The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday rebutted rumours that its liquid foreign exchange reserves of $8.9 billion have not dried up and are “fully usable”.

The central bank’s response came after reports implied that the reserves have dried up or are not usable and that the SBP has stopped import payments and that banks have run out of dollars.

The SBP noted that on June 10, it released the details of the liquid foreign reserves, which stood at $8.99 billion. It added that those did not include gold reserves and are “fully usable for all purposes”.

The central bank said it has not stopped import payments and commercial banks have sufficient dollar liquidity to execute these payments.

“Import payments of around$ 4.7 billion have been executed through the interbank market during the month so far,” the central bank added.

The statement comes after Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell to their lowest levels since November 2019, reaching $14,943 million, data from the central bank showed last week.

The total forex reserves held by the country stand at $14 billion as of June 10 — a level that covers imports for 1.32 months.

Meanwhile, the total reserves that the SBP has amounted to stand at $8,985 million — the lowest level since July 2019.

Moreover, commercial banks have been asked to seek SBP’s permission before initiating import transactions worth $100,000 in an attempt to ease dollar shortages and conserve eroding foreign exchange reserves amid IMF loan uncertainty.

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