Informal channels? - Roshan Digital Account inflows plunge to two-year low

As more and more overseas Pakistanis are opting for informal channels to take advantage of higher exchange rate back home, foreign currency inflows through Roshan Digital Account (RDA) have dropped to a 24-month low.

It was revealed by a local brokerage house which cited data from the State Bank of Pakistan as the inflows stood at $141 million in November 2022 against the amount of $239 in the corresponding month of last year.

These November gross inflows are the lowest monthly inflow since December 2020, as increased political uncertainty, deteriorating economic fundamentals in the country, and rising interest rates abroad are also affecting the trend.

On Thursday, the local currency had settled at Rs224.37 against the US dollar when compared with Wednesday’s value of Rs224.16.

Meanwhile, the greenback was available for Rs229.70 to Rs232 in open market as the authorities concerned are unable to fill this huge gap between interbank and open market exchange rates.

In fact, this difference widened during trading on Thursday by one rupee thanks to weak macroeconomic indicators and dwindling foreign reserves.

However, the actual exchange rate in unofficial market is over Rs250, reports from different cities say, as the gap has become sustainable and needs to be addressed.

According to the central bank’s data, the country received a total of $5.4 billion in inflows from the Pakistani diaspora living abroad since the launch of RDA in September 2020.

During this period, the amount invested through Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) was $3.5 billion. Within NPCs, $1.750 billion was invested in conventional and $1.680 billion in Islamic certificates. The expatriate Pakistanis also invested $47 million in the stock market.

The non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) from 175 different countries opened 498,934 RDAs. But analysts said overseas Pakistanis have actively begun withdrawing assets from the NPCs through their digital accounts.

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