Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have exceeded $4 billion after the country received a $500 million loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

In a weekly bulletin, the SBP reported a rise in foreign exchange reserves by $487 million, boosting the total to $4,301 million as of 3 March, providing an import cover of around a month. This was part of the ICBC’s $1.3 billion facility, which followed another loan of $700 million from the China Development Bank.

These loans were essential as Pakistan has not received funds from any other country, except China, while the $350 billion economy struggles to revive its stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.

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There are $7 billion of repayments due in the coming months, including a Chinese loan of $2 billion due in March. According to Geo, experts believe that the Pakistan rupee, which has fallen to a historic low of Rs282.30 against the dollar in the interbank market, can only recover to Rs265 if the situation improves.

Meanwhile, the government has imposed restrictions on imports due to a shortage of dollars, which has resulted in the partial closure of textile and automobile manufacturers, raising fears of unemployment.