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Pakistan: Further tightening needed, as IMF talks begin

High inflation and the fall in the currency were the two key factors behind the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) decision to raise interest rates by a further 150bp today. More tightening looks inevitable, and much will depend on whether the government can agree terms with the IMF over the resumption of its US$6bn loan programme. Asia Drop-In (26th May, 0900 BST/16:00 SGT): Can Asia remain the low inflation exception? Join our 20-minute briefing about the region’s price and policy outlooks. Register here.
Hamad Hussain Research Assistant
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After more than two years in the doldrums, Thailand’s tourism sector is finally showing signs of life. Arrivals in May reached 520,000 – a 77% increase from the previous month and 19% of the level reached in the same month of 2019. Spending by foreign tourists was equivalent to over 10% of GDP before the pandemic began, and a steady recovery in the sector will provide an important boost to the struggling economy – Thailand was the only major country in the region where GDP was still below its pre-pandemic level in the first quarter. A stronger recovery should provide the central bank with the confidence it needs to begin tightening monetary policy. Despite surging inflation, the Bank of Thailand has been one of the few central banks in the region not to hike rates this year as it has prioritised supporting the economy. Our forecast is that the BoT will finally raise interest rates at its August meeting. Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  

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23 June 2022

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Pakistan: PM Khan stumped, emergency hike by SBP

In Pakistan, the week began with a constitutional crisis and it will likely end with a new Prime Minister at the helm following the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday. Prime Minister Khan’s successors will face challenges on many fronts. And they will need to ensure that Pakistan remains on an IMF programme to steer the economy away from an external crisis. In response to the developing situation, the central bank hiked rates in an emergency meeting by 250bps – its largest hike since 1996.

8 April 2022

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Pakistan: central bank to resume tightening cycle soon

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) today left interest rates on hold, but the surge in oil prices mean it is likely to resume its tightening cycle soon. Drop-In (8 March, 10:00 EST/15:00 GMT): We’re discussing Russian energy imports and Europe’s energy needs in this special 20-minute briefing on one of the big sticking points in the western response to the war in Ukraine. Register here.

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Pakistan: a pause to the tightening cycle

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) left interest rates on hold today at 9.75% and indicated that further modest tightening is likely later in the year. We think the central bank will take a breather over the next few months, but we doubt today’s meeting marks the end of the central bank’s tightening cycle.

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