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Pakistani stocks buoyed by US comments

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  • Positive US statement on Pakistan’s nukes improves sentiment
  • Rupee depreciation remains a worry for investors
  • All-eyes on FATF decision on Pakistan 

KARACHI: Stocks on Tuesday managed to anchor themselves on the edges of green, but could not venture much further owing as caution reigns supreme ahead of the FATF decision on Pakistan amid restive political undercurrents, traders said.

The KSE-100 Shares Index, the main gauge of the country’s apex bourse, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), gained 84 points or 0.20 percent, to end the day at 41,839 points. The market settled at that number after swinging between a day-high of 42,007.23 and an -low of 41,755.45.

Topline Securities in a post-market note said the US State Department’s positive statement regarding Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the country’s likely whitelisting in the upcoming FATF annual review gave stocks a reason to stay buoyed.

“The official announcement is likely to arrive over the weekend,” the brokerage said.

During the day, technology, E&P, and fertiliser sector stocks supported the index. Scrip-wise, TRG, POL, SNGP, DAWH, and FFC added 89 points, cumulatively, to the index. On the flip side, PSO, NESTLE, and EPCL together lost 25 points.

Out of 90 active companies traded in the session, 49 advanced, 40 retreated and one remained unchanged.

Over 189 million shares were traded, while the total value clocked in at Rs5.8bn. Worldcall Telecom led the volumes chart with 29.8 million traded shares.

The rupee on Tuesday depreciated against the US dollar for the fifth straight session on a spike in demand from importers. The rupee’s downward spiral has been a cause of serious concern over the state of the economy in the near future. 

The foreign exchange reserves are dwindling in the absence of new foreign inflows and a tight dollar supply was also weighing on local currency.

The local unit depreciated by 0.37% (Rs0.82) to reach 219.71 in the interbank market, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), down in value from the previous close of 218.89.

The dollar also strengthened in the open market as the rupee lost 0.50 to close at 226.20.

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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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