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Saudi Arabia vows to help Pakistan’s finances ‘as much as it can’

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  • Saudi finance minister says kingdom will help Pakistan’s finances.
  • Reserves fall below $7bn for first time since Jan 2019.
  • Earlier this month, Saudia Arabia extended term of $3bn deposit.

Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said the kingdom would help Pakistan’s finances as it looks to help shore up alliances with countries struggling due to soaring inflation, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in Riyadh, Al Jadaan said the Saudi government will “continue to support Pakistan as much as we can.”

In order to bolster its relationships, the kingdom has taken several steps to provide financial support to Pakistan as the cash-strapped nation desperately seeks support from international partners.

Earlier this month, Saudia Arabia extended the term of a $3 billion deposit to boost foreign currency reserves and help Pakistan in overcoming the economic repercussions of the cataclysmic floods.

The finance minister also shared that Riyadh was also looking to do more investments in Egypt and is planning to start doing deals in Turkey.

“Our relationship with Turkey is improving greatly, and we hope to have investment opportunities,” he said. 

“We have started investing aggressively in Egypt and we will continue to look at investment opportunities and that is more important than deposits. Deposits can be pulled but investments stay.”

It should be noted that Pakistan is in dire need of funds as the country’s foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank fell $784 million to $6.7 billion as of December 2.

The decline means the reserves have fallen further from November’s barely one month of import cover, even as it battles decades of high inflation and scrambles to secure International Monetary Fund (IMF) funds.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen below the $7 billion level for the first time since January 2019. The current reserves stand at around $6.7 billion — almost equal to $6.6 billion on January 18, 2019.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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