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Russian delegation to arrive in Pakistan tomorrow for talks on oil, gas deal

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  • Russian delegation comprises 80 members. 
  • Team to arrive in Pakistan on January 17. 
  • Both sides to deliberate settlement of Pakistan’s debt to Russia.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to to hold bilateral talks with a Russian delegation, arriving tomorrow, on an oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade deal for a long-term basis and the much-touted flagship $3 billion Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP) project, The News reported Monday citing senior officials of the Energy Ministry.

The delegation, comprising 80 members, will arrive in Pakistan on January 17 for three-day bilateral talks under the forum of the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC).

“The Pakistani side will be headed by Federal Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq for the IGC talks. For the import of Russian oil and LNG on a GtG basis, both countries need to first negotiate the IGA (inter-governmental agreement) as had been finalised and inked in the case of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project (PSGP), which was earlier called the North-South Gas pipeline project,” they said.

When former prime minister Imran Khan had visited Moscow on February 24, 2022, the draft of the shareholding and facilitation agreement for PSGP was not finalised. Both sides wanted to sign the PSGP deal during the Imran-Putin meeting but it did not happen because of a disagreement on some clauses of the shareholding agreement from experts from both sides.

Right now, the G7 countries have imposed a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian crude oil with a ban on Russian ships for oil transportation. In return, Moscow said it would ban oil sales to countries that join a Western price cap on the country’s crude.

During the talks, the Pakistan side needs to discuss the shipping cost, the premium by shipping trader, insurance cover and mode of payment.

However, the agenda of the IGC unfolds cooperation in areas of trade and investments, including agriculture, energy, customs, industry, education, science and technology, information and communication technologies, communication, roads and postal service, railways, and finance. A settlement of Pakistan’s debt to Russia will also be deliberated.

Both sides will also discuss prospects of cooperation in the field of electric power, hydropower, renewable energy sources and oil and gas production.

Discounted crude oil

On December 5, 2022, Minister of State (Petroleum Division) Musadik Malik said Russia had agreed to provide crude oil as well as petrol and diesel to Pakistan at discounted rates.

“Our visit to Russia turned out to be more productive than expected,” Malik said. He added that Russia did not have LNG. “Talks with Russia private firms are underway for the import of LNG, while we have also engaged Russia’s state LNG producers,” Malik said.

According to the state minister, significant progress was made in talks over the pipeline projects with Moscow.

On its visit to Russia, Pakistan had asked for a 30-40% discount on Russian crude oil during talks in Moscow, but the Russians said they could not offer anything right now as all volumes were committed.

During talks on the gas pipeline projects, Moscow asked Pakistan to first honour its commitment to the flagship project of the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP) to be laid down from Karachi to Lahore, Punjab.

In their response, the Pakistani team proposed to change the model of the PSGP project. The Russian side said that the model of the project under GtG (government-to-government) arrangement had already been settled, save for some clauses of the shareholding agreement, which would soon be finalised. 

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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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