ISLAMABAD: Despite various ongoing challenges at different fronts, the major economic indicators are depicting positive signs towards sustainable growth, mainly owing to improvements in external trade, foreign exchange reserves, workers remittances and investments.
The latest economic indicators also depict considerable improvements in Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) with single digit inflation rate, according to the official data.
The official data revealed that workers remittances have increased by more than 10 percent to $9 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year. Last year, Pakistani expatriates sent $8.2 billion to their homes during this period.
The inflows of remittances from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the country stood at $2596.86 million and $1785.84 million, respectively, while the US, the UK, GCC countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, and the EU countries, sent $1441.42 million, $1309.31 million, $1048 million and $251.13 million, respectively.
Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during the first seven months of the current fiscal year amounted to $600.85 million.
On the other hand, the production of the Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector, which is another major indicator of economy, expanded 6.76 percent during the first half of the current fiscal year and 13.17 percent in December 2013 compared to December 2012.
An increase in out-put in textile, food, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, electronics and leather products were the principal contributing factors to the overall rise in LSM, a latest economic data available said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s trade deficit narrowed by 4.55 percent during first seven months of current fiscal year as exports expanded by 4.64 percent while imports witnessed nominal increase of 0.48 percent as compared to the same period of last year.
On year-on-year basis, the trade deficit increased by 19.31 percent in January 2014 when compared to the deficit of the same month of last year, according to latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
According to break up figures, the exports from the country during July-January (2013-14) stood $14.699 billion against the exports of $14.047 billion recorded in July-January 2012-13 while the imports into the country were recorded at $25.808 billion against the imports of $25.685 billion.
The data further revealed that gross foreign exchange reserves are also growing as the country’s reserves increased by $ 406 million during the week ended February 14, 2014.
According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) the total liquid foreign reserves of the country stand at $7.99402 billion.
The break up figures show that the foreign reserves held by State Bank for the week ended on February 14 amounted dollars 3,196.7 million, while the net foreign reserves held by banks other than SBP figured dollars 4,797.5 million.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation remained single digit as it increased by 7.9% on year-on-year basis in January 2014 as compared 8.1% in January 2013, which is also a positive sign.
On foreign investment front, Pakistan eyes to attract investments of 20 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in next five years, hence promoting sustainable economic development in the country.
Currently the foreign investment into country is about 14 percent of GDP, so we will be increasing it by 1 percent of GDP per year,” official sources said.