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Exchange loss likely to deprive masses benefit in petrol price cut

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  • Govt to announce petrol price today for next fortnight.
  • Exchange loss adjustment to rob consumers of petrol price cut.
  • Current exchange rate is heavily tilted in favour of the dollar.

KARACHI: Due to a sharp rise in the value of the dollar in the last two weeks, the masses may not get any benefit in the prices of petroleum products, according to a The News report.

The report said that the price of diesel is reflecting an Rs34/litre decrease for the next fortnight. The government is scheduled to review the price of petroleum products today.

The international price of crude oil has come down, which can be translated into a major cut in domestic prices of petroleum products, but only if the government passes on the full impact to the end consumers.

However, sources in the oil sector believe that the government would not pass on the full impact of the reduction in the international prices on exchange losses accumulated over the months, which had put the oil sector in a financial crunch.

The government may be deterred to pass on the impact to end consumers, as the oil sector would be in deep financial trouble if their losses are not adjusted on account of sharp exchange rate fluctuations in the past many months.

Diesel price

Oil sector sources told the publication that the ex-refinery price of diesel is showing Rs34/litre decrease for the next fortnight. However, the exchange losses on diesel go over Rs100/litre, which needs to be adjusted.

Sources said that the government may pass on some relief by cutting the diesel price by Rs15 to 20 per litre for the consumers while adjusting the remaining exchange losses.

Sources, however, felt that this was a ripe time for the government to adjust whatever remained of exchange loss adjustment.

The fall in crude prices gave the government enough fiscal space to accommodate the oil companies, which have been facing financial problems as they were not receiving the full amount of exchange losses.

Petrol price

As far as petrol is concerned, its price is showing Rs13-14 per litre decline on the basis of its ex-refinery price in the next fortnight.

Again the exchange loss adjustment may deprive the consumers of the benefit of price reduction and the government may only pass on Rs4-5 relief while adjusting the remaining amount.

Exchange rate

The present exchange rate is heavily tilted in the favour of the dollar. It is a huge hurdle for the government, in terms of reducing the prices of petroleum products in the domestic market.

According to the oil industry estimates, the average exchange rate calculated for the next fortnight is Rs283 to determine the price of the ex-refinery.

Pakistan’s oil sector has repeatedly requested the government in many letters to resolve the exchange losses issue, with few players in the industry pleading to make it more fair and transparent.

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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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In a new IMF agreement, Pakistan would “raise” the FBR tax-to-GDP ratio to 15%.

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The state bank reserves will be maintained at a level equivalent to three months’ worth of import bills, according to sources in the Finance Ministry.

According to sources, the ministry has also set a goal to maintain the primary balance surplus and reduce the current account deficit.

The ministry insisted that once the existing agreement expires, a new one would be negotiated with the IMF, and that the IMF will also be guaranteed that the requirements will be implemented prior to the agreement being finalised.

The founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded that an audit of the election results be conducted before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved any additional loans for Islamabad. However, the IMF showed earlier today that it was eager to cooperate with the new administration in Pakistan by disregarding the demand.

According to Bloomberg News yesterday, Pakistan is to apply for a fresh $6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to assist the next government in paying off billions of dollars in debt that comes due this year.

According to the article, the nation would attempt to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, and it was anticipated that discussions with the international lender would begin in March or April.

Thanks to a short-term IMF bailout, Pakistan avoided defaulting last summer. However, the plan expires next month, and the next administration will need to negotiate a long-term deal to keep the $350 billion economy steady.

The IMF forced the South Asian country to enact a number of reforms prior to the rescue, including raising its benchmark interest rate, changing its budget, and raising the cost of natural gas and electricity.

According to a fund spokeswoman, the IMF staff is still in communication with authorities on the necessary longer-term reform initiatives. The fund is also prepared to assist the post-election government in addressing Pakistan’s ongoing issues by means of a new arrangement, should that request be made.

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