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Pakistan’s central bank reserves fall $217mn, now stand at $7.2bn

  • Total liquid foreign reserves held by country stand at $12.3 billion
Published November 23, 2023

Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) fell by $217 million on a weekly basis, clocking in at $7.2 billion as of November 17, data released on Thursday showed.

Total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $12.3 billion. Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks stood at $5.1 billion.

The central bank attributed the decline in the reserves to debt repayments.

"During the week ended on 17-Nov-2023, SBP’s reserves decreased by US$ 217 million to US$ 7,180.0 million due to debt repayments," it said.

This is the second consecutive week that the dollar stockpile has witnessed a fall.

Last week, Pakistan’s central bank reserves had decreased by $115 million.

In July this year, reserves held by the central bank got a boost as Pakistan received the first tranche of around $1.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after its lender approved a new $3-billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). It also got inflows from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

However, the SBP reserves have been under pressure due to debt repayments, rise in import payments after easing restrictions, and a lack of fresh inflows.

In a major breakthrough, the IMF announced last week that its staff and Pakistani authorities had reached an agreement on the first review of the SBA.

The staff-level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board.

“The IMF team has reached a staff-level agreement (SLA) with the Pakistani authorities on the first review of their stabilisation program supported by the IMF’s US$3 billion (SDR2,250 million) SBA,” the financial agency said in its press release then.

“The agreement is subject to approval of the IMF’s Executive Board. Upon approval around US$700 million (SDR 528 million) will become available bringing total disbursements under the program to almost US$1.9 billion,” it added.

Speaking to the media after the SLA reached with the IMF, Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar said external financing would not be an issue as the government expects inflow in December 2023, which would help increase the foreign exchange reserves.

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