KARACHI  - Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell to $16.34 billion in the week ended March 2, compared with $16.42 billion in the previous week, the State Bank said on Thursday.

Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) fell to $11.90 billion from $12.06 billion a week earlier, while those held by commercial banks rose to $4.44 billion, compared with $4.36 billion the previous week.

“The decrease in SBP’s forex reserves are due to scheduled debt repayments,” said Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman of the central bank. The central bank paid $399 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the week ending Feb. 24, part of an $8 billion IMF loan that Islamabad is repaying.

Foreign exchange reserves hit a record $18.31 billion in July last year, but have since fallen due to debt repayments.

Without additional sources of revenue, that will further drain Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, which were boosted in June last year by inflows of $411 million, including a $191.9 million loan from the World Bank, and a $196.8 million loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Higher exports and a record inflow of remittances have also helped support Pakistan’s reserves.

According to official data, remittances rose 21.5 percent to $7.43 billion in the first seven months of the fiscal year (July-June), compared with $6.12 billion in the same period a year earlier.