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Pakistan's external debt and liabilities continued to grow and surged to $110 billion at the end of the third quarter of (July-March) of this fiscal year (FY20), mainly due to fresh borrowing from multilateral and bilateral sources on account of public debt.

Economists said that fresh borrowing from multilateral and commercial sources pushed up the external debt burden on Pakistan; however on positive side these inflows provided support for smoother repayment of Sukuk and other bilateral and multilateral loans during this fiscal year.

The State Bank in its recent report also stated that external debt increased in dollar terms on account of fresh borrowing from multilateral and commercial sources, receipt of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tranches on account of Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and a rise in foreign investment in government securities.

According to the SBP, the country's external debt and liabilities (stocks) posted an increase of some 3.4 percent during July-March of FY20. Pakistan's total external debt and liabilities have been surged to $109.94 billion as on March 31, 2020 compared to $106.349 billion as on June 30, 2019, depicting an increase of $3.6 billion.

As percent of GDP, total external debt and liabilities were declined from 45 percent in June 2019 to 42 percent in March this year. It was 38.4 percent in September and 39.3 percent in December. During the first nine months of this fiscal year, the official foreign exchange reserve increased from $7.769 billion to $11.7 billion.

The detailed analysis revealed that public external debt has highest share of 78 percent in the country's total external debt and liabilities. Public external debt posted an increase of 3 percent or $2.43 billion. Out of total external debt and liabilities, external public debt stood at $86.369 billion in March 2020 compared to $83.936 billion end of June 2019.

During the period under review IMF debt surged by $800 million to reach $6.438 billion. In addition, Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) debt went down from $3.867 billion to $3.497 billion. The banks' borrowing stood at $4.668 billion and private sector debt at $11.1 billion end of March 2020. Similarly, during the period under review, debt liabilities to direct investors mounted up by $924 million to $4.252 billion end of third quarter of this fiscal year.

The total stocks of debt and liabilities comprise Paris Club, Euro Sukuk global Bond, IMF loan, foreign exchange liabilities; Public Sector Enterprises (PSE) guaranteed debt and non- guaranteed debt, banks borrowing, non-residential deposits, private sector guaranteed/non-guaranteed debt and foreign exchange liabilities and debt liabilities to direct investors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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