Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief as petroleum prices are poised to decline, thanks to the Pakistani rupee’s resurgence against the US dollar. Interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi delivered this welcome news during a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

Solangi credited the stronger rupee, which has gained Rs. 30 to Rs. 35 against the US dollar, as the driving force behind this price shift. This increase in the rupee’s value stems from the interim government’s vigorous crackdown on black market dealers and smugglers.

This crackdown, backed by the military, targeted hoarders, currency smugglers, and black market traders after the rupee hit a historic low of Rs. 308 in the interbank market and soared above Rs. 330 in the open market earlier in the month.

The rupee has now rebounded to 291.76 per dollar in the interbank market, marking its highest level since September 5. It has appreciated by Rs. 15 since then, thanks to increased dollar inflows from exporters, remittances, and the central bank’s efforts to promote legal channels for foreign exchange transactions.

While the interim government does not directly control fuel prices, the minister stressed that the reduction in oil prices is a consequence of the stronger rupee, offering much-needed relief to the people. In the last fuel price revision on September 16, both petrol and diesel hit historic highs, causing concern among consumers. Currently, petrol is priced at Rs. 331.1 per liter, and high-speed diesel is available at Rs. 329.19 per liter.

Furthermore, Malik Bostan, Chairman of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP), expressed optimism that the government’s crackdown on currency-related malpractices would further fortify the rupee, potentially pushing it below Rs. 250 per dollar.

Bostan also revealed that the crackdown had exposed illicit collaborations between black market operators and banking personnel, leading to illegal dollar trading through hawala/hundi channels. The future of the rupee seems promising, offering respite to both consumers and the economy.

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