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Pakistan benchmark share index hits record high, IMF cheer continues

A stock broker reacts while monitoring the market on the electronic board displaying share prices during trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange, in Karachi, Pakistan July 3, 2023.
A stock broker reacts while monitoring the market on the electronic board displaying share prices during trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange, in Karachi, Pakistan July 3, 2023. Photo : Reuters/Akhtar Soomro/Files

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Pakistan's benchmark stock index hit all-time intraday and closing highs 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 (.KSE) touched a record high of 67,246.02 points in intraday trade, surpassing its previous high of 67,093.96 touched on Dec. 13, before settling at 67,142.12 - a record closing high.

"Foreign and local institutions buying amid positive news on privatisation and IMF," Topline Securities' Mohammed Sohail said.

Overall, the index rose 594.34 points on Thursday, up 0.89 per cent from the previous day's close.

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.

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