No longer selling refined petroleum to Iran: RIL

Washington: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) has informed the United States that it has stopped selling refined petroleum products to Iran, reports PTI quoting the US State Department.

In addition to RIL, several other petrochemical companies from other countries have also assured the US government that they are not selling refined fuel products to Iran.

As part of efforts to increase pressure on the government of Iran to discontinue its alleged nuclear weapons programme, the US has been aggressively urging foreign governments and companies to avoid commercial activity in Iran's energy sector, the State Department said after releasing a list of such companies.

"The results of the state department's efforts are clear: companies are recognising the increased risks of doing business in Iran and terminating their operations there or committing not to engage in any new activities in Iran," the State Department said a day after the Obama administration slapped another set of sanctions on certain Iranian individuals accused of human rights violations.

French oil group Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Kuwait's Independent Petroleum Group and India's Reliance informed the State Department that they have stopped refined product sales to Iran earlier this year, it said.

In addition, Turkish refiner Tupras told the State Department in August that it had cancelled contracts to supply gasoline to Iran.

Swiss energy traders Vitol, Glencore, and Trafigura all gave a public commitment in March, 2010, that they will not supply refined petroleum products to Iran, while Russian oil firm LUKOIL announced in April that it had ceased gasoline sales to Iran, it said.

LUKOIL reconfirmed this commitment to US officials on 2nd September after press reports to the contrary, the statement said.

BP and Shell have told the State Department they are no longer supplying jet fuel to Iran Air, it said.

In upstream projects, Shell, Total, ENI and Statoil have all ended or are in the process of terminating their activities in Iran and have all committed not to engage in any new activities there, the State Department said.

Shell and Repsol have abandoned negotiations over development of phases 13 and 14 of the South Pars gas field and have committed to us not to engage in any further discussions with Iran, it added.

What is more, South Korea's GS Engineering & Construction announced on 1st July that it had cancelled a $1.2 billion gas processing project in Iran, while Lloyds of London had announced on 9th July that it will not insure or reinsure petroleum shipments going into Iran.

The State Department noted that key shipping associations have created clauses in contracts that enable ship-owners to refuse to deliver refined petroleum cargoes to Iran.

Recently, Hong Kong shipping company NYK Line Ltd announced that it had decided to withdraw from trade with Iran, the State Department said.


Friday’s Market Preview: Global cues indicate a flat-to-positive opening

The Indian market is likely to open flat-to-positive today on decent global cues. The US markets took a breather on the last trading day of September, despite strong economic data in the world’s largest economy. Business activity unexpectedly rose and fewer workers filed claims for jobless benefits, easing economic concerns. Markets in Asia were trading higher this morning as investors resorted to bargain-hunting. The SGX Nifty was up 30 points at 6,057 against its previous close of 6,027.

The market opened steady on unsupportive global cues yesterday. Choppy trading on the futures and options (F&O) contract expiry day saw the indices dipping in and out of the red on a couple of occasions. The weekly inflation numbers pushed the market to the day's lows but a splendid recovery at the fag end of the session resulted in a close above the crucial levels. The Sensex closed at 20,069, up 112.78 points (0.57%), off its mid-session high of 20,114. The Nifty settled 38.65 points (0.65%) higher at 6,030.

The US markets took a breather on Thursday after the recent gains, despite strong economic data. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s business barometer rose to 60.4 in September, beating analysts’ expectations. The number of applications filing for jobless benefits fell by 16,000 to 453,000 in the week ended 25th September while unemployment rose to 9.6%.  This apart, the economy grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed. The increase in gross domestic product compares with a 1.6% estimate issued last month.

The Dow fell 47.23 points (0.44%) to 10,788. The S&P 500 fell 3.53 points (0.31%) to 1,141. The Nasdaq fell 7.94 points (0.33%) to 2,368.

Markets in Asia were trading higher this morning as investors resorted to bargain-hunting, picking up stocks at lower values. In economic news, China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for September improved to 53.8, compared with 51.7 in August while Japan’s August core consumer price index fell 1.0% on year, compared with a 1.1% drop in July, marking the eighteenth-straight month of decline. Upbeat data from the US also aided the gains.

The KLSE Composite gained 0.23%, Nikkei 225 surged 0.91%, Straits Times rose 0.25%, and the Seoul Composite was up 0.31%. On the other hand, Taiwan Weighted shed 0.11% in early trade. Markets are closed in Hong Kong and China for a public holiday.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Thursday said the government has received "valuable" suggestions on opening multi-brand retail to foreign direct investment (FDI) and the decision on the issue will be guided by national interest.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under Mr Sharma's charge, has initiated a debate on the politically sensitive issue of allowing FDI in the multi-brand retail. It has received inputs from different stakeholders, besides the wings of the government, on the concept paper which was floated in July.


Fiscal deficit falls 17% to Rs1.5 lakh crore during April-Aug

New Delhi: The Centre's fiscal deficit fell by 16.93% to Rs1,51,425 crore during April-August, 2010, year-on-year, on increased revenues from the auction of third generation (3G) spectrum, or radio waves, for mobile telephony, reports PTI.


The deficit represents 39.7% of the estimate for the current financial year. The budget for 2010-11 estimates the fiscal deficit, which represents excess government expenditure over its revenue, at Rs3,81,408 crore.


Towards the end of the first quarter of this fiscal, the government had collected over Rs1.06 lakh crore through the sale of spectrum for both 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) services against the budget target of Rs35,000 crore.


In the first five months of 2010-11, non-tax revenue receipts were Rs1,52,299 crore, crossing the full year target of Rs1,48,118 crore, mainly due to robust response for spectrum sale.


During the corresponding period last year, non-tax revenue receipts were at 35.9% of the estimate.


On the other hand, tax revenue receipts during April-August period reached 25.9% of 2010-11 estimate at Rs1,38,500 crore. The overall revenue receipts target is pegged at Rs5,34,094 crore for the current fiscal.


The total expenditure in the first five months of the current fiscal stood at Rs4,47,703 crore, thereby reaching 40.4% of the target for the full year.


The plan expenditure during April-August period was at Rs1,36,454 crore while non-plan expenditure stood at Rs3,11,249 crore.


The government's expenditure for the current fiscal is targeted at Rs11,08,749 crore.


The Centre's fiscal deficit targets went awry after it provided stimulus to the economy since December 2008 to blunt the impact of global financial crisis.


Against the target of reducing the deficit to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2008-09, as per the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, the Centre saw it double to around 6.2% that year.


Last fiscal, the deficit crossed 6.5%. After partial withdrawal of stimulus in the budget for 2010-11, fiscal deficit is now pegged at lower 5.5% of GDP in the current financial year.

 The Centre's revenue deficit in the first five months of the current fiscal stood at Rs1,00,352 crore, representing 36.3% of the target for the full fiscal.



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