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Pakistan Central Bank Repays $1 Billion Eurobond Ahead of IMF Bailout Talks

By News   Desk

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan's central bank has repaid $1 billion in Eurobonds, a scheduled payment made ahead of the South Asian nation seeking a long-term bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The bond, launched in 2014 and repaid on Friday, was set to mature this month, the central bank said in a statement on Saturday.

"The payment was made to the agent bank for onward distribution to the bond holders," the statement read.

Islamabad has been grappling with a balance of payments crisis, record inflation, and steep currency devaluation since an IMF standby arrangement averted a sovereign default.

Now, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb is set to travel to Washington on Sunday to attend the IMF-World Bank spring meeting, where he will initiate negotiations for Pakistan's 24th long-term IMF bailout.

Aurangzeb briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the new IMF program on Friday, the government said in a statement.

The IMF standby arrangement of $3 billion that Islamabad secured last summer expired on Thursday. The final tranche of $1.1 billion from that agreement is expected to be released after the multilateral lender's board meets later this month.

The two sides have spoken in recent weeks about negotiating the longer-term bailout to continue with necessary policy reforms to rein in deficits, build up reserves, and manage soaring debt servicing.

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan is in discussions with the Fund for a potential follow-up program.