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Pakistan expects eight investment deals during Saudi prince's visit

Reuters  |  ISLAMABAD 

By Sayeed and Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - will announce eight investment agreements during a visit to by Crown Mohammad Bin Salman, officials said on Wednesday, a trip that is expected to set the seal on growing closeness between the historic allies.

The investment is welcome in Pakistan, which is facing sharply slowing economic growth this year, a ballooning budget deficit and foreign currency reserves dwindling to less than $8 billion or two months' of imports.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is looking to diversify its economy beyond and also needs allies in the aftermath of the killing of Saudi at the in October.

While Islamabad has begun talks over a possible bailout with the International Monetary Fund, it has already won $6 billion in badly needed loans and credit arrangements from to prevent a balance of payments crisis.

"always supported us in these tough times," told a conference in Islamabad.

The government is also looking for new sources of investment alongside the mammoth $60 billion Economic Corridor infrastructure project with

Total Saudi investments could reach $20 billion over the next few years, the said in a statement, without providing any detailed breakdown.

Eight memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed during Mohammad's visit this weekend after plans were announced last month for a $10 billion in Gwadar where is building a deepwater port as part of its Belt and Road intitiative.

"We would like this economic corridor that is being built and Gwadar to become a hub of trade, and economic activity," Qureshi said.

Saudi Arabia is also interested in buying two liquefied at Haveli and Bhikki which the government is looking to sell as part of a privatization drive, he said.

Pakistani was among a handful of world leaders who attended Riyadh's flagship investment conference in October, which was shunned by many companies and governments in protest at Khashoggi's murder.

Pakistani newspapers have reported in awe-struck tones on preparations for Mohammad's two-day visit, during which he will be accompanied by a 1,000-strong entourage and five truckloads of effects including his

Qureshi rejected suggestions that had promised its support for the Saudi-backed coalition waging war in against the Iran-aligned movement.

"There is no such conditionality, there is no attempt to push Pakistan into Yemen," he said.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Frances Kerry)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 21:55 IST