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KARACHI: Local gold prices touched an all-time high of Rs77,300 and Rs66,272 per tola and 10-gram, respectively, after international rates soared to five-year peak on Thursday.

The yellow metal surged to $1,386.42 per ounce before settling at $1,383.04 gaining $28 per ounce in the intraday trade — the highest since March 2014 triggered by a sharp decline in the dollar.

The dealers also justified the increase in local gold prices pointing to the bullish rally in international prices which have risen from $1,283 per ounce on Jan 1 to $1,386.42.

All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association (ASSJA) increased prices of per tola and 10-gram by Rs1,800 and Rs1,152 after a massive jump of $28 per ounce on the world markets.

Consumers have also decreased their spending on gold jewellery and moved towards artificial and silver jewellery for marriage and other festivities in the ongoing wedding season as prices continue to rise.

Chairman All Pakistan Jewellers Association Mohammad Arshad said “there is hardly 20 per cent sales of jewellery [compared to the previous season] despite booming marriage season after Eid.”

In addition to the rising international prices, persistent depreciation of the local currency coupled with rising inflation have discouraged gold buying.

ASSJA spokesman said local gold rates are determined keeping in view the demand and supply situation, impact of rupee-dollar parity and prevailing rates in Dubai gold markets.

He also said that normally, during the wedding season, consumers bring their old jewellery ornaments to be replaced with new ones but the situation is not the same this time around.

“In case, jewellery sales remain subdued on rising prices based on climbing world rates and rupee-dollar parity, our jewellery processing factories at the risk of closing down, rendering thousands of workers jobless,” he feared.

Pakistan’s gold imports have surged by 31pc to 300 kilograms in the 10 months of the ongoing fiscal year. On the other hand, jewellery exports plunged by 22pc to $4.25 during the same period.

The government has also been gold assets in its amnesty scheme and urged the traders to declare their gold stocks or risk penalties.



SAN FRANCISCO: Apple on Tuesday introduced its first new iPod model in four years, highlighting music and games as it continued to make a priority of serving up digital content.

The new-generation iPod touch, essentially an iPhone without the phone calls, was available in more than two dozen countries at Apple’s online shop starting at $199.

“We’re making the most affordable iOS device even better with performance that is twice as fast as before, Group FaceTime and augmented reality,” said Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak.

“The ultra-thin and lightweight design of iPod touch has always made it ideal for enjoying games, music and so much more wherever you go.”

The iPod touch evolved from the original iPod digital music player first launched by Apple in 2001.

The iPod touch became popular with people, particularly parents of internet-coveting children, who wanted mobile devices for getting online without the cost of telecommunications services.

The mobile devices can connect to the internet using Wi-Fi hotspots.

Apple earlier this year unveiled streaming video plans along with news and game subscription offerings as part of an effort to shift its focus to digital content and services to break free of its reliance on iPhone sales.

An Apple TV+ service, an on-demand, ad-free subscription service, will launch this year in 100 countries, the company said.

Apple News+ was launched in the US and Canada in English and French and will be available later this year in Britain and Australia, the company said.

Separately, the company said it was launching a new game subscription service called Apple Arcade later this year with at least 100 titles at launch.

“iOS is the world’s largest gaming platform, and with three times faster graphics, games on the new iPod touch run even smoother and look even more beautiful,” Apple said in a release.

The first new iPod since the year 2015 comes as Apple shifts to emphasize digital content and other services to offset a pullback in the once-sizzling smartphone market, and with many news organizations struggling to monetize their online services.



WASHINGTON: The US auto safety agency is probing reports of potential unintended braking in 675,000 2017-2018 Nissan Motor Co Ltd Rogue vehicles, it said on Friday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is opening a defect petition review in response to a request by the Center for Auto Safety.

The agency will look at reports of the vehicles’ automatic emergency braking system engaging with no apparent obstruction in the vehicle’s path. There are no reports of injuries or deaths associated with the petition.

Nissan said it had investigated the issue extensively and after talks with NHTSA, as well as its Canadian counterpart, Transport Canada, it had notified all affected Rogue vehicle customers in the United States and Canada of a software update.

“As always, Nissan will continue to work collaboratively with NHTSA and Transport Canada on all matters of product safety,” Nissan said in a statement.

Nissan faces a class-action lawsuit over unintended braking issues in US District Court in California covering Nissan and Infiniti vehicles sold since 2015. The suit says a defect can trigger the brakes and cause vehicles “to abruptly slow down or come to a complete stop in the middle of traffic.”



PARIS: US ride-hailing group Uber said Wednesday that it would start deploying electric bikes and scooters for rent on Paris streets as soon as this week, joining a crowded market which city officials have vowed to rein in.

Initially 500 of its Jump bikes and 500 scooters will be rolled out, before Uber extends the programme to Paris suburbs and other French cities.

They will be so-called “dockless” rentals that can be picked up and left anywhere, a system that has proved a headache for residents who often find them blocking pavements or strewn across the city’s picturesque squares.

An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.

This month Paris said it would start imposing fines of 135 euros ($150) for riding scooters on pavements, and 35 euros for improper parking.

Like the other nine scooter operators in the city, Uber will also have to pay an annual licensing fee of 50 to 65 euros per scooter, depending on the size of its fleet.

And Uber said it had already signed the code of good conduct unveiled by Paris officials last week.

Rental prices for both the bikes and scooters will be the same: a one-euro unlocking fee and then 15 cents per minute.

The bikes will have a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph), while the scooters can reach 20 km/h.

Uber bought Jump, a fellow San Francisco-based start-up, last year. Its bright-red bikes are already present in several US cities as well as in Lisbon and Berlin.

Uber had already announced Tuesday its plans to develop scooter offerings across Europe, beginning with Madrid.



Under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)-II between Pakistan and China, which is expected to be signed during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China for the Belt and Road Forum, Pakistan is expected to export more than 300,000 metric tons of sugar to China. With this rise in exports, Pakistan is expected to generate more than $110 million in revenue. It is also expected that Pakistan’s exports to China are expected to rise up to $3.2 billion by 2020, under the FTA-II.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will start exporting 300,000 metric tonnes (MT) of sugar to China from the month of June 2019.

Beijing has placed the order with Islamabad after signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and resultantly the trade between both countries have surged.

Pakistan expects to generate more than 110 million US$ in revenue from the export of sugar to China.

Pakistan’s exports to China are expected to reach 2.2billion US$ in the ongoing calendar year and 3.2billion US$ in 2020.



TOKYO: Sony chairman Kazuo Hirai, who led a major and successful overhaul at the Japanese electronics giant, announced Thursday he would be leaving the firm after 35 years.

The company said that Hirai would retire as chairman but would continue to provide “counsel as requested by Sony’s management team.”

The 58-year-old had already stepped down from the key chief executive role last April after spending the previous six years pulling the firm out of deep financial trouble.

The company veteran was tapped in April 2012 to revive the once-iconic manufacturer of the Walkman, which was then suffering from huge losses largely tied to a hard-hit consumer electronics business.

Hirai led an aggressive restructuring drive at Sony, cutting thousands of jobs while selling business units and assets.

“I have decided to depart from Sony, which has been a part of my life for the past 35 years,” said Hirai.

He had handed over last year as CEO to Kenichiro Yoshida, whom he praised for his “strong leadership” that was to lead to an “even brighter future for Sony”.

Last month, Sony reported that its nine-month net profits had jumped 63 percent year-on-year, led by its games and music divisions.

However, it lowered its annual sales forecast, citing slower-than-expected sales in a range of fields including the key semiconductor unit.

In recent years, smartphone components and the top-selling PlayStation 4 games console have boosted its bottom line.

During his tenure, Hirai repeatedly shrugged off pleas to abandon Sony’s television unit, which he insisted was central to the firm’s core business.

He also tried to capture the youth market, notably with moves such as reviving the firm’s robot dog “Aibo”, to great fanfare



Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) Quetta has foiled a major attempt to smuggle foreign origin items under the garb of Zaireen buses coming from Iran through Taftan. Sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that the MCC Quetta has launched a massive crackdown against Zaireen Buses loaded with smuggling goods.

In pursuance of credible information the anti smuggling squad of collectorate of Customs Quetta foiled a bid of smuggling of foreign origin goods in the grab of Zaireen returning from Iran via Taftan. Accordingly on 19.8.2018 at around 01:00 am, 8 mobile squads of this Collectorate assisted by local police raided buses after disembarkation of Zaireen at Marriabad Quetta and after three hours long operation, seized 10 buses recovering miscellaneous smuggled goods including tyres, carpets crockery cumin (zeera), garments, PP bags, cooking oil and other edible items. The market value of the smuggled goods is more than Rs 20 million and value of seized buses is around Rs 2.35 million. Collector appreciated team for this activity since it is called one of the hardest assignments.

These elements are since long busy to take the shelter of Zaireen buses and continuous their heinous work in the garb of zaireen buses. The team headed by Collector MCC Quetta Ashraf Ali, Additional Collector Zubair Shah, Deputy Collector Maqbool Baloch, Superintendents Aslam Khan, Inspectors, Shahzad Akhtar, Naseer Shaheen, Ghulam Hussain Khoso, Muhammad Shabir Khan, Essa Khan, Ahmed Nawaz Zehri, Jameel Kakar, and Staff hawaldars and sepoyes participated.



Customs Intelligence, Karachi has foiled a major attempt of fraudulent clearance of imported goods including old/used machinery imported from Korea/UAE through mis-declaration and violations of import conditions. Sources in the Customs Intelligence has confirmed that in pursuance of the said received information regarding mis-declaration of description and clearance of undeclared goods from Karachi port, the Customs Intelligence Karachi, blocked four consignments comprising of old/used machinery imported from Korea/UAE by M/s Fatima Traders, M/s M A Impex, M/s Sinco Steel Re-Rolling Mills & M/s Toheed Brothers respectively.

Customs Intelligence officials, on a specific information of its Director General, Shaukat Ali, has foiled a major attempt of fraudulent clearance of imported goods, by way of mis-declaration and breach of the import restrictions in vogue, at Karachi. The consignments were cleared through the red channel (after examination) from MCC, Appraisement (West), Karachi vide GDs filed through clearing agent.

The staff of Customs Intelligence had to face stiff resistance from the terminal operator vis-à-vis grounding / examination of the containers despite the fact that they were blocked at ‘gate out’ stage after completion of all codal formalities by the clearance Collectorate, including even issuance of the gate passes. The terminal operator repeatedly obstructed the re-examination process and also attempted to get the grounded containers re-stuffed and closed on the purported instructions of the clearance Collectorate. Re-examinations were eventually carried out by the Customs Intelligence to ascertain the factual position. As a result, huge differences have been unearthed resulting in evasion/short levy of duty/taxes besides clearance of used items in violation of Appendix-C of the Import Policy Order, 2016. Total assessable value of four consignments comes to Rs 27.01 million as against declared value of Rs 19.345 million, involving evasion of duty / taxes to the tune of Rs 4.492 million, sources said.

The consignments have been accordingly seized under the relevant provisions of the Customs Act, 1969. Criminal proceedings have also been initiated against the importers, clearing agent and the relevant Customs staff and further investigation is in progress, the sources added.



Directorate General Customs Valuation (DGCV) has revised the customs values of AC asynchronous moving motor under section 25(7) of the Customs Act, 1969. According to DGCV, a large number of representations were received that AC asynchronous moving motor (up to 07 watt) were being declared and assessed at lower values. Therefore, an exercise was initiated to determine the customs values of subject goods under section 25A of the Customs Act, 1969.

The meetings with stakeholders were held in March and August in which participants stated that AC/DC motors ranging up to 37 watt had different specifications, weight and values.

Some of the stakeholders argued that value of AC asynchronous moving motor (up to 7 watt) are being assessed at much lower values hence the same may be determined as per international prices. Therefore, all available information and documents were examined for determination of customs values.

The valuation methods given in section 25 of the Customs Act, 1969 were followed sequentially. Transaction value method provided in section 25 (1) was found inapplicable because the requisite information was not available as per law.

However, Identical goods value methods provided in sub-section (5) & (6) of section 25 of the Customs Act, 1969 provided some reference values but due to wide variations in the declarations the same could not be relied upon exclusively.

Thereafter, market enquiry as envisaged under section 25(7) of the Customs Act, 1969, was conducted. Online prices were also obtained. Consequently, reliance was placed upon sub-section (7) of section 25 of the Customs Act, 1969, and customs values of AC asynchronous moving motor (up to 7 watt) are determined under section 25(7) of the Customs Act, 1969.



All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) has demanded to enhance free period to 10 days for the clearance of goods at ports. In a letter sent to the incumbent minister for ports and shipping Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the APCAA stated that the trade was allowed five days as free period which was not justifiable in the light of working hurdles i.e. lengthy procedures of different departments, malpractices, congestions at port terminals, freight forwarders and shipping agents delays, etc.

Therefore, the clearance of goods within aforesaid period appears formidable task except for green channel listed companies. It said that although the shipping Agents filed import manifests 72 hours prior to the arrival of vessels, no issue delivery offers were issued till its berthing; adding that importers were also intimated about the charges for the issuance of delivery orders after berthing of vessels. Resultantly, this whole process consumes 2 days of free period.

Moreover, APCAA said that 40 percent of goods were released in minutes through green channel and only 10 percent consignments took 72 hours for clearance through yellow channel however the rest of 50 percent consignments were discharged from ports in 4 to 7 days. Similarly, the customs department also carries goods examination, which takes 8 to 24 hours; the letter said and added that the assessment of duty and taxes by customs staff took further 8 to 72 hours. However, many departments which were involved in accordance with import policy order also consumed minimum 3 days.

APCAA further stated that taxpayers were keen to pay taxes but the system was inefficient that led escalating cost of doing business manifold. Therefore, the APCAA strongly urged the minister to allow 10 days as free period to avoid putting excessive financial burdens in terms of demurrages and other charges and facilitate the business community at maximum level.