Pakistani rupee sinks to all-time low

Updated 12 February 2013
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Pakistani rupee sinks to all-time low

KARACHI: The Pakistani rupee yesterday sank to an all-time low against the US dollar over forex reserve fears as the country repayed $ 146 million to the International Monetary Fund.
The rupee fell to 100.1 to the greenback in trading in Karachi, down from 99.30 on the open market Friday, and has now lost 39 percent of its value against the US currency since March 2008.
“We have traded the dollar at Rs. 100.1, although there is a slight difference on the open market,” said currency dealer Mohammad Arshad.
The official inter-bank rate for the dollar is Rs. 98, but Mohammad Sohail, who heads brokerage firm Topline Securities, confirmed it had crossed 100 on the open market.
Pakistan had a $ 10.7 billion IMF loan until September, but had drawn only about a third of it. The government has indicated it would not seek a new loan.
Pakistan repaid $ 145.79 million to the IMF yesterday and is scheduled to repay another $ 375 million on Feb. 26, according to Syed Wasimuddin, spokesman for the country’s central State Bank.
So far Pakistan has repaid $ 2.57 billion, $ 1.5 million this fiscal year, ending June 30, according to the central bank.
“The rupee is likely to remain under pressure because of IMF repayments,” said Sohail.
“The foreign exchange reserves have declined to $ 8.7 billion as of Jan. 31 from $ 10.8 billion at end-June 2012,” said the central bank last week.
The IMF last November urged Pakistan to reduce its large budget deficit to bolster the struggling economy’s resiliency, noting that foreign exchange reserves under $ 10 billion were below adequate levels.

 


Omani expat visa ban extended for certain professions

Updated 42 min 10 sec ago
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Omani expat visa ban extended for certain professions

DUBAI: Oman’s expat visa ban is being extended for six months and extra sectors have been introduced, national daily Times of Oman reported, citing the Ministry of Manpower.
The additional areas of work being placed on the ban include carpentry, metal, aluminum workshops, brick factories.
Professions already in the ban include sales, construction, cleaning and media.
“An update will be issued regarding this decision once the six-month period temporary ban is completed,” an official from the Ministry of Manpower said.
The Omanization drive is part of a government’s push to recruit more Omani nationals, a similar push is underway across the GCC where countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have also been trying to increase the number of locals in employment.
Earlier this year a six-month visa ban on hiring expats was imposed across 87 industries, including media, engineering, marketing and sales, accounting and finance, IT, insurance, technicians, administration and HR.