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Rupee continues to dip as import payment pressure weighs

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  • Rupee closes at 224.11 against US dollar in interbank market.
  • Local currency lost 21% against the greenback so far in 2022.
  • Analysts expect the rupee to reach 270 against dollar by June 2023.

Pakistani rupee remained under pressure on Tuesday as demand from importers seeking to pay their bills increased in the market.

The rupee closed at 224.11 against the US dollar after registering a meagre decline of 0.09% in the interbank market compared to Monday’s close of 223.91.

A currency dealer explained that banks are often urged to only settle import amounts that match the bank’s export amounts. The interbank market’s equilibrium is preserved by managing demand and supply.

Moreover, investors kept a close eye on the talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which are currently at a stalemate.

An IMF review for the release of the next tranche under bailout funding has been pending since September.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar claimed last week that Pakistan met all targets for the review. However, the IMF resident chief said discussions with the Pakistani “authorities in these areas are ongoing, especially as not all end-September quantitative targets have been met”.

Pakistan made a payment of $1 billion Sukuk on Friday. However, the investors remained concerned about a fast depletion of the foreign reserves amid dried dollar inflows. The loss of foreign exchange reserves is unquestionably caused by the servicing and repayment of the debt.

Despite the rupee’s 21% decline against the greenback so far in 2022, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Pakistani currency. Since 2019, Pakistan has adopted a market-based exchange rate regime. 

Even though the official exchange rate has recently remained in the Rs221-225 range, the black market rate is currently trading at a premium of more than 10% at Rs240-250, The News reported.

Except for a few currencies available to travellers at a premium of 3%, there is scarcely any foreign currency supply in that market as a result of the central bank’s strict regulations for exchange companies. 

The resurgence of the black market has been badly affecting dollar inflows, particularly inward remittances. Analysts expect the rupee to reach 270 against US dollar by June 2023.

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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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