KARACHI - Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves rose to $16.6 billion in the week ended April 13, from $16.52 billion in the previous week, the State Bank said on Thursday.

Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rose to $11.97 billion from $11.86 billion a week earlier, while those held by commercial banks fell to $4.63 billion from $4.66 billion.

"The increase in (the SBP's) reserves is due to small multilateral and other inflows," said Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman of the central bank. Foreign exchange reserves hit a record $18.31 billion in July last year, boosted 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 record remittances have also supported Pakistan's reserves.

Remittances from Pakistanis overseas rose 21.45 percent to $9.73 billion in the first nine months of the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared with $8.02 billion in the same period last year.

In March, remittances totaled $1.14 billion. Reserves have since been drained by debt repayments, including $399 million in the week ending Feb. 24 on an $8 billion International Monetary Fund loan.

The next repayment is due by the end of the 2011/12 fiscal year.