A trader counts Pakistani rupees. - File Photo.

KARACHI: Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves rose to $16.85 billion in the week ending Dec. 30, compared with $16.77 billion the previous week, the central bank said on Thursday.

Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) were flat at $12.81 billion, unchanged from the previous week, while those held by commercial banks rose to $4.04 billion, compared with $3.96 billion the previous week.

Foreign exchange reserves hit a record $18.31 billion in the week ending July 30, but have since eased due to debt repayments.

Reserves were boosted in June last year by inflows of $411 million, including a $191.9 million loan from the World Bank, and a $196.8 million loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Higher export proceeds and a record inflow of remittances have also helped support Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves.

According to official data, remittances rose 18.33 per cent to $5.24 billion in the first five months of the fiscal year (July-June), compared with $4.43 billion in the same period a year earlier.

However, they fell slightly to $923 million in November, compared with $926.89 million received in November last year.

Islamabad has to start repaying an $8 billion International Monetary Fund loan in early 2012. Without additional sources of revenue, that will put further pressure on Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves.

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