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Pakistan petroleum imports down 2 pct in February

Written by: Staff
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KARACHI, Mar 27 (Reuters) Pakistan's petroleum imports fell around 2 per cent to 1.098 million tonnes in February from 1.121 million tonnes in January as rising prices forced consumers to switch to alternative energy sources, analysts said on Monday.

But there was little change in February imports compared with the same month last year, according to the latest data from the Federal Bureau of Statistics.

Asif Qureshi, head of research at brokers Invisor Securities, said high global oil prices had forced consumers to look to other sources for fuel.

''Many people have switched to natural gas, especially for vehicles, where more and more people are converting to CNG (compressed natural gas) to save money,'' he said.

However, analysts said there would be no sharp fall in petroleum imports as the country's energy needs were high on the back of a growing economy.

Pakistan's economy grew by 8.4 per cent in fiscal 2004/05 (July-June) -- its fastest growth for nearly two decades -- and the government is aiming for growth of around 7 per cent in 2005/06.

In terms of value, Pakistan's crude and petroleum product imports rose to 8.207 million in February, compared with 6.996 million in January and 8.238 million in February 2005.

For the July-February period, the total bill was .012 billion, compared with KARACHI, Mar 27 (Reuters) Pakistan's petroleum imports fell around 2 per cent to 1.098 million tonnes in February from 1.121 million tonnes in January as rising prices forced consumers to switch to alternative energy sources, analysts said on Monday.

But there was little change in February imports compared with the same month last year, according to the latest data from the Federal Bureau of Statistics.

Asif Qureshi, head of research at brokers Invisor Securities, said high global oil prices had forced consumers to look to other sources for fuel.

''Many people have switched to natural gas, especially for vehicles, where more and more people are converting to CNG (compressed natural gas) to save money,'' he said.

However, analysts said there would be no sharp fall in petroleum imports as the country's energy needs were high on the back of a growing economy.

Pakistan's economy grew by 8.4 per cent in fiscal 2004/05 (July-June) -- its fastest growth for nearly two decades -- and the government is aiming for growth of around 7 per cent in 2005/06.

In terms of value, Pakistan's crude and petroleum product imports rose to $488.207 million in February, compared with $486.996 million in January and $288.238 million in February 2005.

For the July-February period, the total bill was $4.012 billion, compared with $2.416 billion in the same period a year ago.

Analysts said the oil import bill for fiscal 2005/06 was likely to exceed $6 billion, compared with $4.4 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Total petroleum imports for the first eight months were 9.264 million tonnes, compared with 9.716 million tonnes during the same period last fiscal year, the bureau said.

Pakistan, which produces a little more than 65,000 barrels of oil a day, relies heavily on imported oil for its growing energy needs.

===================================================== (In tonnes) Feb Jan Feb 2005 ==================================================== Total Quantity 1,098,499 1,120,900 1,098,801 Petroleum Products 382,646 449,078 455,080 Petroleum Crude 715,853 671,882 643,721 ==================================================== REUTERS SD DS1603 .416 billion in the same period a year ago.

Analysts said the oil import bill for fiscal 2005/06 was likely to exceed billion, compared with .4 billion in the previous fiscal year.

Total petroleum imports for the first eight months were 9.264 million tonnes, compared with 9.716 million tonnes during the same period last fiscal year, the bureau said.

Pakistan, which produces a little more than 65,000 barrels of oil a day, relies heavily on imported oil for its growing energy needs.

===================================================== (In tonnes) Feb Jan Feb 2005 ==================================================== Total Quantity 1,098,499 1,120,900 1,098,801 Petroleum Products 382,646 449,078 455,080 Petroleum Crude 715,853 671,882 643,721 ==================================================== REUTERS SD DS1603

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