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Rupee snaps three-day losing streak against dollar

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  • Local currency gains Rs1.28 against the dollar. 
  • Paracha says it was a “very good” day for economy.
  • ECAP official expects market sentiment to improve. 

The Pakistani rupee has kickstarted the week on a positive note against the US dollar as exporters encashed large amounts of payments, boosting the market sentiment.

The local currency gained Rs1.28 or 0.46% against the dollar in the interbank market to close at 275.29, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), up from Friday’s close of 276.58. Meanwhile, the rupee remained stable at 283 in the open market.

During the last week, the rupee plunged to a historic low against the dollar after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was giving Pakistan “a tough time”.

In a video statement, Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) General Secretary Zafar Paracha said that Monday was “very good” for Pakistan’s economy as the rupee appreciated around 6 in the interbank market during intraday trade.

He said that the rupee’s recovery has started as the exporters, who had earlier stopped their payments, have encashed them. He added that there has been pressure to sell dollars in the interbank market. 

“It is expected that the market’s sentiments will move towards betterment. The sentiments are changing as the people had [earlier] thought that the dollar would reach 300,” said the ECAP’s secretary general. 

He urged the people to sell their dollars for profit-taking. “This would bring stability to our country, our foreign exchange reserves will increase, the rating will improve, the rate of our sukuk bonds will also get better and it will provide ease to the government in holding negotiations with the IMF.”  

Paracha added that the staff-level agreement with the Fund will be signed on February 9. “However, the IMF’s conditions will raise inflation and for that, the government needs to manage its expenses.”

He warned that if the people have to bear the brunt of the taxes, then this could lead to an anarchic situation in the country. He said that the government needs to take steps carefully as the political situation is also unstable. 

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Pakistan’s gold price increases by an additional Rs. 800 per tola.

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The price of yellow metal in the local market hit Rs247,300 on the first working day of the week, following a rise of Rs800 in a single day.

The cost of ten grams of 24-karat gold increased by Rs686 on Monday, making the current price Rs212,020.

In addition, the cost of 10 grams of 22-karat gold increased significantly, trading at Rs194,351.

These fluctuations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the tight connection between gold prices and exchange rates. This emphasizes how local gold markets are impacted by variables related to the global economy.

The price of the precious metal dropped $16 on the international market on Monday, hitting $2,348 per ounce.

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A delegation from Pakistan travels to the US to bargain with the IMF for a new loan.

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The Pakistani delegation consists of the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, the Secretary of Finance, the Additional Secretary, and other individuals.

The Finance Minister was greeted at the airport by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Masood Khan, and Embassy staff.

The Finance Minister will meet with representatives of the World Bank and IMF while he is in the US.

The IMF and Pakistan are expected to negotiate next week, according to sources.

Sources claim that Islamabad will apply for a new credit package from the IMF.

The Finance Minister’s itinerary also includes meetings with members of think tanks and the world press.

Last month, Pakistan and the IMF came to a staff-level agreement over the third and final review of the $3 billion stand-by arrangement. Should the board of the global lender approve this deal, Pakistan will get approximately $1.1 billion.

Although a specific date has not been determined, the IMF board is anticipated to evaluate the case in late April, according to a spokeswoman.

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Pakistan’s petrol prices are anticipated to rise.

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The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) will not disclose the anticipated increase in fuel prices until its work is finished, according to sources.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will receive the summary of the petrol price, and sources further stated that the new pricing will be revealed following his approval today.

Noteworthy to highlight is that Pakistan was previously ordered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to impose an 18% General Sales Tax (GST) on gasoline.

Details indicate that Pakistan was requested by the Monetary Fund to stop reducing sales tax on all goods, including gasoline.

To boost tax revenue, Pakistan’s recently elected government should impose a sales tax on petroleum items in addition to a Rs 60 charge.

High-speed diesel (HSD) was reduced by Rs3.32 per litre on March 31 but petrol prices increased by Rs9.66 per litre by the government.

In contrast to the reduction in the price of high-speed diesel (HSD) to Rs282.24 from Rs278.92, the price of gasoline jumped to Rs289.41 per litre.

The adjustments were brought about by a commensurate increase in the price of gasoline and a decline in the price of HSD on the global market, according to a statement released by the Finance Ministry.

According to the statement, the adjustment was made in accordance with government policy, which transfers pricing differences from the foreign market to the home market.

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