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Oil prices broadly steady amid rising US stockpiles

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LONDON: Oil prices were broadly steady on Wednesday as market participants were pulled in different directions by an unexpected build in US crude and fuel inventories, global economic uncertainty and China reopening its economy.

Moving in and out of the negative territory, Brent crude futures were up 53 cents, or 0.7%, at $80.63 a barrel by 0921 GMT US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 41 cents, or 0.6%, to $75.53 a barrel.

Both contracts rose on Monday and Tuesday, rebounding from a sharp selloff in the first week of 2023.

US crude oil stockpiles jumped by 14.9m barrels in the week ended January 6, sources said, citing data from the American Petroleum Institute (API). At the same time, distillate stocks rose by about 1.1m barrels.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected crude stocks to fall. Traders will be looking out for inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration typically due 1530 GMT.

The oil market has been pulled lower by worries that sharply higher interest rate hikes to tame inflation would trigger a recession and curtail fuel demand. US inflation data is due on Thursday.

If inflation comes in below expectations that would drive the dollar down, analysts said. A weaker dollar can boost oil demand as it makes the commodity cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.

Prices have not jumped but gained some support from hopes for fuel demand growth in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer after the US after it eased its COVID-19 curbs and increased crude import quotas by 20%.

“It is dawning on market players that China’s return to normality won’t be enough to propel oil back above $100/bbl on a sustained basis,” said PVM analyst Stephen Brennock.

“What is required is an improvement in global growth. Yet the outlook for the world economy is constrained by high inflation and tightening credit conditions.”

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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