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Oil rises on China outlook, supply worries after Turkey earthquake

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Oil prices rose for a second straight session on Tuesday, driven by optimism about recovering demand in China, and concerns over supply shortages following the shutdown of a major export terminal after an earthquake in Turkey. Brent crude futures rose 82 cents, or 1.01%, to $81.81 per barrel by 0300 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate futures rose 82 cents, or 1.11%, to $74.93 per barrel. "Crude prices are rising on expectations that China's recovery will take hold and on supply outages from the earthquake that devastated Turkey," said Edward Moya, analyst at OANDA. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects half of this year's global oil demand growth to come from China, the agency's chief said on Sunday, adding that jet fuel demand was surging. Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, raised prices for its flagship crude for Asian buyers for the first time in six months amid expectations of oil demand recovery, especially from China. Operations at Turkey's 1 million barrel per day (bpd) oil export terminal in Ceyhan were halted after a major earthquake hit the region. The BTC terminal, which exports Azeri crude oil to international markets, will be closed on Feb. 6-8. Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ bank in Sydney, also pointed to the shutdown of the 535,000-bpd Phase 1 of the Johan Sverdrup oil field in Norway's area of the North Sea as a major driver of prices. The oil markets will closely watch the U.S. Federal Reserve's chair Jerome Powell's speech on Wednesday, analysts said. Interest rate hikes typically strengthen the dollar, which could make crude more expensive for non-American buyers. "The rebound in oil prices is more like a cautious move ahead of Fed Powell's speech tomorrow, when the Fed chairman may provide more clues on the future rate hike path," Tina Teng, an analyst at CMC Markets,

Oil prices rose for a second straight session on Tuesday, driven by optimism about recovering demand in China, and concerns over supply shortages following the shutdown of a major export terminal after an earthquake in Turkey.

Brent crude futures rose 82 cents, or 1.01%, to $81.81 per barrel by 0300 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate futures rose 82 cents, or 1.11%, to $74.93 per barrel.

“Crude prices are rising on expectations that China’s recovery will take hold and on supply outages from the earthquake that devastated Turkey,” said Edward Moya, analyst at OANDA.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects half of this year’s global oil demand growth to come from China, the agency’s chief said on Sunday, adding that jet fuel demand was surging.

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Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, raised prices for its flagship crude for Asian buyers for the first time in six months amid expectations of oil demand recovery, especially from China.

Operations at Turkey’s 1 million barrel per day (bpd) oil export terminal in Ceyhan were halted after a major earthquake hit the region. The BTC terminal, which exports Azeri crude oil to international markets, will be closed on Feb. 6-8.

Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ bank in Sydney, also pointed to the shutdown of the 535,000-bpd Phase 1 of the Johan Sverdrup oil field in Norway’s area of the North Sea as a major driver of prices.

The oil markets will closely watch the U.S. Federal Reserve’s chair Jerome Powell’s speech on Wednesday, analysts said. Interest rate hikes typically strengthen the dollar, which could make crude more expensive for non-American buyers.

“The rebound in oil prices is more like a cautious move ahead of Fed Powell’s speech tomorrow, when the Fed chairman may provide more clues on the future rate hike path,” Tina Teng, an analyst at CMC Markets,

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Budget 2024-25: Sindh announces up to 30pc increase in salaries

Budget 2024-25: Sindh announces up to 30pc increase in salaries

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Budget 2024-25: Sindh announces up to 30pc increase in salaries

The Sindh government has proposed up to 30 percent increase in salaries of its employees in the budget for next fiscal year 2024-25. 

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of finance minister, presented the budget in the provincial assembly on Friday. 

He said the government had proposed 30pc increase in salaries of officials from Grade 1 to 6, adding that there was 25pc increase for officials of Grade 7 to 16. Similarly, officers from Grade 17 to 22 would get 22pc hike in their salaries. 

Furthermore, the provincial government has propsed 15pc increase in pension of the retired employees. 

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Presenting the budget with a total outlay of Rs3,352 billion, he said, the government had decided to allocate Rs959 billion for development projects.

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Rs37,000 minimum wage: Sindh follows in the footstep of federal govt, Punjab

Rs37,000 minimum wage: Sindh follows in the footstep of federal govt, Punjab

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Rs37,000 minimum wage: Sindh follows in the footstep of federal govt, Punjab

The Sindh government has revised the minimum wage for unskilled labourers to Rs37,000 in line with decisions of the federal and Punjab governments. 

The minimum salary has been increased by Rs5,000 as previously it stood at Rs32,000. The proposal was laid forth by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2024-25. 

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has proposed up to 30 percent increase in salaries of its employees in the budget for next fiscal year 2024-25. 

The chief minister said the government had proposed 30pc increase in salaries of officials from Grade 1 to 6, adding that there was 25pc increase for officials of Grade 7 to 16. Similarly, officers from Grade 17 to 22 would get 22pc hike in their salaries. 

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Furthermore, the provincial government has propsed 15pc increase in pension of the retired employees.

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Budget 2024-25: Let’s figure out the cost of essentials

Budget 2024-25: Let’s figure out the cost of essentials

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Budget 2024-25: Let's figure out the cost of essentials

The federal government has announced a staggering Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) worth Rs1,500 billion. 

According to the budget document, all federal divisions have been allocated budget, except the Poverty Alleviation and Special Safety Division, which deals directly with matters concerning 95 million people who are living in abject poverty. 

Sadly, the Poverty Alleviation and Special Safety Division gets nothing in the PSDP 2024-25. 

Worse still, the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety does not have any minister as its head, rendering it almost moribund for more than 10 months. Earlier, Dr Sania Nishtar was chairing it during the PTI government, followed by Shazia Marri during the PDM government. 

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Last year, 12.5 million people slipped into poverty, which took it from 34.2pc to 39.4pc, according to the World Bank. 

The government has conveniently ignored the poor in the budget. Other than announcing Rs598.71billion under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), no substantial amount has been earmarked for reducing poverty. 

Your next read: BUDGET 2024-25 – A LAYMAN’S GUIDE 

Analysts believe that 27 percent increase in BISP from Rs471.3 billion to Rs598.71 billion has been made to placate the Pakistan Peoples Party, which may take the wind out of PML-N’s sails anytime. 

BURGEONING TAXES 

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On the other hand, if we delve into the details of burgeoning taxes, Sales Tax stands out in afflicting the poor the most. 

Now a sales tax of 10pc will be charged on stationery items. 

Tribal area residents who have been experiencing extreme poverty will now have to pay 6pc tax on the supply and import of plant machinery as well as electricity on both residential and commercial connections. 

Following the similar trajectory, a 10pc sales tax will be charged on the local supply of vermicelli, buns, poultry feed, cattle feed, sunflower seed meal, newsprint, books, oil cakes and tractors. 

On mobile phones whose value is less than $500 (Rs139,240), 18pc tax has been imposed. If the value of purchased phone exceeds $500, an existing rate of 25pc will remain unchanged. 

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Earlier, the retailers of leather and textile products who paid 15pc sales tax will now have to pay 18pc tax. 

Drug prices will increase massively as the sales tax on raw materials used in production of pharmaceutical items has been raised to 18pc from 1pc. This will be applicable on medical treatment, diagnostic equipment, heart surgery, neurosurgery, electrophysiology, endoscopy, endosurgery, oncology, urology, gynaecology, disposables and other medical equipment.

Besides, 20pc sales tax on import of syringes, needles, catheters, cannulae, blood collection tube of glass and blood collection tube of PET.

Moreover, charitable hospitals with 50 or more beds will pay 18pc sales tax on imported medical goods. 

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