SBP reserves inch up; rupee continues slide.

KARACHI -- Foreign exchange reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) increased by $3 million during the week ending on Nov 11, a press release said on Thursday.

The small increase in the central bank's foreign exchange reserves came after an outflow of $955m in the preceding week that ended on Nov 4.

The SBP reported the week-on-week increase of $3m helped the SBP's reserves hit the $7.95 billion mark. Even though the figure appears insufficient for safely meeting all foreign debt obligations, SBP Governor Jameel Ahmad recently told reporters the foreign exchange reserves were enough to repay all dollar-denominated international loans on time.

The SBP and government officials have been issuing such statements at regular intervals. Such assertions may temporarily provide the currency market with moral support. However, they haven't been able to generate enough hard currency to stop the gradual slide in the rupee's value.

Meanwhile, the dollar has kept rising against the rupee for the last five sessions. It reached 222.67 on Thursday after appreciating 26 paise from a day ago.

Bankers and currency dealers aren't ready to trust the claim made by the government or the SBP. Their scepticism...

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