SBP-held forex reserves fall another $110mn, now stand at $4.2bn
- Decrease comes on account of external debt repayment
Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) decreased by $119 million, clocking in at nearly $4.2 billion as of May 19, data released on Thursday showed.
The overall number still stands at a critical level at around a month of import cover.
Total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $9.73 billion. Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks clocked in at $5.54 billion.
“During the week ended on May 19, 2023, SBP reserves decreased by $119 million to $4,193.0 million due to external debt repayments,” said the SBP in a statement.
Last week, SBP’s foreign exchange reserves decreased $72 million to $4.31 billion.
Pakistan’s reserves got a boost after the country received $300 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the last of three disbursements.
Cumulatively, Pakistan received $2 billion from Chinese institutions. This includes $700 million from the China Development Bank and $1.3 billion from ICBC.
Moreover, China also rolled over a $2-billion loan, lending further support to Pakistan’s faltering dollar reserves.
The critical level of foreign exchange reserves underscores the need for revival of the stalled programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
While Pakistan is currently engaged in talks over its revival, the IMF has said it is looking forward to obtaining the necessary financing assurances as soon as possible to pave the way for the successful completion of the 9th Extended Fund Facility (EFF) review.
A delay in an agreement with IMF is taking a toll on the economy, and raises concerns on Pakistan’s balance of payments’ position.
Recently, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that Pakistan will not default as he moved to pacify concerns over the country’s economy.