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Gold extends downward spiral in Pakistan

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  • Gold price declines by Rs700 per tola,
  • Per tola rate settles at Rs197,300.
  • Silver price remain unchanged.

Gold extended its downward spiral on Tuesday for the fourth consecutive session as the Pakistan rupee continues to strengthen against the US dollar in both — interbank and open markets — fading the shine of the yellow metal.

The price of gold (24 carats) fell by Rs700 per tola and Rs600 per 10 grams to settle at Rs197,300 and Rs169,153, respectively, according to All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA).

The price of yellow metal fell Rs9,200 per tola in four trading sessions which was more than the amount it cumulatively gained Rs5,900, or 3.03% per tola during the week ended March 4.

The price of gold is declining due to the strengthening of the rupee which settled at 277.87 against the US dollar in the interbank market today after a meagre increase of 0.02% compared to Monday’s close of 277.92.

The precious commodity scaled to an all-time high of 210,500 per tola on January 30, 2023; however, the gold price started receding after the rupee recovered on hopes of revival of the $6.5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme.

It should be noted that Pakistan meets almost all its gold demand through imports, and traders follow its international price in setting rates in the country. Jewellers import the metal against the US dollar and UAE dirham before converting its price into rupees.

Meanwhile, silver prices in the domestic market remained unchanged at Rs2,140 per tola and Rs1,834.70 per 10 grams, respectively.

In the international market, the gold prices eased, as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony later in the day for clues on the future path of US interest rate hikes. The price of per ounce gold settled at $1,842 after a decline of $7.

Prices have eased from a more than two-week peak of $1,858.19 hit on Monday but remained hemmed in a narrow range.

The dollar index gained 0.1%, making bullion less affordable for overseas buyers.

Powell is due to deliver his semi-annual testimony before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. The US jobs report for February is due on Friday.

Gold’s quest to extend gains is set to be heavily influenced this week by potential policy clues from Powell’s testimonies and the incoming US payrolls report, said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity.

If Friday’s jobs data shows significant resilience in the US labour market, it would pave the way for even higher US rates and could unwind the month-to-date gains garnered so far by gold, Tan added.

Despite being known as an inflation hedge, higher interest rates dent bullion’s appeal as they increase the opportunity cost of holding a zero-yield asset.

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Prior to the budget address, the PSX-100 index rebounds following a continuous fall for 7 straight days.

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The Pakistan Stock Exchange rebounded after a continuous decrease of 7 days and surpassed the threshold of 73,000 points, experiencing a surge of more than 500 points in the benchmark.

The PSX Tuesday experienced a decline of more than 650 points, potentially due to tax measures being considered in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

The investors are concerned about the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reducing the interest rate, as well as the unresolved circular debt, which has increased to over Rs5.3 trillion.

The KSE-100 index concluded the day with significant losses, at its lowest point.

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Pakistan experiences substantial expansion in the information technology sector.

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Pakistan experienced significant development in the exports of its IT sector, reaching a total of $2.283 billion, as stated in a recent Economic Survey Report.

The increase in exports emphasized the rising global demand for IT services from Pakistan and the sector’s impact on the national economy.

The survey demonstrated that IT freelancers contributed $35 million in remittances, highlighting their significance in the IT industry.

The study data indicates a significant rise in the number of broadband and telecom customers nationwide, with broadband users reaching 135 million and telecom users growing to 194 million.

Earlier this week, the federal government has suggested a substantial 357 percent rise in the budget for the IT sector for the fiscal year 2024-25.

As to reliable sources, the Ministry of IT has been granted a budget of Rs 27.43 billion in the development budget, out of which Rs 6.28 billion has been allotted for the implementation of 15 new projects.

The government has additionally suggested allotting Rs 21.15 billion for projects that are currently in progress, as well as Rs 3.5 billion for the Digital Economy initiative.

Additional noteworthy allocations consist of Rs 1 billion for fostering innovation in the IT sector, Rs 50 million for the digitalization of the national assembly, and Rs 300 million for the implementation of smart office projects in government ministries.

The government has additionally suggested investing Rs 9.92 billion for the Islamabad Technology Development Park and Rs 6.78 billion for the creation of an IT park in Karachi. The budget additionally comprises a proposition for an allocation of Rs 1 billion for the Cybersecurity Fund for the Digital Pakistan initiative.

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Pakistan will unveil its Rs18 trillion budget today.

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The budget will be presented by Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb, the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, on the floor of the National Assembly.

The government sources stated that the budget will focus on alleviating the hardships faced by the people, revitalizing the agriculture sector, advancing information technology (IT), and enhancing exports.

The administration asserted that the budget will encompass not only fiscal management and revenue mobilization, but also measures for economic stabilization and growth, reduction in non-development spending, job creation, and people-friendly policies aimed at achieving socioeconomic prosperity for the country.

The preparations for the announcement of the federal budget for fiscal year 2024-25 are progressing actively and in accordance with the specified dates.

The budget is being formulated through extensive collaboration among all the departments and ministries responsible for budget-related activities, encompassing the presentation of the budget before Parliament and the initiation of the Economic Survey.

It is important to note that the budget is being presented while Pakistan is in discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a potential package of up to $8 billion.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb presented the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24 on Tuesday. According to the survey, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.38 percent, surpassing the projected objective of 2 percent.

During the launch event of the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24, Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb stated that despite difficulties, the country has made substantial advancements in attaining macroeconomic stability. Notably, there has been a remarkable 30 percent increase in revenue collection, a decrease in the current account deficit, a reduction in inflation, and a stable currency.

The finance minister stated that this position demonstrated a significant reversal from a fragile economic state, marked by a 0.2% fall in GDP, a 29% devaluation of the rupee, and a reduction in foreign exchange reserves, which had decreased to a level sufficient to cover only two weeks of imports.

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