Govt gets financial relief as China rolls over $4.2b debt.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday said that China has agreed to rollover $4.2 billion debt that was maturing this week, providing a major financial relief to the government.

The $2 billion loan by China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), has been rolled over, Tarin confirmed to The Express Tribune.

The SAFE deposit loan matured on Wednesday (today).

Tarin said that the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister also conveyed on Tuesday China's willingness to rollover another $2.2 billion Chinese commercial loan.

The $2.2 billion or RMB 15 billion facility was maturing on Friday.

Pakistan had made repeated requests to Beijing to rollover the debt and the latest request was made last week to Chinese top leadership, according to the ministry officials.

The response of the Chinese embassy was awaited till the filing of the story. China has so far stood by its commitments and has been bailing out the country.

Beijing had given a commitment to the International Monetary Fund in 2019 to rollover it's debt until the Fund programme expires.

During the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan Pakistan had sought $4 billion rollover of SAFE deposits loans that were maturing in the next few months.

Pakistan had requested a total $21 billion lifeline that included a total $10.7 billion rollover of both commercial and safe deposits.

These included rollover of SAFE deposits of $4 billion and commercial loans of $6.7 billion upon maturity.

Pakistan has only $15.8 billion foreign exchange reserves as of last week and its currency is fast depreciating. The rupee fell to the lowest ever level of Rs181.75 to a dollar in interbank on Tuesday.

Pakistan had also requested to increase the size of the currency swap facility from $4.5 billion to $10 billion - an additional borrowing of $5.5 billion.

China has not yet communicated its decision to Pakistan.

The Currency Swap Agreement is a Chinese trade finance facility that Pakistan has been using since 2011 to repay foreign debt and keep its gross foreign currency reserves at comfortable levels instead for trade-related purposes.

The benefit of this arrangement is that the additional Chinese loan will not reflect on the book of the federal government and will not be treated as part of Pakistan's external public debt.

Pakistan had paid Rs26.1 billion interest on the outstanding balance at agreed rates.

Last month, the IMF said that Pakistan owes $18.4 billion or one-fifth of its external public debt to...

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