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SBP jacks up key rate to record high of 22% after withdrawal of guidance on imports

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  • Since Jan 2022, SBP has raised rates by a total of 1,250bps.
  • Says decision necessary to keep real interest rate in positive territory.
  • Also states decision would help “anchor inflation expectations”.

Following withdrawal of its guidance on imports, the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Monday decided to jack up the policy rate by 100bps to 22% in an emergency meeting days after it had announced no change in the interest rate. 

Since January 2022, the central bank has raised rates by a total of 1,250bps.

In a statement, the MPC explained the contest of the emergency meeting as in the last meeting on June 12 it had decided not to jack up the policy rate. Back then it had viewed it as appropriate to achieve the objective of price stability “barring any unexpected domestic and external shocks”.

However, the SBP said that it has now decided to increase the interest rate because of “two important domestic developments” that have “slightly deteriorated inflation outlook and which could potentially increase pressure on the already stressed external account”.

“First, there are certain upward revisions in taxes, duties and PDL rate in FY24 budget as approved by the National Assembly on June 25. Second, the SBP, on June 23, withdrew its general guidance for commercial banks on prioritisation of imports,” the MPC said. It added that the withdrawal of the guideline on imports was “necessary” due to the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but has “increased the upside risks to the inflation outlook”.

“The committee views that additional tax measures are likely to contribute to inflation both directly and indirectly, while the relaxation in imports may exert pressures in the foreign exchange market. The latter may result in higher-than-earlier anticipated exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices,” it further added.

“With this background, the MPC convened an emergency meeting to respond to these developments. The MPC decided to raise the policy rate by 100 bps to 22 per cent, effective 27th June 2023,” said the central bank. It added the decision was “necessary to keep real interest rate firmly in the positive territory on a forward-looking basis”.

The central bank also believes that the decision would help “anchor inflation expectations” and “support bringing down inflation towards the medium-term target of 5–7% by the end of FY25”.

“The MPC views that today’s decision — along with the expected completion of the ongoing IMF program and the government adhering to the target of generating a primary surplus in FY24 would help in addressing external sector vulnerabilities and reduce economic uncertainty. The committee reiterated that it would continue to carefully monitor evolving economic developments and stands ready, if necessary, to take appropriate action to achieve the objective of price stability over the medium term,” the SBP said. 

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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