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Political uncertainty rattles Pakistan stocks, KSE-100 plummets over 1,200 points

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  • PSX witnessed bloodbath session as rising political temperature amid ongoing constitutional crisis raises alarm in stock market.
  • KSE-100 index seesaws as investors struggle to anticipate impact of actions being taken by authorities.
  • Analyst says it is “difficult” to comment on outlook of market.

KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday came under intense selling pressure as the rising political drama rattled investors and pushed the benchmark index deep into the red with a drop of over 1,200 points.

The rising political temperature in the country amid the ongoing constitutional crisis raised alarm in major sectors of the economy as well as the stock market, which fell below 44,000-point mark.

President Arif Alvi, on the suggestion of Prime Minister Imran Khan, dissolved the National Assembly in an attempt to avoid voting on the no-confidence motion tabled against him [PM Khan].

The benchmark KSE-100 index seesawed as investors struggled to anticipate the impact of actions being taken by the authorities in the wake of the political turmoil.

At the close, the KSE-100 index plummeted 1,250.06 points, or 2.77%, to settle at 43,902.05 points.

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

Speaking to Geo.tv, BMA Capital Management Executive Director Saad Hashemy said that the political uncertainty is taking a toll on the market.

“Investors are always concerned about the economic issues being addressed,” he said, adding that till there is clarity on the political front the market will remain volatile on fears of economic concerns.

Regarding the market’s direction in the ongoing week, the analyst said that it is “difficult” to comment on the outlook. However, Hashemy added that the next two to three days are important as market players are closely eyeing how things are unfolding and developments during this period will give the market a direction.

A report from Arif Habib Limited noted that the benchmark KSE-100 index experienced a “blood bath” session throughout the day due to political unrest. 

“A significant decline was observed in the volumes of the market as well,” it stated, adding that across the board selling was witnessed. 

Main board volumes remained subdued. On the flip side, hefty volumes were recorded in the third-tier stocks.

Sectors contributing to the performance included banks (-324.5 points), cement (-252.9 points), technology and communications (-100.6 points), exploration and production (-93.5 points) and power (-69.2 points).

Shares of 305 were traded during the session. At the close of trading, 26 scrips closed in the green, 268 in the red, and 11 remained unchanged.

Overall trading volumes plunged to 170.48 million shares compared with Friday’s tally of 389.11 million. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs5.49 billion.

Telecard Limited was the volume leader with 17.39 million shares traded, losing Rs0.57 to close at Rs13.86. It was followed by K-Electric with 16.01 million shares traded, losing Rs0.18 to close at Rs2.92, and TPL Properties with 12.55 million shares traded, losing Rs1.56 to close at Rs19.26. 

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Pakistan’s gold prices are still declining; see the most recent

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The price of 10-gram gold reduced by Rs943 to settle at Rs207,733, while the price of gold dropped by Rs1200 to close at Rs242,300 a tola, according to the Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association.

In the global market, the price of the precious metal fell by $10 to $2,349 per ounce, resulting in losses.

At 04:48 GMT, the spot price of gold had dropped by 0.2% to $2,354.77 per ounce. In the previous session, prices reached a two-week high.

American gold futures dropped 0.6% to $2,361.

Spot silver decreased by 0.4% to $28.03 per ounce, while palladium remained steady at $978.03 and platinum decreased by 0.1% to $992.89.

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Pakistan and the IMF begin talks for a new loan.

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Pakistan is requesting a $6 to $8 billion bailout package from the international lender over the next three to four years to address its financial troubles.

A mission team led by Nathan Porter, the IMF’s Mission Chief in Pakistan, is meeting with a Pakistani delegation led by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Islamabad may face more difficult options, such as raising power and gas bills.

Mr. Aurganzeb informed the IMF team that the country’s economy has improved as a result of the IMF loan package, and Islamabad is ready to sign a new loan programme to further develop.

The IMF mission expressed satisfaction with Islamabad’s efforts to revive the country’s struggling economy.

The IMF praised Pakistan’s economic growth in its staff report earlier this week, but warned that the outlook remains challenging, with very high downside risks.

The country nearly avoided collapse last summer, and its $350 billion economy has stabilized since the end of the last IMF program, with inflation falling to roughly 17% in April from a record high of 38% last May.

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Petrol prices are likely to drop significantly beginning May 16.

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According to sources, the government is set to decrease petrol prices by Rs 14 per litre and diesel prices by Rs 10 on May 16 for the next fortnight’s revision.

Last month, the government reduced the price of fuel and high-speed diesel by Rs5.45 and Rs8.42 per fortnight, respectively.

The current fuel price is Rs288.49 per litre, while the HSD price is Rs281.96.

Meanwhile, oil prices fell further on Monday, as signs of sluggish fuel consumption and comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials dimmed optimism for interest rate reduction, which may slow growth and reduce fuel demand in the world’s largest economy.

Brent crude prices down 25 cents, or 0.3%, to $82.54 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 19 cents, or 0.2%, to $78.07 per barrel.

Oil prices also declined on signals of poor demand, according to ANZ analysts, as gasoline and distillate inventories in the United States increased in the week before the start of the driving season.

Refiners throughout the world are dealing with falling diesel profitability as new refineries increase supply and warm weather in the northern hemisphere and weak economic activity reduce demand.

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