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Oil prices fall amid growing concerns over global economy

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Brent futures and US crude falls by more than 4%.Concern about oversupply continue to cloud the oil market.Dollar weakens on Wednesday after big gains in the previous session.


LONDON: Oil fell sharply on Wednesday after slumping in the previous session, weighed down by demand concerns stemming from the state of the global economy and rising COVID cases in China.

Brent futures fell $3.04 to $79.06 a barrel for a 3.7% loss by 1452 GMT. US crude dropped $2.91, or 3.8%, to $74.02.

Both benchmarks plunged more than 4% on Tuesday, with Brent suffering its biggest one-day decline in more than three months.

“Worries about the state of the global economy are front and centre of traders’ minds and will remain so for the foreseeable future,” said PVM Oil analyst Stephen Brennock.

The Chinese government also increased export quotas for refined oil products in the first batch for 2023, signalling expectations of poor domestic demand.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia could cut prices for its flagship Arab Light crude grade to Asia in February, having been set at a 10-month low for this month, as concern about oversupply continued to cloud the market.

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that much of the global economy would face a tough year in 2023 because the main engines of global growth — the United States, Europe and China — were all experiencing weakening activity.

Monetary policy is also in focus, with the US Federal Reserve having raised interest rates by 50 basis points (bps) in December after four consecutive increases of 75 bps each. If the Fed intensifies its rate hikes, that could slow the economy and hamper fuel consumption.

OPEC oil output rose in December, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday, despite an agreement by the wider OPEC+ alliance to cut production targets to support the market.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped 29 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, the survey found, up 120,000 bpd from November.

Lending oil some support, the dollar weakened on Wednesday after posting big gains in the previous session. A weaker dollar typically boosts demand for oil because dollar-denominated commodities become cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.

US crude oil stockpiles are likely to have risen by 2.2 million barrels, with distillate inventories expected to have fallen, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Industry group American Petroleum Institute is due to release data on US crude inventories at 4:30pm EDT (2030 GMT) on Wednesday. The Energy Information Administration will release its figures at 10:30am (1430 GMT) on Thursday.

Bank UBS expects Brent prices to rise to $110 a barrel and WTI to rise to $107 in 2023.

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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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