Pakistan’s finance minister, Ishaq Dar, has confirmed that China has rolled over a $2bn loan, which matured last week, extending relief during the nation’s balance of payment crisis. The move was crucial for Pakistan, which has reserves equivalent to only four weeks’ worth of imports. The Pakistanis have been negotiating with the IMF, since early February, for the release of $1.1bn out of a $6.5bn bailout agreed in 2019. One of the IMF conditions for the release of the tranche is assurance of external financing to fund Pakistan’s balance of payments. The only assistance so far has come from long-time Beijing ally, China, which provided $1.8bn in refinancing to Pakistan’s central bank last month. At present, talks regarding the realization of an IMF bailout non-conditioned for external assistance are in stalemate. Neither Chinese central bank nor the Beijing government has responded to requests for comment on the rollover. The finance ministry maintained that a formal confirmation on the refinancing would be made subsequent to the completion of all documentation.
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