KARACHI  – Rupee ended firmer at 90.69/74 to the dollar on Friday, compared with Thursday’s close of 90.70/75 because of lack of import payments, but dealers expect the pressure to continue following a rise in international oil prices.

Dealers said they were also cautious after the International Monetary Fund advised Pakistan to take immediate steps to tackle growing budget pressures and raise interest rates to contain inflation. The IMF on Monday projected a widening of Pakistan’s fiscal deficit in the 2011/12 fiscal year to 7pc of GDP, compared with the government’s revised budget target of 4.7pc.

 percent.

The rupee touched a record low of 91.28 to the dollar on Jan. 9, pressured by worries about higher payments for oil imports and the country’s overall economic health, especially a weakening current account. The current account recorded a provisional deficit of $2.154 billion in the first six months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with a surplus of $8 million in the same period last year, according to data from the State Bank of Pakistan.

The deficit is likely to widen further in coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid. In the money market, overnight rates ended at their top level of 11.90 percent, unchanged from Thursday’s close amid lack of liquidity in the interbank market.