Pakistan Will 'Absolutely Not' Default on Debts Despite Floods: Financial Minister

Pakistan will "absolutely not" default on debt obligations despite catastrophic floods, the finance minister said on Sunday, signalling there would be no major deviation from reforms designed to stabilise a struggling economy, Reuters reported. Floods have affected 33 million Pakistanis, inflicted billions of dollars in damage, and killed over 1,500 people - creating concern that Pakistan will not meet debts. "The path to stability was narrow, given the challenging environment, and it has become narrower still," Finance Minister Miftah Ismail told Reuters at his office. "But if we continue to take prudent decisions - and we will - then we're not going to default. Absolutely not." Pakistan was able to bring an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme back on track after months of delay, thanks to tough policy decisions. But the positive sentiment was short- lived before the catastrophic rainfall hit. Despite the disaster, Ismail said that most stabilisation policies and targets were still on track, including increasing dwindling foreign exchange reserves. Central bank reserves stand at $8.6 billion, despite the influx of $1.12 billion in IMF funding in late August, which are only enough for about a month of imports. The end-year target was to increase the buffer up to 2.2 months. Read more.
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