April, 27(E. A Report) — State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) foreign exchange reserves increased by $30 million, clocking in at $4.46 billion as of April 21, data released on Thursday showed.
Number still stands at a critical level of around a month of import cover whereas total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $10.02 billion in addition of net foreign reserves held by commercial banks clocked in at $5.56 billion.
“During the week ended on April 20, 2023, SBP reserves increased by $30 million to $4,462.8 million,” said a statement from SBP.
Last week, SBP’s reserves increased by $394 million.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar notified earlier receipt of $300 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the last of three disbursements.
Cumulatively, Pakistan has received $2 billion from Chinese institutions. This includes $700 million from the China Development Bank and $1.3 billion from ICBC.
Moreover, China has also rolled over a $2-billion loan, lending further support to Pakistan’s faltering dollar reserves.
The critical level of foreign exchange reserves underscores the need for revival of the stalled programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While Pakistan is currently engaged in talks over its revival, the IMF has said it is looking forward to obtaining the necessary financing assurances as soon as possible to pave the way for the successful completion of the 9th Extended Fund Facility (EFF) review.
A delay in an agreement with IMF is taking a toll on the economy, particularly the rupee.
A shortage of foreign currency reserves has also added pressure on the economy that relies heavily on imports to run its engines.
While the SBP has put some curbs on inward shipments, reducing the current account deficit in the process, many businesses have been forced to either shut down or scale back operations as policymakers scramble to arrange dollar inflow.
In March, Pakistan reported a massive current account surplus of $654 million due to import curbs.