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Saturday May 18, 2024

Pakistan assets rally amid bets for IMF bailout this month

By News Desk
August 17, 2022

Pakistan’s rupee, bonds and stocks are rallying as investors bet the nation will win a bailout from the International Monetary Fund this month and avoid a default.

Dollar bonds due in December were indicated at about 95 cents on the dollar on Tuesday from a low of 85 cents in July, as investors turn more confident the debt will be repaid. The rupee surged 11% this month to 213.87 per dollar as of Monday, the biggest gainer in the world. The benchmark stock index climbed 9%, the top performer in Asia after Sri Lanka.

Pakistan has adopted austerity measures to win approval from the IMF to resume its stalled bailout package as frontier nations from Egypt to El Salvador battle the threat of a default.

Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service said in late July they expect the nation to secure $1.2 billion from the IMF, while Saudi Arabia is said to renew its $3 billion deposit in assistance, easing financing pressure on Pakistan.

After completing a slew of difficult prior actions, Pakistan finally received staff-level approval to resume and extend its IMF program, which should pave the way for board approval barring any policy mistakes,” said Patrick Curran, a senior economist at London-based research firm Tellimer Ltd. “With the program back on track, Pakistan will be given additional runway to avoid a crisis.”

Pakistan will sign the IMF’s letter of intent on Monday. The IMF board meeting is expected on Aug. 29 for the loan approval.

“The strength of the rupee reflects the strength of the economy,” Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said.

“The currency movement is not cosmetic. The government’s decision to curb imports is helping the rupee to gain against the US dollar.”

Pakistan has secured $4 billion from friendly countries, a condition set by the IMF, according to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. The IMF is set to decide on the loan on August 29, The News reported Saturday, citing Ismail.

The IMF loan has been partially priced-in but there are a couple of other triggers going forward,” said Mohammed Sohail, chief executive of Topline Securities in Karachi. “Falling oil prices will continue to help, and once the IMF is approved, bilateral money will flow in.”