Russia’s Rosneft signs Kurdistan oil sharing deal


MOSCOW: (AFP) – Russian oil giant Rosneft said Wednesday it had signed production sharing agreements for five oil blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region at loggerheads with Iraq s central government over independence.

In a statement, Rosneft said it would pay up to $400 million (340 million euros) for 80 percent in the venture as part of the deal with the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq, although up to half the sum could be paid in crude oil from the blocks.

A joint exploration programme and pilot production is to start next year. If successful, Rosneft said it would start full-field development of the blocks in 2021.

Recoverable oil reserves at the five blocks are around 670 million barrels, Rosneft said, calling the estimate “conservative”.

Rosneft and Iraqi Kurdistan are already cooperating on crude purchases and sales, but the new deal “will allow us to talk about full-fledged entry of the company in one of the most promising regions of the developing global power market”, Rosneft said.

Last month, Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted to break off from Baghdad, a decision that led to a standoff with Iraqi troops, and prompted fears for continued oil supplies from the region.

Dollar, Pound gain against Rupee


KARACHI (Dunya News) – United States Dollar and British Pound have gained in value on Wednesday following which Rupee went down in open market.

According to the fores dealers, US Dollar now stands at Rs 107.50 while British Pound at Rs 142.80. Reportedly, demand for Dollar among other currencies has boosted in the ongoing week compared to what was witnessed in the last week.

China to open more to world economy

On the other hand, Chinese president Xi Jinping vowed to further open China s economy to the world, but foreign companies and investors who have complained of “promise fatigue” called for deeds rather than words.

Xi made his pledge during a wide-ranging speech to open a week-long Communist Party congress that will hand him a new five-year term as general secretary.

“Openness brings progress for ourselves, seclusion leaves one behind. China will not close its doors to the world, we will only become more and more open,” Xi told some 2,300 party delegates in Beijing.

Xi vowed to “protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors” and said “all businesses registered in China will be treated equally.

Govt imposes 5 to 80pc regulatory duty on imported items


ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The government slapped regulatory duties on more than 731 imported products mostly eatables, electronic items and imported cars aimed to curtail the whopping import bill.

Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi, Prime Minister of Pakistan while chairing the apex body meeting of Economic Coordination Committee some two weeks back announced that the government has decided to clamp additional regulatory duties on imported products.

This was announced on Tuesday through Federal Board of Revenue notification imposing regulatory duties from 5 to 80 percent on various products. The products to face regulatory duties are imported fruits, vegetables, juices, shampoos, shavers, mirco wave oven, tea maker, food processing machine, imported new cars, sports products such cricket and hockey balls, and some items belonging to women makeup kits etc.

The duties on imported new cars have been imposed on 660cc to 1800 cc in the range from 15 to 20 percent. Following the imposition of duties the imported cars price tag would increase by Rs 65000 to Rs 12500 per unit. While the price of deep freezers, led tv, lcd tv, mirco ovens and other products ranging from Rs 600 to Rs 12000 per unit.

The measure though taken to curtail imports which might reduce the bills by 600 million dollars to 700 million dollars. But it would increase the volume of smuggling in the country as the increase in regulatory duties to give cushion to grey market in proportion to 10 percent to 60 percent. This would increase the hundi and hawala system as the smuggling of goods to be financed through non-banking channels.

Goldman Sachs earnings edge down, beat expectations


NEW YORK (AFP) – Goldman Sachs reported slightly lower third-quarter profits Tuesday, but beat analyst expectations as a strong performance by the bank s investments offset weakness in trading.

Net income for the quarter ending September 30 was $2.0 billion, down three percent from the year-ago period.

Revenues rose 1.9 percent to $8.3 billion.

Wall Street firms have been pressured by steep declines in the fixed income, currency and commodity trading business due to low volatility and an increase in automated trading platforms. This trend held at Goldman, where the division s revenues sank 26 percent from the year-ago quarter.

However, Goldman countered that weakness with gains in its investing and lending division, which consists of Goldman s own holdings of private and publicly traded securities, loans and investment funds.

Revenues were also higher in the investment banking division, boosted by an increase in completed mergers.

“Our overall performance this year has been solid and provides a good foundation on which to execute and deliver our growth initiatives,” said chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Earnings translated into $5.02 per share, better than the $4.17 expected by analysts.

LPG-air mix plants installation project enters implementation phase


ISLAMABAD (APP) – The two state companies, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) are working to set up 59 LPG-air mix plants at designated sites in their respected operational areas.

“The project is aimed at providing gas facility to the population in the areas where facility of natural gas is not available and to discourage deforestation. At the plants, LPG will be mixed with air to produce synthetic gas for onward supply to the consumers through distribution networks like natural gas,” official sources told APP.

The SNGPL will install Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)-air mix plants in Beor, Ban, Kurbagla-Dewal, Company Bagh, Tret, Phagwari, Rawat, Ghora Gali, Ariari, Karor, Kotli Sattian, Santhan Wali, Kahuti, Lehtrar and Pangar in Punjab and Darosh, Balakot and Ayun localities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the facility would be provided in Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Kotli, Palandri, Bagh, Dhirkot and Bhimber, whereas a plant would be installed in Gilgit, the sources said.

The SSGCL, they said, would set up LPG plants at Umerkot and Mithi areas of Thar in Sindh, and Zhob, Qilla Saifullah, Loralai, Kharan, Musakhail, Qilla Abdullah, Keecha at Turbat, Khuzadar, Uthal, Winder, Muslim Bagh, Killi Khanzai, Chaman, Sherani, Sanjawi, Chaghi, Panjgor, Hamal, Washuk, Wadh in Khuzdar, Barkhan, Mitri (Bolan Katchi), Injeera (Khuzdar), Gandva (Jhal Magsi, Kohlu, Awaran and Bela in Balochistan.

Answering a question, the sources said the LPG air mix project on SNGPL system was at different stages of implementation like planning, survey, import of plants and acquisition of land, while the SSGCL had started the process of site selection and land acquisition under the project. The company had worked out Rs 14 billion cost for the mentioned plants and the tenders would be floated once the feasibility study was completed.

“The SSGCL is exploring the possibility to arrange financing for the same from is own resources which is primarily the savings from other projects,” the sources added.

They said the SSGCL would set up 10 LPG-air mix plants during the current fiscal year.

LCCI committees tasked to prepare sector-specific reports


LAHORE (APP): Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javed, for the first time in the LCCI history, has given task of preparing sector-specific research/ market reports and compilation of data bank to newly constituted standing committees of the Lahore chamber.

Speaking at the appointment letters awarding ceremony here Saturday, he said that the standing committees would have to work in full swing as country was passing through a challenging economic era.

LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed, Mian Shafqat Ali, Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal, Engineer Sohail Lashari, Abdul Basit, Amjad Ali Jawa, Aftab Ahmed Vohra, Nasir Hameed Khan and Executive Committee Members were also present.

Malik Tahir Javed said that the LCCI standing committees consisted of brainy and experienced businessmen having abilities to draw a good revival plan for national economy. He said that dwindling exports, reducing foreign exchange reserves, high cost of doing business, low tax-to-GDA ratio, stagnant growth of manufacturing sector, deteriorating state of affairs of the public sector entities (PSEs) and trade deficit were the key challenges for country’s economy but these could be tackled through joint efforts of the government and private sector.

He added that business community always wanted to do something good for the country; therefore, the government should give due weightage to their point of view, address their genuine reservations and remove unnecessary laws, rules and regulations hindering trade and industrial process.

The LCCI president advised the newly appointed conveners of the Chamber’s Standing Committees to focus on the areas of growth through innovation, strategic economic reforms, brain-drain, water scarcity, power generation and hunt for new destinations for Pakistani goods. He said that all of economic ideas from the standing committees would be developed as suggestions/reports and would be forwarded to government departments concerned.

He said that an extra care had been taken while appointing the conveners of the LCCI Standing Committees as on basis of the feedback of these sector specialists, the Lahore Chamber would formulate a set of proposal for government for economic revival. He said that Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, this time, would forward to the government a possible way out of the ongoing economic mire. He said, the business community could yield better results if stakeholders were consulted in formulation of policies.

Bloodbath continues at PSX, political happenings dictate investors’ mood


KARACHI (Dunya News) – Bloodbath continued unabated at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) where political happenings dictated the sentiment of the investors and the index slipped to year low, breaching the 40000 points barrier.

Due to recent political events, the market has been under stress and despite foreign investors’ participation after quite a long time, infusion from these institutions amounted to 38 million dollars.

But fresh pumping from foreign investors failed to keep a lid on the stock market and index suffered a fresh decline of 3.55 percent or 1466 points to 39846 points.

According to an analyst the week opened with the news of arrest of Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar followed by issuance of arrest warrants of Imran Khan by Election Commission of Pakistan and expected indictment of Sharif’s family in accountability court.

He added that interestingly a number of positive developments were witnessed during the week on economic and sector front, however, politics dictated the sentiment, overshadowing all positives and dragging the index to almost a year low.

Following the ride in the red zone, market has breached the psychological level of 40,000 where political noise is expected to dominate in the upcoming week. However, with the start of quarterly result season, selective interest in scrips can be seen where fertilizer and auto sector is expected to post healthy earnings growth driven by improved local and international market condition during the quarter.


European equities mixed, Wall Street firmer


LONDON (AFP) – Europe s major stock markets were mixed at the end of the trading session on Friday, while prices on Wall Street were firmer on better-than-expected retail sales data, dealers said.

After slipping briefly into the red earlier, Europe s main stock indices seemed fo find a floor as they headed into the weekend, buoyed by higher stock prices in New York.

US retail sales jumped 1.6 percent in September due to strong trade in cars, car parts and fuel following US hurricanes, Commerce Department data showed.

And US consumer price data revealed that soaring fuel prices drove US inflation to an eight-month high in September.

Nevertheless, the spike in gasoline prices was likely tied to Hurricane Harvey and stripped of such volatile factors, core inflation remained tame, the data showed.

The dollar fell as a result, pushing stock prices on Wall Street higher.

In Frankfurt, the German blue-chip DAX index, ended just short of the 13,000-point mark, which it had breached for the first time on Thursday.

The CAC 40 index in Paris was fractionally lower and London s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top blue-chip companies eased 0.3 percent, after hitting a record closing peak the previous day.

“Although US consumer prices rose 0.5 percent, the largest increase seen in eight months on the back of rising gasoline prices, underlying inflation remained subdued,” said FXTM analyst, Lukman Otunuga.

“While markets are still expecting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December, concerns over prolonged periods of depressed inflation may cloud the prospect of higher US interest rates in 2018.”

London stocks had been catapulted Thursday to an all-time closing pinnacle on the weak pound, which boosts earnings of exporters.

Sterling initially sank after EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned that Britain and Brussels are stuck in a “disturbing” deadlock over the Brexit divorce bill.

However, the currency then rebounded as German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that Britain could be given a two-year extension to complete Brexit.

The British unit continued to regain its composure on Friday.

“Sterling is on quite the rollercoaster ride, recovering from Michel Barnier s  disturbing deadlock  comments thanks to a report in Handelsblatt,” noted Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.


Transitional  Brexit deal?

“Yesterday afternoon s pound-plunge was sizable enough to send the FTSE to a fresh all-time closing high,” the expert said.

“Yet by the evening, the currency had clawed back its losses, and then some, after Handelsblatt claimed the EU are prepared to offer the UK a two-year transitional deal, where the latter would meet all of its financial obligations but give up its voting rights,” Campbell said.

There were cautious gains in Asia on Friday after an underwhelming session overnight in New York, but Tokyo pushed ahead after hitting a 21-year high earlier in the week.

World oil prices rebounded sharply Friday on bullish trade data in China, which is the world s top energy consuming nation.

Crude futures also pushed higher before US President Donald Trump s speech later Friday, when he is expected to unveil a more aggressive strategy to check the growing power of key OPEC oil producer Iran.


Key figures around 1545 GMT

New York – DOW: UP 0.1 percent at 22,867.94 points

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,535.44 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 12,991.87 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,351.74 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,604.55 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 21,155.18 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 28,476.43 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,390.52 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1836 from $1.1866

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3292 from $1.3308

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.93 yen from 111.77 yen

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 80 cents at $57.05 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 71 cents at $51.31

Revived auto sales send US retail to 2-year-high


WASHINGTON (AFP) – Booming auto and gasoline sales in September pushed the US retail sector to its highest level in more than two years, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The roaring trade in cars, car parts and fuel helped bring retail sales to life after a year of moribund results and could support stronger GDP growth in the third quarter.

American consumers plunked down $483.9 billion for the month, seasonally adjusted, which was up 1.6 percent over August, and also the largest monthly increase since March of 2015, but in line with analyst expectations.

The result was also 4.4 percent above September of last year.

Sales at auto dealers were up 3.6 percent, also the biggest jump since March of 2015. Meanwhile, gasoline stations had their best month since February of 2013, adding 5.8 percent in sales, putting them up more than 11 percent over the same month last year.

Excluding the volatile auto and fuel sector, sales rose a more modest 0.5 percent for the month, up from August s 0.1 percent gain.

Bars and restaurants had a good month, adding 0.8 percent.

Internet and non-store retailers like Amazon and Jet also continued to expand, rising by 0.5 percent. Department store sales however continued to sink, falling 0.4 percent for the month after losing 0.2 percent in August.

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