Caretaker govt. rules out bailout talks with IMF

The caretaker govt. has ruled out the possibility of talks with the IMF for a bailout programme despite admitting that Pakistan may face difficulties in meeting its international debt obligations due to mounting external sector challenges. Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar announced that she had deferred the plan of holding Article-IV mandatory consultations with the IMF, leaving the issue for the next govt. She also hinted at further currency depreciation and increase in petroleum product prices. She said foreign currency reserves, currently at just $ 10Bn, would further deplete and budget deficit would remain far higher than PKR 2Tn in FY18. The minister said managing the exchange rate through SBP’s intervention was not the right way to do it, hinting that rupee may further weaken.