Ever-shrinking foreign reserves and the uncertainty over the IMF review induced a bloodbath at Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday with the KSE-100 Index down 537.43 points or 1.28 percent by the time trading closed for the day.

The benchmark KSE-100 Index was recorded at 41,612.67 after starting the new business week from Friday’s level of 42,150.10.

Initially, the index moved upwards and reached 42,248.53. But then the selling effect started to take its toll. At one point, the KSE-100 Index had plunged to 41,514.81, however, it settled at 41,612.67.

On Monday, the top three most active stocks were WTL (9,849,701 shares), FCCL (9,477,500 shares) and HASCOL (8,038,500 shares).

Meanwhile, the share price of TRSM was up by 17.39 percent, FPRM by 16.72 percent and BILF 14.56 percent.

As far as the worst performers are concerned, the value of DFSM dipped by 15.83 percent, FPJM by 14.79 percent and UCAPM by 12.66 percent.     

Pakistan’s forex reserves stood at a historic low of $7.5 billion for the week ending on November 25 — barely enough to cover a month’s imports.

But last week, the country also repaid a $1 billion international bond, but received $500 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Saudi Arabia also extended the term for its $3 billion deposit in Pakistan’s foreign reserves.

Pakistan entered a $6 billion IMF programme in 2019 and its ninth review is currently pending with remote talks being held between IMF officials and the government for the release of $1.18 billion.

On Friday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s interview on a private television channel raised eyebrows when he said he was not concerned whether the IMF team arrived in Pakistan for the ninth review, indicating that there may be an impasse in the ongoing talks.

For its part, the IMF in a statement last week had said Pakistan’s “timely finalisation” of a recovery plan from floods was essential to support discussions and continued financial support.

Pakistan was already in the grips of an economic crisis, facing decades-high inflation and dangerously low levels of forex reserves, when the country was devastated by floods that killed at least 1,700 people and caused severe damage, estimated at around $30 billion by authorities, to agricultural land and infrastructure.

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