LONDON: Wall Street Bank Citi expects Pakistan to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a new four year of up to $8 billion programme by end-July, and recommends going long on the country’s 2027 international bond.

Pakistan last month completed a short-term $3bn programme, which helped stave off sovereign default, but the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need for a fresh, longer-term programme.

“While longer-term challenges pertain, we see several positive catalysts supporting the eurobonds,” Nikola Apostolov at Citi wrote in a note to clients.

“First, a larger and longer EFF (Extended Fund Facility) could be finalised by July possibly a $7-8bn 4-year programme and secondly and a possible inflow of Saudi investments,”

Apostolov said after a team from Citi visited Pakistan and met policymakers, including Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb.

Citi said it expected Pakistan’s international 2027 bond to offer a sweet spot to investors with sufficient liquidity and large upside as risks of default dissipate further.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2024

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