Pak’s economy continues to move forward amid Covid-19

As economies around the globe have remained under intense pressure owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pakistani economy is showing encouraging signs of a promising recovery with improved economic indicators, according to experts.

The country’s economic experts believed that despite the testing times, the national economy is heading towards the right direction as the government’s extensive measures have helped it move progressively on the adjustment path in a stabilization process, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to a recently released Asian Development Bank (ADB) report on development outlook, Pakistan’s economy has been getting better despite the persistent challenge of COVID-19.

“Pakistan’s economy is recovering, particularly in the manufacturing and construction sectors, supported by the government emergency relief,” said the report, a regular supplement to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020.

Quoting data released by the country’s central bank, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the improved economic indicators herald new pace in the economic development of Pakistan despite enormous challenges brought by the pandemic.

“Despite Covid-19, great news on economy — remarkable turnaround,” Khan said in a tweet last week, adding that Pakistan’s total current account surplus during the first five months of the current fiscal year from July to November rose to $1.6 billion against a deficit of $1.7 billion during the same period last year.

The current account balance turned surplus as the government had made prudent and timely policies to maintain a healthy balance between imports and exports, and sustainability in remittances by overseas Pakistanis, Talat Anwar, a renowned economist and former advisor on macroeconomic policy at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, told Xinhua.

“Resultantly, the Pakistani rupee strengthened against the dollar due to less demand from importers and considerable inflows of the greenback into the country,” Anwar said, adding that rupee is expected to remain strong in the coming period.

Workers’ remittances maintained a strong momentum, remaining above $2 billion for a record sixth consecutive month in November.

The remittances grew to $2.34 billion, up 2.4 per cent over the previous month and 28.4 per cent over November 2019, according to the recently released statistics of the State Bank of Pakistan.

Pakistan also witnessed a growth of over 6 per cent in large scale manufacturing in October 2020 as compared to the same month a year earlier, and the exports have increased to $9.732 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to $9.545 billion a year earlier, according to the official statistics.

Among other indicators placing economy on a positive trajectory is the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), which has remained one of the best performing markets in Asia during the pandemic.

The market fell to its lowest towards the end of March this year due to uncertainties and qualms caused by the coronavirus news.

However, it picked up gradually after that, with the key index reaching above the 43,000-mark in December from the 27,000-mark in March, according to PSX experts.