Karachi, Pakistan: Hundreds of angry investors, upset by plunging Pakistani share prices, smashed windows at the Karachi Stock Exchange and scuffles broke out during a protest on Thursday to demand a temporary closure of the market.
“We are looking at the situation and there is no question of suspending the market,” said Razi-ur-Rahman, chairman of markets regulator Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan as staff cleared broken glass from the tradinghall floor.
A slump in investor confidence accelerated on Thursday, as stocks fell over 4% and the Pakistani rupee dropped by 1.3% by mid-day due to fears of political uncertainty and dire economic challenges, including a double-digit inflation rate.
The Karachi Stock Exchange, or KSE, benchmark 100-share index closed down 2.7%, or 279 points, at 10,212.92, on Thursday, its lowest close in more than 18 months.
The KSE index is down 14% since Monday after the relaxation of curbs on daily movements that had been tightened in late June to halt a precipitate fall in values.
From Monday, daily circuit breakers reverted to 5% up or down, having been amended to 1% down or 10% up in late June, a move that stifled trading volume.
Close to 1,000 mostly small investors gathered in the gardens of the bourse to demand that the KSE close for two days.
Chanting slogans critical of the government, they demanded the launch of a market stabilisation fund without delay. Authorities had proposed the launch of a 50 billion Pakistani rupees fund. Banking sources though said authorities were struggling to gather even 10 billion Pakistani rupees for the fund.