Pakistani rupee sinks to record low against US dollar
AFPKARACHI--The Pakistani rupee on Monday sank to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar over forex reserve fears as the country repaid US$146 million to the International Monetary Fund.
February 12, 2013, 3:45 am TWN
The rupee fell to 100.1 to the greenback in trading in Karachi, down from 99.30 on the open market Friday, and has now lost 39 percent of its value against the U.S. currency since March 2008.
“We have traded the dollar at 100.1 rupees, although there is a slight difference on the open market,” said currency dealer Mohammad Arshad.
The official interbank rate for the U.S. dollar is 98 rupees, but Mohammad Sohail, who heads brokerage firm Topline Securities, confirmed it had crossed 100 on the open market.
Pakistan had a US$10.7 billion IMF loan until September, but had drawn only about a third of it. The government has indicated it would not seek a new loan.
Pakistan repaid US$145.79 million to the IMF on Monday and is scheduled to repay another US$375 million on Feb. 26, according to Syed Wasimuddin, spokesman for the country's central State Bank.
So far Pakistan has repaid US$2.57 billion, US$1.5 million this fiscal year, ending June 30, according to the central bank.
“The rupee is likely to remain under pressure because of IMF repayments,” said Sohail.
“The foreign exchange reserves have declined to US$8.7 billion as of Jan. 31 from US$10.8 billion at end-June 2012,” said the central bank last week.
The IMF last November urged Pakistan to reduce its large budget deficit to bolster the struggling economy's resiliency, noting that foreign exchange reserves under US$10 billion were below adequate levels.
In this July 7, 2008 image, an official of Pakistan's central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan, shows new currency notes of five and fifty rupee denominations at a press conference ...