In a remarkable turn of events, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed a bullish momentum, achieving an unprecedented milestone as the benchmark KSE-100 Index triumphantly crossed the 57,000 level for the first time in its history. This historic surge, observed on Thursday, instilled a sense of optimism among investors, attributing the success to the recent agreement between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
As of 2:39 pm, the benchmark KSE-100 Index stood at 57,389.75, marking an impressive increase of 709.69 points or 1.25%. The market had experienced fluctuations on the preceding day, settling at 56,680.07, a marginal increase of 14.14 points or 0.02%.
The driving force behind this surge was the positive outcome of negotiations between Pakistan and the IMF authorities, resulting in a staff-level agreement on the first review for a 9-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). Sana Tawfik, an analyst at Arif Habib Limited (AHL), labeled this development as a “positive development” that significantly enhanced market sentiment.
Tawfik further elucidated that the IMF acknowledgment of Pakistan’s economic measures, including the proactive monetary policy and fiscal consolidation, sends a resounding message about the nation’s economic recovery.
The IMF’s press release on Wednesday announced a staff-level agreement with Pakistani authorities on the first review of their stabilization program supported by a $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement. The pending approval by the IMF Executive Board is anticipated to release approximately $700 million, bringing total disbursements under the program to almost $1.9 billion.
The surge was not uniform across all sectors, with the banking sector experiencing a downturn. Commercial banks, in particular, faced selling pressure following the approval of a 40% tax on windfall profits earned from foreign exchange transactions in 2021 and 2022.
Despite this setback, Tawfik expressed confidence that the positive sentiment in the market would persist, especially with the materialization of commitments by multilateral and bilateral lenders. The expected improvement in the country’s foreign exchange reserve position and a reduction in T-bills rate are identified as key contributors to the ongoing positive trend.
The trajectory set by PSX, following the path paved by the IMF agreement, is anticipated to lead to a reduction in the grey market and a greater influx of individuals into legal avenues, fostering a positive shift in the public’s mindset towards earning through legal means. This, in turn, bodes well for the future of the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
In conclusion, the recent breakthrough at PSX, coupled with the affirmative steps taken by the government and the IMF, paints a promising picture for Pakistan’s economic landscape. The ongoing momentum is indicative of a bright future for the PSX, reinforcing the notion that the nation is moving steadfastly towards economic recovery and stability.