Denmark’s Maersk Tankers ends Iran shipping after US reimpose sanctions

A cargo ship owned by Maersk arrives into New York harbor on April 9, 2018 in New York City. (AFP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Denmark’s Maersk Tankers ends Iran shipping after US reimpose sanctions

  • Maersk Tankers would honour customer agreements entered into before May 8, but then wind them down by November 4, as required by the re-imposed US sanctions
  • The nuclear deal, reached in July 2015 between Iran and Germany, China, the US, France, Britain and Russia, called for Tehran to freeze its nuclear programme in exchange for getting some international sanctions lifted

COPENHAGEN: Danish shipping group Maersk Tankers on Thursday said it would cease its activities in Iran due to the US's decision to leave a landmark nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions against Tehran.
Maersk Tankers would honour customer agreements entered into before May 8, but then wind them down by November 4, "as required by the re-imposed US sanctions," the company told AFP.
A former subsidiary of the Danish maritime group AP Moller-Maersk, Maersk Tankers was in October 2017 sold for $1.17 billion to APMH Invest, a subsidiary of the investment A.P. Moller Holding.
The nuclear deal, reached in July 2015 between Iran and Germany, China, the US, France, Britain and Russia, called for Tehran to freeze its nuclear programme in exchange for getting some international sanctions against the Islamic Republic lifted.
Washington announced in early May that it would withdraw from the agreement and reimpose sanctions against Tehran.
Iran's oil exports amounted to one million barrels a day, mostly to Asia and some European countries, before sanctions were lifted. They have since climbed to 2.5 million barrels.


Pakistan rupee set to come under more pressure

Updated 27 May 2018
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Pakistan rupee set to come under more pressure

  • Exchange companies are required to maintain record of all buy and sell transactions equivalent to $500
  • Dollar supply declines from $3m per day to only $1m as buyer and seller decline to share identification data

KARACHI: The Pakistan rupee could face further pressure this week, in the midst of the country’s chronic foreign currency shortage and speculation of a third currency devaluation, analysts said.
The currency, which has been exposed to rising external financing requirements and lower remittances, touched 119.05 rupees to the dollar on Friday, closing at 118.70 rupees to the dollar on Saturday in the open market.
“People think that in coming days the rupee would be further under pressure due to increasing demand for the dollar so they start buying anticipating a dollar shortage,” Zeeshan Afzal, executive director-research at Insight Securities, told Arab News.
“Perception and real need (demand) drives the currency exchange market in both ways,” he said.
The rupee has been impacted by Pakistan’s historic high current account deficit of $14 billion that has widened because of increasing imports, insufficient exports and workers’ remittances.
“In Ramadan, the inflow of remittances has declined, demand for dollar from those going for Umrah has increased,” Muzamil Aslam, senior economist and CEO of EFG-Hermes Pakistan told Arab News.
Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service last week forecast that the rupee could weaken to 125 to the dollar by June of next year.
The country’s central bank has already let the currency decline by 10 percent against the dollar in the past six months via devaluations in December and March.
Demand for dollars usually comes from general public, investors and importers, said Afzal.
“As our imports are more than our exports and other foreign exchange inflows, the pressure on US dollar (reserves) keeps mounting,” he said.

 

Pakistan is also taking steps against money laundering as part of its international commitment to combat terror financing, ahead of a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force meeting in June, when Pakistan will be greylisted.
As part of the measures, State Bank of Pakistan recently directed currency exchange companies to maintain records of identification documents of customers for all foreign currency transactions worth $500 or more, in line with similar thresholds in other international jurisdictions.
“The move of State Bank of Pakistan is aimed at documenting the transactions in order to discourage terror financing,” said Afzal, who added that such requirements had little impact on exchange rates.
But foreign exchange dealers have claimed that lowering the transaction threshold for identification requirements from $2,500 to $500 has negatively impacted business.
“Our daily surplus supply of dollar was around $3 million per day until a week ago, when the central bank’s measures were not enforced,”,Malik Bostan, president of the Forex Association of Pakistan, told Arab News.
“Now the supply is now down to only $1 million per day as currency exchange business has shifted to unregistered dealers.”
“There are around 30,000 unlicensed currency dealers all over Pakistan,” he claimed, adding that the majority of buyers and sellers do not want to share their identification and choose to go to unregistered dealers.
“We have asked the central bank to come up with necessary laws to protect registered currency dealers,” Bostan said. 
“Despite facing adverse business situation we have assured our support to central bank to take whatever steps are needed to get the Pakistan off the grey list of FATF.”
He said that the pressure on the dollar was unusual in the month of Ramadan when dollar inflows typically rise.

FACTOID

Pakistan's current account deficit has reached a historic high of about $14 billion.