Foreign Exchange Reserves Rise To $4.3b On Eve Of IMF Deal

Foreign Exchange Reserves Rise To $4.3b On Eve Of IMF Deal
The foreign exchange reserves held by State Bank have risen to $4.3 billion in the week ending on March 3, according to an statement by the central bank, on Thursday.

“During the week ended on March 3, SBP’s reserves increased by $487 million to $4.3bn due to receipt of $500m as GoP commercial loan from China,” it said.

The bank further said that the total liquid foreign reserves held by the country currently stand at $9.75b.

Meanwhile, according to Arif Habib Limited, the reserves increased by $1.4bn since Feb 3, and were now sufficient to cover almost a month of imports.

Nearly a week ago, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that Pakistan had received $500 million from a Chinese bank as part of a $1.3 billion facility authorised by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

The finance minister tweeted, “Forms completed [and] Chinese Bank, ICBC granted rollover of $1.3 billion facility that has been returned by Pakistan to ICBC in recent months.

Read this too: IMF ‘Green Lights’ Staff-Level Agreement With Pakistan

Earlier today, Dar said that he is ‘absolutely committed’ to completing a $7 billion IMF programme, saying Pakistan is close to entering a staff-level agreement with the international lender.

It was reported earlier that there has been significant progress in the virtual talks between Pakistan and the Fund, which is believed to have given a ‘green signal’ for the staff-level agreement this week, as it expressed satisfaction over the steps taken.

Sources at the finance ministry said that there was ‘positive progress’ in the talks, after Pakistan fulfilled the conditions of IMF’s advance measures.

After a staff-level agreement is signed, the case will be presented in the IMF executive board meeting which would approve the ninth economic review and issue the next installment of $1.1 billion. After the approval of the economic review, the programme will also be ‘on track’ to ensure timely release of the next installment to Pakistan.

The cash-strapped nation has experienced escalating economic hardships, including soaring inflation, declining foreign exchange reserves, a mounting current account deficit, and currency depreciation.