KARACHI: The rupee ended firmer at 90.70/78 to the dollar, compared to its close of 90.81/86 on Thursday, amid lack of import payments. Dealers expect pressure on the rupee because of rising global oil prices. Oil was trading above $125 a barrel on Friday. The State Bank of Pakistan warned last month that financing the country’s projected current account deficit would be a challenge. The deficit is expected to widen further in the coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid. Islamabad started repaying an $8 billion International Monetary Fund loan last month with a $399 million payment. The central bank kept the key policy rate flat at 12 per cent for the next two months in its monetary policy announcement in February. In the money market, overnight rates were unchanged at their top level of 11.90 per cent amid tight liquidity in the interbank market.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2012.