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Source: IMF – News in English

January 11, 2024

The IMF Executive Board decision allows for an immediate disbursement of around $700 million to Pakistan. Economic activity has stabilized in Pakistan, although the outlook remains challenging and dependent on the implementation of sound policies. Continued timely and consistent implementation of program policies remains critical, with no room for slippage. This requires strict adherence to fiscal targets while protecting social spending, a market-determined exchange rate to absorb external shocks, and further progress on structural reforms to support stronger and more inclusive growth.

Washington, DK: Today, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the first review of Pakistan’s economic reform program supported by the IMF’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The Board’s decision allows for an immediate disbursement of SDR 528 million (around $700 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 1.422 billion (about $1.9 billion).

Pakistan’s 9-month SBA was approved by the Executive Board on July 12, 2023, in the amount of SDR 2.250 billion (about $3 billion at the time of approval), aims to provide a policy anchor for addressing domestic and external balances and a framework for financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners. The program is focused on (1) implementation of the FY24 budget to facilitate Pakistan’s needed fiscal adjustment and ensure debt sustainability, while protecting critical social spending; (2) a return to a market-determined exchange rate and proper FX market functioning to absorb external shocks and eliminate FX shortages; (3) an appropriately tight monetary policy aimed at disinflation; and (4) further progress on structural reforms, particularly with regard to energy sector viability, SOE governance, and climate resilience.

Macroeconomic conditions have generally improved, with growth of 2 percent expected in FY24 as the nascent recovery expands in the second half of the year. The fiscal position also strengthened in FY24Q1 achieving a primary surplus of 0.4 percent of GDP driven by overall strong revenues. Inflation remains elevated, although with appropriately tight policy, this could decline to 18.5 percent by end-June 2024. Gross reserves increased to $8.2 billion in December 2023, up from $4.5 billion in June, while the exchange rate has been broadly stable. The current account deficit is expected to rise to around 1½ percent of GDP in FY24 as the recovery takes hold. Assuming sustained sound macroeconomic policy and structural reform implementation, inflation should return to the SBP target and growth continue to strengthen over the medium term.

Following the Executive Board discussion, Antoinette Sayeh, Deputy Managing Director and Chair, made the following statement:

“Pakistan’s program performance under the Stand-By Arrangement has supported significant progress in stabilizing the economy following significant shocks in FY2022-23. There are now tentative signs of activity picking-up and external pressures easing. Continued strong ownership remains critical to ensure the current momentum continues and stabilization of Pakistan’s economy becomes entrenched.

“The authorities’ strong revenue performance in FY24Q1 as well as federal spending restraint have helped to achieve a primary surplus in line with quarterly program targets. However, in the context of pressures, including from provincial spending, efforts at mobilizing revenues and ongoing non-priority spending discipline need to continue to ensure that the budgeted primary surplus and debt goals remain achievable. Going forward, broad-based reforms to improve the fiscal framework—mobilizing additional revenues particularly from non-filers and under-taxed sectors and improving public financial management—are required to create fiscal space for further social and development spending.

“The authorities took challenging steps to bring both electricity and natural gas prices closer to costs in 2023. Continuing with regularly-scheduled adjustments and pushing cost-side power sector reforms are vital to improving the sector’s viability and protecting fiscal sustainability.

“Inflation remains high, affecting particularly the more vulnerable, and it is appropriate that the SBP maintains a tight stance to ensure that inflation returns to more moderate levels. Pakistan also needs a market-determined exchange rate to buffer external shocks, continue rebuilding foreign reserves, and support competitiveness and growth. In parallel, further action to address undercapitalized financial institutions and, more broadly, vigilance over the financial sector is necessary to support financial stability.

“Boosting jobs and inclusive growth in Pakistan requires continuing protection of the vulnerable through BISP and accelerating structural reforms, most notably around improving the business environment and leveling the playing field for investors, advancing the SOE reform agenda and safeguards related to the Sovereign Wealth Fund; strengthening governance and anti-corruption institutions; and building climate resilience.”

Table 1. Pakistan: Selected Economic Indicators, FY2022–FY2024 1/

Population: 231.6 million (2022/23)

Per capita GDP: US$1,456.6 (FY2023)

Quota: SDR 2,031 million

Poverty rate: 21.9 percent

Main exports: Textiles(US$19.3 billion, FY2022)

(national line; FY2019)

Key export markets:European Union, United States, UAE

FY2022

FY2023

FY2024

Est.

Proj.

Output and prices (% change)

Real GDP at factor cost

6.2

-0.2

2.0

Employment (%)

Unemployment rate

6.2

8.5

8.0

Prices (%)

Consumer prices, period average

12.1

29.2

24.0

Consumer prices, end of period

21.3

29.4

18.5

General government finances(% GDP)

Revenue and grants

12.1

11.4

12.5

Expenditure

20.0

19.2

20.2

Budget balance, including grants

-7.8

-7.7

-7.6

Budget balance, excluding grants

-7.i

-7.8

-7.7

Primary balance, excluding grants

-3.1

-0.8

0.4

Underlying primary balance(excluding grants) 2/

-2.3

-0.6

0.4

Total general government debt excl. IMF obligations

74.1

74.7

70.3

External general government debt

27.4

28.5

27.4

Domestic general government debt

46.6

46.2

42.i

General government debtincl. IMF obligations

76.2

77.1

72.8

General government and government guaranteed debt incl. IMF

80.7

81.3

76.8

Monetary and credit(% change, unless otherwise indicated)

Broad money

13.6

14.2

11.0

Private credit

17.4

2.3

5.0

Six-month treasury bill rate (%) 3/

11.0

18.3

Balance of Payments(% GDP, unless otherwise indicated)

Current account balance

-4.7

-0.7

-1.6

Foreign direct investment

0.5

0.5

0.3

Gross reserves(millions of US dollars) 4/

9.821

4.455

9.101

Months of next year’s importsof goods and services

2.0

0.8

1.5

Total external debt

32.2

34.4

34.i

Exchange rate (% change)

Real effective exchange rate

-5.i

-8.0

1/ Fiscal year ends June 30.

2/ Excludes one-off transactions, including asset sales. In FY 2022 it excludes IPPs related arrears clearance and COVID-19 spending.

3/ Period average.

4/ Excluding gold and foreign currency deposits of commercial banks held with the State Bank of Pakistan.

IMF Communications Department
MEDIA RELATIONS

PRESS OFFICER: Randa Elnagar

Phone: 1 202 623-7100 Email: MEDIA@IMF.org

@IMFSpokesperson

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