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

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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.

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Pakistani stocks are rising, and the KSE-100 breaks the 69,000 barrier.

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The benchmark KSE-100 Index increased 1.76 percent on Monday, passing beyond the 69,000 barrier for the first time in its history. This maintained Pakistani stock market’s record-breaking run, as investors remained upbeat about potential rate cuts by the central bank.

The most recent advances also follow Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s iftar dinner given by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Makkah, at a time when Riyadh is anticipated to announce an approximately $1 billion investment in Reko Diq, one of the world’s greatest reserves of copper and gold.

After reaching a high of 69,720.03, the KSE-100 Index concluded at 69,619.98 with a net gain of 1,203.20 points by the time trading was closed for the day. This was due to international investors, both individual and institutional, making purchases.

The meeting between Shehbaz and the Saudi crown prince, also referred to as MBS, may open doors for investment in a variety of industries, including mining, energy, and agriculture.

With record-high energy and interest rates driving up the cost of conducting business to an unaffordable level, investors are clamoring for foreign investment to prop up the economy.

Any improvement in this area would not only contribute to the rupee’s appreciation but also increase the value of cheap equities due to the anticipated purchasing frenzy, as buyers will not pass up the chance to purchase at the reduced prices.

However, there is a big question mark over the heightened expectations that the State Bank of Pakistan will begin reducing interest rates following the consumer price index (CPI) showing a steady fall in inflation over the past three months, particularly the greater than anticipated decline in March.

The reason is that, given Islamabad’s desperation to secure another package from the Washington-based lender, there is an impending hike in gasoline costs in addition to power and gas charges. This move will further sustain the inflationary pressure under the IMF criteria.

Meanwhile, the most recent US data has reduced expectations for potential rate reduction by the Federal Reserve, which is driving up the price of gold as speculative purchasing occurs.

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The price of gold is still rising in Pakistan.

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24 carat gold’s per tola pricing increased by Rs 600 on Monday, when it was sold for Rs 245,700 as opposed to Rs 245,100 the day before.

Ten grams of 24 carat gold cost Rs 514 more than the selling price of Rs 210,648; ten grams of 22 carat gold cost Rs 193,094 instead of Rs 192,622, according to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association.

Silver prices per tola and per ten grams stayed at Rs 2,650 and Rs 2271.94, respectively.

Get out of silence
According to the Association, the price of gold went up $5 to $2,355 on the global market from $2,350.

24 carat gold saw a rise in prices per tola on April 6 of Rs 4,900. It was sold on Saturday for Rs 245,100 as opposed to Rs 240,200 the day before.

The price of 10 grams of 24 carat gold went up by Rs4,200, and it was sold for Rs210,134 as opposed to Rs205,932. The price of 10 grams of 22 carat gold went up to Rs192,622 from Rs 188,772, according to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association.

Silver prices per tola and per ten grams stayed at Rs 2,650 and Rs 2271.94, respectively.

According to the Association, the price of gold went up $44 to $2,350 on the global market from $2,306.

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PIA privatization: “Investors from Saudi Arabia and Qatar are briefed by Pakistan.”

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According to information provided, investors in the aviation industry in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia were approached and given a briefing on the privatization of PIA.

According to additional sources, investors received information about “profitable” investments in the international lines operated by FIA and PIA.

Since National Airline’s debts and losses were transferred to the withholding firm prior to privatization, all of them have been paid off.

According to the sources, every obstacle to the PIA’s privatization has been removed.

It is important to note that, as the government moves on with its privatization plan, up to three Gulf nations—the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar—have expressed interest in purchasing the financially troubled Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), according to sources.

Previously, purchasers were asked to submit proposals by May 3 for the privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The Pakistani government intends to sell 51 percent of the national flag carrier’s shares; the remaining 49 percent will be owned by the government. The government’s goal is to privatize solely the PIA’s aviation department.

According to the officials, the business that purchases the 51 percent of the shares would continue to hold administrative authority over PIA.

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