Nielsen: Pakistan Consumer Confidence Highest Since 2008

Consumer confidence index in Pakistan jumped five point from the prior quarter to reach 106 in Q4/2016, according to Nielsen’s global survey of consumer confidence for 63 countries released recently.

Source: Nielsen

Here's an excerpt of Nielsen's report Africa/Middle East region that includes Pakistan:

"Consumer confidence in the Africa/Middle East region declined in the fourth quarter, falling four points to 83, the lowest level in more than three years. Confidence was highest in United Arab Emirates, which held steady from the third quarter at 108. Pakistan was the only country where consumer confidence moved in a positive direction, rising five points from the third quarter to 106, the highest score for the country since it was added to the survey in 2008."

The share of Pakistani respondents worried about job security dropped to 21%.  51% of Pakistanis said they are optimistic about better job opportunities in the next 12 months, according to the survey.

“The findings of the consumer confidence reflect a favorable atmosphere in Pakistan. The set of factors that influence the confidence levels of Pakistani consumers goes beyond economics and business, and is reflective of improved security conditions, increased energy availability and low inflation rates,” reported the survey.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also led to a higher activity in large-scale manufacturing and construction, opening more investment opportunities,” said Nielsen Pakistan Managing Director Quratulain Ibrahim, according to Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper.  “We hope to see this optimism among Pakistani consumers during the coming months.”

Pakistani banks have boosted lending to businesses and consumers. Large-scale manufacturing sector borrowed Rs. 225 billion in 2016, up from Rs 119 billion in 2015. Consumer loans have jumped from Rs. 29 billion in 2015 to Rs. 70 billion in 2016. Auto financing soared 32% to Rs 30.7 billion in 2016, according to the State Bank of Pakistan as reported by Daily Times.

Pakistani consumers and business are feeling increasingly confident with improved overall security, rising foreign and domestic investments and  better employment prospects. They are earning, borrowing and spending more to further stimulate the economy thereby creating a virtuous cycle. Low oil prices and relatively subdued inflation are also helping. It's now up to Pakistan's political, economic and military leadership to maintain this growth momentum.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Economy and Security in 2016

Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2016

Pakistan's Middle Class Larger and Richer Than India's

Pakistan Translates GDP Growth to Citizens' Well-being

Rising Motorcycle Sales in Pakistan

Depth of Deprivation in India

Chicken vs Daal in Pakistan

China Pakistan Economic Corridor


Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s middle class continues to grow at rapid pace - The Express Tribune

KARACHI: The country’s middle class is experiencing a rapid growth, which is evident from the rising demand for consumer durables, education and health, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The central bank, in its latest report on the state of economy, said that the growth in the consumption pattern in the country is indicative of a budding economy.

“Several indicators show rising consumer demand in the country. These include a rise in consumer financing, an increase in the sale of consumer durables (automobiles and electronic goods) and a sharp growth in fuel consumption,” said the SBP.

“Furthermore, the IBA-SBP Consumer Confidence Index recorded its highest-ever level of 174.9 points in January 2017, showing an increase of 17 points from July 2016.”

While there are different parameters to count the number of people and households in the middle class or the middle-income group of an economy, consumer spending is one prominent barometer which provides a rough assessment.

According to prominent political economist S Akbar Zaidi, Pakistan’s middle class has grown rapidly in the last 15 to 20 years on the back of rising remittances sent home by expats and increase in foreign investment.

“The foreign investment, which came into the country after 2002, has had a trickledown effect on thousands of lives,” he said, adding that increased access to education and rising representation of people in political parties also reflected the growth in the middle class.

Zaidi said that Pakistan’s middle class is often referred to in the context of the number of consumer goods it purchases, ranging from washing machines to motorcycles.

Additionally, attempts to quantify the country’s middle class, largely based on income and the purchase of consumption goods, exhibit that 42% of the population belong to the upper and middle classes, with 38% counted as the middle class.

Middle class Pakistan

“If these numbers are correct, or even indicative in any broad sense, then 84 million Pakistanis belong to the middle and upper classes, a population size which is larger than that of Germany,” said Zaidi.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Middle East-North Africa and Pakistan Senior Economist Bilal Khan said that domestic consumption and consumer confidence are strong in the country.

“Monetary easing and lower energy prices can boost household discretionary incomes and, in this context, a strong and stable currency can also be expected to increase demand for imported consumer goods, both durables and non-durables,” he said.

On the other hand, in the central bank’s report, it was mentioned that electronic goods showed a sharp turnaround during first half (January-December) of current fiscal year, recording a growth of 14.5%, against a contraction of 8.2% during the same period of last year.

“Consumer durables like refrigerators (up 25%) and deep-freezers (up 54.4%) mainly contributed to this improved performance,” the report said.

“Furthermore, rise in energy supply in coming months, increase in consumer financing in a low interest rate environment, better market access for rural population, expansionary plans of leading players and foreign investment, all indicates a sustainable trajectory for the industry’s growth going forward,” it added.

Economic Bullshit

Separately, consumer financing posted an increase of Rs37.6 billion during first half of the current fiscal year. Auto finance continued to be the dominated segment, while personal loans showed a pickup as well.

“The net credit off-take of Rs13.7 billion of personal loans witnessed in first half of the fiscal year is the highest half-year figure in about a decade,” the report stated.

The SBP also highlighted a notable growth in the foods segment and a strong growth in the sub-segment of soft beverage.
Riaz Haq said…
Excerpt from State Bank of Pakistan Report 1H/2017

Preliminary data on crops indicates that agriculture growth will rebound in FY17.
The production of major kharif crops, including cotton, sugarcane, and maize is
estimated to increase significantly this year. The output of major rabi crop, i.e.,
wheat is also expected to remain close to the last year’s bumper crop of 25.4
million tons on the back of timely and widespread rains.
Besides improved
water situation (from January 2017 onwards), an increase in fertilizer off take (33
percent higher), and higher credit disbursement (up 32 percent) during Rabi
season also point to a better performance of the crops subsector.
Encouragingly, LSM growth has picked up momentum in Q2-FY17 (rising by 5.8
percent YoY). This partly compensated the sluggish Q1-FY17 growth of 2.1
percent. As a result, the cumulative growth during H1-FY17 increased to 3.9
percent, same as the last year. The major contribution to LSM growth during H1-
FY17 came from food, steel, cement and pharmaceutical industries.

These industries largely benefited from accommodative monetary and fiscal
policies; improved energy supplies; better availability of raw materials (e.g.,
sugarcane); rising domestic demand (particularly for cement and steel, owing to
ongoing CPEC-related power and infrastructure projects); and clarity on drug
pricing mechanism. In addition, the recently announced export package would
also provide much needed support to export industries, especially textile – the
historical mainstay of LSM growth.
On the other hand, the available information on services sector indicators points
to a mixed performance. Healthy trends in transport (given the surge in sales of
trucks, buses, and POL products); increased (external) trade volumes along with
better output of agriculture and industry (having positive spillover for wholesale
and retail trade); significant increase in bank credit; and a rise in 3G/4G
subscription base (27 percent) during H1-FY17, all indicate towards an uptick in
the services sector’s performance. At the same time, losses of Public Sector
Enterprises (PSEs), and a decrease in banks’ profitability, act as potential drags.
On balance, however, the services sector is expected to keep up last year’s growth
momentum (see Chapter 2 for details).
Meanwhile, ongoing investments in energy and infrastructure sectors (and strong
transport sector activity) resulted in a sharp increase in import demand, especially
for capital goods and raw materials. Led by higher imports of machinery (power
and construction) and petroleum (including LNG), the total import bill grew by
6.0 percent during H1-FY17, compared to 8.9 percent decline in the
corresponding period last year.8

This surge in imports was partly a result of rising commodity prices, especially
crude and palm oil. This, combined with the non-receipt of CSF in H1-FY17 and
decline in exports and remittances, resulted in the almost doubling of the current
account deficit to US$ 3.5 billion during first half of the year. (Here, it is worth
mentioning that the receipt of CSF in Q3-FY17, and recently announced package
for exports may help balance of payments going forward.)
Encouragingly, available financial inflows were more than sufficient to finance
the higher current account deficit. Major foreign exchange inflows included US$
1 billion from a Sukuk and net loans of US$ 1.4 billion (including US$ 900
million of commercial borrowings). In addition, net FDI increased by 10.5
percent to US$ 1.1 billion during H1-FY17, from US$ 978 million last year.

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