Pakistan's Rising Economy; US Democratic Party Convention; Modi's Crackdown on AAP

How's Pakistan's economy doing? What do broad economic indicators of rising consumption of energy, autos, cement and steel show? Do these indicators confirm government's GDP growth figures? How are the investors responding to these indicators? What is the impact of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects on the economic activity in the country?

How do the two major party conventions in 2016 compare? Did one party do a better job of appealing to the broad electorate better than the other? Who's more ready to be the next US president? Hillary or Trump? Who's better for ethnic and religious minorities, particularly Pakistani-Americans and Muslim-Americans? How was the DNC speech by Pakistani-American Khizr Khan, the father of slain war hero US Army Captain Humayun Khan, received by the DNC delegates and the broader US public? Was it effective in fighting Trump's overt Islamophobia?

Why is the Modi government arresting nearly a dozen Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs? Why did the Indian government choose to do it now? Is AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal justified in fearing for his life? Are these AAP leaders' arrests and various forms of intimidation timed to hamstring AAP's chances in upcoming state elections in Goa, Gujarat and Punjab?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Pakistan's Rising Economy; US Democratic Party Convention; Modi's Crackdown on AAP from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Rising Economy

Trump Phenomenon

Trump's Muslim Ban

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Is Modi's Honeymoon Over?

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Riaz Haq said…
Bank credit rises on uptick in #Pakistan economy as interest rates hit 42-year low of 5.25%

Commercial bank credit and bank investments are on the rise in Pakistan on the back of a significant uptick in the economy.

The new monetary policy and the benchmark discount rate, expected to be announced later this week, are likely to strengthen this trend.

International financial organisations, the ministry of finance and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the central bank, report that the economy is in an expansionary mode and will continue to be so in the next two years.

"We expect gross domestic product [GDP] growth to rise further in fiscal year 2017. The actual GDP growth in fiscal year 2016 was 4.7 per cent - a record high for the last 12 years despite international challenges," say economists.

According to the SBP, the government envisages a higher GDP growth of 5.7 per cent in fy-17. The banking system will gain further strength and earn larger profits as economic growth increases.

The SBP issued a review of the country's macroeconomic performance, with a specific reference to the recent monetary policy which ensured a rapidly declining benchmark discount rate and the lowest interest rate of 5.25 per cent charged by commercial banks, a 42-year low.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said: "All stakeholders are satisfied with the country's macroeconomic stability, but they should continue the reform process and pursue policies that will enhance and fast-track growth and include all sections of society, business and the economy."

Saeed Ahmed, acting governor of SBP, said: "The monetary performance remained satisfactory during the quarter ended June 2016. Forex reserves reached the highest level of $23 billion." It will expand exports and imports, which, in turn, will benefit banks, the financial, economic and industrial sectors.

All these stakeholders are upbeat on the economy's growth after positive reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and Manila-based Asian Development Bank.

The IMF said: "Pakistan's economy is growing at its quickest rate in eight years. Investor confidence has slowly returned to a country that was battered by the global financial crisis."

Bank investments are rising but deposits are not growing that much, reported the SBP. Credit and investments provided by banks rose in the first half of 2016 compared to the like period of 2015, it said.

"This was despite the fact that deposits saw a fall in growth in the same period. The banks provided additional funds for credit and investment from money they borrowed from SBP."

Liquidity crunch
The central bank injected Rs1.79 trillion on July 11 and Rs1.13 trillion on July 15 into banks to help overcome their liquidity crunch and expand credit to the private sector. One of the key causes of the commercial banks' liquidity crunch was "the borrowing by the government to cover its budgetary gap."

"Banks' deposit growth fell by almost 50 per cent in the first nine months from July to March of the previous fiscal year," the SBP reported.

In a report for the third quarter of fiscal year 2016, the SBP said private sector deposits increased by Rs149.4 billion during July-March, less than half the rise in deposits recorded in the like period of fy-15.

But the plus point is that banks' advances rose at an eight-year high of seven per cent in the first half of 2016 on the back of growing credit demand.

The banking sector advances-to-deposits ratio increased by 51 per cent in June 2016, up from 50 per cent in June 2015. At the same time, the investment-to-deposit ratio increased to 75 per cent in June 2016, up from 64 per cent in June 2015.

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