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Pakistani Rupee’s Roller Coaster: From Top Global Performer to Asia’s Weakest Currency

Pakistani Rupee, which not long ago soared as the world’s top-performing currency, has now nosedived, becoming Asia’s worst performer in 2023. Bloomberg recently reported a staggering 20% drop against the dollar this year, highlighting the volatile journey of the currency.

Just a month ago, the Rupee experienced an unexpected surge, climbing 8% to 275 per dollar in October, a stark contrast to its record low in September. This brief triumph was attributed to the Pakistani government’s crackdown on illegal dollar transactions, as reported by HDFC Securities. The Federal Investigation Agency’s raid on illicit activities sparked a sudden demand for the Rupee, leading to its temporary rise.

However, this resurgence proved short-lived as Pakistan’s struggling economy failed to sustain the Rupee’s upward momentum. Currently, the Rupee hovers around 285 per dollar, with some financial analysts predicting a further decline to the 324-350 range.

The root of the problem lies in a mix of financial mismanagement and political turmoil, edging Pakistan dangerously close to a default scenario. In a bid to salvage the situation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently agreed to disburse $700 million as part of a larger $3 billion bailout deal formulated in July.

Despite this lifeline, Pakistan grapples with immense debt burdens, shrinking economic activity, and dwindling foreign reserves. Compounding these challenges is an ongoing cash crunch, exacerbated by delayed IMF payments. This delay has heightened default risks, disrupting standard financing avenues.

Adding to the country’s woes, inflation in Pakistan has skyrocketed, hitting a staggering annual rate of 29.2%, according to the World Bank. Analysts remain pessimistic about the near-term economic outlook, foreseeing continued hardships well into 2024. This grim forecast offers little solace for the Pakistani Rupee, which remains under significant pressure amidst these tumultuous economic conditions.