Sunday July 14, 2024

PSX hits record high of 80,233 points as IMF deal likely in sight

Analysts say 80,000-point level to now serve as a strong support for further market expansion

By Web Desk
July 03, 2024
A trader is busy on call as resumes business at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi. — PPI/Files
A trader is busy on call as resumes business at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi. — PPI/Files

KARACHI: Stocks on Wednesday hit a new all-time high above the 80,000-point mark on optimism that Pakistan was close to striking a bailout deal with the lender of last resort, traders said. Such a deal is critical to keep the economy afloat in the days to come.

The Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) benchmark KSE-100 Shares Index closed 0.9% higher, reaching a record high of 80,405 points during the day trade before ending at 80,233.67 points.

Minister of State for Finance, Revenue, and Power Ali Pervaiz Malik said on Wednesday that Pakistan was looking to clinch a staff-level agreement on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout of more than $6 billion this month after addressing all of the lender's requirements in its annual budget.

The index has rallied roughly 10% since the budget was presented on June 12, helped by continued optimism about getting an IMF bailout package to bolster the struggling economy.

"We hope to culminate this (IMF) process in the next three to four weeks," Malik said while talking to Reuters. He added that Islamabad aims to finalize a staff-level agreement before the IMF board recess.

"I think it will be north of $6 billion," he said of the size of the package, though he added that at this point the IMF's validation was the primary focus. The IMF has, however, not responded to the junior finance minister’s statement yet.

Brokerage Arif Habib Limited (AHL) in a report said 65 shares rose, marking a positive trend, while 31 suffered losses.

"Leading the charge were HBL PA with a remarkable gain of 5.15%, POL PA climbing by 4.35%, and HUBC PA rising by 1.69%, driving the index higher," the report said.

On the other hand, FFC PA fell by 1.48%, EFERT PA dropped by 1.28%, and PAKT PA took a significant hit, plunging by 7.09%.

The AHL report said that the 80,000-point level would now serve as a strong support for further market expansion in the coming days.

This milestone has set a new tone of confidence among investors, with the potential for continued growth and opportunity.

Speaking to, EFG Hermes Pakistan's CEO Raza Jafri said that the gain was led by a burst of buying in SOEs such as the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC), with press reports indicating a push on privatization, strategic stake sales, and addressing legacy issues.

"This comes with increasing hopes of sizeable interest rate cuts in [the second half of 2024] and timely entry into an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme," he added.

The government's privatization plan consists of two to three years and will be executed, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said as the National Assembly passed the budget for FY25 last week.

Minister for Privatization Aleem Khan has said that the federal government intends to privatize around 24 SOEs in the coming years — with Pakistan International Airline expected to be the first enterprise to be privatized.

Meanwhile, Intermarket Securities Director of Research Saad Ali cited optimism regarding the IMF programme and continuation of macroeconomic recovery after the passing of the budget without significant bottlenecks or major amendments as the major reasons for the surge.

He added: "The market continues to re-rate from still low valuations and the prospect of lower interest rates in the future."

A day earlier, stocks closed significantly higher at 79,552.89 points amid expectations of better earnings in the half-year results by SOEs in the oil sector.

Meanwhile, Alpha Beta Core CEO Khurram Schehzad said that the passing of the budget in line with most of the IMF's conditions for the new larger and longer programme had given investor confidence in economic reforms and more stability in the economy.

Pakistan's sovereign dollar bonds rallied, with the 2036 maturity gaining the most, rising by 1.19 cents to trade at 74.79 cents on the dollar by 1132 GMT.