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Foreign Borrowing Rises 12% to $7 Billion

Islamabad: Over $7 billion in loans were disbursed by foreign lenders during the first eight months of the current fiscal year, up by 12%, as Pakistan’s reliance on pricey commercial loans expanded once more as a result of a choice to borrow to maintain foreign exchange reserves.

After removing a $1.5 billion trade finance facility, China was still the largest creditor, contributing $2.4 billion, or over one-third of the total amount of new loans. The $7 billion in borrowing by the federal government does not include the $1.5 billion facility, which is recorded on the central bank’s balance sheet.

The government got $539 million in foreign loans in February, the most expensive of which, $380 million, came from commercial banks. According to the government, $3.1 billion of the $7 billion was made up of foreign commercial loans.

In 2021, the IDB will offer a trade finance facility worth roughly $1.1 billion. Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Pak-Arab Refinery Ltd (Parco), and Pakistan LNG Ltd (PLL) would use the credit made available under this facility to finance the import of crude oil, refined petroleum products, and LNG.

Due to the maturity of China-funded projects and other bilateral creditors’ reluctance to extend loans due to their foreign policy priorities, bilateral project financing has almost completely dried up. Just $149 million, or 64% of the total lending by the bilateral creditors over the course of eight months, was provided.

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