SBP reserves fall $59m to $12.2bn

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KARACHI: Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) decreased by $59 million to $12,270.7 million during the week ending May 8, 2020, according to data released by the central bank on Thursday.

The SBP stated that the decrease could be attributed to external debt repayments. 

Net foreign reserves held by commercial banks increased very slightly, from $6,425.7 million to $6,473.8 million.

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country fell marginally from $18,755.1 million in the week ending April 30, to $18,744.5 million during the week under review.

In the previous week ending April 30, foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP actually increased by $259 million to $12,329.4 million, though at the time the SBP did not cite a reason for the increase. 

From the beginning of 2020, SBP reserves steadily increased to a peak of $12.8 billion in the first week of March. However, beginning mid-March, reserves began to decline. SBP reserves fell from $12.8 billion to $10.8 billion between March 13 and April 17.

However, in the week ending April 24, SBP reserves got some significant help from the IMF, jumping from $10,889.2 million to $12,070.3 million. This can be mainly attributed to the $1.39 billion received from the IMF under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), to address the economic impact of the Covid-19 shock.

The central bank had previously announced the IMF funds would be part of SBP weekly reserves data as of April 24.

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