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Rupee expected to trade at 216 against dollar in next 10 days



  • Analysts predict multilateral creditor’s assistance will strengthen rupee. 
  • Rupee expected to trade at 216 to the dollar in next 10 days. 
  • Analysts see interest rates in US topping 5%.

KARACHI: Rupee is likely to appreciate against the US dollar in the coming week, depending on the expected inflows from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Pakistan’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list, The News reported. 

The local currency dropped against the dollar by 0.89% this week in the interbank market. However, in the final trading session on Thursday, the rupee drove up to 220.84 due to positive news from the ADB and FATF. It closed at 218.89 on Monday.

Multilateral creditors’ assistance in the wake of the floods would help increase foreign exchange reserves and strengthen the local currency, the analysts believe. 

As of October 14, the forex reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan stood at $7.59 billion — enough to cover about one month of imports.

The rupee is expected to trade at 216 to the dollar in the next 10 days and 210 to the dollar in the following 30 days, according to Tresmark, a terminal that monitors live prices of financial markets.

“This is because of ADB-related inflows of $1.5 billion in the coming week and $2 billion of inflows in the first week of November. Of course, this would not have been possible without the finance minister’s undervalued rupee mantra,” Tresmark said in a client note.

But the real test for the rupee would be six months from now, it added.

Analysts see interest rates in the US topping 5% (last seen in 2008) and a relentless surge of the dollar. 

While major currencies unanimously have a bearish bias, markets are forecasting the Indian Rupee to be at 95 per dollar, the Bangladesh Taka to be at 115 per dollar, and the Yuan to keep weakening. Dollar strength is one factor, but the global recession remains a much bigger concern.

“While CAD (current account deficit) for September was almost at breakeven, economists are looking at a 15-20% drop in exports, plus a 5% drop in remittances,” it said.

According to them, import compression and slowing down the economy further would be an ongoing requirement to sustain the economic winter, it added.

The rupee weakened during the outgoing week marginally on the back of the settlement of smaller letters of credit. Market estimates that about 50% (or around $600 million) still remains to be processed.

“The interbank market is also completely out of dollar liquidity, as can be seen in multi-month lows in swap premiums. Premiums for 1, 3, and 6 months are -2 (down from 130), 25 (down from 390), and 175 (down from 750) respectively,” it said.

In a positive development, the FATAF on Friday removed Pakistan from its list of countries that are under “increased monitoring” known as the “grey list”. This would help boost the nation’s reputation and get a credit rating upgrade from the global rating agencies.

Since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) included the implementation of FATF action plans as a structural benchmark, the removal would make it possible for Pakistan to successfully complete the next review of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility.

However, the global rating agency Fitch cut Pakistan’s sovereign credit rating by a notch to ‘CCC+’ from ‘B-’, citing further deterioration in the country’s external liquidity and funding conditions and a decline in foreign exchange reserves.

The decrease comes three months after Fitch downgraded the country’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and revised the ranking to B-. Fitch typically does not assign outlooks to sovereigns with a rating of ‘CCC+’ or below.


November inflation to spike on gas price adjustment, dashing slowdown hopes




  • CPI likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in Nov.
  • Inflation rate could register 2.1% month-on-month jump.
  • Weekly SPI on Nov 16 showed 480% surge in gas prices.

KARACHI: Inflation is expected to surge in November, primarily due to a massive hike in gas prices, according to brokerage reports released on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices of goods and services, is likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in November, up from 26.9% in October.

A report by brokerage firm Insight Securities predicts that the inflation rate will register a 2.1% month-on-month jump, defying earlier expectations of a gradual slowdown from September onwards. Optimus Capital Management estimates that the CPI will increase by 2.9% month-on-month, primarily driven by an 11.6% jump in the housing index due to gas price revision and a 1.6% increase in the food index.

The primary cause behind the expected spike in November inflation is the adjustment of recently imposed fixed charges within the gas tariff structure. The weekly sensitive price index (SPI) inflation released on November 16 showed an astonishing 480% surge in gas prices.

However, a slight respite is expected from a 4.0% decrease in the transport index due to lower average fuel prices in November. The impact of the gas price hike was partially mitigated by the decline in fuel prices and the month-on-month fall in the food commodity adjustment (FCA).

Food inflation is attributed to a sharp increase in the prices of perishable items such as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggs, as well as tea. Despite an increase in supply from imports, wheat prices still rose month-on-month, while sugar and cooking oil showed a significant decline during this period, based on weekly SPI data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The recently implemented axle load regime, which limits the weight of goods transported by trucks, could put some pressure on the price levels of goods.

The higher October fuel cost adjustment (FCA) demanded at Rs3.5 per kilowatt hour (to be applicable in December) on electricity charges and a second-round impact of gas price increase could keep inflation under pressure. However, the base effect during the second half of the fiscal year is likely to help absorb the impact.

Commodity and energy prices, along with the exchange rate of the rupee against the US dollar, will remain important factors in keeping the CPI under control.

The reports projected the average inflation for the first five months of the fiscal year 2023/24 (July-June) to be 28.5%, compared with 25.2% in the same period last year and with an estimated ending at 19.4% year-on-year in June 2024.

They predicted that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is likely to maintain the interest rate in its upcoming monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting due to the higher-than-estimated inflation in November. However, the SBP could opt to initiate an easing cycle in the first quarter of 2024, given the high base effect in the second half of the fiscal year.

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Petrol price likely to remain unchanged in next fortnightly review




  • Petrol prices to hold steady in next review.
  • Diesel and kerosene prices to decline from Dec 1.
  • Next fortnightly review due tomorrow (Nov 31).

KARACHI: The prices of petroleum products will not see any major change in the upcoming fortnightly review with diesel and kerosene rates expected to go down slightly, according to the industry calculations.

According to a The News report published Thursday, the ex-refinery and ex-depot prices of petroleum products did not register any major fluctuation as global crude prices eased in recent days.

The ex-depot price of petrol, the most widely used fuel in the country, is slightly higher by Rs0.19 per litre to Rs281.53 per litre compared to the current price of Rs281.34, industry officials said.

The ex-depot price of high speed diesel (HSD), used mainly for transport, has been worked out at Rs290.47 per litre for the next fortnight compared to the existing price of Rs296.71 , showing a decline of Rs6.24 rupees per litre.

The ex-depot price of kerosene, used for cooking and lighting in rural areas, has been worked out at Rs202.16 per litre compared to the current price of Rs204.98, indicating a decrease of Rs2.82 per litre.

The ex-depot price of light speed diesel, another variant of diesel, has been worked out at Rs176.18 per litre for the next review against the present price of Rs180.45, registering a decline of Rs4.27 per litre, the report stated.

According to the industry’s working, the estimated exchange adjustment of petrol is zero whereas it is Rs1.80 per litre for HSD.

However, the industry officials said that the prices of petroleum products can change with the exchange loss as the industry did not put the exchange loss figure in its working for the next review.

The country fixes fuel prices on a fortnightly basis after evaluating fluctuating international energy market costs and the rupee-dollar parity to transfer the impact on domestic consumers.

They said global oil prices remained under pressure during November, falling below $75 a barrel in mid-November.

WTI was trading at $76.5 a barrel on November 29, down by nearly 7% as compared to October 29. Brent was down by 5.4% in the past month, trading at $86.35 a barrel, they added.

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Another day, another high: PSX continues bull run as KSE-100 goes past 61,000 points




KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday reached another historic high as the bulls continue to dominate the benchmark KSE 100 index with hopes of the State Bank of Pakistan lowering the policy rate in the coming days. 

Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website
Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website

The benchmark index gained 702, or 1.16%, during the intraday trade and stood at 61,433 points at 10:09am. 

Commenting on the bull run, Head of Research at Pakistan-Kuwait Investment, Samiullah Tariq said that the market was reacting positively because it expects an interest rate cut, a quick International Monetary Fund review and strong profitability of companies. 

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