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Pakistan moves closer to securing IMF deal as UAE likely to commit funds soon

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  • IMF likely to get written guarantee from UAE this week.
  • Matters have been finalised with UAE authorities, sources say.
  • Finance secretary will inform IMF officials about the development.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is moving closer to securing its loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as United Arab Emirates (UAE) is likely to assure the global lender that it will provide a $1 billion financing to help the nation avoid a default by this week, Geo News reported citing sources.

The sources said that the UAE is likely to provide a written guarantee regarding $1 billion financing this week and the news will be conveyed to the Fund officials by the Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh during the annual meeting currently being held in Washington.

The IMF has asked Pakistan to secure assurances on external financing from friendly countries and multilateral partners to fund its balance of payment gap for this fiscal year, which ends in June.

Last week, Saudi Arabia pledged $2 billion and informed the IMF it will provide financing to Pakistan. However, the agreement with the IMF still rests on a similar commitment from the UAE for a $1 billion loan.

Well-placed sources in the Ministry of Finance confirmed that matters have been finalised with the UAE and as as soon Pakistan receives a written guarantee from the Washington-based lender will receive confirmation.

The development comes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar requested the UAE officials in order to complete the prerequisites of the Fund.

The cash-strapped nation of 220 million people is going through one of its biggest economic crises in history as it raised interest rates to an all-time high after consumer prices quickened to a fresh record. 

IMF lowers growth forecast

Meanwhile, IMF has cut its growth forecast for the country to 0.5% from the 2% estimate earlier as the nation faces a dollar shortage, leading to supply chain disruptions and companies stopping production.

The Fund is also assessing the coalition government’s proposed fuel discount that it plans for lower income groups by raising fuel prices for wealthy motorists; however, the finance minister had said that IMF has been provided with all required information.

Dar — who cancelled his trip to Washington where he was scheduled to hold in-person meetings with the IMF officials on the sidelines — has time and again claimed that the staff-level agreement with the Washington-based lender would be reached soon; however, the claims have proved to be futile.

Islamabad has been hosting an IMF mission since late January to negotiate a series of policy measures to secure $1.1 billion in funding for the cash-strapped economy, which is on the verge of collapse.

The funds are part of a $6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical for Pakistan to avert defaulting on external payment obligations.

The deal will also unlock other bilateral and multilateral financing avenues for Pakistan to shore up its foreign exchange reserves, which have fallen to four weeks’ worth of import cover, and help it steer out of a balance of payment crisis.

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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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