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Rupee continues losing streak against dollar

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  • Massive devastation caused by floods worsens country’s economic crisis.
  • Rupee loses Rs1.64 against the US dollar in interbank market.
  • Rupee likely to continue its downward spiral this week, traders say.

The Pakistani rupee maintained its losing streak against the US dollar at the start of the new business week on Monday, as massive devastation caused by the floods continues to worsen the country’s economic crisis.

The local unit closed at Rs229.82 after losing Rs1.64 against the US dollar in the interbank market, as per the State Bank of Pakistan.

Traders say the Pakistani rupee is expected to continue its downward spiral against the dollar in the interbank market this week as lack of strong central bank intervention and no clear strategy to turn around the economy is depressing investors.

“Emerging currencies have suffered a lot due to the appreciation of the US dollar against the major currencies following relentless Federal Reserve rate hikes and increased safe-haven demand, but the Pakistani rupee’s sharp fall of more than 4% in the last six trading sessions has fuelled investor uncertainty,” said a foreign exchange trader.

The interbank market is tracking losses in the open market. The temporary hold on imports has shifted the problem to smuggling from Afghanistan against cash dollar payments, which has increased appetite for dollars in the open market. Other secondary factors are cash forex requirements for Dubai travellers, declaration of dollars from inbound passengers, severe accessibility issues for encashing in parts of all provinces.

The difference between the Interbank and open market is creating an incentive for the foreign currency accounts (FCY) to withdraw US dollars and sell into the open market. Whereas ultra-low interest on FCY accounts is not helping in attracting fresh deposits, according to the Tresmark’s note.

Analysts do see multiple opportunities for inflows from friendly countries, bilateral institutions, and sovereigns (in the shape of flood aid). There is also a high probability that the mandate with the IMF may be increased by about $2.5 billion. But the energy crisis in Europe is going to test and stretch the global financial markets.

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Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Gold prices in Pakistan have risen by Rs 1,200 per tola.

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The price of one tola of 24 carat gold rose by Rs1,200 and reached Rs246,800 on Thursday, compared to its previous sale price of Rs245,600 on the last trading day.

According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the cost of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold rose by Rs1,029 to reach Rs211,591, compared to the previous price of Rs210,562. Similarly, the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold jumped from Rs193,016 to Rs193,959.

The price of silver remained unchanged at Rs2,900 per tola and Rs2,486.28 per ten grammes.

According to the association, the international market price of gold rose by $10, reaching $2,382 from $2,372.

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The federal government has declared wage and pension increments for its employees.

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The Ministry of Finance has formally declared a rise in the remuneration and retirement benefits of personnel working for the federal government, offering substantial economic alleviation.

According to the notification, personnel in grades 1 to 16 will experience a 25% increment in their salaries, while officials in grades 17 to 22 will be granted a 20% rise. The implementation of this modification will commence on July 1, 2024, and will be applicable to the employees’ fundamental remuneration.

In addition, retired federal government employees would receive a 15% rise in their pension payments. This increase is applicable to retirees from both the civilian and military sectors. It is important to mention that employees who retire on or after July 1, 2024, will also qualify for this pension rise.

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The 15% increase in pension will be computed based on the amount of pension received by retired employees after deductions. Nevertheless, the letter specifies that ad hoc aid will not be factored into the calculations for pension and gratuity.

Moreover, this increment will have no effect on the calculation of housing rent allowances for employees.

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