HPCL to double oil imports from Saudi Arabia next fiscal

HPCL has proposed to buy 3.5 million tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia in 2012-13 against 1.75 million tonnes of oil bought in current year. It will cut down purchase from Iran to 3 million tonnes in the year beginning April from 3.5 million tonnes in the current year

New Delhi: State-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) will double crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia next fiscal and cut purchases from Iran by over 14%, reports PTI.

HPCL in 2012-13 has proposed to buy 3.5 million tonnes of crude oil from Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia against 1.75 million tonnes of oil bought in current year, the company sources said.

It will cut down purchase from Iran to 3 million tonnes in the year beginning April from 3.5 million tonnes in the current year.

Indian refiners fear problems in paying for crude oil they buy from Iran after the US and European Union imposed fresh sanctions to deter the Islamic regime for its nuclear programme. The refiners are cutting imports from Iran by 10% next fiscal.

Sources said HPCL will keep purchases from Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Iraq and Malaysia unchanged in next fiscal.

It will buy 2.25 million tonnes from Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation, 2.25 million tonnes from State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) of Iraq, 1 million tonnes from Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and 1.25 million tonnes from Petronas of Malaysia.

HPCL’s total crude oil requirement for 2012-13 has been estimated at 18 million tonnes. Out of this, 14.25 million tonnes of crude is proposed to be imported through a combination of term and spot contracts, while the balance 3.75 million tonnes will be sourced from indigenous fields.

Of the imported crude, 11.25 million tonnes will be procured from national oil companies (NOCs) through term contracts, while the balance 3 million tonnes of crude will be sourced from the spot market.

Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals (MRPL) is India biggest buyer of Iranian oil at 7.1 million tonnes in current fiscal while Essar Oil buys 5 million tonnes. IOC has a term contract to buy 1.5 million tonnes while Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) could not commence its 1 million tonnes term imports from Iran this fiscal because it could not open an account with Turkey’s Halkbank for payment to NIOC.

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Govt will try to achieve 7.5-8% growth next fiscal: FM

“PMEAC has pegged growth over 7% this year and 7.5%-8% for next year. We will try to achieve that growth rate,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said while talking to reporters

New Delhi: The government will endeavour to raise the economic growth rate to 7.5% -8% in the next fiscal from about 7% currently, reports PTI quoting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“PMEAC (Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council) has pegged growth over 7% this year and 7.5%-8% for next year. We will try to achieve that growth rate,” he said while talking to reporters here.

The PMEAC in its review of economy released on Wednesday had projected a growth rate of 7.5%-8% for 2012-13. For the current fiscal, the council pegged the growth rate at 7.1%, marginally more than 6.9% projected by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

The economy grew by 8.4% in 2010-11.

Mr Mukherjee is expected to announce steps to boost the economy in the Budget for 2012-13 to be presented in the Lok Sabha on 16th March.

Referring to the concerns expressed by PMEAC on widening current account deficit (CAD), Mr Mukherjee said, “CAD is a matter of concern. I think we will be able to manage CAD.”

“Our export basket and destinations are getting diversified, with that exports should get a boost”, he added.

Making a case for reducing CAD, which reflects the gap in inflow and outflow of foreign exchange, PMEAC had said, “it will... be judicious to try and limit the CAD... especially as long as international financial markets continue to be adversely impacted by the troubles in the Eurozone.”

Pointing out that the CAD during 2011-12 was likely to be 3.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), the council had said that efforts were needed to bring it down to 2%-2.5%.

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Central Bank of India in pact with Tata Housing for loan to pensioners

“We have signed an agreement with Tata Housing for our newly developed home loan product that will be offered to the pensioners at the upcoming Tata Housing's project at Washim on Mumbai's northern outskirts," Central Bank general manager R Sangapure said.

State-owned Central Bank of India signed an agreement with Tata Housing to offer a special home loan product exclusively designed for pensioners.

"We have signed an agreement with Tata Housing for our newly developed home loan product that will be offered to the pensioners at the upcoming Tata Housing's project at Washim on Mumbai's northern outskirts," Central Bank general manager R Sangapure said. The product, CentHome Swabhiman Plus, which is yet to be approved by the regulator RBI, seeks to fund home buyers in the age group of 55-70 years at a concessional rate, he said. While loans under Rs30 lakh will attract only the bank's prevailing base rate, those above this amount will be available at 0.25% above the base rate. The bank has scrapped processing fee on loans under this product, he said.

Tata Housing is developing a township at Washim, where one of the projects with 150 housing units is being developed for pensioners. Tata Housing managing director Brotin Banerjee could not be reached for comments.

Explaining the rationale behind the product, Sangapure said, "This is aimed at helping the elderly as banks mostly do not lend to people after or near retirement. We thought of changing this and helping the needy home buyers.” The product seeks to offer reverse mortgage option to customers unable to service the loan after some time. It also seeks to fund the borrowers who want to avail of the special medical fund being created by Tata Housing, which has priced Washim housing units in Rs25-40 lakh range, Sangapure said.

About the city-based lender's plan to launch a special product to help redevelopment of old housing societies in Mumbai, which seeks to directly finance the residents of the society instead of the developer, as is the practice, he said, the bank will approach RBI again with the proposal. RBI has objected to the bank's plan to fund demolition and rehabilitation costs under this scheme, he said.

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