Dollar hits historical high at Rs157 in interbank market

Updated June 14, 2019

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The greenback was being traded at about Rs156.5 in the open market. — File
The greenback was being traded at about Rs156.5 in the open market. — File

The value of the US dollar against the rupee touched another all-time high for the second consecutive day, reaching Rs156.80 in the interbank market after an increase of Rs2.80 on Friday.

The greenback was being traded at Rs157.50 in the open market at the time of closure, showing an increase of Rs3.

In the last two days, the local currency has lost almost Rs5 against the dollar, setting a new record of Rs157 in the interbank market. The rupee’s slide had continued on Thursday as it fell as low as Rs154 in the interbank market.

Similarly, a massive increase in the value of gold was also seen today, with the yellow metal trading at Rs75,900 per 12 grams, posting an increase of Rs2,700 per 12gms.

All Sindh Sarafa Association President Haji Haroon Rasheed Chand said that the metal hit a historical high on Friday due to the increase in the value of gold in the international market, coupled with an increase in the value of the dollar.

Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan Secretary General Zafar Paracha while speaking to DawnNewsTV said the State Bank should intervene to arrest the rupee's slide in the interbank market.

He suspected that the rise in the dollar's value was the result of SBP officials and commercial banks "gambling in the interbank market together".

Paracha said various "excuses" were being used to raise the greenback's value on a daily basis, recalling that news regarding pending oil import payments was doing the rounds today that raised the demand for the dollar.

He demanded of the SBP to hold a "high-level" inquiry into the loss of rupee's value "so that the panic-like situation can be alleviated".

Similar sentiments were expressed by stakeholders on Thursday.

“There was no check from the State Bank. A panic-like situation was seen in the market since every offer to sell dollars was higher than the previous one,” a banker had told Dawn while explaining the volatility.

“If [the rupee’s slide] is not stopped, the dollar may hit Rs180 in just a few weeks,” said another senior banker worried about the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding the exchange rate management.

Bankers were confused as to why the SBP did not intervene in the market to arrest the rupee’s slide.

The volatility in the currency market had subsided in the days prior to Eidul Fitr amid high inflows during the festive season.

Currency dealers, commenting on the rupee’s slide, said that there was no shortage of dollar since the dealers had deposited surplus dollar reserves with the banks.

A currency analyst, while explaining the intraday fluctuation, said that with a free float regime in place, demand exceeded supply, squeezing the rupee in a thinly-traded market.

“Demand was higher than usual also because of an upcoming IMF repayment,” he said.