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PSX plunges over 1,378 points to hit 2.5-year low as politics weighs

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  • Political tumult panics investors into shedding holdings.
  • All sights set on IMF amid depleting forex reserves.
  • Macroeconomic concerns dampen sentiment.

KARACHI: Pakistan stocks Tuesday plunged to a 30-month low as the country’s extremely riotous political situation freaked economy-wary investors into stampeding towards the exits, resulting in whopping losses, traders said. 

The KSE-100 Shares Index, the benchmark of the country’s capital market, lost 1,378.54 points or about 3.47%, to close at 38,342.21 points.

Analysts say the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly and the prevailing crisis in the country amid continuous demand from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for snap polls panicked the market into this vicious selloff.

The delay in the revival of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan programme and the ongoing political uncertainty in the country caused the bloodbath in the stock market.

PSX plunges over 1,378 points to hit 2.5-year low as politics weighs

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led government has been under pressure to revive the IMF programme but the “harsh conditions” set by the Washington-based lender have made it almost impossible for the country’s financial managers to proceed.

Meanwhile, the depleting forex reserves with the State Bank of Pakistan below the $5 billion mark — enough for less than three weeks of import — is making the investors jittery.

Talking to Geo.tv, Tahir Abbas, Head of Research at Arif Habib Limited, said the investment momentum was extremely negative.

The analyst pinned Tuesday’s tailspin partly on the IMF loan impasse and partly on the political crisis.

“Players are unable to see any efforts made by the government to resume the programme due to which they are not taking fresh positions,” he said.

Abbas added that news reports suggesting that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly would be dissolved today further dented investors’ sentiment.

Khurram Schehzad, CEO at Alpha Beta Core, said the IMF programme stalemate —a consequence of Pakistan’s dragging its feet on fulfilling the loan conditions— was one of the main triggers of the selloff as right now rapidly-depleting foreign exchange reserves were seemingly Pakistan’s biggest economic problem.

“The political uncertainty has increased due to the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly. There is a question mark on the federal government whether it will remain in power or not. The preexisting negative sentiment has now worsened,” Schehzad said.

He said the deeper the political uncertainty in the country, the higher the volatility in the market.

“However, if the government succeeds in reviving the IMF programme and reversing political uncertainty, the trend can take a turn for the better,” the analyst said.

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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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