Islamabad: Amid a severe economic crunch, foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reduced to just USD 4.5 billion and left with an import cover of only under a month, sources told Geo News on Saturday.

The slump comes after the repayment of loans worth USD 1.2 billion to United Arab Emirates (UAE) banks.

According to sources, the development left Pakistan with an import cover of only under a month, as the country grapples with a deteriorating economic crisis while trying to bring down imports amid a dollar shortage, reported Geo News.

A breakup shows that Pakistan returned USD 600 million to Emirates Bank, while it repaid USD 420 million to Dubai Islamic Bank, according to sources.

Sources said the coalition government would try to mobilize foreign funding worth USD 1.5 billion in the upcoming International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan, reported Geo News.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will travel to Geneva on Sunday. He will lead a high-level delegation comprising federal ministers and SAPMs to Switzerland where he will co-host the conference -- along with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres -- on January 9.

The conference aims to assist Pakistan's people and government recover more effectively from the recent devastating floods.

"Maybe our friendly countries are waiting for the donors' conference so they can help us [and provide loans]," Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told Geo News' Shahzeb Khanzada last month.

During the week ended on December 30, 2022, the forex reserves held by the central bank, dropped by USD 245 million to USD 5.57 billion -- the lowest level since April 2014 -- down from last week's reserves of USD 5.821 billion.

The net foreign reserves held by commercial banks amount to USD 5.84 billion, with the total reserves clocking in at USD 11.42 billion, reported Geo News.

The National Security Committee (NSC) recently agreed on undertaking concrete steps -- including import rationalization as well as preventing illegal currency outflows and hawala business -- in order to strengthen the economy.

Amid a crisis-like situation, Pakistan will have to repay approximately USD 8.3 billion in the shape of external debt servicing over the next three months (Jan-March) of the current fiscal year.

The government is eyeing to pass the ninth review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a USD 1.7 billion bailout package, but both sides have made no substantial headway in recent days, reported Geo News.

PM Shehbaz on Friday said an IMF delegation was slated to visit Pakistan in 2-3 days to "take up and finalize" the ninth review of the economy to unstick a direly needed bailout tranche of USD 1.1 billion.

"I spoke to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva (Thursday) and emphasized that Pakistan wishes to complete the IMF bailout programme," the premier said during an address at the inauguration ceremony of Hazara Electric Supply Company (HAZECO).

"I urged her to soften the terms of the deal because the masses cannot be burdened anymore. We have slapped taxes on the rich segments of society," the premier claimed.

"I also pleaded with her to dispatch a delegation for the 9th review under the loan programme and she replied that IMF officials are scheduled to visit Pakistan in over a couple of days (2-3) days."