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Why rupee tanked to historic low?

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The Pakistani rupee lost over Rs14, or 5%, against the US dollar in the outgoing week as the cash-strapped economy spirals deeper into a financial crisis amid challenges like looming debt default, shortage of dollars, unsustainable spending, uncontrolled inflation, and nine-year low foreign reserves.

Earlier during the week, the local unit advanced from a record low as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team began negotiations with Pakistan over the resumption of its $6.5 billion bailout programme; however, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s rather concerning comments regarding the ongoing parleys sent the currency market reeling.

The PM on Friday said the Fund review mission was giving Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team a “very tough time” in the talks —  expected to conclude on February 9.

Following his comments, the market panicked and the rupee devalued by 1.89% (or Rs5.22) to a new all-time low of Rs276.58 against the US dollar on Friday compared to Thursday’s close of Rs271.38.

Cumulatively, the rupee slumped 3.14% (or Rs8.69) in three days, compared to Wednesday’s close of Rs267.89 — the rupee recovered as crucial talks with the Washington-based lender resumed.

Tresmark, in its weekly currency commentary, noted that the rupee fell sharply last week from 264 per dollar to 278.50.

“It seemed to have stabilised around the 270 level, until the prime minister and finance minister spoke out,” the financial terminal for real-time market rates, news, charts, financial data, and technical analysis stated.

It added that when PM Shehbaz said that the IMF was imposing harsh conditions and when the finance czar said they were looking for philanthropists for billions of dollars, “traders assumed that the leadership was still looking for avenues other than IMF or that they would waste more time in negotiating with them.”

“However, in our assessment, the premier may have been only trying to prepare other stakeholders and vote base for harsh steps and measures,” Tresmark said, adding that another important factor behind the rupee’s downfall was the steep decline in total reserves of the country which are now at $8.7 billion (down by $712 million).

PM Shehbaz is battling to keep the economy afloat amid dollar shortages, and political tensions deepen.

Pakistan — with a $350 billion economy — is seeking a crucial instalment of $1.1 billion from the lender of the last resort to avoid default.

Tresmark mentioned that until and unless traders don’t feel confident about things getting better, especially the situation of reserves, the rupee would continue to fall, irrespective of its level.

“Traders we spoke to think the first and second level of resistance of 280 per dollar and 285 per dollar will be breached in the coming week unless the IMF comes on board. They also feel that 270-275 per dollar is the fair level post-IMF agreement, and any outruns will be temporary and will get corrected once there is some visibility of inflow,” the commentary read.

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The gold price in Pakistan today

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According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the price of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold increased by Rs772 to Rs184,928 from Rs184,156, while the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold increased to Rs169,517 from Rs168,810.

These oscillations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates.

This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

On the other hand, the cost of 24-karat silver was constant at Rs 2,570. Globally, too, the price of gold increased somewhat by $9 to $2,057 per ounce.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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