Karachi, Feb 3 (IANS): The Pakistani rupee on Friday plunged to a historic low against the US dollar after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is giving Pakistan "a tough time" - as the lender wants the government to do more on the economic front, local media reported.
"As we speak, an IMF delegation is in Islamabad [holding parleys on loan programme] and giving a very tough time to the finance minister and his team," the Prime Minister said while speaking at the apex committee meeting in Peshawar, as he termed the economic challenges "unimaginable", Geo News reported.
Following the PM's remarks, the local currency depreciated further against the greenback in the interbank market, the report said.
During intra-day trade, the Pak rupee was changing hands at 279 against the dollar at 12:48 p.m. (local time), according to the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP), up from Rs 271.35 a day earlier.
Analysts have stressed that the country needs the Washington-based lender's bailout programme to avoid default - a threat that has been looming over Islamabad for some months now.
AA Commodities Director Adnan Agar said that rupee's downward spiral is expected till Pakistan secures a staff-level agreement with the IMF.
The analyst said the market is reacting to reports coming on the demands being put forward by the IMF to the government, Geo News reported.
Agar warned that if the government fails to secure a staff-level agreement with the Fund, the rupee will incur further losses.
"If the IMF deal is done timely, it would appreciate but not that much," said Agar.
In a bid to curb the black market and meet the IMF demands, the government and exchange companies removed the dollar cap - imposed to stabilise the dollar's value, Geo News reported.