Foreign exchange reserves of the country fell to $17.5 billion in the week ended March 19 compared to a record $17.61 billion a week earlier, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.
SBP Chief Spokesperson Syed Wasimuddin revealed that during the same period, reserves held by the central bank stood at $14.09 billion after dropping marginally from the previous week’s tally of $14.19 billion. Reserves held by commercial banks stood at $3.40 billion, depicting a nominal decrease from the previous week’s total of $3.42 billion.
The spokesperson attributed recent increases in the country’s foreign currency reserves to strong remittances sent home by Pakistanis residing in other countries, as well as increasing exports. Remittances by overseas Pakistanis rose by 20 per cent to $6.96 billion in the first eight months of the 2010-11 fiscal year, compared with the corresponding period of the preceding year, according to central bank data.
The foreign exchange reserves have also been boosted by international aid such as that received from the United States under the Coalition Support Fund as well as international loans such as that obtained from the International Monetary Fund, as part of the country’s standby agreement with the international lender.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2011.
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