SBP likely to leave rate on hold today


The logo of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is pictured on a reception desk at the head office in Karachi, Pakistan July 16, 2019. — Reuters/File
The logo of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is pictured on a reception desk at the head office in Karachi, Pakistan July 16, 2019. — Reuters/File
  • SBP to issue advance calendar of MPC meetings for first half of 2023.
  • Small section of market participants did not rule out a hike or reduction.
  • Central bank increased rate by 800 basis points in 11 months.

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is scheduled to announce its key policy rate for the next six weeks today and a majority of pundits have developed a consensus that the central bank will leave the rate unchanged at 15% in order to wait for the stabilisation of the economy.

However, a small section of market participants did not rule out a hike of 50-100 basis points or a reduction of 25-50 basis points.

More importantly, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is following his old recipe of running a controlled economy, will like to see an easy monetary policy. The policy rate is a tool for the central bank to create a balance between inflation and economic growth.

The central bank increased the rate by a cumulative 800 basis points in 11 months (September 2021 to July 2022) to 15%.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) maintained the rate in its previous monetary policy unveiled on October 10, 2022.

Most of the pundits aren’t expecting any rate increase because the Ministry of Finance has not indicated anything in the recent T-bill auctions.

The OMO injection is growing and it’s around Rs6 trillion. And SBP has issued recent OMOs at prevailing rates. This implies that SBP might not be thinking of any increase in the rate. The secondary market yields imply the same.

In addition, another positive development since the last MPC meeting has been the decline in international prices of major commodities such as WTI, coal, brent, steel, wheat, and Arab Light. This bodes well for our external account position, hence providing much-needed relief to our trade numbers.

To recall, in the last monetary policy statement too, the MPC stated that the existing rate prudently reflected a balance between maintaining growth post floods and managing inflation.

Moreover, as mentioned in the last statement, SBP is closely monitoring the inflation trajectory. On the inflationary front, the headline inflation continues to remain in the double-digit since November 2021 mainly on the back of an uptick in food and energy prices.

In the month of October, headline inflation clocked in at 26.6% year-on-year. However, on a month-on-month basis, inflation increased by 4.71% mainly due to fuel cost adjustment adjustments and food price hikes.

The central bank is also expected to issue the advance calendar of MPC meetings for the first half of the calendar year 2023 after today’s meeting.



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