Following an emergency meeting, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) raised interest rates by 250 basis points, as mounting political uncertainty and rising worldwide oil prices threaten to drive the country into a full-fledged economic catastrophe.

The key rate is now 12.25 per cent, as per the latest statement released by the central bank on Thursday. According to the report, this makes the real rate “mildly positive” and will assist maintain external and price stability.

The judgment came a few hours before the Supreme Court was due to rule on the constitutionality of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s disputed move to dissolve parliament and hold new elections. Pakistan may find it difficult to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to grant a much-needed loan tranche due to the political limbo.


At the recent briefing, SBP governor, Reza Baqir, said, “We thought it’s important to take decisive action”.  He added that the body does not intend to do anything else.

The central bank claimed that intensified domestic political turmoil contributed to the rupee’s 5 per cent loss and caused a jump in local bond rates, as well as Pakistan’s Eurobond yields and Credit Default Swap (CDS) spreads. Oil prices are likely to remain elevated, and the Federal Reserve of the United States is expected to compress sooner than expected, according to the report.


The PKR broke all records on Thursday, selling at more than Rs189 per dollar in intraday trading in the interbank market, continuing a slump that has witnessed its decline of more than 10 per cent since March 4.

Read more: Pakistan to import 32.7 million barrels of oil to cover petroleum needs

Pakistan’s political instability, in addition to money from the IMF, is causing delays in a planned $1 billion green bond offering. A refinancing from China is also expected; the repayment in recent weeks caused Pakistan’s foreign-exchange reserves to plummet to their lowest level since records began in 2010.

In a meeting last month, SBP cautioned that it might convene earlier than planned to avoid a crisis. It revised its average inflation prediction for the fiscal year ending in June from 9 per cent to little more than 11 per cent.