SBP keeps policy rate unchanged at 9.75%

05:18 PM | 24 Jan, 2022
SBP keeps policy rate unchanged at 9.75%

KARACHI – The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to maintain the policy rate at 9.75 percent for the next two months amid higher inflation and surge in Omicron cases in the country.

For the decision, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) considered the measures taken to lower inflation and keep the ongoing economic recovery sustainable.

“These measures include a cumulative 275 basis point increase in the policy rate, higher bank cash reserve requirements, regulatory tightening of consumer finance, and curtailment of non-essential imports,” the central bank said in a statement.

Since the last meeting on 14th December 2021, several developments suggest that these demand moderating measures are gaining traction and have improved the outlook for inflation.

Recent economic growth indicators are appropriately moderating to a more sustainable pace, it said.

“While year-on-year headline inflation is high and will likely remain so in the near term due to base effects and energy prices, the momentum in inflation has slowed with month-on-month inflation flat in December compared to a significant rise of 3 percent in November. Inflation expectations of businesses have also declined considerably,” read the official press release.

The current account deficit appears to have stopped growing since November and the non-oil current account balance is expected to achieve a small surplus for FY22.

SBP said that the enactment of the recent Finance (Supplementary) Act, 2022 represents significant additional fiscal consolidation compared to the budget and has lowered the outlook for inflation in FY23.

The MPC was of the view that current real interest rates on a forward-looking basis are appropriate to guide inflation to the medium-term range of 5-7 percent, support growth, and maintain external stability.

In reaching its decision, the MPC considered key trends and prospects in the real, external and fiscal sectors, and the resulting outlook for monetary conditions and inflation.

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