Foreign exchange: SBP reserves drop 0.13% despite inflows from Qatar

Published: July 4, 2019
Decrease comes on account of external debt servicing and other official payments. PHOTO AFP

Decrease comes on account of external debt servicing and other official payments. PHOTO AFP

KARACHI: The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank contracted 0.13% on a weekly basis, despite receiving $500 million in inflows from Qatar, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.

Earlier, the reserves had spiralled downwards, falling below the $7-billion mark, which raised concern over Pakistan’s ability to meet its financing requirements. However, financial assistance from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia helped shore up the foreign exchange reserves.

On June 28, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $7,272.8 million, down $9.3 million compared with $7,282.1 million in the previous week.

During the week, the State Bank received $500 million worth of inflows, out of the total promised aid of $3 billion, from Qatar. The decline was recorded after taking into account the external debt servicing and other official payments, the statement added.

Overall, liquid foreign currency reserves, held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $14,443 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $7,170.2 million.

Previously, the reserves had jumped on account of $2.5 billion in inflows from China.

Over time, the declining reserves have forced the central bank to let the rupee depreciate massively, sparking concern about the country’s ability to finance a hefty import bill as well as meet debt obligations in coming months.

In April last year, the SBP’s reserves increased $593 million due to official inflows. A few months ago, the reserves surged due to official inflows including $622 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and $106 million from the World Bank.

The SBP also received $350 million under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) earlier.

In January last year, the SBP made a $500-million loan repayment to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), China.

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