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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 KSE-100 Index rises following a sharp decline in the previous session.

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The government is considering filing a treason case under Article 6 against PTI founder Imran Khan, former president Arif Alvi, and former deputy speaker Qasim Suri. On Tuesday, the KSE-100 Index was up more than 1.3% during early trading, following a day of roughly a 2 percent loss due to growing political unrest and the potential banning of the party.

However, the benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was trading at 79,074.63 by 11:49 a.m., having gained 535.45 points, or 0.68 percent, after reaching an intraday high of 79,578.04.

Market analysts said that political tensions were the primary cause of the KSE-100’s earlier Monday decline of 1578.71 points, or 1.97 percent.

They did point out, though, that a correction was a reasonable reaction to the protracted upswing that allowed the benchmark mark index to reach 81,839.86 on July 18.

As a result of interest rate cuts and the possibility of another IMF program, the Pakistan Stock Exchange has gained 22.97 percent so far this year. The cycle began on June 10 with a 1.5 percent decrease in borrowing costs.

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In interbank trade, the US dollar crushes the Pakistani rupee.

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During interbank trade on Tuesday, the US dollar’s value increased by 15 paisas, reaching Rs 278.45.

It is important to remember that Fitch Business Monitor International expressed concern about the possibility that Pakistan’s economic stability may be jeopardized by the ongoing political unrest.

The fragile situation of Pakistan’s economic recovery was emphasized by Fitch in its most recent Pakistan Country Risk Report, which also noted that economic activity has been impeded by urban protests.

(PTI),In spite of multiple successful judicial appeals, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is expected to stay behind bars, the article notes, underscoring the fragile political environment.

With no urgent plans for new elections, this scenario suggests that the coalition administration will remain in office for the next 18 months.

Fitch also described an eventuality in which the government could change and be replaced by a technocratic administration. This suggests that the government of Pakistan would carry out the reforms demanded by the IMF, contributing to the 3.2% GDP growth expected in 2024–2025.

The policy rate has stabilized above projections, while the research predicted it may reach 16 percent this fiscal year and 14 percent the following year.

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Pakistan’s gold prices per kilogram dropped.

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When 24-karat gold dropped by Rs. 500 to Rs. 250,500 per tola on Tuesday, the price of gold fell once again on both the local and international gold markets.

By Rs429 to Rs214,763, 10 grams of gold cost less, according to the Gold Sellers Association.

Gold’s price per ounce dropped to $2391 on the international market by $11.

At Rs2920 per tola, the price of silver did not change.

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