Saturday, October 8, 2011

State Bank of Pakistan Cuts Rate 150bps to 12.00%

The State Bank of Pakistan unexpectedly slashed its discount rate 150 basis points to 12.00% from 13.50%.  The Bank said: "There is a decline in CPI inflation and government borrowing from SBP is lower than its end-June level. Led by consistent inflow of workers' remittances the external current account position is comfortable though there has been some decline in SBP's foreign exchange reserves. Importantly, concerns regarding  weak private sector credit growth and  falling real private investment expenditures remain along with a likelihood of rise in real interest rates."

Pakistan's central bank last cut the discount rate by 50 basis points to 13.50% at its July meeting.  Pakistan reported annual inflation of 10.46% in September, 11.56% in August, 13.77% in July, 13.92% in June this year, 13.23% in May, and 13.04% in April.  The Pakistani government announced an inflation target of 12 percent for fiscal 2012, with a desired path for inflation of 9.5% and 8% in the subsequent 2 years.  

Pakistan is aiming for 4.2% growth in fiscal 2012, compared to 2.4% in the previous year; one of the lowest rates of expansion in recent history for the nation, as it struggled to cope with the floods and terrorist attacks.  The IMF is forecasting real GDP growth of 2.6% in 2011, 3.8% in 2012, and an average 5% through 2016.  

The Pakistani Rupee (PKR) has depreciated about 2% against the US dollar so far this year, and the USDPKR exchange rate last traded around 87.4


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