KARACHI: Pakistan equities on Monday hit yet another record high by breaching the 62,000-point mark, stock brokers and analysts said, amid a bullish sentiment fueled by strong earnings, hopes of investment from Gulf countries and a successful review of a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout facility.
The benchmark KSE100 index gained 802 points to close at 62,493 points on hopes of release of a $700 million tranche from the IMF and recent positive developments during the visit of Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s to the Middle East that rekindled hopes of multibillion dollar investment in the South Asian country.
“Stocks closed at new all-time high amid speculations ahead of landmark free trade agreement with GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), government measures over Pakistan Sovereign Wealth Fund and IMF board approval for release of $700 million tranche,” Ahsan Mehanti, a senior equity analyst, told Arab News.
Rupee’s stability amid renewed foreign interest, a surge in exports by 7.66 percent and a decline in trade deficit by 31.7 percent in November played a catalyst role in the record close, according to Mehanti.
The key stock index, KSE100, has displayed a remarkable journey since July 3 and gained 18,594 points, or 42.3 percent, when the South Asian country signed a short-term bailout facility with the IMF.
Pakistani financial experts believe the ongoing robust earnings growth, enticing valuation, substantial domestic liquidity, and comparatively steady economic growth will propel the KSE100 index to above 80,000 points by the end of next year.
“Redefining the allure of valuation, our December 2024 target for the KSE-100 Index is set at 81,259 points, portraying an upside of 32 percent from the index closing of 1-Dec-2023,” Arif Habib Limited, a Karachi-based brokerage firm, said in its report, titled “Pakistan Investment Strategy 2024,” on Monday.
The major themes which would come into play during the next year include compelling valuations, substantial domestic liquidity and improving macros and monetary easing.
“We anticipate robust growth across all sectors, projecting double-digit earnings growth for the majority. Our outlook for KSE100 indicates an expected 17.2 percent percent earnings growth in 2024,” the report read.
It highlighted the recent announcement for the conduct of general elections on February 8 has also played a key role in boosting stocks.
“We think that with the arrival of a freshly elected government, a much-needed era of political stability is set to start and this will be positive for the stock market,” the report read further. “We also view that persisting fears of a delay in elections are unfounded.”
Pakistan is on the verge of completing its latest standby arrangement with the IMF and will immediately be required to enter a new bailout program. Timely elections and a freshly elected government taking charge is essential to continue the economic reforms that have been initiated under the current caretaker administration.
Pakistani bourse’s performance was also fueled by the recent visit of PM Kakar to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait, which sparked hopes of huge investment inflows into the South Asian country.
Pakistan and the UAE signed multi-billion-dollar memorandums of understandings (MoUs) last week across diverse sectors, under which the Gulf nation is likely to invest $20-25 billion in Pakistan.
In another development, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reached a consensus on investment modalities with regard to a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), caretaker commerce minister, Ejaz Gohar, who was visiting Saudi Arabia, said in an X post on Saturday.