KARACHI: The foreign exchange reserves of the country dropped for the seventh successive week by $868 million (3.7 percent) to reach $22.48 billion.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the foreign exchange reserves during the week ended January 21, 2022 reached $22.48 billion from $23.35 billion due to external debt and other payments.
As per the central bank data, the reserves held by the central bank during the week decreased by $846 million (4.96 percent) on a week-on-week basis to $16.19 billion. Similarly, the reserves of commercial banks dropped slightly by $22 million (0.3 percent) to $6.29 billion from $6.3 billion on a week-on-week basis.
The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank soared to an all-time high of $20.15 billion after Pakistan received a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) worth $2,751.8 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on August 24.
Pakistan has been looking to build its foreign currency reserves on the back of loans, remittances, and higher exports. However, foreign direct investment continues to be an area of concern for policymakers. The reserves level is also critical for Pakistan to build an import cover with the bill crossing $5 billion each month, putting pressure on the currency that fell to its weakest level against the US dollar this month.
The government borrowed $10.4 billion in the past six months, which was higher by 78 percent over the same period of last year, as it struggled to address the growing current account imbalance and keep the debt-financed foreign exchange reserves at current levels.
Gross foreign loan disbursements during July-December of current fiscal year remained at $9.3 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs reported a day earlier. In addition to this, the government received $1.1 billion in foreign loans from the overseas Pakistanis through the Naya Pakistan Certificates, the central bank data showed. The cumulative gross foreign loans secured in the first half of the current fiscal year were higher by $4.5 billion, or 78%, from the same period of previous fiscal year, showed the official statistics. – TLTP