Asia’s best-performing market gives finance minister something to be proud of

KARACHI: If there was one thing Finance Minister Ishaq Dar could confidently talk about during his press conference on Thursday, it was the country’s stock market.

With the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) set to be upgraded into MSCI’s Emerging Markets Index come June 1, Dar mentioned how it outperformed all its peers in Asia in calendar year 2016; becoming Asia’s best and the world’s fifth-best performing market.

The KSE-100 Index, a benchmark for market performance, has also soared 40% in the current fiscal year to date, as stocks attracted the available liquidity in the economy.

The index surged 39.92%, or 15,085.47 points, in the outgoing fiscal year and closed at 52,869.01 points on Thursday.

The closing is fractionally low from the all-time high of 52,876.46 points recorded on Wednesday (May 24). But the index never fell below the July 1, 2016 level of 37,783.54 points throughout the review period (July 1, 2016 to May 25, 2017). Arif Habib Limited Head of Research Shahbaz Ashraf said the 40-year low interest rate helped the market outperform among several asset-class markets.

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