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Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) decreased $354 million, clocking in at $4.2 billion as of March 24, data released on Thursday showed.

This is the first decline in central bank-held reserves on a weekly basis after six successive increases. The overall number stands at a critical level at around a month of import cover.

Total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $9.8 billion. Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks clocked in at $5.6 billion.

“During the week ended on March 24, 2023, SBP’s reserves decreased by $354 million to $4,244.3 million due to external debt repayment,” said a statement from SBP.

Last week, SBP’s reserves increased $280 million to $4.6 billion.

Earlier during the month, Pakistan received the second disbursement of $500 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

Cumulatively, Pakistan has received $1.7 billion from Chinese institutions with another $300 million expected.

Moreover, China is working on a request by Pakistan to roll over a $2-billion loan that matured last week.

However, the critical International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme remains stalled as talks continue after Pakistan announced a new fuel subsidy.

A delay in an agreement with IMF is taking a toll on the economy, particularly the rupee.

A shortage of foreign currency reserves has added pressure on the economy that relies heavily on imports to run its engines. While the SBP has put some curbs on inward shipments, reducing the current account deficit in the process, many businesses have been forced to either shut down or scale back operations as policymakers scramble to arrange dollar inflow.

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Tulukan Mairandi Mar 30, 2023 09:46pm
Its was never in "winning ways" anyway. Forex were pumped up by loans that must obviously be repaid
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Rogen Mar 31, 2023 03:01am
At this point, I am fully convinced that government is holding Pakistani economy hostage in order to push establishment and courts into letting Nawaz Sharif back on the throne. Every time there is silence on the IMF front, Ishaq “Idiot” Dar breaks it by saying something incredibly stupid and counterproductive, the whole Nuclear missiles thing, 100 Rs subsidised fuel, and this time this statement which I am sure IMF’s representative will deny soon. If government really wanted this loan right now, they would be sending PM or COAS to daddy KSA or UAE to do what they do best; beg.
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Aftab Mar 31, 2023 02:21pm
Govt is trying it's best to manage sinking economy. Think foreign exchange reserves would be in better position in months to come
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