Pakistan Stock Exchange registered a decline of over 700 points on Friday, just hours after the Shehbaz Sharif-led government announced a hike in fuel prices.

At 11:44 am, the KSE-100 index fell 711.84 points against the previous day’s close of 42,237.91 to fall to 41,526.07, Dawn newspaper reported.
The KSE-100 Index is a stock index acting as a benchmark to compare prices on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) over a period.

The ‘fall’ in the stock market is a result of the federal government’s decision to increase the price of the petroleum products by Rs 30 per litre and its announcement of securing a determination from the power regulator for about Rs8 per unit increase in electricity rates for the next fiscal year starting July 1, according to a report issued by Mettis Global, a web-based financial data and analytics portal.

The hike in petroleum product prices was announced by the Pakistan Finance Minister on Thursday in a bid to finalise a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The rise in fuel prices and power tariffs is one of the main prerequisites that the government needs to meet for the resumption of the USD 6 billion IMF programme, which has been stalled since April.

But while “this overnight fuel price increase brings us closer to resuming the much-needed IMF programme, it means pain and demand compression at the micro-level”, explained Raza Jafri, head of Intermarket Securities, a local brokerage firm.

“Existing holders have been rotating out from cyclical sectors while new investors are still shying away. Stocks are falling on low volumes,” he told the publication.

The hike in petrol price not only impacted the stock market but also irked the Pakistanis. Protesters erupted with citizens attacking a petrol pump near Purani Sabzi Mandi in Karachi’s Central District.

Not just this, the infuriated Pakistanis pelted stones and vandalized the pump. There was already anger among the protestors over the increased fuel prices and this was further elevated after the petrol pump stopped supplying the fuel. The protest was also being held on Nagan Chowrangi.

Citizens in Larkana were also demonstrating against the increase in petrol price. The situation escalated when the angry citizens set fire to tires at Jinnah Bagh Chowk in Larkana, reported ARY News.

PM Shehbaz Sharif launched a new relief package of Rs 28 billion per month. This comes in the context of the February 28, 2022, announcement by the Imran Khan government of relief measures to reduce prices of petrol and electricity are on account of Opposition pressure and public anger. The measures include a reduction in the prices of petroleum products and electricity tariffs by Rs 10 and Rs 5 respectively along with a number of new schemes including one on tax amnesty.

Imran Khan’s subsidies are perceived to have destroyed Pakistan’s economy for the Shehbaz administration. Now, in this latest relief package announced by the Shehbaz government, the PM said that 14 million poor families, comprising 85 million people, would be given Rs 2000 per family. (ANI)