ISLAMABAD, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Pakistan imposed a limit on
the spread between buying and selling foreign currencies on
Tuesday in an apparent effort to stop speculation as the rupee
comes under pressure.
Traders would only be allowed to offer a 25 paisa difference
in the price between buying and selling, the State Bank of
Pakistan (SBP) said in a statement.
There are 100 paisa in a rupee. The rupee ended
trading on Tuesday at 98.06/98.11 against the dollar, compared
to Monday's close of 97.96/98.01. At the end of 2012, the
currency stood at 97.18/97.23 to the dollar.
"The measure is in continuation of SBP efforts to improve
market efficiency and protect customers from exploitation," SBP
spokesman Syed Wasimuddin said.
A trader said the limit had probably been imposed to stop
currency speculation that might further weaken the rupee.
The rupee is coming under increasing strain as Pakistan
makes loan repayments to the International Monetary Fund. The
most recent payment, of $145 million, was made on Monday.
Pakistan has just over $6 billion left to repay.
SBP currently has about $9 billion, enough to cover about
two months' worth of imports. The IMF has said it will not
discuss postponing repayments unless Pakistan enacts serious
financial reforms, especially broadening its tax base.
(Reporting By Katharine Houreld; editing by Stephen Nisbet)