Rupee firms to 11-month high, stocks end lower


KARACHI – The Pakistani rupee gained on Tuesday to end near an eleven-month high, amid a lack of import payments and continuous healthy dollar inflows, dealers said.
The rupee closed at 84.43/53 to the dollar, compared with Monday’s close of 84.72/78, its highest close since May last year.
“There were no oil payments, therefore there was less demand for the dollar,” said a dealer at a foreign bank, adding that oil payments may start from next week.
Officials and dealers said a record inflow of remittances, strong foreign exchange reserves positions, healthy exports and a current account surplus were the reasons behind the rupee’s gain in value in recent days.
Remittances by overseas Pakistanis increased by 22.37 percent to over $8 billion in the first nine months of the 2010/11 fiscal year, and in March a record $1.05 billion was remitted, according to data from the State Bank of Pakistan.
Meanwhile stocks ended lower, and in low turnover, amid a lack of any positive triggers, dealers said.
The Karachi Stock Exchange’s benchmark 100-share index fell 0.66 percent, or 77.98 points, to end at 11,796.09.
Turnover fell to 50.1 million shares from 60.3 million shares traded on Monday.
“The KSE-100 index continued to decline on low volume as investors preferred to stay on the sidelines in the absence of any immediate trigger,” said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities Ltd.
In the money market, overnight rates fell to end between 12 and 12.50 percent, compared with Monday’s close of between 13.50 percent and 13.75 percent, amid increased liquidity in the interbank market.
Dealers said the next scheduled outflows were on Friday amounting to 32.5 billion rupees ($383.7 million).