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Why gold prices not released in Pakistan today?

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As people remain curious as to why the All Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association did not release the gold rates on Wednesday, it was learnt that the local bullion market remained closed today.

APSGJA President Haji Haroon Rasheed Chand, in a public message, confirmed the bullion rates were not released on account of Shab-e-Barat (15th Shaban).

Believers across the country observed Shab-e-Barat, also known as the night of blessings and glory, on Tuesday night (tonight) with full religious spirit.

Gold prices have been declining for the last many days and have cumulatively lost Rs9,200 or per tola in the last four days.

It should be noted that the APSGJA notifies the gold rates to the market every day after determining the price by keeping in view its rates in world markets, the rupee-dollar exchange rate, and demand and supply in domestic markets.

The price of gold on Tuesday declined by Rs700 per tola and Rs600 per 10 grams to settle at Rs197,300 and Rs169,153, respectively.

The association last reported that the price of gold has been “under cost” by Rs3,000 per tola in Pakistan, as compared to prices in Dubai. This means that, at present, the Pakistani gold market is less expensive than the world market.

The price of per tola gold plunged below the critical Rs200,000-mark due to the rupee’s appreciation against the US dollar under the current cycle.

Meanwhile, in the international market, gold prices hovered near a one-week low on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said US interest rates might need to go higher than expected to control sticky inflation.

Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,814.10 per ounce by 1253 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Feb. 28 at $1,809.27. Following Powell’s remarks on Tuesday, prices fell nearly 2%.

US gold futures were down 0.1% to $1,818.70.

Powell reverting to a higher-for-longer stance took the wind out of gold as the markets now expect higher rates, StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell said.

The Fed will likely need to raise rates more than expected in response to recent strong data and is prepared to move in larger steps if the “totality” of incoming information suggests tougher measures are needed to control inflation, Powell said on the first day of his semi-annual two-day testimony before Congress.

Gold’s appeal tends to dim when rate hike expectations rise because higher rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Market participants are now mostly expecting a 50 basis-point hike at the Fed’s March 21-22 policy meeting.

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Gold rally in Pakistan as rupee extends losses

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Gold prices climbed on Friday on the back of a sliding rupee, as markets remained focused on the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) interest rate strategy.

According to the data released by All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA), the price of gold (24 carats) rose by Rs700 per tola and Rs601 per 10 grams to settle at Rs208,700 and Rs178,927.

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Exchange loss likely to deprive masses benefit in petrol price cut

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  • Govt to announce petrol price today for next fortnight.
  • Exchange loss adjustment to rob consumers of petrol price cut.
  • Current exchange rate is heavily tilted in favour of the dollar.

KARACHI: Due to a sharp rise in the value of the dollar in the last two weeks, the masses may not get any benefit in the prices of petroleum products, according to a The News report.

The report said that the price of diesel is reflecting an Rs34/litre decrease for the next fortnight. The government is scheduled to review the price of petroleum products today.

The international price of crude oil has come down, which can be translated into a major cut in domestic prices of petroleum products, but only if the government passes on the full impact to the end consumers.

However, sources in the oil sector believe that the government would not pass on the full impact of the reduction in the international prices on exchange losses accumulated over the months, which had put the oil sector in a financial crunch.

The government may be deterred to pass on the impact to end consumers, as the oil sector would be in deep financial trouble if their losses are not adjusted on account of sharp exchange rate fluctuations in the past many months.

Diesel price

Oil sector sources told the publication that the ex-refinery price of diesel is showing Rs34/litre decrease for the next fortnight. However, the exchange losses on diesel go over Rs100/litre, which needs to be adjusted.

Sources said that the government may pass on some relief by cutting the diesel price by Rs15 to 20 per litre for the consumers while adjusting the remaining exchange losses.

Sources, however, felt that this was a ripe time for the government to adjust whatever remained of exchange loss adjustment.

The fall in crude prices gave the government enough fiscal space to accommodate the oil companies, which have been facing financial problems as they were not receiving the full amount of exchange losses.

Petrol price

As far as petrol is concerned, its price is showing Rs13-14 per litre decline on the basis of its ex-refinery price in the next fortnight.

Again the exchange loss adjustment may deprive the consumers of the benefit of price reduction and the government may only pass on Rs4-5 relief while adjusting the remaining amount.

Exchange rate

The present exchange rate is heavily tilted in the favour of the dollar. It is a huge hurdle for the government, in terms of reducing the prices of petroleum products in the domestic market.

According to the oil industry estimates, the average exchange rate calculated for the next fortnight is Rs283 to determine the price of the ex-refinery.

Pakistan’s oil sector has repeatedly requested the government in many letters to resolve the exchange losses issue, with few players in the industry pleading to make it more fair and transparent.

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Petrol relief package gives IMF ‘excuse’ to delay agreement

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  • IMF verifying from KSA, UAE on financing before staff-level deal.
  • Fund rejects initial petrol subsidy plan.
  • Asks Pakistan to provide more details about fuel relief package.

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the Pakistani authorities to provide more details about the petrol relief package causing more delay in the signing of the staff-level agreement, The News reported Thursday.

The half-baked cross-fuel subsidy proposal by the petroleum ministry has failed to convince the Fund, which has rejected the initial plan arguing that more details are required to verify its sustainability.

The question arises, according to the publication, as to why the PM Office and Ministry of Petroleum announced the plan without taking the IMF review mission into confidence prior to its announcement.

The report stated that the Ministry of Finance has distanced itself from the plan proposed at a time when Pakistan and the lender are inching towards signing the agreement.

The Ministry of Petroleum has now been advised to withdraw the proposal at this stage and iron out the policy details with the Ministry of Finance and then take the IMF into confidence in the next review.

‘Not workable’

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha has termed the petrol subsidy plan ‘not workable’.

Speaking to journalists after attending the Senate Standing Committee on Finance meeting, Aisha Ghaus Pasha said there is no suggestion of subsidy on petroleum products and the Petroleum Division had suggested cross-subsidies on petroleum products, which is not workable.

She said that the parleys with the IMF were continuing and now the only outstanding issue remained of the lender getting confirmation on external financing from bilateral countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which was underway.

“There are indications that financial assistance is expected from bilateral friends very soon, that will help finalise the staff-level agreement with the IMF,” she said.

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