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Rupee to recover against dollar as Pakistan gets ready to seal IMF deal

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  • Govt serious about taking prior actions to sign SLA.
  • Rupee gains 2.18% against dollar this week.
  • Market remains hopeful that IMF agreement will proceed.

KARACHI: The rupee is expected to start its recovery drive against the US dollar as the government’s efforts to secure the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout programme has boosted the market’s positive sentiments and due to an increase in dollar supply, The News reported Sunday citing traders and analysts. 

The government seems serious about taking some prior actions that could help meet the IMF conditions to seal the state-level agreement with the global lender. 

During the outgoing week, the local currency gained about 2.18% against the greenback in the interbank market, raising from 275.30 on Monday to 269.28 on Friday.

Although no agreement to unlock the funds from a $6.5 billion bailout was achieved between Islamabad and the IMF during the fund’s 10-day visit, both parties concurred to continue long negotiations because the South Asian nation’s worsening economic crisis does not appear to have a quick resolution.

Pakistan must come to an agreement with the IMF for further money to secure more aid, avoid default, and rebuild foreign currency reserves that have decreased to $2.9 billion.

The stock market embarked on a selling binge, but there was no reaction to both sides’ failure to reach a staff-level accord. It increases the IMF timeframe by at least another 10–12 days and, given the rate at which reserves are depleting, constitutes a serious concern.

Despite a setback, the market remains hopeful that the IMF agreement will proceed, particularly given the several harsh “prior actions” Pakistan has already done.

“As the IMF needs to see some progress on the terms, the staff-level agreement (SLA) is still not in place. In about a week, the SLA might be signed and then sent to the IMF board for final approval. Overall, progress that is good,” said a currency dealer.

A positive effect is happening in the currency market by the exporters, due to dual movement in the currency, who are realising export proceeds, and providing much-needed liquidity in the market, according to Tresmark’s client note.

“For the first time in many months, the market also witnessed material selling in the forward tenors by exporters. In the grey market the last quote was 280/282 and there is some panic there as well as speculators want to book their profits and exit the market,” it said.

There was still a substantial backlog of imports and payments, which would exceed any inflow of export proceeds. But in the medium term, and given that the IMF agreement would go ahead with follow-up from friendly countries and multilateral institutions, demand might go to take a huge hit, it added.

“With that, entities involved in the export business will see a boom where as those in the import business will witness a bust. In the short term the market may stay above the 270/$ level, but may fall back to 262/$ level in the medium term,” the client note stated.

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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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