Pakistan to repay $1b bond early: SBP governor


Pakistan will repay a $1 billion international bond on December 2, three days before its due date, the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) told a briefing on Friday.

There has been growing uncertainty about the ability of Pakistan to meet external financing obligations with the country in the midst of an economic crisis and recovering from devastating floods that killed over 1,700 people.

The bond repayment, which matures on December 5, totals $1.08 billion, Jameel Ahmad, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, told a briefing, according to two analysts who were present.

Jameel added that funding has been lined up from multilateral and bilateral sources to ensure the repayment would not affect foreign exchange reserves. An immediate inflow of $500 million was expected next week on Tuesday from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he said.

Read more: Pakistan will not default: SBP governor

Pakistan’s reserves with the central bank stood at $7.8 billion as of November 18, barely enough to cover a month’s imports.

Jameel said that reserve levels will depend on the continued realisation of expected inflows and rollover of loans from friendly countries, but added he was confident the reserve figure will be “much higher” by the end of the financial year in June 2023.

He told the briefing he expects external financing requirements would be met on time because of inflows from international lenders. He pointed out that, despite payments of $1.8 billion in November, reserves remained stable.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said earlier this week that Pakistan’s timely finalisation of a recovery plan from devastating floods is essential to support discussions and continued financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners.

Pakistan is currently in an IMF bailout programme, which it entered in 2019, but a firm date for the ninth review to release much-needed funds is pending even as it battles a full-blown economic crisis, with decades-high inflation and low reserves.

The central bank raised its key policy rate by 100 basis points to 16% on Friday in an unexpected move to ensure high inflation does not get entrenched.

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