KARACHI: Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves rose to $15.36 billion in the week that ended on May 7, from $15.04 billion recorded in the previous week, the central bank said on Thursday.
Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rose to $11.55 billion from $11.18 billion a week earlier, while those held by commercial banks eased to $3.81 billion from $3.86 billion, said chief SBP spokesman Syed Wasimuddin. “The reserves include $468 million received from the United States last week,” elaborated Wasimuddin. The US embassy said last week it had released $656 million to Pakistan from its coalition support fund for costs incurred last year in fighting militants, with $188 million transferred on April 30 and $468 million last week.
Foreign reserves hit a record high of $16.5 billion in October 2007 but fell steadily to $6.6 billion by November 2008, largely because of a soaring import bill. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) emergency loan package of $7.6 billion agreed in November 2008 helped avert a balance of payments crisis and shore up reserves. The IMF increased the loan to $11.3 billion in July last year and the central bank received a fourth tranche of $1.2 billion on December 28.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 14th, 2010.