Gold price recorded a meagre rise Thursday in Pakistan after falling for four consecutive sessions, taking baby steps towards recovery amid a rupee rout that followed the country's top financial executive's dismal update on loan-revival talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF).
According to All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA), the price of gold (24 carats) increased by Rs400 per tola and Rs343 per 10 grams to settle at Rs197,700 and Rs169,496, respectively.
Gold lost around Rs2,700 per tola in the last two sessions. It slipped under Rs200,000 per tola on Monday, losing Rs2,000 per tola to settle atRs198,000, while on Tuesday it fell by Rs700 per tola to Rs197,300.
The yellow metal scaled an all-time high of 210,500 per tola on January 30, 2023; however, the gold price started receding after the rupee recovered in hopes of revival of the $6.5 billion IMF bailout programme.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Thursday said Pakistan was "very close" to signing a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which would offer a critical lifeline for taming a balance of payment crisis.
An agreement would release $1.1 billion to the cash-strapped South Asian economy.
"We seem to be very close to signing the staff level agreement, hopefully, God willing, in the next few days," Dar said at a seminar in Islamabad.
"My team and I are absolutely committed to completing this program to the best of our ability," he said, adding: "We have been in the review and I think it has taken longer than it should have in my opinion."
Islamabad has been hosting an IMF mission since early February to negotiate the terms of a deal, including the adoption of policy measures to manage its fiscal deficit ahead of the annual budget due around June.
The funds are part of a $6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical if Pakistan is to avoid defaulting on external debt obligations.
It should be noted that Pakistan meets almost all its gold demand through imports, and traders follow its international price in setting rates in the country. Jewellers import the metal against the US dollar and UAE dirham before converting its price into rupees.
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