Foreign exchange: SBP reserves fall 4.9% to $7.6b

Published: July 25, 2019
Decrease attributed to debt servicing, other official payments. PHOTO: FILE

Decrease attributed to debt servicing, other official payments. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank plunged 4.9% on a weekly basis, 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), Saudi Arabia and other friendly nations helped shore up the foreign exchange reserves.

On July 19, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $7,611.9 million, down $389.4 million compared with $8,001.3 million in the previous week.

The decrease in reserves was due to 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 $14,862.4 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $7,250.5 million.

Pakistan received its first tranche from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of $991.4 million on July 9, which helped bolster the reserves.

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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