KARACHI: The rupee fell sharply against the US dollar on Wednesday, losing Rs5.38, or 1.89%, to close at Rs290.22 per dollar in the interbank market, data shared by the State Bank of Pakistan showed.
The local currency had previously reached a record low of Rs288.42 per dollar on April 11.
The local unit lost ground after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was taken into custody a day earlier on charges of involvement in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Samiullah Tariq, head of research at Pakistan-Kuwait Investment Company, told Geo.tv that uncertainty regarding the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and increasing political turmoil were impacting the exchange rate.
“The rupee-dollar parity doesn’t seem linked to the actual supply and demand of dollars,” he maintained.
“Continuing political instability has taken a toll on market sentiment pushing the Pakistani rupee to hit a record low. it has also increased uncertainty regarding the resumption of the IMF programme.
“The heightened political turmoil has come at a time when the economy has been in the doldrums for months largely due to an acute balance of payment crisis, with falling State Bank of Pakistan reserves barely covering a month of highly controlled imports,” commented former finance ministry adviser Khaqan Najeeb.
He also pointed out that even if Pakistan was able to finance its balance of payments till June, it would be hard to arrange financing following the end of the current IMF programme.
Negotiating a new programme is an uphill task till there is certainty of the political cycle in the country, Najeeb added.
A day earlier, Moody’s Investor Service warned that without an IMF programme, Pakistan could default as its financing options beyond June are “uncertain”.
“We consider that Pakistan will meet its external payments for the remainder of this fiscal year ending in June,” sovereign analyst with the ratings company in Singapore, Grace Lim, was quoted by Bloomberg.
“However, Pakistan’s financing options beyond June are highly uncertain. Without an IMF programme, Pakistan could default given its very weak reserves.”
Rising political tensions ahead of elections due this year are adding to the risk of a delay in the loan, as former prime minister Imran Khan is showing no signs of backing down against the government.
The coalition government is struggling to revive a $6.5 billion IMF bailout programme, which had stalled after the government failed to meet some loan conditions.
“An engagement with the IMF beyond June would support additional financing from other multilateral and bilateral partners, which could reduce default risk,” Lim, in an emailed response to questions, said.
It should be noted that Pakistan’s foreign-exchange reserves — which stand at $4.5 billion — remain extremely low and sufficient to cover only about one month of imports, she said.
PKR on track to become top-performing currency this month: Bloomberg
- Pakistani currency rose around 6% this month against dollar.
- Authorities curb leakages happening through illegal channels.
- Crackdown on illegal dollar traders helps local currency.
The Pakistani rupee is on track to become the top performer globally in September as the caretaker government continues its crackdown on illegal dollar trade, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
The local currency rose around 6% this month against the dollar — an amazing feat despite the Thai baht and South Korean won tumbling against the greenback.
Major currencies lost ground against the dollar on speculations that the US interest rates will stay elevated for longer.
The rupee increased 0.1% to 287.95 per dollar on Thursday, after sliding to a record low of about 307 this month. Pakistan’s currency market will remain closed for the Eid Miladun Nabi holiday on Friday.
“Many leakages were happening through illegal channels of hawala and hundi trade from the open market,” Khurram Schehzad, chief executive officer of Alpha Beta Core Solutions Pvt Ltd, told Bloomberg.
“When the dollar rate reverses everybody, the hoarders, the exporters who are holding their export proceeds, start selling their dollars,” Schehzad said.
The interim rulers have intensified efforts by launching a crackdown on people involved in the illegal dollar trade, allowing the currency to gain some lost ground.
The Federal Investigation Agency, Bloomberg reported, conducted raids across the country and security officials in plainclothes were deployed at money exchanges to monitor dollar sales as part of the crackdown.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar this week said the rupee’s gain is “fostering optimism for stability.”
For its part, the State Bank of Pakistan raised the capital requirements of smaller exchange companies and ordered large banks to open their own exchange companies to make the retail foreign exchange market more transparent and easier to monitor.
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inDrive now available in five more Pakistani cities
KARACHI: inDrive, a popular ride-hailing service in Pakistan, has now expanded its network to five more cities across Pakistan including Larkana, Kāmoke, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, and Okara.
In a statement issued by the transport company, the inclusion of these cities reflects inDrive’s dedication to bringing innovative transportation options to both urban centres and suburban areas.
Speaking about the expansion, Senior Business Representative at inDrive Hasan Qureshi said: “We are excited to extend the convenience and reliability of inDrive to residents of Larkana, Kāmoke, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, and Okara.”
“Our mission is to redefine transportation by providing safe, affordable, and accessible rides to everyone. With this expansion, we are not only enhancing the commuting experience but also contributing to the economic growth and empowerment of these communities.”
PR Manager Sidra Kiran said that their new service offers city residents the convenience of accessing transport from their homes, eliminating the need to search for it.
“Both drivers and passengers stand to gain significant benefits, including time-saving and the elimination of challenges associated with street hailing. This service addresses issues such as locating rides during odd hours like early mornings or late nights,” she stated.
She further added: “inDrive ride-hailing presents numerous benefits to drivers in small cities, including flexible opportunities, reduced unemployment, supplemental income, enhanced community connection, and positive contributions to the local economy.”
The launch of the company in these cities would benefit both riders and driver-partners.
inDrive further said that it remains committed to upholding the highest standards of safety, affordability, customer service, and technological innovation.
inDrive is Pakistan’s premier ride-hailing service and is revolutionising the way people travel. With a commitment to providing safe, affordable, and reliable transportation.
The company allowed riders to connect with nearby drivers with its app.
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