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Oil falls $7 on Russia-Ukraine talk hopes, China lockdowns

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Ukraine and Russia report rare progress at peace talks.China’s COVID cases this year now exceed the 2021 total.UK urges Saudi Arabia to raise oil output.


LONDON: Oil prices fell around $7 a barrel on Monday as investors pinned hopes on diplomatic efforts between Ukraine and Russia to end their conflict, while a surge in COVID-19 cases in China spooked the markets.

Brent was down by $6.78, or 6%, at $105.89 a barrel at 1358 GMT and US crude fell $7.01, or 6.4%, to $102.32.

Both benchmarks have surged since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine and are up roughly 40% in the year to date.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are set to talk again on Monday via video link. Negotiators had given their most upbeat assessments after weekend negotiations, suggesting there could be positive results within days.

“Beside new talks between Ukraine and Russia, I guess new lockdowns in China are the reason for a negative start of the week for crude oil,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

A northeastern Chinese province on Monday imposed a rare travel ban on its population as the region’s Omicron outbreak helped drive China’s tally of new local COVID-19 cases so far this year higher than the total in 2021.

“Oil prices might continue moderating this week as investors have been digesting the impact of sanctions on Russia, along with parties showing signs of negotiation towards [a] ceasefire,” said Tina Teng, an analyst at CMC Markets.

Russia’s output of oil and gas condensate rose to 11.12 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in March, two sources familiar with production data told Reuters, despite sanctions.

The United States has announced a ban on Russian oil imports and Britain said it would phase them out by the end of 2022. Russia is the world’s top exporter of crude and oil products combined, shipping about 7 million bpd or 7% of global supplies.

A senior minister said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to increase its oil output, while International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol urged oil-producing countries to pump more.

India said it would take “appropriate” steps to calm the rise in oil prices, indicating the country could release more oil from its national stocks if required.

Indian officials also said New Delhi was considering a Russian offer to buy its crude oil and other commodities at discounted prices via a rupee-rouble transaction.

Meanwhile, investors are watching this week’s meeting of the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to start raising interest rates, a move that would boost the dollar and could push down oil prices.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated oil more expensive for holders of foreign currencies.

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The Pakistan Army’s pivotal role in the socioeconomic development of Balochistan

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Along with the province administration, the Pakistan Army has played a key role in leading a number of socioeconomic projects. A determined effort has been undertaken to solve the issues and utilise the potential of the province, realising the intrinsic relationship between the development of Balochistan and the advancement of Pakistan overall.

In the face of security problems, the Pakistan Army has adopted a multipronged strategy that includes peacekeeping as well as socioeconomic development. By means of focused awareness initiatives, communities have been motivated to seize mainstream chances, which has resulted in the voluntary surrender of militants and opened the door to a peaceful cohabitation.

The Army and the Balochistani administration have placed a high priority on the construction of educational facilities, particularly in outlying areas, recognising the role that education plays as a catalyst for advancement. By equipping the public with the knowledge and skills necessary for a better future, this strategic focus seeks to free the people from the hold of extremism.

In addition, the Pakistan Army’s unflinching security has helped to usher in a new era of growth, supported by strategic initiatives like the Gwadar Port and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Army’s actions to protect CPEC projects have received international recognition, and the Chinese Minister of National Defence has praised them for their commitment to regional peace.

The Reko Diq project is a highly promising venture that has the potential to become the largest gold and copper mine globally. This grand project has the potential to reduce Pakistan’s debt load and spark massive economic expansion, drawing in international capital and improving the nation’s economic prospects.

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$13.44 billion in liquid foreign reserves

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The State Bank’s foreign reserves were $8,040.3 million, whereas Pakistan’s total liquid foreign reserves as of the week ending April 5, 2024, were US$ 13,441.7 million.

The State Bank of Pakistan said that during the week under review, the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves dropped by $0.1 million to $8,040.3 million in a statement released here on Monday.

It further stated that commercial banks’ net foreign reserves were reported to be $5,401.4 million.

The nation’s total liquid foreign reserves as of the previous week, which concluded on March 29, 2024, were $13,378.9 million.

These included the $8,040.4 million in foreign reserves held by the central bank and the $5,338.5 million in net foreign reserves held by commercial banks.

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Today, IHC will hear Qureshi, the founder of PTI,’s arguments against his conviction in the CCI case.

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The PTI founder and Shah Mehmood Qureshi will appeal their convictions in the cipher case to the Islamabad High Court today (Tuesday).

The hearing will be conducted by a division bench that consists of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Chief Justice Aamir Farooq of the Islamabad High Court.

The attorneys will present their arguments regarding the appeals against the sentencing during the hearing.

However, Bushra Bibi, the wife of the PTI founder, has filed a petition to have her medical examined, and this plea will also be heard today.

Bushra Bibi’s application will be considered by Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. The petitioner has voiced her concern that the food she was provided was toxic.

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