The Pakistani rupee gained 0.21% against the US dollar in the inter-bank market on Monday. This was a continuation of the previous week’s uptrend, where the rupee appreciated Rs1.04 or 0.37%, settling at 280.36 against the dollar. This appreciation is due to the announcement of a staff-level agreement between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund, which led to the approval of the second tranche of a $3 billion Stand-by Arrangement. The IMF Executive Board completed the first review of the SBA, allowing an immediate disbursement of $700 million. The foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan stand at $8.15 billion as of January 5, and are set to increase with IMF inflows. Internationally, the US dollar ebbed on Monday on expectations of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve in March. Oil prices edged up on Monday as traders watched for supply disruption risks in the Middle East following strikes by US and British forces. Brent crude futures were up 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $78.42 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $72.73 a barrel, up 5 cents, or 0.1%, following a near 1% gain in the previous session. The benchmarks jumped more than 2% last week after the air strikes against Houthi forces in retaliation for attacks on Red Sea shipping.

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