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Rupee puts major dent in dollar on renewed bailout bets

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  • Rupee gains as investors hope inflows to bolster dollar reserves.
  • Analysts see rupee resilient if funding ensured down the line.
  • Saudi confirmation for inflows strengthens IMF bailout hopes. 

Rupee on Thursday turned tables on the US dollar, strengthening by over a percent in inter-bank trade, as hopes for the revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout flared up after Saudi Arabia confirmed to the multilateral lender of its financial assistance to Pakistan.

The local unit, in the interbank market, closed at 284.42 against the US dollar, up 1.2% or Rs3.43 from Wednesday’s close of 287.85, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). 

Analysts termed this recovery, which came a day after the rupee hit a new record low of 287.85 in the inter-bank market after a decline of Re.56 or 0.19%, as a positive development and see local currency resilient in days to come if inflows ensured.

The IMF has conveyed to Pakistan that it has received confirmation from Saudi Arabia on $2 billion in additional deposits, rekindling hopes of an early signing of the agreement.

Islamabad has been negotiating with the IMF since the end of January for the release of $1.1 billion from a $6.5 billion bailout package agreed upon in 2019. To unlock the funding, the government has cut back on subsidies, removed an artificial cap on the exchange rate, added taxes and raised fuel prices.

However, assurances from friendly nations for additional funds have delayed the agreement.

Sources confirmed to The News that the lender had informed the Pakistani authorities about the development and the Fund staff seemed largely satisfied with the latest confirmation. 

“Now all eyes are focused on the UAE for getting confirmation on another $1 billion deposit from them, which may pave the way for striking the staff-level agreement (SLA) with the IMF,” the sources said.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is likely to visit UAE on his way to the US where he is expected to hold talks on the release of funds.

Worldwide, the US dollar gained slightly on Thursday but hasn’t strayed too far from a recent two-month low as traders weighed how pivotal US jobs data coming out during a holiday weekend will impact Federal Reserve policy.

The list of soft economic data has added to fears of an impending recession in the world’s largest economy, putting a lid on risk appetite and sending traders in search of some safe-haven assets.

It should be noted that the foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP stand at a critical level of $4.2 billion — barely enough to cover one month’s imports.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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