Friday Sep 30 2022

Dollar weakens after govt's warning to rein in currency speculation

A currency trader counts Pakistani Rupee notes as he prepares an exchange of U.S dollars in Islamabad, Pakistan December 11, 2017. — Reuters
A currency trader counts Pakistani Rupee notes as he prepares an exchange of U.S dollars in Islamabad, Pakistan December 11, 2017. — Reuters

  • Rupee gains against dollar for sixth consecutive session.
  • Rupee appreciates by Rs1.62 to reach 228.45 per dollar.
  • Expectation of Pakistan receiving flood relief also driving factor.

KARACHI: The government's warning to reign in currency speculation again pushed down the US dollar's slide against the Pakistani rupee for the sixth consecutive session on Friday.

In the interbank market, the local unit appreciated by Rs1.18 to reach 228.45 per dollar, according to the State Bank of Pakistan up from the previous session's close of 229.63

Right after taking charge of the finance ministry earlier this week, Senator Ishaq Dar said that no one would be permitted to manipulate the foreign exchange market.

The new finance czar — who has strongly favoured intervention in currency markets in three previous stints in the job — also claims that the value of the local unit is undervalued and he will seek to control inflation by lowering the interest rates.

The warning seems effective as market participants told The News that currency speculation appears to have decreased and the rupee is now gaining ground as a result of this.

Muhammad Saad Ali, a capital market expert, told that it was indeed Dar's warning of reigning in speculation in the currency market that was driving the dollar's free fall.

But the depreciation was not limited to the warning as Pakistan is also set to receive external financial assistance in terms of flood relief, which will in turn support the exchange rate, Ali said.

Although the currency has been witnessing appreciation against the greenback, Pakistan's exports are still not at an ideal position and it is feared that in the coming days, the country will have to import commodities as a result of floods — shrinking the forex reserves.

The floods have also raised questions on whether Pakistan will be able to pay its debts on time, with the local currency not at a desirable stage against the dollar and the forex reserves diminishing over time.

In this regard, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have sought climate justice to compensate for the destruction as the disaster was climate-induced — and Pakistan produces one of the lowest carbon emissions in the world.

In line with the dominant trend over the last several weeks, the country’s foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) once again declined by 4.07%.

On September 23, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $8,005.9 million, down $341 million compared with $8,346.4 on September 16, data released by SBP showed on Thursday.