Pakistani Rupee Continues to Lose Ground, Closes at 233 in Interbank

Representational Image || Photo: Collected

Representational Image || Photo: Collected

The Pakistani rupee continued to lose its value on Tuesday, closing near an all-time low of 233 against the dollar in the interbank market.

The local currency, which had closed at Rs229.88 yesterday, fell Rs3.05 to close at Rs232.93 today, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). This amounts to a depreciation of 1.31 per cent.

Mettis Global Director Saad Bin Naseer said the rupee hit a new intraday low due to letter of credit (LC) payments for oil at a time when the SBP was reluctant to release reserves to contain the exchange rate volatility.

“Furthermore, exporters seem more interested in earning windfall profits as they seem to have abandoned national interest in view of gaining quick earnings from rupee depreciation,” he told Dawn.com.

On the other hand, Naseer pointed out, exporters were utilising maximum LC limits from banks.

“Any bank will tell you that exporters are currently using maximum limits for import LCs whereas they refuse to bring in dollar from export earnings.”

He said that the only way for the government to address the situation was to mandate exporters to convert their transactions at the time of export so they could not continue holding on to the dollars.

“At the same time, the SBP can serve as an intermediary by doing swaps with banks so that the exchange rate can remain insulated from foul play of exporters at a time of crisis.”

He said that exporters should focus on earning from the sale of their goods instead of fleecing the exchange rate.

Komal Mansoor, head of strategy at Tresmark, said that bank nostros — accounts that a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank — were short by roughly $600 million.

“Exporters have parked their dollars outside and the SBP is not providing any liquidity. Some banks are now only opening fresh LCs if the expected outflow is matched by export proceeds of the same client,” she said.

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