Gold prices continue to rise amid meltdown fears

Business Desk
Gold ornaments on display in a jewellers shop. — AFP
Gold ornaments on display in a jeweller's shop. — AFP

  • Price of 10-gram gold rises by Rs943 to Rs174,468 per tola.
  • Fears of recession send investors to safety of precious metal.
  • Weaker US dollar helps international gold prices edge bit higher.

Gold prices in Pakistan Thursday increased for the fifth session in a row as political ferment coupled with fears of an imminent meltdown — in case the government fails to revive an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout in time — stoked demand for the yellow metal, considered a safe investment.

Data released by All-Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed that the price of gold (24 carats) increased by Rs1,100 per tola and Rs943 per 10 grams to settle at Rs203,500 and Rs174,468.

As the other markets slide investors generally find refuge in gold to maintain a low-risk profile.

A likely economic contraction looms over Pakistan amid political and economic uncertainties and a holdup in the revival of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan.

The gold has gained Rs6,000 per tola in the five sessions. 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that an assurance from "friendly countries" to fund a balance of payment gap was the last hurdle in securing an IMF deal, which will offer a critical lifeline to avert an economic meltdown.

Several countries had made commitments to support Pakistan during previous International Monetary Fund (IMF) reviews, Dar told the country's upper house of parliament, adding that the IMF was now asking for those commitments.

"At the time of the previous reviews, several friendly countries had made commitments to bilaterally support Pakistan, what IMF is now asking (is) that they should actually complete and materialize those commitments," he said, adding: That's the only delay."

Pakistan is awaiting a bailout package of $1.1 billion from the IMF, which has been delayed since November over issues related to fiscal policy adjustments.

International gold edged higher Thursday, helped by a weaker dollar, but prices held below last session's 6-week peak as risk sentiment improved after Credit Suisse, the latest focal point of a potential banking crisis, secured funds. 

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,924.15 per ounce by 1122 GMT, after jumping to its highest since early Feb at $1,937.28 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,928.70. 

Credit Suisse, which sparked a rout in European banking stocks on fears of its collapse, recovered 28% after saying it would borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence.