PIA resumes flights after standoff between employees, management

ISLAMABAD (INP): Normal flight operations resumed on Tuesday following successful negotiations between staff of the PIA and management after a prolonged protest by the employees. Earlier Tuesday, PIA employees boycotted all duties countrywide, to protest against the recent policy of management collecting federal excise duty on free/subsidised domestic tickets being issued to its employees and their family members. According to sources, several flight operations were disrupted causing hardships to passengers. All passengers on a PIA flight waiting to depart from Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport were stranded for several hours due to the standoff.

ABAD for more cut in interest rate

KARACHI (Staff Reporter): Chairman Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan, Junaid Ashraf has appreciated 1% reduction in rate of interest for the next two months by State Bank of Pakistan and has expressed hope that the central bank will further reduce the rate of interest by another 1% in the next monetary policy. He said that the reduction in the rate of interest will increase the commercial and industrial activities and this will have a positive impact on housing and construction industry. Chairman ABAD said the development of the economy can be accelerated by reducing the rate of interest by another 1 %.

Chairman ABAD also suggested that State Bank of Pakistan should set up a Housing Finance Window and arrange long term less expensive loans from multinational agencies and persuade all commercial banks that they allocate a certain percentage of their loan portfolio for upcoming projects. Registration fee and stamp duty should not be charged on housing mortgage.

14.4m cotton bales reach ginneries

multan (APP): Over 14 million seed cotton (phutti) bales has reached ginneries across Pakistan as of Feb 1, 2015, registering a 10.19 per cent increase as compared to corresponding period of last year. Out of total arrivals of 14,436,202 bales 14.34 million bales have undergone the ginning process, says a fortnightly report issued by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) here Tuesday. Arrivals in Punjab were recorded at 10.5 million or 10,500,097 bales, exactly 12.15 per cent above the arrivals recorded in corresponding period of last year. Arrivals in Sindh were recorded at 3.93 million or 3,935,105 bales, showing a surge by 5.27 per cent, compared to last year.

Exporters have bought 446,346 bales, Trading Corporation of Pakistan procured 94,900 bales while textile mills purchased 12.56 million or 12,563,212 bales, the report says.

Total sold out cotton bales were calculated at 13.1 million or 13,104,458 bales leaving over 1.3 million bales as stock lying unsold with the ginneries till Feb 1, 2015. Report says that 267 ginning factories were operational in the country including 55 in Sindh.

District Sanghar again topped the list with cotton arrivals recorded at 1.496 million bales while district Rahinmyar Khan stood second with 1.378 million bales and Bahawalnagar district ranked third with 1.335 million bales.

Oil prices extend gains in Asia

SINGAPORE (AFP): Oil edged higher in Asia Tuesday, extending gains from the previous day after US firms cut drilling activity, but analysts doubt the rebound will be sustained as supplies still far outweigh demand. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery rose 36 cents to $49.93 while Brent crude for March gained 44 cents to $55.19 in afternoon trade. On Monday, WTI punched through the psychological mark of $50 a barrel before closing at $49.57 while Brent tested $55 mark before ending at $54.75. “With the phenomenon of month-end rollover action taking place these two days, such wide moves are to be expected,” said Nicholas Teo, market analyst with CMC Markets in Singapore.

“However, the increasingly wide oversupply and weak demand imbalance for this resource won’t allow a sustained recovery for oil in the near term,” he said in a market commentary.

Oil has lost more than 50 percent of its value since June last year when the commodity was sitting at more than $100 a barrel, largely due to a surge in global reserves boosted by robust US shale production.

However, some analysts say the collapse in prices will force US companies to slash output.

The weekly Baker Hughes rig count, a barometer of drilling activity in the United States, showed a record drop of 94 oil rigs to 1,223 for the week ending January 30.

The cuts in drilling rigs came on the heels of announcements by Chevron, ConocoPhillips and other major producers that they will slash capital budgets in 2015.

Bosan for improving agri production

islamabad (INP):The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and the U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA) convened a one-day “Symposium on the Public-Private Partnership to Manage Soil Fertility in Pakistan” on Tuesday at a local hotel in Islamabad with the objective to highlight the significance of balanced fertilization and to create awareness among fertilizer industry, farmers, academia and agricultural extension workers on the importance of balanced fertilization in food security and sustainable agriculture.

The symposium brought together approximately 45 participants from the Agricultural Services Department of Fertilizer industry, Punjab and Sindh Government Agri. Extension Departments, Research and Agricultural Information Departments, Farmers Associates, International Potash Institute - Switzerland, Academia, PARC, USDA and FAO to share experiences, case studies, initiatives and ideas on the public-private partnership to manage soil fertility.