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Gold prices continue to rise amid meltdown fears

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  • Price of 10-gram gold rises by Rs943 to Rs174,468 per tola.
  • Fears of recession send investors to safety of precious metal.
  • Weaker US dollar helps international gold prices edge bit higher.

Gold prices in Pakistan Thursday increased for the fifth session in a row as political ferment coupled with fears of an imminent meltdown — in case the government fails to revive an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout in time — stoked demand for the yellow metal, considered a safe investment.

Data released by All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed that the price of gold (24 carats) increased by Rs1,100 per tola and Rs943 per 10 grams to settle at Rs203,500 and Rs174,468.

As the other markets slide investors generally find refuge in gold to maintain a low-risk profile.

A likely economic contraction looms over Pakistan amid political and economic uncertainties and a holdup in the revival of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan.

The gold has gained Rs6,000 per tola in the five sessions. 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that an assurance from “friendly countries” to fund a balance of payment gap was the last hurdle in securing an IMF deal, which will offer a critical lifeline to avert an economic meltdown.

Several countries had made commitments to support Pakistan during previous International Monetary Fund (IMF) reviews, Dar told the country’s upper house of parliament, adding that the IMF was now asking for those commitments.

“At the time of the previous reviews, several friendly countries had made commitments to bilaterally support Pakistan, what IMF is now asking (is) that they should actually complete and materialize those commitments,” he said, adding: That’s the only delay.”

Pakistan is awaiting a bailout package of $1.1 billion from the IMF, which has been delayed since November over issues related to fiscal policy adjustments.

International gold edged higher Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar, but prices held below last session’s 6-week peak as risk sentiment improved after Credit Suisse, the latest focal point of a potential banking crisis, secured funds. 

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,924.15 per ounce by 1122 GMT, after jumping to its highest since early Feb at $1,937.28 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,928.70. 

Credit Suisse, which sparked a rout in European banking stocks on fears of its collapse, recovered 28% after saying it would borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence.

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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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