The Pakistani rupee continued its upward trend against the US dollar for the third consecutive session in the inter-bank market on Thursday, appreciating by 0.09 per cent. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the currency settled at Rs286.73 at the close, showing an improvement of Rs0.25 compared to the previous day’s rate of Rs286.98.
In a significant development, Finance and Revenue Minister Ishaq Dar met with US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome on Wednesday to discuss the economic ties between Pakistan and the United States, as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan program.
This meeting took place following the IMF’s criticism of Islamabad’s budget proposals for the fiscal year 2023-24. Esther Perez Ruiz, the IMF’s Resident Representative for Pakistan, expressed dissatisfaction with the budget proposals, describing them as a missed opportunity to broaden the tax base. She also criticised the new amnesty scheme, stating that it sets a damaging precedent.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated on Wednesday that the immediate goal, with the assistance of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), is to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country to $5 billion.
On the international front, the US dollar remained close to a one-month low against a basket of currencies on Thursday. This followed Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony, where he maintained his usual stance and offered little room for surprise.
Powell’s comments to lawmakers on Capitol Hill aligned with the central bank’s previous policy meeting, indicating that further rate increases are likely if the economy continues its current trajectory. As a result, the greenback depreciated by nearly 0.5 per cent against six major peers in the previous session.
Meanwhile, oil prices slightly declined on Thursday. Market expectations of further interest rate hikes were balanced by potentially bullish US oil inventory data, which indicated a decrease in stocks.