Pakistani currency dropped by 0.85%, or Rs2.44, to a five-day low at Rs287.09 against the US dollar in inter-bank market on Monday amid conflicting reports about the revival of International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) loan programme.
With the fresh depreciation, the rupee stood just Rs0.76 shy of the record low of Rs287.85/$, touched on April 5, 2023, according to the central bank data.
The rupee’s fall encouraged the gold pricing body to jack up the precious metal’s price by Rs3,100 to a new all-time high at Rs217,700 per tola (11.66 grams).
Analysts pointed out that the currency market still harboured doubts about the resumption of IMF programme anytime soon, adding that the situation sparked panic buying of dollars by the importers.
They said that the government had been making tall claims since long that the IMF would resume its $6.5 billion programme in a few days, but nothing concrete had emerged so far.
“The rupee’s downward march will halt once the government clinches a staff-level agreement with the IMF,” an analyst remarked.
He said that it was very difficult to project where the rupee-dollar exchange rate would settle in the near future.
“We are living in abnormal circumstances, which do not allow any prediction about the exchange rate…economic activities are on the wane while inflation and interest rate are soaring.”
Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Saraf Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) reported that the gold price fell $6 to $2,002 per ounce (31.10 grams) in the international market.
However, the rupee depreciation forced the association to revise the price of the imported commodity upwards.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2023.