| GEO Business|
Stocks, rupee flat; o/n rates up
| Updated at: 1710 PST, Friday, August 20, 2010|
KARACHI: Pakistani stocks ended almost flat on Friday in low volume ahead of the weekend as investors remained cautious on the economic costs following the devastation caused by the floods.
The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 0.13 percent, or 12.74 points, higher at 9,860.35 on turnover of 43.3 million shares.
"The equity market remained stagnant with low volumes ahead of the weekend," chief investment officer at an asset management firm said.
"However timely aid for reconstruction and rehabilitation and relaxation of International Monetary Fund's (IMF) conditionalities could potentially be catalysts for the market."
The floods, triggered by torrential monsoon rains, have killed up to 1,600 people, and have disrupted the lives of about 20 million people, nearly 12 percent of the population.
The damage caused by the floods and the cost of recovery could bring long-term economic pain to Pakistan.
Authorities are assessing the damage but the finance ministry said it was hard to give an exact number. It said last week the floods meant the country would miss this year's 4.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target.
Growth was 4.1 percent in the last fiscal year.
With higher transport costs and food shortages, inflation, and the public anger it could spark, is a major worry.
In the currency market, the rupee ended almost flat at 85.62/67 to the dollar, compared with Thursday's close of 85.62/70.
Dealers said the rupee could come under pressure in the short-term because of higher demand for dollars for import payments.
The rupee fell to a record low of 85.80 on July 12 amid high demand for dollars from importers as well as on debt repayments.
In the money market, overnight rates rose to 12.90 percent compared with Thursday's close of 10 percent amid tight liquidity in the interbank market.
Dealers said there were scheduled outflows of 33.5 billion rupees against which the State Bank of Pakistan injected 17.7 billion rupees.