The Pakistani rupee tumbled to a fresh lifetime low of Rs 150 per dollar Friday amid rising demand for the greenback. The deterioration of the rupee followed a USD 6 billion assistance package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under strict conditions, including allowing more space to market forces to determine the exchange rate.
The national currency has been sliding for the last three days. It closed at a record low of Rs 147.10 against the dollar on Thursday. The rupee fell further Friday amid rising demand for the dollar. At the close of trading, the inter-bank rate was Rs 149.50, while the open market rate was Rs 150 per dollar.
The inter-bank rate is always slightly lower as compared to the buying and selling rate of currency exchange companies. The weaker rupee had a domino impact on the stock market. The Pakistan Stock Exchange 100 index lost 804.5 points to close at 33,166, registering a 2.4 per cent downfall.
Meanwhile, the foreign exchange reserves dwindled to USD 8.846 billion, putting pressure on the State Bank of Pakistan to urgently address the issue. Opposition parties criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan's handling of the economy, saying the country's financial problems have increased since he took over in August last year.
"The government has completely failed to handle the economy and in fact sold it to the IMF," said Muhammad Zubair of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Pakistan Peoples Party also held a meeting of its Core Committee and blamed the inexperience of Khan's government for the economic problems.
(With inputs from agencies.)