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Rupee expected to trade at 216 against dollar in next 10 days

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  • Analysts predict multilateral creditor’s assistance will strengthen rupee. 
  • Rupee expected to trade at 216 to the dollar in next 10 days. 
  • Analysts see interest rates in US topping 5%.

KARACHI: Rupee is likely to appreciate against the US dollar in the coming week, depending on the expected inflows from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Pakistan’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list, The News reported. 

The local currency dropped against the dollar by 0.89% this week in the interbank market. However, in the final trading session on Thursday, the rupee drove up to 220.84 due to positive news from the ADB and FATF. It closed at 218.89 on Monday.

Multilateral creditors’ assistance in the wake of the floods would help increase foreign exchange reserves and strengthen the local currency, the analysts believe. 

As of October 14, the forex reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan stood at $7.59 billion — enough to cover about one month of imports.

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.

Analysts see interest rates in the US topping 5% (last seen in 2008) and a relentless surge of the dollar. 

While major currencies unanimously have a bearish bias, markets are forecasting the Indian Rupee to be at 95 per dollar, the Bangladesh Taka to be at 115 per dollar, and the Yuan to keep weakening. Dollar strength is one factor, but the global recession remains a much bigger concern.

“While CAD (current account deficit) for September was almost at breakeven, economists are looking at a 15-20% drop in exports, plus a 5% drop in remittances,” it said.

According to them, import compression and slowing down the economy further would be an ongoing requirement to sustain the economic winter, it added.

The rupee weakened during the outgoing week marginally on the back of the settlement of smaller letters of credit. Market estimates that about 50% (or around $600 million) still remains to be processed.

“The interbank market is also completely out of dollar liquidity, as can be seen in multi-month lows in swap premiums. Premiums for 1, 3, and 6 months are -2 (down from 130), 25 (down from 390), and 175 (down from 750) respectively,” it said.

In a positive development, the FATAF on Friday removed Pakistan from its list of countries that are under “increased monitoring” known as the “grey list”. This would help boost the nation’s reputation and get a credit rating upgrade from the global rating agencies.

Since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) included the implementation of FATF action plans as a structural benchmark, the removal would make it possible for Pakistan to successfully complete the next review of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility.

However, the global rating agency Fitch cut Pakistan’s sovereign credit rating by a notch to ‘CCC+’ from ‘B-’, citing further deterioration in the country’s external liquidity and funding conditions and a decline in foreign exchange reserves.

The decrease comes three months after Fitch downgraded the country’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and revised the ranking to B-. Fitch typically does not assign outlooks to sovereigns with a rating of ‘CCC+’ or below.

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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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