Foreign exchange reserves climb to $18.063b


The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Thursday said the country’s liquid foreign exchange reserves rose to $18.063 billion during the week that ended on the 3rd of this month. When compared with $17.898 billion the central bank had calculated by August 27, the new figures depict an increase of 0.9 per cent, or $ 165 million in the country’s dollar reserves. During the week under review, the SBP counted its foreign exchange reserves at $14.602 billion, registering an increase of $155 million or 1.0 per cent when compared with $14.447 billion of the preceding week. Similarly, dollar reserves of commercial banks also trended upwards at $3.460 billion, some $9 million higher than last week’s $3.451 billion, the state bank said.
SBP attributes this see-sawing trend in the foreign exchange reserves of the central and commercial banks, respectively, to the routine repayment of debts and withdrawal by account holders. Despite crossing the historic $18 billion mark, the country’s holdings of the greenback, economic observers believe, are unlikely to help the rupee prevail against the dollar on sustainable basis. Analysts say a major chunk, over $ 9billion, of the current $18 billion reserves, would be consumed by Pakistan’s huge foreign debts that currently stand at $58 billion. The government is reportedly set to repay over $3 billion to the IMF under the half-paid 2008’s $11.3 billion stand-by agreement. Last year, the country used some $5.7 billion for servicing its foreign debts.