KARACHI: The stock market opened on a positive note in the outgoing week after the resident representative of the International Monetary Fund dismissed rumours that Pakistan needed to raise $8 billion instead of $6bn to finance its external debt repayments.

Arif Habib Ltd said political tensions eased a little after the chaos witnessed a week earlier. Additionally, the price of petrol came down by Rs12 per litre while that of high-speed diesel was slashed by Rs30 per litre.

Economic numbers released by the authorities showed that the current account posted a surplus of $18 million in April while the output of large-scale manufacturing industries declined 8.1 per cent year-on-year during the first nine months of 2022-23.

Moreover, the government raised Rs444 billion through an auction of treasury bills. However, State Bank of Pakistan-held foreign exchange re­­serves fell by $72m week-on-week to $4.38bn. The rupee depreciated against the dollar by 0.26pc on a week-on-week basis to close at 285.8. As a result, the benchmark index of the stock market closed at 41,599 points, up 112 points or 0.3pc on a week-on-week basis.

According to AKD Securities, political stability can instil investors’ confidence in the market. “However, the market upside is expected to remain limited due to record high-interest rates along with a decline in economic activity and rampant inflation,” it said, adding that investors should take a cautious approach while building positions.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2023

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