ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have once again gone down to below $10 billion level during last week as the country repaid $146.6 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).

According to weekly updates of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country’s foreign exchange reserves have gone to $9.923 billion during the last week as compare to $10.210 billion of the preceding week registering decline of $287 million in one week. The break-up of $9.923 billion revealed that State Bank of Pakistan held reserves stood at $4.402 billion and commercial banks reserves (other than SBP) are $5.321 billion.

Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves had declined to below $10 billion level in early September 2013, which later increased to $10.373 billion when country received first tranche of $547 million from IMF under the three-year EFF (extended fund facility). However, reserves have once again fell down to below $10 billion after paying installment to the Fund last week. The next IMF tranche depends on a successful completion of the first review of the programme, by the end of Nov or early December.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan is repaying to the IMF loan that was taken in November 2008 to avert a balance of payments crisis. Pakistan has so far repaid $5.2 billion to the IMF in 20 tranches in which $720 million has been paid during the first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year 2013-14. Meanwhile, country would further repay $2.38 billion in the remaining three quarters (October to June) to the IMF and would receive about $2.2 billion from the Fund during the ongoing fiscal year.

Economic experts believe that country’s reserves would remain under pressure during the ongoing fiscal year 2013-14. Therefore, the cash-starved government has planned to receive $8.336 billion foreign loans including multilateral, bilateral and other donors during the ongoing financial year 2013-14 in a view to provide balance of payment and budgetary support and also to assist in stabilising the exchange rate.