The rupee fell to an all-time low in the open market on Friday, trading as high as 250 against the dollar, according to data shared by the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP).

A handout provided by FAP showed the rupee was trading at 250 against the greenback at 1:10pm but then recovered slightly to reach 247 by 4:20pm.

However, the local currency made small gains in the interbank after nearly two weeks of consistent decline in consecutive sessions.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the rupee closed at 239.37 in the interbank, up Rs0.57, or 0.24 per cent, compared to yesterday.

However, the FAP handout showed the rupee closed at 240 in the interbank market.

Saad Bin Naseer, director of Mettis Global — a web-based financial data and analytics portal, said panic had reigned in the curb market for the last two to three days because of which the common man was converting his rupees to dollars.

"Money changers are taking advantage of it. Panic is being created, the dollar is being kept at an elevated rate and profit is being made in dollars through trading," he elaborated.

Money changers in the curb market were asking for rates of their choosing, he said.

The Mettis Global director said exporters and importers were not panicking but it was the common man "who believes he should [use] whatever money he has to buy dollars".

Naseer added, however, that the "bubble" would burst soon.

The central bank should open advance counters so the panic and the manipulation could be stopped, he suggested. "The State Bank and government has biometric data. They can easily find out who is profiting by selling dollars at higher rates."

Separately, Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan General Secretary Zafar Paracha said there was a shortage of dollars in the open market due to which the greenback was being traded at an all-time high.

Paracha said the dollar was being traded at Rs255 in Afghanistan, because of which the greenback was being moved "on a large scale" to the neighbouring country.

He called on the government to take steps to stop the "smuggling" of dollars and recommended that trade with Afghanistan be done using PKR.

The rupee had appreciated to Rs204.56 in the first week of July after touching 211.93 on June 22. It then kept losing its value against the dollar but registered a minor appreciation when the country reached its staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on July 15.

It had continued to fall in every session since then.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had said the pressure on the rupee would “vanish” in a couple of weeks.

In a one-on-one conversation with Mosharraf Zaidi, CEO of advisory services firm Tabadlab, Ismail said the inflows of dollars into Pakistan would soon be higher than the outflow, resulting in a stable exchange rate.


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