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Russian delegation in Pakistan to finalise oil import deal



  • Delegation is here to finalise agreement, including payment mode.
  • Once deal is done, Pakistan will place order for crude oil purchase. 
  • Russian ship will arrive in 26 days, most probably by mid-May.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan moved a step closer to sealing its loan deal with Russia as the team has arrived in Karachi to fine-tune the deal on crude oil with counterparts in Pakistan State Oil (PSO), The News reported citing a senior official privy to the development.

“This time, we are expecting all the hurdles will be removed in importing crude oil from Russia,” the official said. However, the Energy Ministry is tight-lipped over the mode of payment and discount on crude oil prices.

It should be noted that last month the technical teams of the Operational Services Centre (PSC) — a Russian state-owned entity — held talks for two days on March 21-22 with the PSO team, which ended without progress on the constitution of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) responsible not only for importing the crude but also for the payments.

“The Russian delegation is here now to finalise the government-to-government agreement, including the mode of payment. Russia is currently asking for payment in China’s Yuan or Ruble, but Pakistan wants to pay in rupee,” the official told the publication.

According to inside sources, once the deal is done, Pakistan will place the order to Russia for crude oil purchase

“The Russian ship will arrive in 26 days, most probably by mid-May. The current Brent price in the international market hovers at $85.16 per barrel whereas the Russian oil is available at $47-48 per barrel.”

At the same time, according to top officials, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is asking some local banks, including the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), to open letters of credit for importing Russian oil but they are hesitant to do so mainly because of the G7 countries’ regulations of following the price cap of $60 per barrel or below it and making the payments under Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) arrangement.

The officials said that PSO had never imported crude oil as it only imports finished petroleum products from various sources and diesel from KPC (Kuwait Petroleum Company). 

Refineries have been importing crude under long-term agreements from ADNOC and Saudi Aramco. But in the case of Russian crude, refineries will not be involved in the import, but it will be SPV with representatives from PSO and PSC.

“Pakistan may get Russian crude price with a discount close to $50 per barrel, $10 per barrel below the cap price imposed by G7 countries on Russian oil in the wake of the war on Ukraine,” relevant officials hinted.

However, one of the top guns in the coalition government said that the decision to import the Russian crude under the government-to-government agreement at a 30% discount may not provide the required relief as 26 days of transposition from the Russian port to Pakistan port will incur the per barrel shipping cost at $15 per barrel and $ 10 per barrel refining cost will erode the maximum discount.

On top of that, Pakistan refineries will only be able to extract just 10% MS out of Ural crude and 50% furnace oil. 

The refineries are already facing the ullage of furnace oil. The only consumption of furnace oil in Pakistan depends upon running the RFO-based power plants. 

The industrial sources suggest the government conduct a commercial analysis if the import of Russian oil will benefit Pakistan’s economy or not and, if yes, to what extent.


November inflation to spike on gas price adjustment, dashing slowdown hopes




  • CPI likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in Nov.
  • Inflation rate could register 2.1% month-on-month jump.
  • Weekly SPI on Nov 16 showed 480% surge in gas prices.

KARACHI: Inflation is expected to surge in November, primarily due to a massive hike in gas prices, according to brokerage reports released on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices of goods and services, is likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in November, up from 26.9% in October.

A report by brokerage firm Insight Securities predicts that the inflation rate will register a 2.1% month-on-month jump, defying earlier expectations of a gradual slowdown from September onwards. Optimus Capital Management estimates that the CPI will increase by 2.9% month-on-month, primarily driven by an 11.6% jump in the housing index due to gas price revision and a 1.6% increase in the food index.

The primary cause behind the expected spike in November inflation is the adjustment of recently imposed fixed charges within the gas tariff structure. The weekly sensitive price index (SPI) inflation released on November 16 showed an astonishing 480% surge in gas prices.

However, a slight respite is expected from a 4.0% decrease in the transport index due to lower average fuel prices in November. The impact of the gas price hike was partially mitigated by the decline in fuel prices and the month-on-month fall in the food commodity adjustment (FCA).

Food inflation is attributed to a sharp increase in the prices of perishable items such as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggs, as well as tea. Despite an increase in supply from imports, wheat prices still rose month-on-month, while sugar and cooking oil showed a significant decline during this period, based on weekly SPI data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The recently implemented axle load regime, which limits the weight of goods transported by trucks, could put some pressure on the price levels of goods.

The higher October fuel cost adjustment (FCA) demanded at Rs3.5 per kilowatt hour (to be applicable in December) on electricity charges and a second-round impact of gas price increase could keep inflation under pressure. However, the base effect during the second half of the fiscal year is likely to help absorb the impact.

Commodity and energy prices, along with the exchange rate of the rupee against the US dollar, will remain important factors in keeping the CPI under control.

The reports projected the average inflation for the first five months of the fiscal year 2023/24 (July-June) to be 28.5%, compared with 25.2% in the same period last year and with an estimated ending at 19.4% year-on-year in June 2024.

They predicted that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is likely to maintain the interest rate in its upcoming monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting due to the higher-than-estimated inflation in November. However, the SBP could opt to initiate an easing cycle in the first quarter of 2024, given the high base effect in the second half of the fiscal year.

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Petrol price likely to remain unchanged in next fortnightly review




  • Petrol prices to hold steady in next review.
  • Diesel and kerosene prices to decline from Dec 1.
  • Next fortnightly review due tomorrow (Nov 31).

KARACHI: The prices of petroleum products will not see any major change in the upcoming fortnightly review with diesel and kerosene rates expected to go down slightly, according to the industry calculations.

According to a The News report published Thursday, the ex-refinery and ex-depot prices of petroleum products did not register any major fluctuation as global crude prices eased in recent days.

The ex-depot price of petrol, the most widely used fuel in the country, is slightly higher by Rs0.19 per litre to Rs281.53 per litre compared to the current price of Rs281.34, industry officials said.

The ex-depot price of high speed diesel (HSD), used mainly for transport, has been worked out at Rs290.47 per litre for the next fortnight compared to the existing price of Rs296.71 , showing a decline of Rs6.24 rupees per litre.

The ex-depot price of kerosene, used for cooking and lighting in rural areas, has been worked out at Rs202.16 per litre compared to the current price of Rs204.98, indicating a decrease of Rs2.82 per litre.

The ex-depot price of light speed diesel, another variant of diesel, has been worked out at Rs176.18 per litre for the next review against the present price of Rs180.45, registering a decline of Rs4.27 per litre, the report stated.

According to the industry’s working, the estimated exchange adjustment of petrol is zero whereas it is Rs1.80 per litre for HSD.

However, the industry officials said that the prices of petroleum products can change with the exchange loss as the industry did not put the exchange loss figure in its working for the next review.

The country fixes fuel prices on a fortnightly basis after evaluating fluctuating international energy market costs and the rupee-dollar parity to transfer the impact on domestic consumers.

They said global oil prices remained under pressure during November, falling below $75 a barrel in mid-November.

WTI was trading at $76.5 a barrel on November 29, down by nearly 7% as compared to October 29. Brent was down by 5.4% in the past month, trading at $86.35 a barrel, they added.

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Another day, another high: PSX continues bull run as KSE-100 goes past 61,000 points




KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday reached another historic high as the bulls continue to dominate the benchmark KSE 100 index with hopes of the State Bank of Pakistan lowering the policy rate in the coming days. 

Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website
Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website

The benchmark index gained 702, or 1.16%, during the intraday trade and stood at 61,433 points at 10:09am. 

Commenting on the bull run, Head of Research at Pakistan-Kuwait Investment, Samiullah Tariq said that the market was reacting positively because it expects an interest rate cut, a quick International Monetary Fund review and strong profitability of companies. 

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