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Saudi Arabia vows to help Pakistan’s finances ‘as much as it can’

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  • Saudi finance minister says kingdom will help Pakistan’s finances.
  • Reserves fall below $7bn for first time since Jan 2019.
  • Earlier this month, Saudia Arabia extended term of $3bn deposit.

Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said the kingdom would help Pakistan’s finances as it looks to help shore up alliances with countries struggling due to soaring inflation, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in Riyadh, Al Jadaan said the Saudi government will “continue to support Pakistan as much as we can.”

In order to bolster its relationships, the kingdom has taken several steps to provide financial support to Pakistan as the cash-strapped nation desperately seeks support from international partners.

Earlier this month, Saudia Arabia extended the term of a $3 billion deposit to boost foreign currency reserves and help Pakistan in overcoming the economic repercussions of the cataclysmic floods.

The finance minister also shared that Riyadh was also looking to do more investments in Egypt and is planning to start doing deals in Turkey.

“Our relationship with Turkey is improving greatly, and we hope to have investment opportunities,” he said. 

“We have started investing aggressively in Egypt and we will continue to look at investment opportunities and that is more important than deposits. Deposits can be pulled but investments stay.”

It should be noted that Pakistan is in dire need of funds as the country’s foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank fell $784 million to $6.7 billion as of December 2.

The decline means the reserves have fallen further from November’s barely one month of import cover, even as it battles decades of high inflation and scrambles to secure International Monetary Fund (IMF) funds.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen below the $7 billion level for the first time since January 2019. The current reserves stand at around $6.7 billion — almost equal to $6.6 billion on January 18, 2019.

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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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