- Total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $8.54 billion
Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) dropped $170 million to a mere $2.92 billion, data released on Thursday showed.
This is the lowest level of reserves since February 2014.
Total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $8.54 billion. Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks stood at $5.62 billion.
“During the week ended on February 3, 2023, SBP’s reserves decreased by $170 million to $2,916.7 million due to external debt repayments,” the SBP said in a statement.
Last week, the foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP dropped a massive $592 million to a mere $3.09 billion. This was the lowest level of central bank reserves since February 2014.
The current level of reserves is at less than one month of import cover.
The central bank reserves, which stood at nearly $18 billion at the start of the 2022 but have undergone significant depletion, underscore the urgent need for Pakistan to complete the next review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
An IMF delegation is currently in Islamabad to hold talks for the ninth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Talks on the ninth review have remained stalled since September last year over prior conditions of the Washington-based lender that has called for a market-determined exchange rate, resolution of issues within the power sector, and a roadmap for achieving tax targets.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that he was due to announce good news related to IMF programme.
Although the country is facing a serious crisis of foreign exchange reserves, it is meeting international financial obligations to avoid default.
Pakistan has also moved to curb dollar outflow through restrictions on imports. Many businesses have either scaled back or shut down operations after their inability to open letters of credit (LC) amid the foreign currency shortage.
At the same time, policymakers are scrambling to secure inflow of dollars without much success.