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Traders expect Pakistan’s Rupee to lose ground in coming week

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2023)

Traders expect the Pakistani rupee to weaken further in the coming week owing to a sharp decline in foreign exchange reserves brought on by fresh repayments of external debt.

Traders say this is causing concern for investors who are worried about how the country’s economic situation will develop.

“We expect the rupee to depreciate much further during the course of the upcoming week due to declining foreign reserves and repayment of foreign loans. Any developments on the IMF (International Monetary Fund) front are being eagerly watched by the market,” a forex trader said.

The local currency closed at 226.94 against the US dollar on Monday while it ended the week at 227.14 against the dollar on Friday.

Pakistan paid back $600 million to the Emirates NBD Bank and $420 million to the Dubai Islamic Bank, causing the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) reserves to fall to a critically low level of $4.5 billion.

The coming week is turning out to be significant for Pakistan’s economy as a donors’ conference is set to begin on Monday, January 9, which will be led by the US in partnership with Pakistan to garner support for post-flood aid, according to Geo TV.

Currently, Pakistan’s chief of army staff is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Experts have said “no one is second guessing what this trip is about.”

Meanwhile, the delay in IMF funding of $1.1 billion has made Pakistan struggle to allay default fears.

Islamabad and the IMF differ over a review of policy and reforms the Fund is requiring in the country. The IMF’s programe review was supposed to be finished in November, Geo TV reported.

The IMF programe is connected to another essential foreign financing, making it difficult for the country to meet its external funding requirements. Up until June, they amounted to more than $30 billion and included imports, especially energy, and debt repayments.

The decline in the forex reserves put pressure on the rupee owing to the government’s slow progress in rolling over and securing foreign inflows from international lenders.

Given that elections are slated to take place this year, the government keeps delaying the IMF’s requirements out of concern for further political capital loss.

The local currency has lost 28.3% of its value against the dollar in 2022.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has assured that the government would complete the IMF programe.

Business

A company will invest $27.5 million in ruby mining on the outskirts of Kabul

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2024)

The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum on Friday announced that Ariana Highland Company will invest $27.5 million in the extraction of Jegdalek ruby mine on the outskirts of Kabul.

In a statement, the ministry said that the bidding ceremony for the mine was held again with the participation of Ariana Highland and Mirza Sultani companies, adding that the former won it by accepting 44 percent share for the Islamic Emirate.

Based on the statement, Ariana Highland Company will spend $5 million in the social services.

Jegdalek ruby deposit is located 100 km from Kabul city, in the southwest of Surobi district, and it covers 6.9 square kilometers.

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MoU signed for start of Trans-Afghan railway feasibility studies

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(Last Updated On: February 20, 2024)

The Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) announced on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed for feasibility studies on the Trans-Afghan railway project.

ARA said that the head of the organization, Bakhtur Rahman Sharafat, signed the MoU during his visit to Uzbekistan on Monday. The MoU was signed between Uzbek and UAE officials and Afghanistan.

ARA said once the feasibility study has been completed, results will be shared with various stakeholders including financial institutions, countries and businessmen from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

Officials attending Monday’s meeting also decided a virtual meeting would be held on Wednesday with Qatari and Pakistani officials.

The Trans-Afghan railway once completed will connect Central Asia with South Asia.

Starting in Balkh’s Mazar-e-Sharif, the 647km line will pass through Samangan, Baghlan, Bamiyan, Maidan Wardak, Logar and Paktia provinces and on to Pakistan.

This project has been under discussion for many years. After regaining power, the Islamic Emirate approved the initial survey which was successfully completed by the technical teams of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan Railways.

ARA has meanwhile said it once again invites countries, financial organizations and businessmen to invest in Afghanistan railway projects.

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Import, export volumes total $7.5 billion in 1st nine months of this solar year

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(Last Updated On: February 19, 2024)

Afghanistan’s export and import volumes totaled $7.5 billion in the first nine months of this solar year – 1402, the National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) said on Monday.

NSIA said exports totaled $1.35 billion while imports amounted to $6.22 billion.

Last solar year, 1401, saw exports total $1.37 billion while imports totalled $5.12 billion.

NSIA said most exports went to Pakistan ($689.9 million), followed by India ($463 million) and the UAE ($32 million).

The most popular export item was dried fruit, which totaled $342.7 million. Medicinal plants, minerals and fresh fruit were second, third and fourth respectively.

The authority stated that the most imported items in the first nine months of this solar year came from Iran and totaled $1.31 billion.

Goods from Pakistan followed totaling $1.15 billion and then China with goods worth $1.14 billion.

Imports were dominated by fuel, petroleum and gas, at $1.1 billion, followed by machinery, vehicles and spare parts which totaled $691.9 million.

Other high volume goods included textiles, metals and metal products.

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