Pak economy grows beyond targets

KARACHI: Pakistan has recorded five percent growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, the central bank said, beating its target and almost doubling the figure for the same period last year.

The State Bank of Pakistan data for the early months of the financial year began in July, 2013 said GDP grew by 5.0 percent, compared with only 2.9 percent in the first quarter of the last fiscal year.

Pakistan has struggled to energize its economy in recent years.

Growth has bumped along well below the level experts say is needed to absorb new entrants to the workforce from Pakistan’s growing, youthful population.

“Since the macroeconomic indicators were favorable at the start of the year, the increase in real GDP growth in fiscal year 2014 was discernible,” the bank said.

Pakistan’s economists had set a growth target for the current financial year of 4.4 percent, and the central bank in earlier reports had forecast growth of four percent.

The upbeat first quarter performance came on the back of good performances by the industrial and services sectors, the report said.

The bank however warned that inflation swelled to 8.1 percent in the first quarter compared with 5.6 percent in the corresponding period last year.

The IMF approved a $6.7 billion bailout loan package for Pakistan in September last year to help the country achieve economic reforms, particularly in its troubled energy sector.

The fund also observed that Pakistan’s economy was picking up.—Agencies