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Pakistan

To boost reserves, Pakistan to tap China for $300mn Panda Bonds: report

  • In interview with Bloomberg, finance minister Aurangzeb says option should have been explored 'some time back'
Published March 22, 2024

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has said he is looking to tap Chinese investors by selling as much as $300 million in Panda Bonds for the first time this year, reported Bloomberg on Friday.

Selling yuan-denominated debt will allow Pakistan to diversify its funding sources and reach investors in a new market, Aurangzeb said, added the report.

It’s something “we should have looked at quite frankly some time back,” he was quoted as saying.

China has the “second-largest and deepest bond market in the world” and it is the “right thing to do for the country” to tap the market, given Pakistan has already sold dollar and eurobonds, he said, according to the report.

SBP-held foreign exchange reserves increase $105mn, now stand at $8.02bn

Aurangzeb said the initial Panda bond sale would be about $250 million to $300 million, which would be followed by further issuances.

Panda bonds are yuan-denominated instruments sold in China by offshore issuers, including companies, multilateral agencies and governments.

Aurangzeb’s remarks come after Business Recorder reported last week that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to immediately explore the possibility of Panda Bonds to shore up depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Falling reserves is one of several concerns staring down Pakistan’s economy where high inflation and catching up interest rates have stifled growth prospects.

The finance minister said the government’s cash balances are strong enough that it’s able to pay its debts on time, according to Bloomberg.

The payments are unlikely to put pressure on the currency, and he expects the rupee to remain stable, he said.

“I don’t really see a huge pressure on the rupee at this point in time,” he was further quoted as saying. “As we go forward, I think it’s going to remain range bound around these levels.” The “wildcard” is oil prices, he added, which remain uncertain given the Red Sea attacks.

Among other pressing issues for the finance minister are talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even after Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement on the final review of its ongoing Stand-By Arrangement.

Aurangzeb unveils his approach to IMF lending

The IMF has already acknowledged Pakistan’s need for another bailout after the nine-month SBA expires in April, and Aurangzeb has said that talks on the new programme will begin during the lender’s annual spring meetings.

Comments

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Chawla.i Mar 22, 2024 11:20pm
Reduce interest rates... immediately Economy is dying...banks r minting money Minister sahb... urgent
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