Volumes plunge on eve of SBP monetary statement | Pakistan Today

Volumes plunge on eve of SBP monetary statement

KARACHI – Pakistani shares ended almost flat as volume fell to a one month low as cautious investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the monetary policy announcement on Saturday by the State Bank of Pakistan. The Karachi Stock Exchange’s benchmark 100-share index ended 0.04 percent, or 4.44 points, higher at 12,481.44 points.
Turnover fell to 87.9 million shares, compared with 112.3 million shares traded on Thursday.
“Despite healthy corporate results in the energy sector, investors opted for the wait-and-see approach because of the monetary policy announcement,” said Arif Habib Investments Ltd Director Ahsan Mehanti. Pakistan Oilfields Ltd announced a net profit of Rs 5.2 billion ($60.8 million) for six months ended December 31, which was 57 percent higher than the net profit in the same period last year.
Analysts said investors were awaiting the outcome of the monetary policy announcement, in which eight out of 10 analysts polled by Reuters expect the central bank to increase its key policy rate by at least 50 basis points, to 14.5 percent, to combat double-digit inflation. In the last announcement in November, the central bank hiked the key policy rate by 50 basis points, to 14 percent.
However dealers said if the central bank left the policy rate flat at 14 percent, then it would improve market sentiment. The rupee ended firmer at 85.51/56 to the dollar, compared with Thursday’s close of 85.77/83 due to fresh inflows of dollars. In the money market, overnight rates fell to between 13.25 percent and 13.75 percent, compared to the previous day’s close of 13.90 percent, despite scheduled outflows of 22 billion rupees (257 million).

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