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IMF board to meet on Jan 11 for Pakistan’s first review approval

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  • Pakistan’s case not included in board meeting agenda for Dec 1-15. 
  • Ongoing SBA programme is going to expire on April 14, 2024.
  • Pakistan, IMF reached agreement on first review last month.

The International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board will take up Pakistan’s first review on January 11 next year for approval that will unlock $700 million under the standby arrangement (SBA), Bloomberg quoted the lender’s spokesperson as saying on Friday.

Last month, Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF under the $3 billion SBA and is awaiting the board’s approval to receive a second tranche.

Earlier this week, The News had reported that Pakistan’s first review for approval was not included in the IMF’s Executive Board meeting agenda for the 1-15 December schedule

The publication reported that the IMF did not firm up its exact schedule because the Fund’s team was busy securing re-confirmation from all multilateral and bilateral creditors to meet the financing requirements of $24.9 billion for the current fiscal year.

This delay surfaced in discussions among the policymakers that the IMF might kick-start parleys on the second review probably after the general elections and takeover by the elected government.

The IMF programme was initially scheduled to kick-start parleys for a second review from Feb 3, 2024, but if the elections were scheduled to be held on February 8, 2024, then the possibility of holding talks might be done in the last week of Feb or early March 2024.

The ongoing SBA programme is going to expire on April 14, 2024.

A day earlier, IMF Executive Director Bahador Bijani noted an overall improvement in the economic situation, saying, the “Pakistani authorities have delivered”.

He made these remarks at an event hosted by Pakistan’s ambassador to the US in honour of friends of Pakistan from International Financial Institutions including IMF, International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank (WB), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), at Pakistan House in Washington.

“I think the future for Pakistan is very bright. Pakistan is not just any country. It’s one of the most important countries in the region and in the world. Pakistanis deserve much more,” the IMF executive director was quoted as saying in an official statement.

Nathan Porter, IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan, also expressed satisfaction over the recently concluded staff-level agreement. He said that the actions and policies of the current government reflected its commitment to steer the country towards stabilisation.

Pakistan is reeling from Asia’s fastest inflation, has about $1 billion in dollar-denominated debt due next year and is scheduled to hold elections scheduled in February.

Interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar said after the staff-level deal in November that the country may seek an additional loan from the IMF, describing the economy as “still fragile.”

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The gold price in Pakistan today

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According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the price of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold increased by Rs772 to Rs184,928 from Rs184,156, while the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold increased to Rs169,517 from Rs168,810.

These oscillations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates.

This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

On the other hand, the cost of 24-karat silver was constant at Rs 2,570. Globally, too, the price of gold increased somewhat by $9 to $2,057 per ounce.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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