KARACHI: Pakistani stocks fell on Monday on light trade as rising political uncertainty kept investors cautious, dealers said.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index closed 0.37 per cent, or 52.39 points, lower at 13,990.38 points on turnover of 164 million shares.
“The absence of any upcoming triggers, along with rising political noise, kept investors on the sidelines,” said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities.
The Supreme Court last week found Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to re-open corruption cases against the president. The court gave the prime minister only a symbolic sentence of a few minutes detention in the courtroom.
Since then, opponents have called for Gilani to resign, but he has so far refused. Most analysts anticipate another legal challenge to Gilani’s eligibility to remain prime minister, which is causing anxiety over the political situation.
In the currency market, the rupee ended weaker at 91.02/06 to the dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 90.85/90, because international oil prices remained above $119 a barrel on Monday, increasing import payments.
The rupee has been supported by remittances, which rose 21.45 per cent to $9.73 billion in the first nine months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $8.02 billion in the same period last year.
In March, remittances totaled $1.14 billion.
In its monetary policy statement this month, the State Bank of Pakistan said the external sector was likely to remain under pressure because of both external debt payments and a lack of foreign aid.
Pakistan’s GDP growth is estimated at 3.2 per cent for 2011/12 fiscal year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The growth target was 4.2 per cent as originally presented in the budget announced June 2011 and later revised down to 4 per cent following floods in August and September that year.
Pakistan’s current account deficit widened to a provisional $3.089 billion in the first nine months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $10 million over the same period in the previous year, the central bank said on Wednesday.
Overnight rates in the money market ended flat at 11.90 per cent, unchanged from Friday’s close amid tight liquidity in the interbank market.