Pakistan’s rupee becomes global top performer: report

According to Bloomberg News, the Pakistani rupee is on track to become the world’s best-performing currency this month as it benefits from the government’s crackdown on illegal dollar trading.

The Pakistani rupee rose nearly 6 percent in September, defying declines in many other currencies such as the Thai baht and the South Korean won, which weakened against the U.S. dollar on speculation about continued elevated U.S. interest rates.

On Thursday, the rupee edged up 0.1 percent to trade at 287.95 per dollar, after hitting a record low of around 307 earlier this month.

Even though Pakistan’s currency appears to be the best performing currency this month, it is important to note that the country is grappling with a severe financial crisis characterized by rising inflation and significant national debt.

A recent World Bank report shows that poverty in Pakistan rose to 39.4 percent in the last fiscal year, with an additional 12.5 million people falling into poverty due to adverse economic conditions. The report called on Pakistan to take urgent measures to achieve financial stability.

Tobias Haque, the World Bank’s lead country economist for Pakistan, commented: “Pakistan’s economic model is no longer reducing poverty and living standards have fallen behind those of peer countries.”

It is worth noting that a well-performing currency does not necessarily equate to overall economic health. A similar phenomenon was seen in Afghanistan, where the Afghani became the world’s best-performing currency in the September quarter, gaining 9 percent in value over the period.

This was largely due to the influx of humanitarian aid and increased trade activities with neighboring Asian countries. However, Afghanistan also faces major economic challenges as the United Nations believes that the aid needed for the country is not enough.

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has taken measures to control currency, including banning the use of US dollars and Pakistani rupees in local transactions and imposing strict limits on the outflow of US dollars from the country.

They have even criminalized online forex trading and threatened offenders with prison. Despite these efforts, Afghanistan’s economic situation remains precarious and millions of people are at risk of acute starvation.

Therefore, while currency developments can provide insight, the broader economic context and underlying challenges are more relevant when assessing a country’s financial health.

Published on:

September 28, 2023

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