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IMF range of 1.25% between interbank, kerb rates of dollar breached over last five days

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  • Difference ranges between 2% to 4% for last five working days.
  • Local currency in interbank market continues to slide.
  • IMF under SBA mandated spread not to be more than 1.25% in five consecutive business days on weekly basis.

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural benchmark for keeping the difference between interbank and open market rates for US dollar against the Pakistani rupee within the band range of 1.25% had been breached at least for the last five working days, The News reported on Thursday.

The difference ranged between 2% to 4% in the last five consecutive days whereas the global lender might raise this issue, with the caretaker government, in the upcoming negotiations expected to be held at the end of October or early November this year.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been unable to keep the difference in exchange rate within the desired limit of 1.25% so far despite witnessing depreciation in the exchange rate.

The clearance of stuck-up containers at ports, payment of dividends, and removal of other restrictions have increased pressures on the exchange rate. 

Secondly, the IMF condition has been resulting in dollarisation because the interbank market was following the open market so everyone knows that investing in the dollar would increase benefits.

This scribe sent out a question to the SBP two days ago inquiring whether the agreed benchmark with the IMF was breached in the last five working days as the gap between the interbank and open market ranged around 4%. What’s the view of the SBP and how you ensured monitoring and then report it back to the IMF on a weekly basis?

The SBP’s spokesperson replied on Wednesday and stated “We do not have any comment to offer”.

The IMF under Standby Arrangement (SBA) mandated spread not to be more than 1.25% in five consecutive business days on a weekly basis.

The local currency in the interbank market continues to slide as the rupee in the interbank market stood at Rs295 and in the open market around Rs305 so the difference stood at 3.4%. From January 1, 2023, to August 15, 2023, the rupee witnessed a devaluation of 22.32% against the US dollar.

Independent economists feared that episodes of exchange rate depreciation were continuously expected during the gradual return to a market-based exchange rate.

While the rupee experienced an appreciation following the IMF under SBA, this effect was a combination of an increase in market confidence and depreciation of the US dollar. Because the trend of depreciation since FY23 has been driven by a deterioration of economic fundamentals, the effect of increased market confidence was only temporary, and the rupee-dollar exchange rate has returned to pre-SBA levels.

The recent depreciation could be attributed to the return to a market-determined exchange rate and commitment of no formal or informal intervention in foreign exchange markets, SBP’s interventions to be guided by the overarching objective of increasing reserves to at least $6.4 billion (1 month of import cover) by end of December 2023 and reducing SBP’s net forward/swap position to below $4 billion.

The foreign exchange sales are not to be used to prevent a trend depreciation of the rupee driven by economic fundamentals.

The policy rate was jacked up to 22% on June 26th, 2023, and will be further adjusted until inflation and inflation expectations are on a clear downward trend. The real policy rate (i.e., policy rate adjusted for inflation) might be brought into positive territory.

The withdrawal of a December 2022 circular issued to banks on prioritization in providing FX for certain types of imports, and a gradual phase-out of other FX and import restrictions, including the limitations on advance payments for imports against letters of credits (LCs) and advance payments beyond a certain amount per invoice (without LC) for the import of eligible items, and multiple currency practices also increased pressures on the exchange rate.

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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