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Ishaq Dar cancels US trip as political crisis worsens

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  • Dar cites “domestic state of political affairs” as major reason.
  • Finance minister was also expected to visit UAE on his way to US.
  • A delegation will represent Pakistan at WB-IMF spring meeting now.

Despite Pakistan trying to make all-out efforts to woo the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release a $1.1 billion loan tranche, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar cancelled his trip to the United States.

Source told Geo News that the finance minister has called off his trip citing the “domestic state of political affairs” as the reason.

Dar was expected to attend the spring meetings of the World Bank-IMF that were taking place from April 10 to 16 in Washington.

Meanwhile, he was also scheduled to meet the IMF management for holding talks regarding the removal of bottlenecks for the revival of the derailed $6.5 billion programme.

Islamabad has been negotiating with the IMF since the end of January for the release of $1.1 billion from a $6.5 billion bailout package agreed upon in 2019. To unlock the funding, the government has cut back on subsidies, removed an artificial cap on the exchange rate, added taxes and raised fuel prices.

However, assurances from friendly nations for additional funds have delayed the agreement.

The finance czar was also expected to visit UAE on his way to the US where he was to hold talks with the officials for getting confirmation on another $1 billion deposit from them, which may pave the way for striking the staff-level agreement with the IMF.

While Dar pulled out of the trip, a delegation from Pakistan — including Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh and Economic Affairs Secretary Kazim Niaz — will attend the spring meets of WB-IMF. The delegation will hold talks with the IMF officials on the sideline of the meetings to woo them to release the next tranche to Pakistan.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad will also accompany the Pakistani delegation visiting the US.

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Gold prices in Pakistan see record increase

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Pakistan’s gold prices surged by an astounding Rs3,500 on Saturday. The cost of 24-karat gold increased to Rs220,300 per tola as a result of this increase in gold prices across the nation.

The price of 10 grammes of 24-karat gold increased correspondingly, according to dealers, by a significant Rs3,001, to trade at Rs188,872. In a similar vein, 10 grammes of 22-karat gold experienced an increase in price, trading at Rs173,132.

These oscillations have a strong correlation with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates. This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

Additionally, the price of 24-karat silver increased by a record Rs30 to trade at Rs2,600. The price of gold increased significantly on a global scale as well, by $36, to $2,103 per ounce.

It’s important to understand that fluctuations in the worldwide market can cause considerable fluctuations in gold rates in Pakistan throughout the day. The gold rates that are offered are obtained from reliable sources, mostly situated in Karachi and Multan.

It is recommended that individuals seek the advice of nearby gold merchants and jewellers for the most precise and current information on gold prices.

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The gold price in Pakistan today

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According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the price of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold increased by Rs772 to Rs184,928 from Rs184,156, while the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold increased to Rs169,517 from Rs168,810.

These oscillations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates.

This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

On the other hand, the cost of 24-karat silver was constant at Rs 2,570. Globally, too, the price of gold increased somewhat by $9 to $2,057 per ounce.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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