CUSTOMS TODAY REPORT
KARACHI: With the usual provisos about a volatile political and security situation, our economic outlook for Pakistan is relatively upbeat. We note that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been easing its monetary policy stance, money supply growth has consequently accelerated, private credit is expanding, and net direct foreign investment has improved.
The energy crisis has eased back a little and manufacturing output has been growing. The sluggishness of the European economies is still casting a shadow over Pakistani exports, but there are some signs of resilience. Taking all this into account, we continue to expect GDP growth of 4% in fiscal year 2012/13 (July to June), which would mark the strongest growth in six years, albeit nowhere near the mid-to-high single-digit growth rates achieved prior to the 2008 global economic crisis. For 2013/14 we are forecasting the same 4% level of expansion.
Looking at the port sector, we expect volume growth to be positive, but with some fairly wide variations. The crisis in the eurozone, Pakistan’s most important trading partner, remains a key factor. BMI calculates that the real value of total trade (imports + exports) fell by 1.7% in 2011/12, but is set to recover by 3.5% in 2012/13, and will grow further by 3.9% in 2013/14.