Pakistan likely to contact IMF

ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to approach the International Monetary Fund in about two months` time for a fresh bailout package as continued rise in international oil prices and limited foreign inflows threaten Pakistan`s balance of payments position. With a positive revision in economic growth estimate to 4 per cent, the Monetary and Fiscal Coordination Board on Thursday noted with concern that a rising trend in international oil prices and challenging foreign inflows could threaten country`s balance of payments position. The meeting presided over by Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was attended by the commerce minister, deputy chairman Planning Commission, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and Secretary Finance. The meeting was convened to share assessment of the current economic situation and bring consistencies in economic tar-gets and optimal utilization of policy measures. Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood Khan who briefed the meeting said the GDP growth rate was expected to move up to about 4 per cent from an earlier estimate of 3.6 per cent. This was mainly because of a better crop position and improved large scale manufacturing growth in the first six months of the current fiscal year. The board noted with concern that rising international fuel prices could affect balance of payments and deteriorate the external position. The estimate was that oil prices could touch $130 per barrel in view of tension in the Middle East region from existing rate of about $112 per barrel.

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