September 27, 2015
By: Zamir Laghari
Published in Economy

WASHINGTON: The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due to meet on Monday to discuss the eighth review under the Extended Fund Facility arrangement with Pakistan and is expected to approve the release of $502 million loan tranche.

Pakistan achieved the staff-level agreement with the IMF officials in August after the successful completion of the 8th review of the loan.

In a statement issued after the meeting, IMF officials had noted that Pakistan’s economy continues to improve, appreciating the commitment and progress in implementing the economic program to improve economic resilience, promote growth and private sector job creation in the country.

Speaking to reporters last week, IMF Director Communications, Gerry Rice, said that the executive board will meet on September 28 to discuss the eight review and after approval will release about $502 million to Pakistan.

Responding to a question on Pakistan’s decision to cut the interest rate recently, Rice said that that the easing of monetary policy in Pakistan has become possible in an environment of improving stability and low inflation.

“We do expect a moderate pick-up in inflation in the coming months as international energy prices stabilize. That said, real interest rates remain positive and we expect inflation expectations to remain well anchored,” he said.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has stabilized the country’s economy which was facing a serious crisis when he took over after winning elections in June, 2013. The improvement in the economy has boosted investors’ confidence.

This week Pakistan successfully issued a new bond of $500 million after a series of roadshows that were held in Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and one in England. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was in New York to launch the bond.

Despite tight and weak global market conditions and jittery investors’ sentiments, the issue was twice over subscribed but the government decided to restrict the issue to the intended level of
$500 million in order to cover the forthcoming maturity in March 2016 of a bond issue in 2006.

Moody’s Investors Services on September 18 had assigned a provisional rating of B3 to the government’s announcement of global bond offering, saying that the outlook is stable.

The IMF’s Board meeting comes as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz are accompanying the Prime Minister.

Speaking to media here, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ruled out devaluing rupee against the dollar.  – APP