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Chinese banks agree to refinance Pakistan with $2.3 billion funding

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  • Miftah Ismail announces “good news” on his Twitter handle.
  • Finance minister says inflow will help shore up foreign exchange reserves.
  • “Inflow is expected shortly after some routine approvals from both sides,” he adds.

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said Thursday that Chinese banks have agreed to refinance Pakistan with $2.3 billion worth of funds which will “shore up Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves.”

Taking to his Twitter handle, Miftah wrote: “Good news. The terms and conditions for refinancing of RMB 15 billion deposit by Chinese banks (about $2.3 billion) have been agreed.”

The finance minister further added that inflow is expected “shortly” after some routine approvals from both sides, adding that this will help shore up the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

The news comes as a lifeline as the country is already facing an uncertain economic situation due to a delay in the revival of stalled multibillion-dollar International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

The development comes as a massive relief to economic policymakers that saw foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) fall to $10.09 billion, with the level staying at less than 1.5 months of import cover.

The agreement with Chinese banks is expected to bolster the reserves and enable the country to make import payments while lending some support to the rupee as well which has lost over 25% since the start of the outgoing fiscal year 2021-22.

IMF programme

The restoration of Pakistan’s delayed IMF programme rests on the government’s capacity to make fiscal adjustments of about 2.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP), or Rs2,000 billion, by increasing revenues and reducing expenditures in the upcoming budget 2022-23.

The IMF’s wish-list or demands do not end here, as the government must end petrol subsidies of Rs39 per litre and diesel subsidies of Rs53 per litre, raise electricity tariffs by Rs8 per unit via an increase in base tariff and fuel price adjustments, and increase gas tariffs by 20% on average to demonstrate its commitment to implementing the much-needed ‘reforms agenda’ under the advice of the IMF programme.

However, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail told The News that the staff-level agreement with the Fund was expected to be struck by mid-June 2022. 

It indicates that the staff-level agreement is expected only after the announcement of the next budget for 2022–23, in line with the IMF programme’s objectives.

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The KSE-100 Index rises following a sharp decline in the previous session.

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The government is considering filing a treason case under Article 6 against PTI founder Imran Khan, former president Arif Alvi, and former deputy speaker Qasim Suri. On Tuesday, the KSE-100 Index was up more than 1.3% during early trading, following a day of roughly a 2 percent loss due to growing political unrest and the potential banning of the party.

However, the benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was trading at 79,074.63 by 11:49 a.m., having gained 535.45 points, or 0.68 percent, after reaching an intraday high of 79,578.04.

Market analysts said that political tensions were the primary cause of the KSE-100’s earlier Monday decline of 1578.71 points, or 1.97 percent.

They did point out, though, that a correction was a reasonable reaction to the protracted upswing that allowed the benchmark mark index to reach 81,839.86 on July 18.

As a result of interest rate cuts and the possibility of another IMF program, the Pakistan Stock Exchange has gained 22.97 percent so far this year. The cycle began on June 10 with a 1.5 percent decrease in borrowing costs.

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In interbank trade, the US dollar crushes the Pakistani rupee.

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During interbank trade on Tuesday, the US dollar’s value increased by 15 paisas, reaching Rs 278.45.

It is important to remember that Fitch Business Monitor International expressed concern about the possibility that Pakistan’s economic stability may be jeopardized by the ongoing political unrest.

The fragile situation of Pakistan’s economic recovery was emphasized by Fitch in its most recent Pakistan Country Risk Report, which also noted that economic activity has been impeded by urban protests.

(PTI),In spite of multiple successful judicial appeals, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is expected to stay behind bars, the article notes, underscoring the fragile political environment.

With no urgent plans for new elections, this scenario suggests that the coalition administration will remain in office for the next 18 months.

Fitch also described an eventuality in which the government could change and be replaced by a technocratic administration. This suggests that the government of Pakistan would carry out the reforms demanded by the IMF, contributing to the 3.2% GDP growth expected in 2024–2025.

The policy rate has stabilized above projections, while the research predicted it may reach 16 percent this fiscal year and 14 percent the following year.

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Pakistan’s gold prices per kilogram dropped.

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When 24-karat gold dropped by Rs. 500 to Rs. 250,500 per tola on Tuesday, the price of gold fell once again on both the local and international gold markets.

By Rs429 to Rs214,763, 10 grams of gold cost less, according to the Gold Sellers Association.

Gold’s price per ounce dropped to $2391 on the international market by $11.

At Rs2920 per tola, the price of silver did not change.

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