KARACHI: The rupee ended weaker at 90.85/90 to the dollar, compared with Thursday’s close of 90.80/83 because of increased import payments. Dealers expect pressure on the rupee to persist because of rising international oil prices, which topped $123 a barrel on Friday and were heading for a fifth straight weekly gain. Islamabad also started repaying an $8 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan on Friday with a $399 million payment. Pakistan’s deficit is expected to widen further in the coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid. The central bank kept the key policy rate flat at 12 per cent for the next two months in its monetary policy announcement earlier this month. In the money market, overnight rates rose to 11.75 per cent, compared with the previous day’s close of 9 per cent amid tight liquidity in the interbank market.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.