Middle East

Pakistan to seek IMF bailout despite $6 billion Saudi rescue


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan still plans to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite a Saudi Arabian offer of a $6 billion rescue package, Pakistan’s finance ministry said on Wednesday.

“Yes, we are going ahead into program negotiations with (IMF) in the first week of November,” Noor Ahmed, spokesman for the ministry, told Reuters in a text message.

On Tuesday, Pakistan announced Saudi Arabia had agreed to give Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year and a further loan worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports to help stave off a current account crisis.

Pakistan’s main stock market index shot up 3.3 percent in early trading on the news of the Saudi help.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said this week Pakistan was seeking help from “friendly nations”, which is usually a reference to close allies Saudi Arabia and China, to go with any IMF program.

Khan is due to travel to China in the first week of November, where he is expected to seek further assistance.

Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Nick Macfie.

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