Pakistan benchmark share index hits record high, IMF cheer continues

By Thomson Reuters Mar 28, 2024 | 1:25 AM

KARACHI (Reuters) – Pakistan’s benchmark index touched an all-time high on Thursday, extending a rally following a staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund earlier this month to free up more financial aid for the country.

The benchmark KSE-100 touched a record high of 67,200.82 points in intraday trade, surpassing its previous high of 67,093.96 touched on Dec. 13. The index was trading at 67,148.65 points at 10:50 a.m. local time (0550 GMT).

“Foreign and local institutions buying amid positive news on privatisation and IMF,” Topline Securities’ Mohammed Sohail said.

Pakistan and the IMF reached a staff level agreement on the second and last review of a nine-month, $3 billion Stand By Arrangement, which, if cleared by the global lender’s board, will release about $1.1 billion to the struggling South Asian nation.

Both sides have also spoken about negotiating a longer term bailout and continuing with necessary policy reforms to rein in deficits, build reserves and manage soaring debt servicing.

Pakistan’s new government, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has also resolved to follow through with a long delayed privatisation process of loss making state owned enterprises that have drained critical funds from the cash-strapped government.

(This story has been corrected to fix the conversion of GMT to 0550, not 0520, in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)