KARACHI: The KSE-100 Index – a benchmark for market performance – crossed the 50,000-point level for the first time, spurred by a bull run that has seen it advance over 32% since MSCI announced its decision to reclassify Pakistan as an emerging market in mid-June last year.
On Tuesday, the index increased 164 points during intra-day trading to surpass the elusive 50,000 barrier.
The index has been on a growth trajectory ever since reports of MSCI’s decision started making the rounds.
The bullish run also made Pakistan the top-performing market in Asia and the fifth overall in 2016 after the benchmark-100 share index registered an increase of over 45% during the calendar year.
In less than a month during 2017, the index has gone up 4.4% as relentless net selling by foreigners is more than offset by domestic buying on the back of increased liquidity.
Recently, a 40% stake in the PSX was acquired by a Chinese consortium, a development stakeholders believe will bring more investment and technology upgrade to Pakistan’s stock market.
Analysts and stakeholders credit increased economic activity under CPEC, a more stable security situation, low inflation and MSCI’s reclassification as the main positive triggers for the stock market’s strong returns.
Pakistan was part of the MSCI EM Index between 1994 and 2008. However, the temporary closure of the stock exchange in 2008 led MSCI to remove it from the index and classify it as a “standalone country index”. MSCI made Pakistan a part of the Frontier Markets Index in May 2009 and it has remained as such since then.
Although the actual reclassification of the index will follow later this year, global investors tend to start factoring in the reclassification ahead of the actual change, which prompts massive inflows of global funds in the case of a favourable decision.