Pakistan plans to raise $1.5bln in Eurobonds, officials say

In this file photo, a brass plaque of the State Bank of Pakistan is seen outside of its wall in Karach on December 5, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Updated 29 May 2020

Pakistan plans to raise $1.5bln in Eurobonds, officials say

  • The country’s central bank recently cut its policy rate drastically to cope with the coronavirus
  • The Pakistani economy is likely to contract -1% to -1.5% in the current financial year, according to the IMF

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to raise $1.5 billion through Eurobonds to bridge a balance of payments gap for the financial year beginning July 1, two government officials said on Friday.
With the country’s fiscal deficit likely to rise as high as 9.4% and a shortfall in revenues due to COVID-19 economic losses, Pakistan desperately needs funds to stave off balance of payment pressure caused by dwindling foreign reserves and a current account deficit.
“Pakistan plans to launch these bonds in next fiscal year. Exact dates and amount can’t be confirmed at the moment as it depends on market situation,” an official at the finance ministry told Reuters.
Another official at Pakistan’s ministry of economic affairs said Pakistan wants to raise an estimate $1.5 billion. Both officials requested anonymity.
The Pakistani economy is likely to contract -1% to -1.5% in the current financial year, which ends in just over a month, on June 30, according to the International Monetary Fund and the country’s finance ministry.
The plan is subject to approval from Pakistan’s cabinet. Its terms would be made public at launching.
In the current financial year, Pakistan attracted over $4.4 billion in carry-trade funds through government financial instruments, including treasury bills and bonds, offering rates as high as 13%.
Pakistan’s central bank recently cut its policy rate drastically to cope with the coronavirus. Over $4.1 billion has flowed out of government instruments to date as the effects of the global pandemic hit markets.
Pakistan is also expecting more multilateral and bilateral external inflows in next financial year, including the IMF, as well as debt relief from G20 countries.
Moody’s has placed Pakistan’s local and foreign currency long-term issuer B3 ratings under review for downgrade, citing a potential default on private sector debt.


Emirates resumes Pakistan flights for passengers with negative COVID-19 tests

Updated 02 July 2020

Emirates resumes Pakistan flights for passengers with negative COVID-19 tests

  • Passengers must carry a negative COVID-19 test report from a lab approved by the airline
  • In late June, Emirates suspended its Pakistan flights after some passengers tested positive

ISLAMABAD: Emirates has resumed services to Pakistan after a brief suspension last month, and made coronavirus clearance obligatory for all passengers.

In a statement on Wednesday, the airline said that travelers coming from Pakistan must carry a negative COVID-19 report from a laboratory approved by the airline, where they ought to present their booking reference and passport copy.

They must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test up to four days before departure and present their test result at the time of check-in. 

“Passengers will bear the cost of PCR test and certificate,” the airline clarified.

On June 24, Emirates suspended its Pakistan services after some passengers who traveled to the country tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong.

Farhan Ahmed, chief executive of Blue Wings travel agency in Islamabad, told Arab News that Emirates had requested all travel consultants to inform passengers traveling from Pakistan that they would be able to board within 96 hours after receiving negative test results.

In June, Pakistan witnessed a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. As of Thursday, more than 217,800 people were known to have contracted the disease, with over 4,300 new infections reported in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed.

Nearly 4,500 Pakistanis have died from the virus and 2,700 are in critical condition. Over 104,600 are known to have recovered.