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Sunday Nov 15 2020

Rupee likely to strengthen further, may go under 158 against dollar next week

During the outgoing week in the interbank market, the rupee rose 75 paisas to 158.16/dollar. Photo: Geo. tv/ File

KARACHI: The rupee is expected to strengthen further against the dollar next week where it may drop below 158 against the dollar. However, the present gains could not sustain, as the domestic currency could weaken to 159 to 161 by the end of this year, The News reported on Sunday.

“We expect the rupee to post more gains, hovering below 158 during the next week on the back of higher inflows in the shape of remittances and exports proceeds, a currency dealer said.

“Moreover, foreign exchange inflows from international financial institutions and overseas Pakistanis under the umbrella of Roshan Digital Account could lend support to the rupee,” the currency trader added.

During the outgoing week in the interbank market, the rupee rose 75 paisas to 158.16/US dollar.

Read more: USD to PKR and other currency rates in Pakistan on November 15

In addition, a poll conducted by Tresmark with more than 70 participants from bank treasuries to traders, brokers, and corporate treasurers, revealed that 70% expect the year will end with the local currency to hover in the range of 159 and 161, and, the same percentage thought the rupee will close in the 163 and 164 range in June 2021.

Interestingly, a significant minority (30%) thought the rupee would strengthen all the way to 154 by the end of December.

The poll, however, showed that there is a point where the rupee strength will start hurting stakeholders. "We believe that threshold is 158,” the poll cited the treasurer of a large bank, adding that this does not imply a bottom.

"We may see the rupee strengthen past this, and later to stabilise in the 158 and 160 range,” he added.

“There are substantial inflows: remittances, Roshan Digital, the unwinding of retail dollar investment, forward sale by exporters, etc, but there are repayments of approximately $2 billion and potential return of loans taken to bolster reserves."

With no sustainable improvement in the fiscal side, the country’s foreign exchange reserves and the real effective exchange rate will play out for the rupee direction,” a CEO of a large brokerage firm said.

'Any further rupee strengthening will accelerate imports'

Traders said the local currency is in the overbought territory, the upside of going long in the rupee now is fairly limited.

Any further rupee strengthening will accelerate imports, which is a thinly traded market and in a low GDP growth scenario, could be lethal.

The poll findings also revealed that the market expects no change in the next MPS (Monetary Policy Statement) and a gradual (1 percent to 2 percent) rise in the interest rates till June 2021.

The majority of the respondents also didn’t think the inflation problem would be instrumental in the central bank’s decision on interest rates, it noted.

Analysts said Pakistan risk premium on a downward trajectory, despite increasing cases of Coronavirus pandemic.

The confidence in Pakistan’s macroeconomic is led by strengthening external accounts and reflected from rising reserves, incremental remittances, and strong rupee.