Forex reserves continue to fall


KARACHI – This week again the country’s foreign exchange reserves sustained a declining trajectory and shrank by $135 million to $17.370 billion during the week ending on March 5. The previous week that ended on February 19 also saw the country’s dollar reserves decreasing by 0.48 percent to $17.505 billion after hitting the historic high of $17.589 billion in the preceding week.
According to State Bank of Pakistan, during the week under review, total liquid foreign reserves of the country stood at $17.370 billion, registering a decline of 0.7 percent compared to the previous week.During the week, the central bank’s reserves also dipped by $63 million to $13.964 billion against $14.027 billion last week, the State Bank noted. Foreign exchange reserves of the commercial banks fell with this week also and stood at $3.405 billion, with a decline of $72 million compared with last week’s $3.477 billion. SBP Chief Spokesman, Syed Wasimuddin, believes that the slump in commercial bank reserves was due to routine cash withdrawals by the depositors, while the shrinkage in the country’s reserves was because of normal debt payments. With official and unofficial economic observers foreseeing deterioration in the country’s external accounts, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is reported to have pinned his hopes on foreign remittances and exports that, the finance minister believes, would cross the historic $11 billion and $22 billion mark during the current fiscal year, respectively.