KARACHI: Pakistani banks have received an amount of $212 million through the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) scheme of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in March, taking the total remittances received since September 2020 to $805 million.
“A big thanks to our overseas Pakistanis, Roshan Digital accounts deposits have crossed $800 million after an inflow of $212 million in March 2021,” the SBP said in a statement.
“Inflows have been accelerating every month since the RDA’s launch in September 2020. Total foreign exchange reserves of the SBP had crossed $20.836 billion last Thursday after receiving an amount of Rs $498.7 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under EFF programme. After accounting for external debt repayments, SBP reserves increased by $378 million to $13,673 million last week,” the State Bank added.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Rupee (PKR) almost reached its 22-month high by March 31, 2021, at Rs 152.74 against the US Dollar (USD). Currency watchers are wondering if this trend is likely to continue in the remainder of 2020-21.
In the last week alone, the PKR gained 1.2 per cent against the USD in the interbank, touching 152.74/USD by March 31 from 154.59/USD recorded a week prior. This brings the fiscal year 2020-21 to-date average parity to 162.07/USD, compared to 156.48/USD (3.4% YoY depreciation) from last year same period.
“Although the PKR still inherits a depreciation bias in the long-term, in the short term we expect the Rupee’s strengthening to continue,” said an analyst at AKD Securities.
The analyst claimed that this is happening because of unprecedented inflows of remittances, the Current Account maintaining a surplus, loan deferment by G20 countries putting pressure off the SBP to buy dollars, and a number of initiatives taken by the State Bank and Government. These include the launch of the Roshan Digital Account, which is expected to play a huge role in the performance of the Pakistani Rupee.
In addition to this, the SBP increased its FX dealing monitoring, imposed limits on imports, and a condition of prior approvals for imports once the parity touched a high of 160.80 against the USD at the start of 2021.