Talks between Pakistan and the IMF ended last week without agreement, but the subsequent decision by the government to cut back fuel subsidies has cleared one of the major hurdles towards a deal being agreed. Financial markets in the country reacted well to the news, with equities and the currency climbing and CDS spreads falling back. As we have outlined before, an IMF deal is essential to putting the economy back on a more sustainable footing, but there is still a lot that could go wrong. Cutting subsidies will cause inflation, which hit 13.4% y/y in April (which is more than double the central bank’s target), to climb even higher. In addition to cutting back on spending, the IMF are likely to demand monetary policy is tightened further. All of this will weigh on living standards and could prompt renewed political unrest. The recently deposed prime minister, Imran Khan, has threatened to hold renewed protest rallies, while there is a mounting risk that some parties could start to pull out of the governing coalition, which may lead to early elections. The IMF will be wary of entering into an agreement if they think the government will not be around for long enough to complete the programme.
Become a client to read more
This is premium content that requires an active Capital Economics subscription to view.
Already have an account?
You may already have access to this premium content as part of a paid subscription.
Sign in to read the content in full or get details of how you can access it
Register for free
Sign up for a free account to gain:
- Unlock additional content
- Register for Capital Economics events
- Receive email updates and economist-curated newsletters
- Request a free trial of our services