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Gold shines bright as it climbs to yet another high

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The price of gold in Pakistan rose to yet another high Tuesday, as the country’s economic turmoil showed no improvement and inflation shattered the previous record.

According to data provided by the All Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA), the rate of gold (24 carats) jumped by Rs1,500 per tola and Rs1,286 per 10 grams to reach Rs221,000 and Rs189,472, respectively.

The gold rate has been on a steady uptrend in Pakistan, as economic fundamentals weakened, the rupee depreciated and inflation soared to record highs. During such times, people prefer to buy the precious metal to protect themselves against inflation and currency depreciation.

The rupee had fallen to an all-time low of Rs288.43 against the US dollar in the interbank market on April 11. While it has recovered since then, the US dollar continues to trade above Rs280.

On Tuesday, the rupee lost Re0.08 or 0.03% against the greenback to close at Rs283.92 in the interbank market.

Meanwhile, inflation in April clocked in at 36.4% year-on-year — a record high — which means Pakistan has the fastest rising prices in Asia, beating even Sri Lanka where inflation was measured at 35.3% in the previous month.

Another reason for the increased gold demand is the delay in an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a desperately needed economic bailout, without which the country risks default.

The delay in the revival of the IMF programme negatively impacts the currency market which, in turn, bolsters the demand for gold.

Meanwhile, the price of gold remained unchanged at $1,990 per ounce in the international market.

Data shared by the association showed that the price of silver rose by Rs130 per tola and Rs111.45 per 10 grams to settle at Rs2,730 and Rs2,340.53, respectively — which the APSGJA were also record highs. 

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An increase in tax was made on restaurant card payments.

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After 15 years, the SRB reduced the service tax that 58 hotels and restaurants in Karachi could have charged on debit and credit card purchases to 15%. This action is a part of the Sindh budget, which was designed to make eating out less expensive for customers.

Prior to this, Sindh’s tax on credit and debit card purchases was lowered from 15% to 8%.

Officials from the SRB have further stated that the service was made available for input adjustment of restaurant tax payments. With this step, businesses will be able to efficiently handle their tax responsibilities and the tax process would be made simpler.

Only a few eateries have been given authority to remove the lower tax rate, even though this tax facility has been reversed.

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The KSE-100 Index rises following a sharp decline in the previous session.

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The government is considering filing a treason case under Article 6 against PTI founder Imran Khan, former president Arif Alvi, and former deputy speaker Qasim Suri. On Tuesday, the KSE-100 Index was up more than 1.3% during early trading, following a day of roughly a 2 percent loss due to growing political unrest and the potential banning of the party.

However, the benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was trading at 79,074.63 by 11:49 a.m., having gained 535.45 points, or 0.68 percent, after reaching an intraday high of 79,578.04.

Market analysts said that political tensions were the primary cause of the KSE-100’s earlier Monday decline of 1578.71 points, or 1.97 percent.

They did point out, though, that a correction was a reasonable reaction to the protracted upswing that allowed the benchmark mark index to reach 81,839.86 on July 18.

As a result of interest rate cuts and the possibility of another IMF program, the Pakistan Stock Exchange has gained 22.97 percent so far this year. The cycle began on June 10 with a 1.5 percent decrease in borrowing costs.

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In interbank trade, the US dollar crushes the Pakistani rupee.

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During interbank trade on Tuesday, the US dollar’s value increased by 15 paisas, reaching Rs 278.45.

It is important to remember that Fitch Business Monitor International expressed concern about the possibility that Pakistan’s economic stability may be jeopardized by the ongoing political unrest.

The fragile situation of Pakistan’s economic recovery was emphasized by Fitch in its most recent Pakistan Country Risk Report, which also noted that economic activity has been impeded by urban protests.

(PTI),In spite of multiple successful judicial appeals, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is expected to stay behind bars, the article notes, underscoring the fragile political environment.

With no urgent plans for new elections, this scenario suggests that the coalition administration will remain in office for the next 18 months.

Fitch also described an eventuality in which the government could change and be replaced by a technocratic administration. This suggests that the government of Pakistan would carry out the reforms demanded by the IMF, contributing to the 3.2% GDP growth expected in 2024–2025.

The policy rate has stabilized above projections, while the research predicted it may reach 16 percent this fiscal year and 14 percent the following year.

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