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‘Time to stop this madness now’: Politicians, analysts react to record rupee depreciation



The rupee declined to a record new low on Tuesday, trading against the US dollar at 222 in the open market at mid-day trade.

The quick depreciation of the local currency within a matter of a few hours drew sharp criticism from politicians and analysts expressed concern over the economic fate of the country.

Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that when he was ousted via a vote of no confidence, the dollar stood at Rs178.

“Today it is Rs224 and in free fall despite IMF agreement,” he said.

“The economic meltdown shows Sharifs never had any expertise in running economy or administration. Their only expertise is looting, money laundering and getting NROs,” Khan alleged.

‘Time to stop this madness’

“It’s time to stop this madness now,” exclaimed PTI leader and former finance minister Asad Umar in a video message posted by the party’s official handle.

Umar said that Pakistan will fall so deep into an economic mess that it will become extremely difficult to pull it out if such a free fall of the rupee continues.

“For God’s sake this unnatural system made by a foreign hand must be brought to an end,” he urged, in reference to PTI’s claim that former prime minister Imran Khan’s removal through a vote of no-confidence was a “regime change conspiracy” due to what was his “independent foreign policy”.

Earlier, tweeting with his own handle, Umar remarked that “political uncertainty is bleeding the economy and inflicting tremendous pain on the people”.

“Time to stop this badly conceived, badly executed, totally gone wrong experiment. Pakistan cannot be made to suffer anymore for poor decisions,” he wrote.

‘Rupee sunk by 10 units ever since deal with IMF’

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, in a press conference, noted that the local currency has sunk by Rs10 “ever since an agreement was reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)”.

‘Killing inflation’

Journalist Mohammad Malick termed the development “untenable” and foresaw “killing inflation” ahead if the State Bank of Pakistan does not intervene and “restore sanity”.

“We need a full time SBP governor and [Minister for Finance] Miftah Ismail to refocus on this issue,” he said, adding: “Free fall of rupee guarantees economic disaster and free fall of government too.”

‘Rs10 lost in two days’

Economic journalist Shahbaz Rana drew attention to the fact that the rupee had lost Rs10 in value in just two days.

He called upon the finance minister to “no more sit idle” and let the rupee sink like this.

“SBP is without a governor for the last 75 days,” he lamented, calling it the “height of government indecisiveness”.

He warned that if the dollar’s ascent is not controlled, petrol and electricity prices will increase to “unimaginable levels”.

Rupee falls against dollar and pound

Former banker and political economist Yousuf Nazar noted at noon that the rupee has fallen to an all time low of Rs219 against the dollar and that it has also registered a decline against the pound, dropping to Rs264.

‘Are we waiting for Maryam Nawaz?’

Journalist Shahzad Iqbal in vexation wrote whether the government is waiting for Maryam Nawaz to tweet “Miftah please look into it”.

He said the country has seen no respite despite the IMF and Pakistan striking a staff level agreement and the assurance of disbursements rising to $4bn.

“Government seems to be clueless and has not appointed an SBP governor in the last three months,” Iqbal said.

100-dollar bill stashed away for grand kids

On a lighter note, Alpha Beta Core CEO Khurram Schezad tweeted a photo of a 100-dollar bill that he has preserved to give to his grand kids if he is alive by then.


November inflation to spike on gas price adjustment, dashing slowdown hopes




  • CPI likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in Nov.
  • Inflation rate could register 2.1% month-on-month jump.
  • Weekly SPI on Nov 16 showed 480% surge in gas prices.

KARACHI: Inflation is expected to surge in November, primarily due to a massive hike in gas prices, according to brokerage reports released on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices of goods and services, is likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in November, up from 26.9% in October.

A report by brokerage firm Insight Securities predicts that the inflation rate will register a 2.1% month-on-month jump, defying earlier expectations of a gradual slowdown from September onwards. Optimus Capital Management estimates that the CPI will increase by 2.9% month-on-month, primarily driven by an 11.6% jump in the housing index due to gas price revision and a 1.6% increase in the food index.

The primary cause behind the expected spike in November inflation is the adjustment of recently imposed fixed charges within the gas tariff structure. The weekly sensitive price index (SPI) inflation released on November 16 showed an astonishing 480% surge in gas prices.

However, a slight respite is expected from a 4.0% decrease in the transport index due to lower average fuel prices in November. The impact of the gas price hike was partially mitigated by the decline in fuel prices and the month-on-month fall in the food commodity adjustment (FCA).

Food inflation is attributed to a sharp increase in the prices of perishable items such as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggs, as well as tea. Despite an increase in supply from imports, wheat prices still rose month-on-month, while sugar and cooking oil showed a significant decline during this period, based on weekly SPI data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The recently implemented axle load regime, which limits the weight of goods transported by trucks, could put some pressure on the price levels of goods.

The higher October fuel cost adjustment (FCA) demanded at Rs3.5 per kilowatt hour (to be applicable in December) on electricity charges and a second-round impact of gas price increase could keep inflation under pressure. However, the base effect during the second half of the fiscal year is likely to help absorb the impact.

Commodity and energy prices, along with the exchange rate of the rupee against the US dollar, will remain important factors in keeping the CPI under control.

The reports projected the average inflation for the first five months of the fiscal year 2023/24 (July-June) to be 28.5%, compared with 25.2% in the same period last year and with an estimated ending at 19.4% year-on-year in June 2024.

They predicted that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is likely to maintain the interest rate in its upcoming monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting due to the higher-than-estimated inflation in November. However, the SBP could opt to initiate an easing cycle in the first quarter of 2024, given the high base effect in the second half of the fiscal year.

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Petrol price likely to remain unchanged in next fortnightly review




  • Petrol prices to hold steady in next review.
  • Diesel and kerosene prices to decline from Dec 1.
  • Next fortnightly review due tomorrow (Nov 31).

KARACHI: The prices of petroleum products will not see any major change in the upcoming fortnightly review with diesel and kerosene rates expected to go down slightly, according to the industry calculations.

According to a The News report published Thursday, the ex-refinery and ex-depot prices of petroleum products did not register any major fluctuation as global crude prices eased in recent days.

The ex-depot price of petrol, the most widely used fuel in the country, is slightly higher by Rs0.19 per litre to Rs281.53 per litre compared to the current price of Rs281.34, industry officials said.

The ex-depot price of high speed diesel (HSD), used mainly for transport, has been worked out at Rs290.47 per litre for the next fortnight compared to the existing price of Rs296.71 , showing a decline of Rs6.24 rupees per litre.

The ex-depot price of kerosene, used for cooking and lighting in rural areas, has been worked out at Rs202.16 per litre compared to the current price of Rs204.98, indicating a decrease of Rs2.82 per litre.

The ex-depot price of light speed diesel, another variant of diesel, has been worked out at Rs176.18 per litre for the next review against the present price of Rs180.45, registering a decline of Rs4.27 per litre, the report stated.

According to the industry’s working, the estimated exchange adjustment of petrol is zero whereas it is Rs1.80 per litre for HSD.

However, the industry officials said that the prices of petroleum products can change with the exchange loss as the industry did not put the exchange loss figure in its working for the next review.

The country fixes fuel prices on a fortnightly basis after evaluating fluctuating international energy market costs and the rupee-dollar parity to transfer the impact on domestic consumers.

They said global oil prices remained under pressure during November, falling below $75 a barrel in mid-November.

WTI was trading at $76.5 a barrel on November 29, down by nearly 7% as compared to October 29. Brent was down by 5.4% in the past month, trading at $86.35 a barrel, they added.

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Another day, another high: PSX continues bull run as KSE-100 goes past 61,000 points




KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday reached another historic high as the bulls continue to dominate the benchmark KSE 100 index with hopes of the State Bank of Pakistan lowering the policy rate in the coming days. 

Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website
Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website

The benchmark index gained 702, or 1.16%, during the intraday trade and stood at 61,433 points at 10:09am. 

Commenting on the bull run, Head of Research at Pakistan-Kuwait Investment, Samiullah Tariq said that the market was reacting positively because it expects an interest rate cut, a quick International Monetary Fund review and strong profitability of companies. 

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