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SBP’s unexpected interest rate hike takes toll on PSX, plunges over 850 points

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  • “Market wasn’t expecting rate hike, that’s why it reacted,” analyst says.
  • Benchmark KSE-100 index fell below 42,000-barrier during intra-day.
  • Analyst says interest rates at 16% is negative for corporate profitability.

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan‘s unexpected increase in the interest rate shook investors’ confidence on the first day of the week, as the stock market took a hit with the benchmark KSE-100 index losing more than 850 points on Monday. 

The Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 index had opened at 42,936.73, however, after losing 865.39 points, or -2.02% the index closed the session at 42,071.34 points.

Investors were concerned over the challenges faced by the beleaguered economy as cash-strapped Pakistan awaits funds from bilateral and multilateral partners. 

The index remained on a downward trajectory, falling below the psychological barrier of 42,000 touching an intra-day low of 41,963.94 points.

In the morning, trading activity began on a negative note and the market fell steadily till midday when it touched its lowest mark for the day. Later, slight buying helped the bourse recoup some losses.

Benchmark KSE-100 index intra-day trading curve. — PSX data portal
Benchmark KSE-100 index intra-day trading curve. — PSX data portal

Analyst Samiullah Tariq laid blame on SBP’s decision to increase the interest rate as a key factor for the drop in the KSE-100 index. 

“[The] market wasn’t expecting a rate hike. That’s why it was reacting,” the head of research at Pakistan-Kuwait Investment Company told Geo.tv

Capital market expert Saad Ali also blamed the “surprise interest rate hike” for the drop, adding that investors may be expecting more hikes given the inflation outlook

“Interest rates at 16% or higher is significantly negative for growth and corporate profitability,” Ali told Geo.tv

At the time the decision was announced by SBP, the markets had closed, which is why the KSE-100 index today went in the red at the opening.

Shares of 350 companies were traded during the session. At the close of trading, 47 scrips closed in the green, 294 in the red, and nine remained unchanged.

Overall trading volumes declined to 244.35 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 177.29 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs6.97 billion.

K-Electric was the volume leader with 29.01 million shares traded, losing Rs0.17 to close at Rs2.60. It was followed by WorldCall Telecom with 22.51 million shares traded, gaining Rs0.06 to close at Rs1.36 and Dewan Farooqui Motors with 13.78 million shares gaining Rs0.06 to close at Rs11.87. 

SBP hikes interest rate to 16% to curtail inflation

On Friday, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Friday raised the key policy rate by 100 basis points to 16% — the highest since 1999.

The central bank, in a statement, issued after the meeting said that the decision reflects the MPC’s view that inflationary pressures have proven to be stronger and more persistent than expected.

“This decision is aimed at ensuring that elevated inflation does not become entrenched and that risks to financial stability are contained, thus paving the way for higher growth on a more sustainable basis,” the MPC said.

The SBP noted that amid the ongoing economic slowdown, inflation is increasingly being driven by persistent global and domestic supply shocks that are raising costs. 

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Moody’s says the IMF programme will increase Pakistan’s foreign financing.

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Moody’s, a reputable international rating agency, has stated that Pakistan’s chances of acquiring funding will increase as a result of the recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers dependable sources for that purpose from both friendly countries and international financial institutions.

According to a recent Moody’s analysis on Pakistan’s economy, social unrest and tensions could result from Pakistan’s ongoing inflation. The country’s economic reforms may be hampered by increased taxes and potential changes to the energy tariff, it continued.

Moody’s, on the other hand, agrees that the coalition government headed by Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N is in danger of failing to secure an election mandate, which may potentially undermine the successful and long-lasting execution of economic reforms.

The government’s capacity to proceed with economic changes may be hampered by societal unrest and poor governance, according to Moody’s.

In order to appease the IMF by fulfilling a prerequisite for authorising a rescue package, the government raised the basic tariff on electricity, which coincided with the most recent increase in fuel prices announced on Monday. This report was released by Moody’s.

Food costs have increased in the nation, where the vast majority is experiencing an unprecedented crisis due to the high cost of living, following the government’s earlier presentation of a budget that included a large increase in income tax for the salaried classes and the implementation of GST on commodities like milk.

The most recent comments were made following Islamabad’s achievement of a staff-level agreement for a $7 billion contract that spans 37 months and is contingent upon final approval by the IMF Executive Board.

It states that Pakistan will need foreign financing totaling about $21 billion in 2024–2025 and $23 billion in 2025–2026, meaning that the country’s present $9.4 billion in reserves won’t be sufficient to cover its needs.

Therefore, according to Moody’s, Pakistan is in an alarming position with regard to its external debt, and the next three to five years will be extremely difficult for the formulation and implementation of policies.

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Base Of bilateral relations: China And Pakistan Reiterate Their Support For CPEC

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China-Pakistan economic corridor is a major project of the Belt and Road Initiative, and both countries have reiterated their commitment to it. It remains a fundamental aspect of their bilateral relations.

Vice Chairman Zhao Chenxin of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Minister Ahsan Iqbal of Planning and Development met in Beijing, where Ahsan Iqbal made this assurance.

The summit made clear how committed China and Pakistan are to advancing their strategic cooperative partnership in all weather conditions.

The focus of the discussion was on how the CPEC was going, with both parties reviewing project development and discussing how the agreement made at the leadership level will lead to the launch of an enhanced version of the CPEC.

In order to improve trade, connectivity, and socioeconomic growth in the area, they emphasised the need of CPEC projects.

The Ml-I Project, the KKH realignment, and the Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway—the last remaining segment of the Karachi-Peshawar motorway network—were all to be expedited.

Expanding the partnership’s horizons to include technology, innovation, education, connectivity, and renewable energy sources was another topic of discussion.

Specifically in the special economic zones being built under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CPEX), Vice Chairman NDRC emphasised the possibility of China investing more in Pakistan.

In addition to expressing confidence in the ongoing success of the two nations’ collaboration, Zhao Chenxin reiterated China’s support for Pakistan’s development aspirations.

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Pakistani government raises petrol prices

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A recent announcement states that the price of petrol has increased by Rs 9.99 per litre, to Rs 275.60 per litre.

The cost of high-speed diesel has also increased significantly, rising by Rs 6.18 a litre. Diesel is now priced at Rs 283.63 a litre.

Furthermore, kerosene now costs Rs 0.83 more per gallon.

The cost of products and services is predicted to rise in response to the increase in petroleum prices, further taxing household budgets and jeopardizing the stability of the economy.

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