What is the PKR

PKR is the abbreviation for Pakistani rupee, the currency of Pakistan.

The Pakistani rupee is made up of 100 paisa and is often represented by the symbol Rp.

Some also call the currency rupees, rupaya, or rupaye.

As of mid-2018, the value of a Pakistani rupee was roughly 0.8 U.S. cents.  Conversely, it took more than 120 Pakistani rupee - PKR to equal a U.S. dollar. The currency lost value versus the dollar fairly steadily the past 10 years, most notably in 2008.


PKR debuted in 1947, when Pakistan became independent from the United Kingdom. The Pakistani rupee replaced the Indian rupee as currency. Initially, the State Bank of Pakistan kept British note and simply stamped "Pakistan" over them until it printed its own notes the following year.

Decimalization started in 1961, or the division of each rupee into 100 paisa. Previously, a rupee represented 16 annas.

Initially, the State Bank of Pakistan pegged the rupee to the British pound. However, in 1982, the government adopted a managed-float policy that resulted in unintended consequences. For the next five years, the rupee fell nearly 40% against the British pound, and the cost of imports surged, crippling the already fragile economy.

The currency remained under pressure until the turn of the century when the State Bank of Pakistan finally lowered interest rates and purchased U.S. dollars to stop the freefall.

Like most emerging market currencies, the Pakistani rupee plunged during the financial crisis, losing over 20% against the U.S. dollar in 2008. The country’s large current account deficit contributed to the decline.

Because of the fragility and volatility of its economy, the Pakistani rupee does not have any strong correlations with other currencies, financials or commodities. It is, therefore traded mainly locally, and is not a favorite of global currency traders, even when paired with other popular currencies.

Influences on PKR

Pakistan is a top 30 global economy as of 2018, based on GDP. However, GDP per capita of about $1640 significant lags that of many of the world’s largest economies.

The country’s significant debt sometimes results in currency devaluations by the State Bank of Pakistan. Attacks by militants also stymie the economy at times, while also indirectly influencing the currency.

However, government leaders are attempting to spur growth by privatizing government corporations, reducing the current account deficit and attracting foreign investment. In 2018, expected GDP growth of more than 5% is expected to be the fastest in roughly a decade.