Foreign reserves down 6.55pc, at $12.7bn

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KARACHI: Data released by the State Bank of Pakistan on Thursday indicated that foreign exchange reserves declined 6.55 per cent on a weekly basis.

On November 30, foreign currency reserves held by the central bank were recorded at $ 12,660.5 million, down $ 886.8 million or 6.55 per cent compared to $ 13,547.3 million in the previous week, according to the central bank.

The decrease in reserves was attributed to external debt and other official payments, a development that raises concerns over looming obligations on an already burdened economy.

Overall, liquid foreign reserves held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $ 18,744.9 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $ 6,084.4 million.

However, keeping in mind the worrying reserves’ level, the SBP was quick to add that on December 5 it received $ 2.5 billion as “proceeds from Pakistan Sovereign bonds and Pakistan International Sukuk, after which its reserves stand at $ 14,883.1 million, and total liquid foreign reserves are up at $ 20,986.4 million”.

Pakistan recently raised $ 2.5 billion by floating dollar-denominated sovereign bonds in the international market in a bid to shore up official reserves.

A few months ago, foreign currency reserves also surged due to official inflows including $ 622 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and $ 106 million from the World Bank.

Earlier, the SBP received $ 350 million under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and made payments of $ 62 million for external debt servicing.

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

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