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Musadik Malik says gas load-shedding inevitable despite extra LNG in January

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  • Country to have additional 200 million MMCFD LNG in Jan-Feb.
  • Govt encourages private sector to invest in new LNG terminals.
  • Planning to import 20,000 tonnes of extra LPG for winters.

ISLAMABAD: Musadik Malik, the Minister of State for Petroleum, on Monday warned that gas loadshdding is inevitable in the coming months despite the arrangement of additional 200 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) liquefied natural gas (LNG) in January-February 2023, compared to the same period last year.

“Despite the availability of an extra LNG cargo during the upcoming peak winter season, gas load-shedding will be inevitable,” Malik said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum in a meeting held under the chair of Chairman Committee, Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir.

“In January, Pakistan will have ten LNG cargoes, while in February nine of them will be available for local consumption, while this extra liquefied gas will be imported by state-run companies.”

Malik said the government would encourage the private sector to invest in new LNG terminals.

The state petroleum minister was critical of the supply of gas to the fertiliser-makers at discounted rates.

“The gas costing Rs4,000/MMBTU was being supplied to the fertiliser factories for just Rs250/MMBTU under the pressure of the fertiliser mafia,” the minister said.

A poor common consumer pays $17/MMBTU, while the exporting sector gets the same gas for $9/MMBTU; however, it is provided to the fertiliser-makers at a meagre $1.35-3/MMBTU.

“It is true exports are also important, the gas sector circular debt has ballooned to Rs1,500 billion,” he said adding, “We have to strike a balance between gas prices. We did not buy gas when it was available at $2-2.5/MMBTU. Now it has reached $40/MMBTU.”

Malik also informed the meeting that the country was also planning to import 20,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for winter months.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI’s Senator Saifullah Abro said foreign investment in the gas sector would be highly welcome. “However, we need to be careful lest these investing companies should trap the country into paying them capacity payments like some independent power producers (IPPs),” Senator Abro said.

During the meeting, Abro and Malik traded barbs over mismanagement in the buying of LNG.

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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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