- Local unit closes at 287.29 against the US dollar.
- Rupee down 2.25 against greenback in interbank market.
- Importers have resumed the panic buying of US dollars.
Pakistani rupee touched a record low on Tuesday as the country struggles to unlock critical International Monetary Fund (IMF) funding while dwindling foreign exchange reserves become another source of concern for investors.
The local unit, in the interbank market, closed at 287.29 against the US dollar, 0.78%, or Rs2.25, down from Monday’s close of 285.04.
Last month, the rupee hit a record low, closing at Rs285.09 per US dollar on March 2, 2023, the data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) showed.
Financial pundits believe that importers have resumed the panic buying of US dollars, while the supply of foreign currency remained low in the interbank market.
Pakistan’s loan programme is yet to materialise months after it raised taxes and energy prices and allowed the currency to depreciate to meet IMF’s conditions. The nation has missed multiple deadlines to resume its bailout.
The cash-strapped nation secured a $6 billion IMF bailout in 2019. It was topped up with another $1 billion last year to help the country following devastating floods, but the IMF then suspended disbursements in November due to Pakistan’s failure to make more progress on fiscal consolidation.
After months-long unfruitful talks, the Washington-based lender has asked Pakistan to seek commitments for new loans from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates before it revives the bailout.
The IMF’s resident representative for Pakistan said the country has a few more tasks to complete to meet requirements for a $6.5 billion bailout. The lender approved a $3 billion loan program for Sri Lanka last month to ease its economic crisis.
“Uncertainty on IMF and friendly countries inflow affecting rupee,” said Mohammad Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities.
“Some of the ruling coalition partners are due to visit Saudi Arabia next week and it is a key event to watch,” it added.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will be leading a high-powered delegation to the US which will attend the upcoming annual spring meeting of the Bretton Woods Institutions, known as the IMF and World Bank, from April 10 to 16.
Moreover, the country’s foreign exchange reserves have also declined in recent weeks, which is another source of concern for investors. The forex reserves held by the central bank stand at a critical level of only $4.24 billion (as of March 24, 2023).
PKR on track to become top-performing currency this month: Bloomberg
- Pakistani currency rose around 6% this month against dollar.
- Authorities curb leakages happening through illegal channels.
- Crackdown on illegal dollar traders helps local currency.
The Pakistani rupee is on track to become the top performer globally in September as the caretaker government continues its crackdown on illegal dollar trade, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
The local currency rose around 6% this month against the dollar — an amazing feat despite the Thai baht and South Korean won tumbling against the greenback.
Major currencies lost ground against the dollar on speculations that the US interest rates will stay elevated for longer.
The rupee increased 0.1% to 287.95 per dollar on Thursday, after sliding to a record low of about 307 this month. Pakistan’s currency market will remain closed for the Eid Miladun Nabi holiday on Friday.
“Many leakages were happening through illegal channels of hawala and hundi trade from the open market,” Khurram Schehzad, chief executive officer of Alpha Beta Core Solutions Pvt Ltd, told Bloomberg.
“When the dollar rate reverses everybody, the hoarders, the exporters who are holding their export proceeds, start selling their dollars,” Schehzad said.
The interim rulers have intensified efforts by launching a crackdown on people involved in the illegal dollar trade, allowing the currency to gain some lost ground.
The Federal Investigation Agency, Bloomberg reported, conducted raids across the country and security officials in plainclothes were deployed at money exchanges to monitor dollar sales as part of the crackdown.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar this week said the rupee’s gain is “fostering optimism for stability.”
For its part, the State Bank of Pakistan raised the capital requirements of smaller exchange companies and ordered large banks to open their own exchange companies to make the retail foreign exchange market more transparent and easier to monitor.
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inDrive now available in five more Pakistani cities
KARACHI: inDrive, a popular ride-hailing service in Pakistan, has now expanded its network to five more cities across Pakistan including Larkana, Kāmoke, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, and Okara.
In a statement issued by the transport company, the inclusion of these cities reflects inDrive’s dedication to bringing innovative transportation options to both urban centres and suburban areas.
Speaking about the expansion, Senior Business Representative at inDrive Hasan Qureshi said: “We are excited to extend the convenience and reliability of inDrive to residents of Larkana, Kāmoke, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, and Okara.”
“Our mission is to redefine transportation by providing safe, affordable, and accessible rides to everyone. With this expansion, we are not only enhancing the commuting experience but also contributing to the economic growth and empowerment of these communities.”
PR Manager Sidra Kiran said that their new service offers city residents the convenience of accessing transport from their homes, eliminating the need to search for it.
“Both drivers and passengers stand to gain significant benefits, including time-saving and the elimination of challenges associated with street hailing. This service addresses issues such as locating rides during odd hours like early mornings or late nights,” she stated.
She further added: “inDrive ride-hailing presents numerous benefits to drivers in small cities, including flexible opportunities, reduced unemployment, supplemental income, enhanced community connection, and positive contributions to the local economy.”
The launch of the company in these cities would benefit both riders and driver-partners.
inDrive further said that it remains committed to upholding the highest standards of safety, affordability, customer service, and technological innovation.
inDrive is Pakistan’s premier ride-hailing service and is revolutionising the way people travel. With a commitment to providing safe, affordable, and reliable transportation.
The company allowed riders to connect with nearby drivers with its app.
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