Forex re­serves cross $ 17 b

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Amid grow­ing in­ter­na­tional con­fi­dence in Islamabad’s eco­nomic di­rec­tion, Pak­istan’s for­eign ex­change re­serves have risen to $ 17.67 bil­lion and are ex­pected to hit a his­toric high this year, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar said.

Cur­rently, the State Bank of Pak­istan holds $ 12 bil­lion while pri­vate banks have the rest of the to­tal re­serves.

“Our next tar­get is to cross the past high­est level of $ 18.29 bil­lion in re­serves this year. We have not had the luxury of a front- load­ing IMF fa­cil­ity as was the case when that level was achieved but we have built up re­serves on the ba­sis of a range of pol­icy mea­sures and macroe­co­nomic sta­bil­ity,” Se­na­tor Dar told Wash­ing­ton- based Pak­istani jour­nal­ists.

The fi­nance min­is­ter was speak­ing at the end of a hec­tic three- day visit to Wash­ing­ton, dur­ing which he had around three dozen meet­ings in­clud­ing with the IMF and World Bank lead­ers and top US trea­sury, State Depart­ment, USAID, OPIC, USPak­istan Busi­ness Coun­cil of­fi­cials and in­vestors.

In the mean­while, talk­ing to IMF Deputy Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Mit­suhiro Fu­ru­sawa in Wash­ing­ton, Dar re­it­er­ated the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to con­tinue re­form agenda to put econ­omy on a sound foot­ing.

The min­is­ter said the 6th IMF re­view had been com­pleted with­out a waiver af­ter Pak­istan’s ful­fil­ment of the per­for­mance cri­te­ria. He es­pe­cially men­tioned the build- up of for­eign ex­change re­serves, decline in in­fla­tion and dis­count rate and re­duc­tion of fis­cal deficit and cur­rent ac­count deficit.

The IMF Deputy Man­ag­ing Direc­tor con­grat­u­lated fi­nance min­is­ter on suc­cess­ful 6th re­view of IMF pro­gramme. He ex­pressed the hope that Pak­istan would con­tinue its eco­nomic poli­cies and re­form agenda.

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