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Weakened rupee to unleash a new wave of inflation:...

The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has expressed serious concerns over the sharp fall in the value of Pakistani rupee against the US dollar.

Talking to a trade delegation at chamber house RCCI President Zahid Latif Khan said, it would unleash a new wave of inflation in the country and create additional problems for the business and industrial activities.

He said that the fall of rupee from Rs122 per dollar to Rs128 in single day should be cause of great concern for policy makers and monitoring bodies adding that rupee was devalued by about five per cent in December last year in a similar manner and another devaluation of over 5 per cent in a single day would create new challenges for the country's economy.

This would be the fourth round of devaluation since December 2017 when the currency was hovering around Rs 105 to the US dollar, he added.

He said instead of withdrawing support for the rupee in the daily market, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should make efforts for a stable currency as currency volatility is disturbing the long-term business planning efforts of the private sector.

Zahid Latif Khan said falling value of rupee would increase the debt burden on the country as a Rs1 devaluation causes a Rs 60 billion jump in the public debt burden. He stressed that government should take urgent measures to end volatility and bring stability in the local currency.

“A weaker rupee would increase the cost of doing business, especially for companies that are import-dependent”, he said.

RCCI Chief cautioned that It must be kept in mind that the rising dollar would lead to costlier imports and the exporters will also bear the brunt due to rise in cost of imported raw materials, plunging the economy into further deep crisis.


Chinese outbound FDI favours Europe over North America

Chinese outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) has veered towards Europe over North America in the first six months of the year, a report showed on Monday.

The value of newly announced Chinese mergers and acquisitions in Europe reached 22 billion US dollars, far exceeding the 2.5 billion US dollars of M&A in North America, according to research from global law firm Baker McKenzie and independent research provider Rhodium Group.

The value of completed Chinese investments was five times higher in Europe than in North America, the report showed.

"Regulatory hurdles remain lower, political relations are more predictable and Europe offers a great base for industrial high-tech assets, which is a good match with Chinese regulators' outbound investment priorities," said Thilo Hanemann, director of Rhodium Group's cross-border investment practice. 


SBP imposes margin restrictions on Import of 131 Items

The state bank of Pakistan announced that it will require banks to, with immediate effect, obtain 100 percent cash margin on the import of 131 items.




PKR becomes second worst performing currency in the world...

The Dollar today gained about 6.45 rupees in the interbank market as interim government let the rupee slide deeper into the abyss. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) supported another bout of depreciation after it raised the interest rate by 100 bps on Saturday.

State Bank in the monetary policy statement signalled externals risks as the driving force behind the Monetary Policy decisions; rising estimates for fiscal deficit from 6.8 percent to 5.5 percent, current account deficit for 11 months reaching $16 billion, imports pressurizing forex reserves and the changing inflationary landscape in the wake of rising global oil prices.

Pakistani Rupee is currently the worst performing currency in the world second only to Turkish Lira. The South Asian economies have all depreciated against the USD during the last six months as confidence in developing and emerging markets continues to wane. Turkish Lira -26.41 percent, Indonesian Rupee -6.93 percent, Indian Rupee -6.12 percent have all fallen against the greenback during the last six months. Pakistani Rupee (PKR) during the last six months has fallen more than 15.26 percent, not accounting for today’s devaluation, becoming the second worst performing currency in the world.

Lack of foreign investment, import heavy trade numbers, rising WPI, CPI and core inflation and forex reserves at three year lows have all pushed interim Finance Minister to take bold and concrete steps during her short but crucial tenure. She recently suggested an IMF (International Monetary Fund) bailout might be the only way out for the upcoming government, and according to media reports she has already initiated proceedings for a bailout from IMF and the recent bouts in depreciation may be the prerequisite steps currently being taken by the Ministry of Finance to take the process ahead.

Dollar in the open market rose by Rs. 4.65 against the Rupee reaching 128.75. The Dollar since December, 2017 has increased by 21 percent. In total, the resulting increase in debt volume due to the last four depreciations has crossed the Rs. 2,000 billion mark.

Analysts hold the opinion that today’s exchange movement will have its due impact on the economy especially on the 100 index whereby it will influence sectors such as textile, E&P, IPPs, chemicals and IT sectors positively. Autos and Cement are likely to be affected negatively whereas refineries, OMC, and Fertilizer are expected to remain neutral.

Today’s movement in the rate came right at the open in the morning sending shockwaves to the 100 index as well which after closing the last week in the green, has lost more than 600 points during the day, touching an intraday low of 39396 points and breaking the 40,000 psychological level yet again. Cement, Commercial Banks, and Fertilizer scripts were worst affected today as they cumulatively took away more than 310 points from the 100 index.

Analysts believe that today’s exchange rate movement – fourth in the last eight months by the SBP – was primarily due to the widening current account deficit and the declining forex reserves.

The street expects the rupee slide to continue even further. Analysts estimate, the rupee would further be devalued to 130 PKR/USD by the end of this year in order to appease the IMF authorities.

Movement in the exchange rates...

Today, the PKR-US$ exchange rate in the interbank market closed at PKR 128.0 per US$ against the closing level of PKR 121.55 per US$ of the previous day. This movement in the exchange rates reflects the demand-supply gap of the foreign exchange in the interbank market.

As noted in the recent monetary policy statement, FY18 ended with a real GDP growth at a thirteenyear high level. However, this high growth has been accompanied with a notable deterioration in the country’s balance of payments. Despite a double-digit growth in exports (YoY 13.2 percent in Jul-May FY18) and a moderate increase in remittances, strong demand for imports (YoY growth of 16.4 percent in Jul-May FY18) have pushed the country’s current account deficit to the levels not sustainable beyond the short run.

SBP is of the view that this adjustment in the exchange rate along with the increased policy rate and other administrative measures, would help contain domestic demand in general, and reduce the imbalances in the country’s external accounts in particular.

SBP will continue to closely monitor the evolving fundamentals of the economy, and stand ready to ensure stability in the financial markets.