Dollar hits double century against Pakistani rupee in interbank

The Pakistani rupee slumped to a new historic low against US dollar in the interbank market on Thursday as the greenback gained Rs1.61 in intraday trading to reach an all-time high of Rs200.

According to the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP), the US gained Rs1.61 in the interbank market from the previous day’s close of Rs198.39 and climbed to Rs200 around 11:30am.

The forex dealers said that US dollar in the open market is also trading at over Rs200.

When the PM Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government took over on April 11, the dollar was valued at Rs182.3. Since then, the rupee has lost Rs18 of its value.

IMF talks

Pakistan opened much delayed talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday to resume a seventh review of the $6 billion rescue package agreed in 2019.

“Talks with the IMF mission started today,” a statement from the finance ministry said. It said a team led by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and the central bank’s acting governor will join the talks virtually.

The talks will continue until May 25 before the IMF takes a decision.

The South Asian nation is in dire need of external funds, with foreign reserves falling to as low as $10.3 billion and a widening current account deficit.

Pakistan has already requested the lender to increase the size and duration of its $6 billion programme.

Ismail made the request in his visit to Washington last month, which was followed by a statement from the IMF, which said Islamabad had agreed to roll back unfunded subsidies to the oil and power sectors.

Islamabad has so far received $3 billion, with the programme due to end later this year.

Officials are seeking an extension to the programme through to June 2023, as well as the release of the next tranche of $1 billion.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took power with a coalition that removed Khan in a no-confidence vote last month, has vowed to jumpstart the moribund economy, but analysts say his fragile government has failed to take tough decisions.

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