Thursday, December 30, 2021

Pakistan 2021 Year End Review: Highs, Lows and Issues

The Covid19 pandemic that started in late 2019 continued to ravage the world in 2021. Europe, India and the United States were among the most impacted by it. Pakistan was able to control it better than its large eastern neighbor but it, too, was hit by double digit global inflation. Pakistan's economic recovery began in earnest with higher GDP growth, record exports and remittances from the Pakistani diaspora. It was a banner year for Pakistan's technology startups with over $300 million of venture investments, about 15 times higher than the year 2020. The war in Afghanistan ended with the US troops withdrawal and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Many risks and uncertainties remain as Pakistan and the world enter Year 2022. Let us hope and pray that the new year brings peace and prosperity for all. 

Happy New Year 2022



Here is a summary of some of the key highlights, lowlights and issues for Pakistan's year 2021: 

Highlights: 


1. Banner year for tech startups in Pakistan

2. Exports, remittances and Roshan Digital Accounts hit new records 

3. Demographic dividend and record remittances 

4. Pakistan's online workforce 3rd largest in the world 

5. India variant, later named Delta variant, sparked a new wave of covid that Pakistan controlled.  Over 150 million vaccine doses administered. 

6. Pakistan presented its plans and goals to manage global climate change at COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland.  

7. Sehat card launched in Punjab after KP, a major step toward universal healthcare

8. Economic recovery led by construction (cement, infrastructure, housing) manufacturing (cars, motorcycles, tractors) and agriculture (bumper crops) 

9. Over 20 million mobile phones assembled in Pakistan  Number of mobile broadband subscriptions reached 110 million. 

10. Textile boom, record corporate profits, new companies registrations 

11. Pakistan is on track to become the world’s 7th largest consumer market 

12. War in Afghanistan ended with US withdrawal and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban 

13. OIC Conference on Afghanistan in Islamabad

14. Pakistan National Security Policy document launched

Lowlights: 

1. Inflation up, Deficits up, Gas shortages 

2. Going into 3rd year of pandemic with Omicron surging 

3. PTI popularity down 

Uncertainties and Risks: 

1. Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan 

2. Impact of Omicron

3. Soaring current account deficits 

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

India Is Among The World's Most Unequal Countries

India is one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Inequality Report 2022. There is rising poverty and hunger. Nearly 230 million middle class Indians have slipped below the poverty line, constituting a 15 to 20% increase in poverty. India ranks 94th among 107 nations ranked by World Hunger Index in 2020. Other South Asians have fared better: Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64) and Myanmar (78) – and only Afghanistan has fared worse at 99th place. Meanwhile, the wealth of Indian billionaires jumped by 35% during the pandemic. 

Income Inequality Map. Source: World Inequality Report 2022

Unemployment Crisis: 

India lost 6.8 million salaried jobs and 3.5 million entrepreneurs in November alone. Many among the unemployed can no longer afford to buy food, causing a significant spike in hunger. The country's economy is finding it hard to recover from COVID waves and lockdowns, according to data from multiple sources. At the same time, the Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier.  

Income Inequality By Regions. Source: World Inequality Report 2022


Income & Wealth Inequality. Source: World Inequality Report 2022


Rising Poverty:

Nearly 230 million middle class Indians have slipped below the poverty line, constituting a 15 to 20% increase in poverty since Covid-19 struck last year, according to Pew Research. Middle class consumption has been a key driver of economic growth in India. Erosion of the middle class will likely have a significant long-term impact on the country's economy. “India, at the end of the day, is a consumption story,” says Tanvee Gupta Jain, UBS chief India economist, according to Financial Times. “If you never recovered from the 2020 wave and then you go into the 2021 wave, then it’s a concern.”

Increasing Hunger:  

India ranks 94th among 107 nations ranked by World Hunger Index in 2020. Other South Asians have fared better: Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64) and Myanmar (78) – and only Afghanistan has fared worse at 99th place. The COVID19 pandemic has worsened India's hunger and malnutrition. Tens of thousands of Indian children were forced to go to sleep on an empty stomach as the daily wage workers lost their livelihood and Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the South Asian nationPakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan opted for "smart lockdown" that reduced the impact on daily wage earners. China, the place where COVID19 virus first emerged, is among 17 countries with the lowest level of hunger. 

Rich Getting Richer:

The wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35% during the lockdown and by 90 per cent since 2009 to $422.9 billion, ranking India sixth in the world after the US, China, Germany, Russia, and France, according to Oxfam

India’s 100 top billionaires saw their fortunes increase by Rs 12,97,822 crore since March last year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country and this amount is enough to give 138 million poorest Indians a cheque for Rs 94,045 each, according to a report in The Business Standard

Share of Income of Richest 1% in South Asia
Inequality in Pakistan:

A United Nations report on inequality in Pakistan published in April 2021 revealed that the richest 1% Pakistanis take 9% of the national income.  A quick comparison with other South Asian nations shows that the 9% income share for the top 1% in Pakistan is lower than 15.8% in Bangladesh and 21.4% in India. These inequalities result mainly from a phenomenon known as "elite capture" that allows a privileged few to take away a disproportionately large slice of public resources such as public funds and land for their benefit. 

Income Distribution by Quintiles in Pakistan. Source: UNDP

Elite Capture:

Elite capture, a global phenomenon,  is a form of corruption. It describes how public resources are exploited by a few privileged individuals and groups to the detriment of the larger population. 

A recently published report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has found that the elite capture in Pakistan adds up to an estimated $17.4 billion - roughly 6% of the country's economy. 

Pakistan's most privileged groups include the corporate sectorfeudal landlordspoliticians and the  military. The UN Development Program's NHDR for Pakistan, released last week, focused on issues of inequality in the country of 220 million people. 

Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, assistant secretary-general and regional chief of the UNDP, told Aljazeera that Pakistani leaders have taken the findings of the report “right on” and pledged to focus on prescriptive action. “My hope is that there is strong intent to review things like the current tax and subsidy policies, to look at land and capital access", she added. 

Inequality in Pakistan. Source: UNDP

Income Inequality:

The richest 1% of Pakistanis take 9% of the national income, according to the UNDP report titled "The three Ps of inequality: Power, People, and Policy". It was released on April 6, 2021. Comparison of income inequality in South Asia reveals that the richest 1% in Bangladesh and India claim 15.8% and 21.4% of national income respectively.

In addition to income inequality, the UNDP report describes the inequality of opportunity in terms of access to services, work with dignity and accessibility. It is based on exhaustive statistical analysis at national and provincial levels, and includes new inequality indices for child development, youth, labor and gender. Qualitative research, through focus groups with marginalized communities, has also been undertaken, and the NHDR 2020 Inequality Perception Survey conducted. The NHDR 2020 has been guided by a diverse panel of Advisory Council members, including policy makers, development practitioners, academics, and UN representatives.

Summary:

Neoliberal policies in emerging markets like India have spurred economic growth in last few decades. However, the gains from this rapid growth have been heavily skewed in favor of the rich. The rich have gotten richer while the poor have languished. The average per capita income in India has tripled in recent decades but the minimum dietary intake has fallen. According to the World Food Program, a quarter of the world's undernourished people live in India. The COVID19 pandemic has further widened the gap between the rich and poor. 

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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Has Bangladesh Really Left India and Pakistan Behind in Per Capita Income?

Is Bangladesh's officially reported GDP figure credible? Do consumption figures support Bangladesh's claim of higher per capita income than India and Pakistan?  Is it the recent rebasing of GDP that boosted Bangladesh's per capita income above India's and Pakistan's? If Bangladesh has higher GDP per capita, why is its per capita consumption of energy, cement and steel so much lower than India's and Pakistan's? Does Pakistan really have a much larger informal economy than Bangladesh or India do? How long has it been since Pakistan rebased its GDP calculations? Is there a lot more currency in circulation in Pakistan than in Bangladesh and India? Let us try and answer these questions! 

Rebasing GDP:

Bangladesh just rebased its GDP in 2020-21 to year 2015-16. This has boosted its per capita income by double digits for every year since 2015-16.  Bangladesh's per capita income for the 2015-16 fiscal year has now gone up to $1,737 from $1,465 in the old calculation. For the 2019-2020 fiscal, the per capita income has gone up to $2,335 from $2,024.  The new GDP estimate covers 21 sectors, up from 15 sectors previously.  India last rebased its GDP in 2015, a change that bumped up its per capita GDP by double digits. Nigeria's last rebasing in 2012 increased the size of its economy (GDP) by nearly 90%. Pakistan's current base year is 2005-6. Rebasing which is now long overdue will almost certainly increase Pakistan's per capita income by double digits. 

In its 2014 annual report, the State Bank of Pakistan talked about a number of new sectors that are either under-reported or not covered at all: "In terms of LSM growth, a number of sectors that are showing strong performance; (for example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector; plastic products; buses and trucks; and even textiles), are either under reported, or not even covered. The omission of such important sectors from official data coverage, probably explains the apparent disconnect between overall economic activity in the country and the hard numbers in LSM."

Pakistan's last economic census was done in 2003 and published in 2005, livestock census in 2006  and agriculture census in 2010. The country's economy has changed significantly since then, adding several new economic activities while others may have diminished.  The Quantum Index of Large Scale Manufacturing (QIM) with 2005-06 base year gives a weight to textiles of 20.9% (Yarn 13.7 and cloth 7.2). But the textile industry has significantly changed as reflected in its exports. The value added textiles (non-yarn and non-cloth) now make almost 80% of the total textile exports. These changes are not reflected in current GDP calculations. 


Primary Energy Consumption Per Capita. Source: British Petroleum Statistics 2021

Energy consumption:

Life in modern times is heavily dependent on energy. Per capita energy consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, is significantly lower in Bangladesh than in India and Pakistan.  Use of electricity per capita in Bangladesh is significantly less than in India and Pakistan. 

Energy Consumption Comparison in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Source: NationMaster

Commercial energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) above refers to apparent consumption, which is equal to indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and fuels supplied to ships and aircraft engaged in international transport. It's only 142 Kg of oil per capita in Bangladesh, much lower than 463 Kg in Pakistan and 494 Kg in India.  

A more recent British Petroleum "Statistical Review of World Energy 2021" puts the per capita primary energy consumption at 9.7 Gigajoules (232 kilogram of oil equivalent) for Bangladesh, 15.7 Gj (375 kgoe) for Pakistan and 23.2 Gj (554 kgoe) for India. 

Per capita consumption of primary energy in Bangladesh has grown by 59% (6.1 Gj to 9.7 Gj) since 2010, much faster than 25% (18.2 Gj to 23.2 Gj) in India and just 6% (14.8 Gj to 15.7 Gj) in Pakistan, according to the British Petroleum's "Statistical Review of World Energy 2021". This indicates much faster economic growth in Bangladesh than India or Pakistan in the last decade. 

Cement Consumption:

Use of cement is another important indicator of economic and development activities, particularly in the infrastructure and housing construction sector.  China and the United States, the world's biggest economies, also have the highest consumption of cement. 

Cement Consumption. Source: International Cement Review

Steel Consumption:

Per capita steel consumption is another important indicator of economic activity in both construction and manufacturing sectors.  It goes into building housing and infrastructure as well manufacturing vehicles and home appliances. The United States and China, the world's biggest economies, are the largest consumers of steel. 

Per Capita Steel Consumption. Source: National Steel Advisory Council

Bangladesh is among the lowest consumers of steel products in the world. Per capita consumption of finished steel in Bangladesh (41 Kg) is lower than the regional peer Myanmar (40.5), India (75.3), Pakistan (45.7), Sri Lanka (53.5), according to the World Steel Association (WSA).

Pakistan's Informal Economy:  

 One way to estimate the size of the informal economy in any country is by looking at the amount of currency in circulation relative to overall money supply. This data is published regularly by all central banks in South Asia and elsewhere. Pakistan's currency in circulation to M2 ratio (about 30%) is more than double the ratios in Bangladesh (13%) and India (15%), indicating that the informal economy in Pakistan is much bigger.

Dr. Lalarukh Ejaz, an assistant professor at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, has estimated the size of Pakistan’s informal economy at 56% of the country’s GDP (as of 2019). This means that it’s worth around $180 billion a year, and that is a massive amount by any yardstick. 

Vehicles and home appliance ownership data analyzed by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business Leadership suggests that the officially reported GDP significantly understates Pakistan's actual GDP.  Indeed, many economists believe that Pakistan’s economy is at least double the size that is officially reported in the government's Economic Surveys. 

Back in 2014,  the State Bank of Pakistan stated in its Annual Report as follows: "In terms of LSM growth, a number of sectors that are showing strong performance; (for example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector; plastic products; buses and trucks; and even textiles), are either under reported, or not even covered. The omission of such important sectors from official data coverage, probably explains the apparent disconnect between overall economic activity in the country and the hard numbers in LSM."  Pakistan's GDP has not been rebased in more than a decade. It was last rebased in 2005-6 while India’s was rebased in 2011. The recent rebasing of Bangladesh GDP to year 2015 has boosted its per capita income of Bangladesh for year 2016-16 and all subsequent years . The per capita income for the 2015-16 fiscal year has now gone up to $1737 from $1465 in the old calculation For the 2019-2020 fiscal, the per capita income has gone up to $2335 from $2024. Just rebasing the Pakistani economy will result in double digit increases in GDP for the last several years. 

Estimates of Informal Economies in Asia in 2012. Source: IMF

A research paper by economists Ali Kemal and Ahmad Waqar Qasim of PIDE (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics) estimated in 2012 that the Pakistani economy’s size then was around $400 billion. All they did was look at the consumption data to reach their conclusion. They used the data reported in regular PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurements) surveys on actual living standards. They found that a huge chunk of the country's economy is undocumented. 

Currency in Circulation to M2 Ratio Trends. Source: Business Recorder



Pakistan's Service Sector: 

Pakistan's service sector which contributes more than 50% of the country's GDP is mostly cash-based and least documented. Compared to Bangladesh and India, there is a lot more currency in circulation as a percentage of overall money supply in Pakistan. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the currency in circulation has increased to Rs. 7.4 trillion by the end of the financial year 2020-21, up from Rs 6.7 trillion in the last financial year,  a double-digit growth of 10.4% year-on-year.   Currency in circulation (CIC), as percent of M2 money supply and currency-to-deposit ratio, has been increasing over the last few years.  The CIC/M2 ratio is now close to 30%, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. The average CIC/M2 ratio in FY18-21 was measured at 28%, up from 22% in FY10-15. This 1.2 trillion rupee increase could have generated undocumented GDP of Rs 3.1 trillion at the historic velocity of 2.6, according to a report in The Business Recorder. In comparison to Bangladesh (CIC/M2 at 13%), Pakistan’s cash economy is double the size. Even a casual observer can see that the living standards in Pakistan are higher than those in Bangladesh and India. 

Exports as Percentage of GDP in South Asia. Source: World Bank

Exports:

Pakistan has performed poorly in exports growth relative to Bangladesh and India since about 2007. This has been the key source of its balance of payments crises and its repeated need for IMF bailouts. Pakistan's economic growth has essentially been constrained by its recurring balance of payment (BOP) crises as explained by Thirlwall's Law

Summary:

Bangladesh just rebased its GDP in 2020-21 to year 2015-16. This has boosted its per capita income by double digits for every year since 2015-16, raising it above India's and Pakistan's. Based on published data on energy, cement and steel consumption, Bangladesh's claim of having a per capita GDP higher than India's and Pakistan's does not seem credible. In this age of growing energy-intensive industrialization, it does not make sense to have significantly lower use of key inputs like energy to produce higher gross domestic product. For Pakistan, it is important for policymakers to promote ways of documenting more of the economy. It's also important for finance officials to rebase the country's GDP to a more recent year than the year 2006 when it was last done. 

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Friday, December 17, 2021

Second Generation Pakistani-American's Health Tech Startup Raises $130 Million in Series C

Luma Health, co-founded by Adnan Iqbal, a second generation Pakistani American, raised $130 million in series C funding. Adnan's fellow co-funders include Dr. Tashfeen Ekram, a Pakistani-American and Aditya Bansod, an Indian-American. The latest round has brought Luma's total funding to $160 million.  "I have had a life of privilege. I have been to the right institutions. I have played collegiate sports. I check all the boxes. But I have a recognizable Pakistani Muslim name. I would have raised twice the amount of money in half the time if I was a white guy. That's just the honest truth", he told an interviewer. 

Luma Health Co-founders


San Francisco-based Luma’s platform is designed to centralize and automate scheduling and communication with patients. The company’s tech integrates with more than 80 types of electronic health records (EHRs) across the healthcare IT stack. Luma has served more than 30 million patients across the U.S. and is used by more than 550 health systems, hospitals and clinic networks nationwide, according to the company.

Telehealth services supported by Luma  have been particularly useful during the COVID19 pandemic. Digital outreach has helped remind patients of their vaccination appointments, which has reduced no-shows. Digitization has minimized physical contact and increased the speed of operations. 

Adnan Iqbal is currently serving as the CEO of Luma. He studied Biology at UC Berkeley, then got his master's degree at Cambridge University in England before working at Genentech — a large US biotech company. He then went to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and that’s where he and his co-founder Tashfeen Ekram (a medical doctor) started working on Luma. 

Talking with Dr. Mustafa Sultan, a British Pakistani doctor,  Adnan described what it is like to be a Pakistani young man in Silicon Valley. He recognizes that there is an increasing number of high-profile entrepreneurs and executives with immigrant backgrounds in America but he said "it is much harder to raise capital if you are not a white guy..that's just the honest truth".  "I have had a life of privilege. I have been to the right institutions. I have played collegiate sports. I check all the boxes. But I also have a recognizable Pakistani Muslim name. I would have raised twice the amount of money in half the time if I was a white guy. That's just the honest truth", he added.    

Here's a video clip of CNN analyst Van Jones talking about Pakistani-Americans:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr5cLv8Dj2I





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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

India in Crisis: Unemployment and Hunger Persist After Waves of COVID

India lost 6.8 million salaried jobs and 3.5 million entrepreneurs in November alone. Many among the unemployed can no longer afford to buy food, causing a significant spike in hunger. The country's economy is finding it hard to recover from COVID waves and lockdowns, according to data from multiple sources. At the same time, the Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier.  This raises the following questions: Has India had jobless growth? Or its GDP figures are fudged? If the Indian economy fails to deliver for the common man, will Prime Minister Narendra Modi step up his anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim rhetoric to maintain his popularity among Hindus?


Labor Participation Rate in India. Source: CMIE


Unemployment Crisis:

India lost 6.8 million salaried jobs and its labor participation rate (LPR) slipped from 40.41% to  40.15% in November, 2021, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).  In addition to the loss of salaried jobs, the number of entrepreneurs in India declined by 3.5 million. India's labor participation rate of 40.15% is lower than Pakistan's 48%.   Here's an except of the latest CMIE report:

"India’s LPR is much lower than global levels. According to the World Bank, the modelled ILO estimate for the world in 2020 was 58.6 per cent (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS). The same model places India’s LPR at 46 per cent. India is a large country and its low LPR drags down the world LPR as well. Implicitly, most other countries have a much higher LPR than the world average. According to the World Bank’s modelled ILO estimates, there are only 17 countries worse than India on LPR. Most of these are middle-eastern countries. These are countries such as Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Senegal and Lebanon. Some of these countries are oil-rich and others are unfortunately mired in civil strife. India neither has the privileges of oil-rich countries nor the civil disturbances that could keep the LPR low. Yet, it suffers an LPR that is as low as seen in these countries".




Labor Participation Rates for Selected Nations. Source: World Bank/ILO



Even before the COVID19 pandemic, India's labor participation rate was around 43%, lower than its neighbors'. Now it has slipped further to about 40%. Meanwhile, the Indian government has reported an 8.4% jump in economic growth in the July-to-September period compared with a contraction of 7.4% for the same period a year earlier.  This raises the following questions: Has India had jobless growth? Or its GDP figures are fudged?  If the Indian economy fails to deliver for the common man, will Prime Minister Narendra Modi step up his anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim rhetoric to maintain his popularity among Hindus?

Indian Employment Trends By Sector. Source: CMIE Via Business Standard


Hunger Crisis:
'
India ranks 94th among 107 nations ranked by World Hunger Index in 2020. Other South Asians have fared better: Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64) and Myanmar (78) – and only Afghanistan has fared worse at 99th place. The COVID19 pandemic has worsened India's hunger and malnutrition. Tens of thousands of Indian children were forced to go to sleep on an empty stomach as the daily wage workers lost their livelihood and Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the South Asian nationPakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan opted for "smart lockdown" that reduced the impact on daily wage earners. China, the place where COVID19 virus first emerged, is among 17 countries with the lowest level of hunger. 

World Hunger Rankings 2020. Source: World Hunger Index Report


India Among Worst Hit: 

India has a 17.3% child wasting rate, the worst in the South Asia region. Child stunting is also extremely high across South Asia. “Data from 1991 through 2014 for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan showed that stunting is concentrated among children from households facing multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty,” the World Hunger Report said. China, the place where COVID19 virus first emerged, is among 17 countries with the lowest level of hunger. 

Hunger and malnutrition are worsening in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia because of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in low-income communities or those already stricken by continued conflict. 

India has performed particularly poorly because of one of the world's strictest lockdowns imposed by Prime Minister Modi to contain the spread of the virus. 

Hanke Annual Misery Index: 

Pakistanis are less miserable than Indians in the economic sphere, according to the Hanke Annual Misery Index (HAMI) published in early 2021 by Professor Steve Hanke. With India ranked 49th worst and Pakistan ranked 39th worst, both countries find themselves among the most miserable third of the 156 nations ranked. Hanke teaches Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Hanke explains it as follows: "In the economic sphere, misery tends to flow from high inflation, steep borrowing costs, and unemployment. The surefire way to mitigate that misery is through economic growth. All else being equal, happiness tends to blossom when growth is strong, inflation and interest rates are low, and jobs are plentiful". Several key global indices, including misery index, happiness index, hunger index, food affordability index, labor force participation rate,  ILO’s minimum wage data, all show that people in Pakistan are better off than their counterparts in India.   

Pakistan's Real GDP: 

Vehicles and home appliance ownership data analyzed by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business Leadership suggests that the officially reported GDP significantly understates Pakistan's actual GDP.  Indeed, many economists believe that Pakistan’s economy is at least double the size that is officially reported in the government's Economic Surveys. The GDP has not been rebased in more than a decade. It was last rebased in 2005-6 while India’s was rebased in 2011 and Bangladesh’s in 2013. Just rebasing the Pakistani economy will result in at least 50% increase in official GDP.  A research paper by economists Ali Kemal and Ahmad Waqar Qasim of PIDE (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics) estimated in 2012 that the Pakistani economy’s size then was around $400 billion. All they did was look at the consumption data to reach their conclusion. They used the data reported in regular PSLM (Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurements) surveys on actual living standards. They found that a huge chunk of the country's economy is undocumented. 

Pakistan's service sector which contributes more than 50% of the country's GDP is mostly cash-based and least documented. There is a lot of currency in circulation. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the currency in circulation has increased to Rs. 7.4 trillion by the end of the financial year 2020-21, up from Rs 6.7 trillion in the last financial year,  a double-digit growth of 10.4% year-on-year.   Currency in circulation (CIC), as percent of M2 money supply and currency-to-deposit ratio, has been increasing over the last few years.  The CIC/M2 ratio is now close to 30%. The average CIC/M2 ratio in FY18-21 was measured at 28%, up from 22% in FY10-15. This 1.2 trillion rupee increase could have generated undocumented GDP of Rs 3.1 trillion at the historic velocity of 2.6, according to a report in The Business Recorder. In comparison to Bangladesh (CIC/M2 at 13%), Pakistan’s cash economy is double the size. Even a casual observer can see that the living standards in Pakistan are higher than those in Bangladesh and India. 

Related Links:


Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producers

Naya Pakistan Housing Program

Food in Pakistan 2nd Cheapest in the World

Indian Economy Grew Just 0.2% Annually in Last Two Years

Pakistan to Become World's 6th Largest Cement Producer by 2030

Pakistan's 2012 GDP Estimated at $401 Billion

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

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Incomes of Poorest Pakistanis Growing Faster Than Their Richest Counterparts

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

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