SBP Reserves Decrease by $190 Million to Sink Below $8.5 Billion

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The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank decreased 2.2 percent on a weekly basis, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.

On July 29, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $8.385 billion, down $190 million compared to $8.575 on July 22 mainly due to external debt and other payments.

Overall liquid foreign currency reserves held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $14.208 billion. Net reserves held by banks stood at $5.823 billion, registering a decrease of $16 million.

The central bank reserves are sufficient to cover import bill of only 1.2 months, according to Arif Habib Limited. The country has been desperately seeking dollar inflows but the much-awaited loan tranche from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remains elusive for now.

Earlier in the week, Resident Representative of the IMF, Esther Perez, said that all prior actions for the combined 7th and 8th review have been met. He mentioned that the board meeting is tentatively planned for late August once “adequate financing assurances are confirmed.”

The dangerously low level of reserves has resulted in severe pressure on the country’s currency market with July proving to be the rupee’s worst month since 1989.

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