Oil refinery project: Chinese team visits Gwadar
In order to materialise the $4.5 billion oil refinery project in Gwadar,...
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Dec 18 that the large-scale manufacturing (LSM) output decreased 6.5% in July-October of the current fiscal year compared to the same period of previous year. The contraction was steeper in October 2019 as LSM recorded a dip of 8% over the same month of previous year, according to the PBS. Former finance minister Dr Hafiz Pasha said “Cost-push factors have adversely affected the output in large industries.” A constant increase in the cost of energy, raw material, working capital and double digit interest rate of 13.25% affected the production cost as well as the profits of firms, he added. The State Bank of Pakistan has pushed the key policy rate to 13.25%, which was 6.5% in May 2018. After earlier increasing gas prices by 161% in two phases, the government is now again considering hiking gas prices by another 214% with effect from January. Prices of goods have been increasing at a time when the purchasing power of people is shrinking, which has also affected sales. Out of 15 major industries, seven big industries recorded some growth while the output in eight industries contracted in the July-October period, according to the PBS.