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Rupee closes at record low of 239.65 against dollar

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  • Pakistani rupee plunges to 239.65 after losing 0.74.
  • Rupee registers losses for 14th consecutive session.
  • Dollar was at an all-time high of 239.94 on July 28, 2022.

KARACHI: The Pakistani rupee continued to fall for the 14th consecutive session on Wednesday and hit a record historic low against the US dollar, with analysts expecting further depreciation of the local unit.

The rupee has been one of the worst performing currencies in the emerging markets and has fallen by nearly 9% so far this month owing to wide-ranging factors.

In the interbank market, the rupee plunged to 239.65 after losing 0.74, according to the data from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), down in value from the previous session’s close of 238.91.

The dollar now stands only Rs0.29 short of the all-time high level of Rs239.94 on July 28, 2022.

The heavy flooding and the lifting of a ban on imports have created pressure on the local unit, but the country is looking toward aid from friendly countries and multilateral and bilateral institutions to overcome the persisting economic crisis.

Floods have affected 33 million Pakistanis, inflicted billions of dollars in damage, and killed over 1,500 people — creating concern that Pakistan will not meet its debts.

Pakistan was able to resume the International Monetary Fund’s programme (IMF) and get a $3 billion rollover from Saudi Arabia, but the unprecedented floods have overshadowed everything else and led to a hit of at least $18 billion to the economy, which could go as high as $30 billion.

Samiullah Tariq, the head of research at Pak-Kuwait Investment Company, said: “[There’s] a greater demand than supply; floods have added to the import bill; aid hasn’t arrived in cash yet, but once it does, the liquidity position will ease.”

A weakening currency may worsen the price pressures after inflation surged to the highest in almost five decades. The nation is also grappling with the aftermath of a series of deadly floods and needs additional funds beyond the IMF’s $1.1 billion loan to avert a default.

The advent of floods and their negative effects on the country’s external account are to blame for the recent slide in the currency.

The loss of crops will now have to be made up for through imports and weak external flows, which have remained low since the signing of the IMF deal.

The $1.1 billion IMF loan tranche did help Pakistan improve sentiment, saving the country from default. However, additional inflows from the Middle East nations were anticipated to follow.

These inflows have not arrived yet, according to analysts.

In the past several months, investments and loans totalling $9 billion from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have been promised to Pakistan.

While Saudi Arabia has already extended a $3 billion deposit that was due in December as part of that help for one year, the three countries have not yet distributed any new investments and have not provided a timeline for when they intend to do so.

The government is worried about a free fall of the rupee and is considering some steps to stabilise the foreign exchange market. Recently, the State Bank of Pakistan issued a show-cause notice to eight banks for selling dollars at prices higher than the current market rate, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail revealed over the weekend, to stop the rupee’s wild decline.

“The IMF loan was more to do with sentiment and was expected to be followed by inflows from other friendly countries,” said Sana Tawfik, economist at Arif Habib Ltd. in Karachi.

“These things were to materialize, but we don’t see any inflows yet.”

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The gold price in Pakistan today

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According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the price of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold increased by Rs772 to Rs184,928 from Rs184,156, while the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold increased to Rs169,517 from Rs168,810.

These oscillations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates.

This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

On the other hand, the cost of 24-karat silver was constant at Rs 2,570. Globally, too, the price of gold increased somewhat by $9 to $2,057 per ounce.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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