March 20, 2012 / 12:46 PM / 5 years ago

Pakistani stocks end up; rupee weakens; o/n rates flat

KARACHI, March 20 (Reuters) - Pakistani stocks ended more than 1.7 percent higher on Tuesday, led by shares of fertilizer giant Engro Corp., after the company said gas would be supplied to its new plant and would start production by Friday.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index rose 1.73 percent, or 225.61 points, to end at 13,303.33 points.

Volume fell to 247.8 million shares, compared with 256 million traded on Monday.

"Engro's notice stating that the gas would soon be supplied also helped its share price which closed at its upper limit of 5 percent," said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities.

Engro ended 4.99 percent higher at 106.39 rupees.

In the currency market, the rupee ended weaker at 90.71/75 to the dollar, compared with Monday's close of 90.62/70 because of increase in import payments.

The rupee had been supported by remittances from overseas Pakistanis, which rose 23.4 percent to $8.59 billion in the first eight months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $6.96 billion in the same period last year.

In February, remittances totaled $1.16 billion.

The rupee touched a record low of 91.28 to the dollar in January, dragged down by concerns over higher payments for oil imports and Pakistan's overall economic health.

There was also concern about Pakistan's current account deficit, which widened to $2.952 billion in the first eight months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $194 million over the same period in the previous year.

The current account deficit in February stood at $260 million, compared with a deficit of $98 million in February 2011.

The deficit stood at $364 million in January 2012.

In the money market, overnight rates rose to 11.90 percent, unchanged from Friday's close, despite a reverse repo conducted by the central bank in which it bought back government paper worth 38.10 billion rupees ($420.25 million). (Reporting by Sahar Ahmed)

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