The rupee, which has been declining for over a week, fell by 96 paise against the dollar during early trade in the interbank market on Friday.

The PKR closed at Rs236.84 per dollar, a 0.41 per cent depreciation from yesterday’s close of Rs235.88.

Fores Association of Pakistan (FAP) Chairman Malik Bostan said the rupee’s value was declining due to the rising import bill. He called on the government to impose a ban on the import of non-essential and luxury items.

“If the Ministry of Finance does not intervene, the PKR could fall to 250 against the dollar,” he cautioned. Bostan said the government should appeal to friendly countries for immediate help so the pressure on the rupee could ease.

“The demand [for dollars] is rising in the open market every day. The Umrah season has started due to which the demand for foreign currencies has increased,” he added.

A day earlier, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) shared that Pakistan’s oil and eatables imports grew 11.4pc in the first two months of the current fiscal year to $5.08 billion from $4.56bn a year ago.

The oil import bill increased by over 7pc to $3.30bn in July-August from $3.08bn over the corresponding months of last year.

The food import bill rose by over 21pc to $1.78bn in the two months under review from $1.47bn a year ago to bridge the local production gap.

Meanwhile, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Shabbir Mansha lamented that both exporters and importers were facing troubles because the rupee’s value was falling every day.

“In the current circumstances, importers do not know what rate they should book their consignment at, while exporters do not know whether they will be able to supply their consignment at the agreed rate.

“The finance minister will have to announce a clear policy on the rupee. Otherwise, inflation will increase overnight like in Sri Lanka and the trade deficit will also rise rapidly.”

Mansha said importers were being asked to get the State Bank’s approval for opening letters of credit — a process that took 25 days — which would affect the timely supply of food items and led to price hikes.

The rupee’s value has been declining since Sept 2. According to financial data and analytics portal Mettis Global, the PKR’s value fell by 28.7pc during the last 52 weeks. It had reached a record low of 239.94 on July 28.

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