Rupee to face more pressure until conclusion of IMF review – Wajobz

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A foreign currency dealer counts US dollars at a shop in Karachi on March 2, 2023. — Online
A foreign currency dealer counts US dollars at a shop in Karachi on March 2, 2023. — Online 
  • Rupee depreciates by Rs2 against dollar this week. 
  • Local closes at Rs287.03 per dollar on Friday. 
  • Analyst not expecting rupee to exceed 290.

KARACHI: The rupee is expected to remain under stress against the dollar in the coming week until the completion of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) first review of the country’s $3 billion loan program, The News reported Sunday citing a Tresmark report. 

The local currency depreciated by Rs2 or 0.60% against the greenback this week, ending at Rs287.03 on Friday. The foreign exchange market was shut down on Thursday for a public holiday. 

The IMF’s mission began its review of Pakistan’s bailout package on November 2 and is expected to conclude by December 15.

The review will determine whether Pakistan will receive the second tranche of $700 million in December. The country received $1.2 billion in July from the global lender as the first instalment of the standby arrangement.

“Although there will be pressure on the rupee till IMF is here, analysts are not expecting it to trade above 290 in the interbank market,” financial terminal Tresmark said in a client note.

“In our opinion, the government will use the IMF approval, once received, to strengthen the rupee towards the 280 level.”

Tresmark said the rupee is under pressure as export proceeds have dwindled and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is buying dollars to boost its reserves to meet the IMF’s requirements.

Forward premiums have marched higher with one, two, and three-month premiums reaching 315, 500, and 725 paisa.

“This is due to a combination of several factors the SBP winding down its forward book (SBP forward book has decreased from $4.5 billion in June to $3.5 billion in September, in accordance with IMF’s wish list.”

Despite these attractive premiums, exporters are not interested as they weigh in the region’s geo-political risks and wait till IMF’s stance on the next tranche becomes clearer, it noted.

Tresmark said it is not unexpected that the IMF expressed alarm about the currency’s rapid devaluation and asked the government about its stabilisation plans.

“There has been tremendous hard work in reversing the rupee’s trend from 314 to 275 and this hard work should not go to waste by letting it depreciate again mindlessly.”

The latest remittance figures, together with improving market sentiment and hopes for further improvement in the balance of payments, lend credence to the belief that the rupee would soon settle.

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