Pakistan closed out 2022 with forex levels at $11.422b
Pakistan closed 2022 with its foreign exchange reserves at $11.422 billion, close to the level they were at the close of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) first full year in power, 2019, when it closed at $11.336 billion.
Meanwhile the situation of foreign exchange reserves. between those held by the State Bank of Pakistan and those held by commercial banks, further worsened after reserves fell by another $245 million in the week ending December 30.
Data shared by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday for the national foreign exchange reserves showed that the reserves fell by $245 million for the week ending December 30, 2022, primarily due to external debt repayments.
This meant that Pakistan’s total reserves fell from $11.707 billion from the previous week (ending December 23) to $11.422 billion for the week ending December 30, 2022.
The reserves held by the central bank dipped to $5.576 billion.
It is pertinent to note that this is the lowest level of SBP-held reserves since March 2014, when the reserves had dipped to $5.366 billion.
The net foreign reserves held by commercial banks stood at $5.846 billion, falling marginally by $39.3 million from last week’s level of $5.885 billion.
However, the worrying aspect was that the reserves held by the central bank fell further below the level of foreign exchange held by commercial banks.
The deficit for the last week stoood at around $269.5 million.
This is the worst position of forex reserves of the the SBP since July 31, 2010.
The reserves of the central bank had dipped dangerously close to the level of the commercial banks once before in the past decade when in November 2013, the reserves held by SBP fell to $3.048 billion while the reserves held by commercial banks were at a meager $2.408 billion with the difference narrowed to just $640 million.
But it never reached a stage where the reserves with SBP were lower than that of commercial banks.