” said Shirazi.

Atlas Honda Limited reported a 152% jump in its net profit for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2023-24, driven by a robust increase in sales and other income.

The motorcycle industry, which caters to the low-income segment of the population, suffered a decline in sales in October.

Motorcycle sales fell 5% month-on-month and 11% year-on-year in October.

Atlas Honda, the market leader, recorded sales of 90,000 units, down 5% month-on-month and 5% year-on-year.

In the first four months of the fiscal year, motorcycle sales fell 10% year-on-year to 371,000 units, due to higher bike prices and low purchasing power of consumers.

Challenges for EV bikes in Pakistan

Lack of charging infrastructure: There are not enough charging stations across the country to support the growing demand for EV bikes. The government needs to invest in the charging infrastructure and work with the private sector to attract investment.

High cost and low range: The EV bikes are still more expensive than the conventional bikes that run on petrol or diesel. The batteries are also costly and take a long time to charge. The range of the EV bikes is also limited, which means they cannot travel long distances without recharging.

Low awareness and acceptance: Many people in Pakistan are not familiar with the benefits of EV bikes and their environmental impact. The government needs to launch awareness campaigns to educate consumers and promote the adoption of EV bikes.

Inconsistent government policies: The EV policy in Pakistan is not clear and consistent. There are different incentives and regulations for different types of EVs and different sectors. The policy also needs to address the issues of taxation, standardisation, quality control, and safety of EVs.

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The gold price in Pakistan today

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According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the price of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold increased by Rs772 to Rs184,928 from Rs184,156, while the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold increased to Rs169,517 from Rs168,810.

These oscillations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates.

This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

On the other hand, the cost of 24-karat silver was constant at Rs 2,570. Globally, too, the price of gold increased somewhat by $9 to $2,057 per ounce.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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