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Rupee strengthens, closes below 220 against dollar

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  • Rupee closes at 219.73 against dollar in interbank market. 
  • Market is anticipating inflows of $1.5bn from ADB. 
  • Dealers are hopeful that support from multilateral creditors would help boost reserves. 

KARACHI: The Pakistani rupee continued to strengthen against the US dollar falling below the psychological barrier of Rs220 in hopes of early disposal of Asian Development Bank (ADB) loans to assist Pakistan in devastating floods.

The local currency closed at 219.73 against the US dollar after gaining Rs0. 68, or 0.31%, compared to Monday’s close of 220.41.

The market is anticipating inflows of $1.5 billion from the Manilla-based lender this week and $2 billion in the first week of November.

This boosted sentiment on the rupee. Dealers are hopeful that support from multilateral creditors would help boost foreign exchange reserves and the value of the local currency.

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.

However, despite the rupee remaining largely stable in the interbank market hovering around Rs219-220 for almost a week, the rates proved to be meaningless as multiple exchange companies and dealers reported having no dollars with them. 

Officials at these companies said the shortage has persisted for almost a week.

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Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Gold prices in Pakistan have risen by Rs 1,200 per tola.

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The price of one tola of 24 carat gold rose by Rs1,200 and reached Rs246,800 on Thursday, compared to its previous sale price of Rs245,600 on the last trading day.

According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the cost of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold rose by Rs1,029 to reach Rs211,591, compared to the previous price of Rs210,562. Similarly, the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold jumped from Rs193,016 to Rs193,959.

The price of silver remained unchanged at Rs2,900 per tola and Rs2,486.28 per ten grammes.

According to the association, the international market price of gold rose by $10, reaching $2,382 from $2,372.

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The federal government has declared wage and pension increments for its employees.

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The Ministry of Finance has formally declared a rise in the remuneration and retirement benefits of personnel working for the federal government, offering substantial economic alleviation.

According to the notification, personnel in grades 1 to 16 will experience a 25% increment in their salaries, while officials in grades 17 to 22 will be granted a 20% rise. The implementation of this modification will commence on July 1, 2024, and will be applicable to the employees’ fundamental remuneration.

In addition, retired federal government employees would receive a 15% rise in their pension payments. This increase is applicable to retirees from both the civilian and military sectors. It is important to mention that employees who retire on or after July 1, 2024, will also qualify for this pension rise.

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The 15% increase in pension will be computed based on the amount of pension received by retired employees after deductions. Nevertheless, the letter specifies that ad hoc aid will not be factored into the calculations for pension and gratuity.

Moreover, this increment will have no effect on the calculation of housing rent allowances for employees.

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