Investors look to cash in as Pakistan’s world-beating stocks surge

Published: November 21, 2019
Stock brokers watch television as  stock market experiences rapid changes. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

Stock brokers watch television as stock market experiences rapid changes. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

Pakistan stocks have outperformed the world’s leading stock markets during the last three months due to government’s steps to stabilise the country’s crippling economy.

The rally that has helped Pakistan stocks trounce the rest of the world is however not done yet, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Large investors, including mutual funds and insurers, are expected to jump in as double-digit returns from fixed income have begun to recede, AAH Soomro, managing director at Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Securities told the US media outlet.

The report said that during the previous three months, Pakistan’s stock market surged by 30 per cent while Ireland’s stock market increased by 20% followed by Russia’s RTS index with a positive change of 15%.

Pakistan’s KSE-100 Index has advanced to the highest level in seven months, after falling to the lowest in almost five years in August, amid attempts by the government to stabilise the economy with a $6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after a deficit blowout.

New tariff policy focuses on export, industrial growth

At the same time, bond yields have begun to fall after peaking around 14% mid-year, making debt investments less attractive.

“Banks are rethinking their strategy. They have to look at riskier assets now,” said Soomro, who spent about a decade as a fund manager at companies including Tundra Fonder AB. “So, the stock market is a tempting bet.”

With stocks trading at overbought levels, it’s probably inevitable there’s a pause for breath, Soomro said.

The KSE-100 fell on Wednesday after five straight days of gains. Foreign investors have bought $64 million of the nation’s stocks this year, set for the first annual inflow since 2014. Their purchases will gather pace February after the nation’s next review by the Financial Action Task Force, Soomro said.

To read about how 13% return on debt prompted Pakistan investor’s to shun equities Pakistan made just enough progress on global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing standards in October to escape being placed on the FATF blacklist.

London-based Oxford Frontier Capital bought about a 40% stake in KASB Securities to relaunch the brand that was once the largest domestic brokerage in Pakistan. UK-based Sturgeon Capital also acquired a minor stake in KASB earlier this year.

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