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Saudi Arabia extends term of $3 billion deposited with SBP

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  • In Sept, Saudi Fund for Development had confirmed rollover of the deposit for a year.
  • SBP says extension a “continuation of the support provided” to shore up Pakistan’s forex reserves.
  • Says deposit has contributed to Pakistan’s aim of meeting “external sector challenges and achieve sustainable economic growth”.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced on Friday that Saudi Arabia has extended the term for the $3 billion deposited with the central bank.

“Implementing the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud — may Allah protect him; the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) extended the term for the deposit provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the amount of 3 billion dollars to the State Bank of Pakistan,” said the central bank in a statement.

The SBP said that the extension of the term of the deposit was a “continuation of the support provided” by Riyadh to Pakistan to shore up Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves and help Islamabad in “facing the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic”. 

The deposit has also contributed to Pakistan’s aim of meeting “external sector challenges and achieve sustainable economic growth”.

In September of this year, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) had confirmed the rollover of the deposit for a year. It was expected to mature on December 5.

The deposit agreement was made between Pakistan and the Kingdom in November 2021, in a bid to support Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves and contribute toward resolving the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Gold prices in Pakistan have risen by Rs 1,200 per tola.

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The price of one tola of 24 carat gold rose by Rs1,200 and reached Rs246,800 on Thursday, compared to its previous sale price of Rs245,600 on the last trading day.

According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the cost of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold rose by Rs1,029 to reach Rs211,591, compared to the previous price of Rs210,562. Similarly, the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold jumped from Rs193,016 to Rs193,959.

The price of silver remained unchanged at Rs2,900 per tola and Rs2,486.28 per ten grammes.

According to the association, the international market price of gold rose by $10, reaching $2,382 from $2,372.

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The federal government has declared wage and pension increments for its employees.

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The Ministry of Finance has formally declared a rise in the remuneration and retirement benefits of personnel working for the federal government, offering substantial economic alleviation.

According to the notification, personnel in grades 1 to 16 will experience a 25% increment in their salaries, while officials in grades 17 to 22 will be granted a 20% rise. The implementation of this modification will commence on July 1, 2024, and will be applicable to the employees’ fundamental remuneration.

In addition, retired federal government employees would receive a 15% rise in their pension payments. This increase is applicable to retirees from both the civilian and military sectors. It is important to mention that employees who retire on or after July 1, 2024, will also qualify for this pension rise.

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The 15% increase in pension will be computed based on the amount of pension received by retired employees after deductions. Nevertheless, the letter specifies that ad hoc aid will not be factored into the calculations for pension and gratuity.

Moreover, this increment will have no effect on the calculation of housing rent allowances for employees.

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