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Rupee likely to trade around 285-286 against dollar next week

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  • Rupee faces pressure from inflation, decline in reserves this week.
  • Local currency closes at Rs285.37 against greenback on Friday.
  • Rupee’s outlook to depend on dollar buying, selling next week. 

KARACHI: The rupee is expected to hold a narrow range and hover around 285-286 against the dollar in the upcoming week as importers and exporters weigh the impact of mixed economic signals on the country’s currency, The News reported Sunday. 

In the outgoing week, the local currency gained some ground against the greenback in the first three sessions as optimism surrounded the economy over the completion of the first International Monetary Fund (IMF) review and the decline in the current account deficit.

However, the rupee lost some of its gains in the last two sessions, as demand for dollars from importers increased and exporters remained reluctant to sell their foreign exchange holdings. 

The rupee also faced pressure from rising inflation, falling foreign exchange reserves and uncertainty over the interest rate outlook.

The rupee closed at 285.37 against the dollar on Friday, compared with 285.97 on Monday, gaining 0.20% for the week.

“The rupee’s outlook for the coming week will depend on whether importers and businesses step in to buy dollars to meet their end-of-month demand as well as whether exporters, who are still hesitant, come to the market to sell their dollar holdings,” said a foreign exchange trader.

“We expect the rupee to trade in a range of 285-286 against the dollar next week unless there is any major positive or negative news flow.”

Tresmark, a financial data provider, said the rupee had not lost much ground over the previous two trading sessions. The real effective exchange rate (REER), which increased from 91.7 to 98.6, and the diminishing foreign exchange reserves, which decreased by $232 million, were the main causes.

“However, most analysts think the lion’s share of rupee weakness came as SBP did Sell Buy swaps to prop forward premiums and subsequently started buying dollars from the market to boost reserves. Despite lucrative premiums, exporters were not active in selling forwards,” it said in a weekly report.

“In the coming week, we see the rupee to be range-bound and vulnerable to news flows. Importers and exporters should just wait and see which comes earlier — positive or negative news flows.”

Pakistan’s forex reserves fell by $233 million to $12.302 billion in the week that ended on November 17. The reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) dropped by $217 million to $7.180 billion. Analysts said that was enough to cover less than two months of imports.

Even if recent statements from government officials have calmed market sentiment, Tresmark believes that they are still creating uncertainty.

“One of the biggest uncertain segments is interest rate. When CPI [consumer price index] inflation clocked in around 26% for October, the market went on a bond-buying spree predicting rates to come down,” it said.

“Subsequently, the increase in gas prices and the two consecutive SPI [sensitive price indicator] numbers of over 40% has cast solid doubts. Yields have consequently ticked up last week, and everyone is now looking for another round of data to project future inflation rates.”.

While most analysts don’t think of an increase in interest rates, they insist a no change will be akin to a hike, because the market has strongly factored in a cut. But a cut looks tricky if CPI comes above 30% (as is the market consensus), especially amidst a hawkish Fed and a unique interest rate trajectory in Turkey — in which they increased rates by another 5% on Friday to take it to 40%, it noted.

Pakistan expects to secure a tranche of $700 million from the IMF’s existing loan programme after completing a first review. The IMF executive board is expected to approve the staff-level agreement with Pakistan for the first review of the $3 billion stand-by arrangement early next month.

It is projected that Pakistan will get approximately $1.2 billion in financing from the multilateral partners. October saw a 91% reduction in the current account deficit (CAD) to $74 million compared to the same month last year, thanks to a rise in exports and remittances and a decrease in imports.

Despite a 61% month-on-month increase in the current account deficit in October, primarily as a result of a higher trade gap brought on by an increase in imports, analysts believe that the deficit for this fiscal year will be manageable because anticipated foreign inflows are likely to materialise. The CAD declined by 66% to $1.1 billion in the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year.

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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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