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Nepal Running Low on Foreign Exchange, Discourages Imports

A mechanic fixes a scooter at her workshop in Sanothimi on the outskirts of Kathmandu on March 7.

A mechanic fixes a scooter at her workshop in Sanothimi on the outskirts of Kathmandu on March 7.

Photographer: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

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Kathmandu, Nepal (AP) -- Nepal is running low on foreign currency reserves needed to import medicines, oil products, cars and a range of other items, and will run out in seven months if things don't improve, a central bank official said Friday.

The central bank has increased interest rates, hoping it will discourage people from buying imports and help extend the foreign reserves, said Gunakar Bhatta, spokesperson of Nepal Rastriya Bank, the central bank.