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IMF projects Pakistan’s GDP growth to stand at 2.5% in current fiscal year

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  • IMF says stagflation and high unemployment rate to persist.
  • Data shows unemployment rate increased in last two fiscals.
  • IMF projects that GDP growth rate may rise to 5% by FY2028. 

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that stagflation in the country would persist and also lowered the GDP growth projection for the current fiscal year 2023-24, reported The News Monday.

The global lender, in its World Economic Outlook for 2023-24, estimated that the GDP growth rate of Pakistan would stand at 2.5% for the current fiscal compared to the government’s 3.5% target.

Apart from the stagflation, the IMF has also warned that the unemployment rate will remain elevated at 8% in FY2024 against 8.5% in FY2023. The unemployment rate stood at 6.2% in FY2022. The IMF’s data shows that the unemployment rate has increased in the last two fiscals.

The report also projected that the GDP growth rate turned into -0.5% in the last financial year 2022-23 under the PDM-led regime but then the government gave a provisional growth rate of 0.29% for the previous fiscal year. The IMF has projected that the country’s GDP growth rate might rise to 5% by FY2028.

Under the IMF programme, the caretaker government will release the quarterly GDP growth figures under the $3 billion Stand-By Agreement (SBA) by the end of next month, so the finalised GDP growth figure would be turned into negative for the last financial year.

However, the CPI-based inflation-related projection would be elevated and estimated at 23.6% against the government’s projection of 21.9% for the ongoing financial year.

A low growth rate paired up with higher inflation leads to stagflation which would in turn increase poverty and unemployment, raising fears that the vulnerable segments of society might plunge into the trap of severe poverty.

The CPI-based inflation was lowered by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook; it is projected at 23.6% for the current fiscal against an earlier projection of 25.9% by the IMF staff in a report released last July.

The most worrying indicators for Pakistan’s economy will be related to the persistence of the current account deficit in the range of -1.8% of GDP for the current financial year 2023-24 against -0.7% of GDP in financial year 2022-23.

World economy resilient to shocks but ‘limping’

Meanwhile, IMF kept its 2023 global growth forecast unchanged on Tuesday but warned that the economy is “limping along” as inflation remains high and the outlooks for China and Germany were downgraded.

The IMF’s updated World Economic Outlook still sees growth of 3.0% for this year but it cut its forecast for 2024 to 2.9%, down 0.1 percentage points from its July report.

“The economy continues to recover from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, showing remarkable resilience,” said the IMF’s chief economist, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas.

“Yet growth remains slow and uneven. The global economy is limping along, not sprinting,” he said at a news conference during the institution´s annual meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Inflation, which has fallen sharply since last year, is predicted to remain elevated at 6.9% this year, up slightly from July, and 5.8% in 2024, up 0.6 percentage points. Central banks have raised interest rates sharply in efforts to contain inflation.

The move could have knock-on effects on growth, but the IMF warned central banks against easing the monetary tightening too soon, adding that it still expects the global economy to have a “soft landing” — a slowdown that avoids recession. 

“The news on inflation is encouraging, but we’re not quite there yet,” Gourinchas said.

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April FDI in Pakistan increased to $358.8 million, according to SBP

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The inflow for April was $358.8 million, up 177% from $132 million in April FY23. Still, that was 39% more than the $258 million from March.

China was the largest investor, with $439.3 million in FDI from the nation between July and April of FY24—the greatest amount—as opposed to $604 million during the same period of FY23. In April, China accounted for $177 million of the total investment.

With $51.93 and 51.89 million invested in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Canada came in second and third, respectively.

The power industry was the main draw for foreign investors in FY24, which ran from July to April. This period’s FDI in the power industry was $637.5 million, compared to $776.2 million the previous year. From $338 million to $460 million this year, Hydel Power garnered more attention.

Continue reading: In FY23–24, Pakistan’s per capita income increased to $1680.

According to a separate data released on Wednesday, Pakistanis’ per capita income increased to $1680 in FY2023–2024.

The size of the national economy grew from $341 billion to $375 billion in the current fiscal year, according to figures made public by PBS.

Throughout this fiscal year, Pakistanis’ yearly per capita income increased by Rs 90,534; the monthly rise was Rs 7,544.

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OGRA forbids the purchase or sale of inferior LPG cylinders.

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The 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies received notices from the OGRA, which described the act of refilling inferior LPGO cylinders as harmful.

Avoid supplying LPG to unlicensed distributors, the OGRA has cautioned LPG marketing companies. Only approved distributors will be able to sell and buy LPG going forward, per the notification, which states that new SOPs have been developed for the LPG industry.

Additionally, the warning said that the decision was made in an effort to preserve both lives and the business in response to an increase in cylinder blast occurrences.

Price reductions of Rs 20 per kilogramme for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were implemented in Quetta on May 3.

There is a reduction of Rs 20 on LPG prices, which means that the price per kilogramme drops from Rs 280 to Rs 260.

The costs of LPG were reduced by Rs 20 per kilogramme earlier, bringing the total decrease to Rs 40 per kilogramme over a few weeks. This is something worth noticing.

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PIA announces a significant student discount.

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According to an airline spokesman, the national flag carrier has recently raised the baggage allowance to 60 kg.

Currently, PIA flies one flight per week on Sundays between Islamabad and Beijing.

The discount may be useful to students who intend to spend their summer vacations in Pakistan or who wish to return home after earning their degrees.

Before, students who wanted to visit China could now receive a 27% reduction on their fares through PIA.

On Eid ul Fitr, the national flag airline also reduced the cost of domestic flights by 20% for both economy and executive economy classes.

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