05062016Fri
Last update: Fri, 06 May 2016 08am

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A quick recap for those who missed out on "The cotton crunch (I)" (Published May 4, 2016): Cotton arrivals this year are down by 34 percent due to late sowing, untimely rains, and pests, among other things. A policy decision might be in the offing: whether or not to remove the RD on cotton imports. But this article is about what the industry really needs - research and better quality seeds.
Oil prices might have pushed higher as raging wildfire near Canadas oil sands threatened production, but the uptrend in the commodity price has been noticeable in the ongoing year. Meanwhile, geopolitical tension in Libya has also disrupted around 120,000 barrels of oil per day.
There was a time when stocks at Pakistan Stock Exchange would tumble on fears of various taxes to be implemented on trading and investment activities. For many years market participants played tug of war with different governments, pushing the indices south a month before the federal budget announcements, until the governments either rolled back or otherwise lowered tax rates a month after the announcements due to the pressure from market participants.
Urea off-take has not picked up. The National Fertilizer Development Centre (NFDC) released fertilizer statistics for April, showing monthly urea off-take was at its lowest since 1998, at just 114 thousand tons. The 1QCY16 urea off-take is also at a five-year low. Farm economics has surely not picked up, as feared.
WTO Director General met with officials in the government on Monday and said what everyone already knows: that Pakistan has great export potential if it overcame the energy crisis, focused on competitiveness, diversified its export base and lowered cost of doing business.
Could it be true? Is the benchmark stock exchange finally going to cross the all time high it made last year? Well, it appears so. Just until a few weeks, market participants were bemoaning about the brooding political crisis emerging from Panama Leaks. But the last seven days seems to suggest that Panama is now history even as "jalsas" strike the heart and the capital of Pakistan.
Pakistan is about to start its mango export season, and chances are that this year will bring mixed blessings for the sector. The official mango export season traditionally starts during the third week of May and according to experts, Punjab is expecting above average produce of mango, while the produce in Sindh has suffered quite a lot due to climatic changes and infestations.