The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign currency reserves have dropped to levels worth just eight weeks of imports, their lowest since April 2014, central bank figures showed on Thursday. In a statement, the SBP said the foreign currency reserves held by the central bank were recorded at $6,116.2 million as of December 16, down $584 million compared with $6,700 on December 9. The drop means the reserves have fallen further from last week’s barely 1.5 months of import cover, even as it battles decades of high inflation and scrambles to secure International Monetary Fund (IMF) funds. Overall liquid foreign currency reserves held by the country – including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP – stood at $12,000.1 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $5,883.9 million. The central bank cited external debt repayments as a major reason behind this decline. Pakistan has recently been battling to stave off a balance of payments pressures due to dwindling foreign currency reserves and a widening current account deficit. The lack of foreign assistance amid delay in the revival of the IMF programme in the presence of a higher trade deficit and increasing foreign debt payments put a heavy dent in the reserves. The ninth-review talks have been delayed apparently due to Fund’s criticism over an increased fiscal deficit. The government is unwilling to impose more taxes for higher revenues, while the IMF insists the government must consolidate the economy. Moreover, Pakistan’s rupee has shed nearly 26% since the start of the year, hitting its weakest level on record in September, due to falling reserves and the higher import bill.