- Rupee faces pressure from inflation, decline in reserves this week.
- Local currency closes at Rs285.37 against greenback on Friday.
- Rupee’s outlook to depend on dollar buying, selling next week.
KARACHI: The rupee is expected to hold a narrow range and hover around 285-286 against the dollar in the upcoming week as importers and exporters weigh the impact of mixed economic signals on the country’s currency, The News reported Sunday.
In the outgoing week, the local currency gained some ground against the greenback in the first three sessions as optimism surrounded the economy over the completion of the first International Monetary Fund (IMF) review and the decline in the current account deficit.
However, the rupee lost some of its gains in the last two sessions, as demand for dollars from importers increased and exporters remained reluctant to sell their foreign exchange holdings.
The rupee also faced pressure from rising inflation, falling foreign exchange reserves and uncertainty over the interest rate outlook.
The rupee closed at 285.37 against the dollar on Friday, compared with 285.97 on Monday, gaining 0.20% for the week.
“The rupee’s outlook for the coming week will depend on whether importers and businesses step in to buy dollars to meet their end-of-month demand as well as whether exporters, who are still hesitant, come to the market to sell their dollar holdings,” said a foreign exchange trader.
“We expect the rupee to trade in a range of 285-286 against the dollar next week unless there is any major positive or negative news flow.”
Tresmark, a financial data provider, said the rupee had not lost much ground over the previous two trading sessions. The real effective exchange rate (REER), which increased from 91.7 to 98.6, and the diminishing foreign exchange reserves, which decreased by $232 million, were the main causes.
“However, most analysts think the lion’s share of rupee weakness came as SBP did Sell Buy swaps to prop forward premiums and subsequently started buying dollars from the market to boost reserves. Despite lucrative premiums, exporters were not active in selling forwards,” it said in a weekly report.
“In the coming week, we see the rupee to be range-bound and vulnerable to news flows. Importers and exporters should just wait and see which comes earlier — positive or negative news flows.”
Pakistan’s forex reserves fell by $233 million to $12.302 billion in the week that ended on November 17. The reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) dropped by $217 million to $7.180 billion. Analysts said that was enough to cover less than two months of imports.
Even if recent statements from government officials have calmed market sentiment, Tresmark believes that they are still creating uncertainty.
“One of the biggest uncertain segments is interest rate. When CPI [consumer price index] inflation clocked in around 26% for October, the market went on a bond-buying spree predicting rates to come down,” it said.
“Subsequently, the increase in gas prices and the two consecutive SPI [sensitive price indicator] numbers of over 40% has cast solid doubts. Yields have consequently ticked up last week, and everyone is now looking for another round of data to project future inflation rates.”.
While most analysts don’t think of an increase in interest rates, they insist a no change will be akin to a hike, because the market has strongly factored in a cut. But a cut looks tricky if CPI comes above 30% (as is the market consensus), especially amidst a hawkish Fed and a unique interest rate trajectory in Turkey — in which they increased rates by another 5% on Friday to take it to 40%, it noted.
Pakistan expects to secure a tranche of $700 million from the IMF’s existing loan programme after completing a first review. The IMF executive board is expected to approve the staff-level agreement with Pakistan for the first review of the $3 billion stand-by arrangement early next month.
It is projected that Pakistan will get approximately $1.2 billion in financing from the multilateral partners. October saw a 91% reduction in the current account deficit (CAD) to $74 million compared to the same month last year, thanks to a rise in exports and remittances and a decrease in imports.
Despite a 61% month-on-month increase in the current account deficit in October, primarily as a result of a higher trade gap brought on by an increase in imports, analysts believe that the deficit for this fiscal year will be manageable because anticipated foreign inflows are likely to materialise. The CAD declined by 66% to $1.1 billion in the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year.
Gold prices in Pakistan see record increase
Pakistan’s gold prices surged by an astounding Rs3,500 on Saturday. The cost of 24-karat gold increased to Rs220,300 per tola as a result of this increase in gold prices across the nation.
The price of 10 grammes of 24-karat gold increased correspondingly, according to dealers, by a significant Rs3,001, to trade at Rs188,872. In a similar vein, 10 grammes of 22-karat gold experienced an increase in price, trading at Rs173,132.
These oscillations have a strong correlation 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.
Additionally, the price of 24-karat silver increased by a record Rs30 to trade at Rs2,600. The price of gold increased significantly on a global scale as well, by $36, to $2,103 per ounce.
It’s important to understand that fluctuations in the worldwide market can cause considerable fluctuations in gold rates in Pakistan throughout the day. The gold rates that are offered are obtained from reliable sources, mostly situated in Karachi and Multan.
It is recommended that individuals seek the advice of nearby gold merchants and jewellers for the most precise and current information on gold prices.
The gold price in Pakistan today
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.
Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister
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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