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Rupee trades at record low of 90.20; stocks up


KARACHI: The rupee traded at a record low on Tuesday because of increased import payments and a deteriorating economic outlook, dealers said.

"The rupee was traded at 90.20 (to the dollar) and there were import payments of about $100 million," said a dealer at a foreign bank.

The rupee had traded at its previous record low of 90.03 on Wednesday.

The rupee ended at 90.11/16 to the dollar, compared with Friday's close of 89.95/90.00. Banks were closed on Monday.

There are concerns on the economic front as the country's current account deficit stood at $2.104 billion in July-Nov compared with $589 million in the same period a year earlier.

The deficit is likely to widen further in the coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid.

Islamabad has to start paying back an $8 billion International Monetary Fund loan in early 2012. Without additional sources of revenue, analysts said, its foreign exchange reserves may come under pressure.

More than $1.1 billion are due in the second half of the 2011/12 fiscal year.

Foreign exchange reserves were at $16.77 billion in the week ending Dec. 23, compared with a record $18.31 billion as of July 30.

The rupee weakened 4.82 percent in 2011, after losing 1.53 percent in 2010.

Pakistan stocks rose led by the banking sector. The Karachi Stock Exchange's (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended 1.06 percent, or 120.03 points, higher at 11402.04 on turnover of 63.05 million shares.

"Buying in MCB Bank and NBP (National Bank of Pakistan) helped index to retain 120 points today," said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities Ltd.

MCB ended 5 percent higher at 143.93 rupees and NBP rose 4.98 percent to end at 43.03 rupees.

In the money market, overnight rates ended at their lowest level of 9.10 percent, unchanged from Friday's close amid increased liquidity in the interbank market.

(Courtesy Reuters)

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