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Pakistan Economy Profile

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Economy - overview

Decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment have led to underdevelopment in Pakistan. Pakistan has a large English-speaking population, with English-language skills less prevalent outside urban centers. Despite some progress in recent years in both security and energy, a challenging security environment, electricity shortages, and a burdensome investment climate have traditionally deterred investors. Agriculture accounts for one-fifth of output and two-fifths of employment. Textiles and apparel account for more than half of Pakistan's export earnings; Pakistan's failure to diversify its exports has left the country vulnerable to shifts in world demand. Pakistan’s GDP growth has gradually increased since 2012, and was 5.3% in 2017. Official unemployment was 6% in 2017, but this fails to capture the true picture, because much of the economy is informal and underemployment remains high. Human development continues to lag behind most of the region.

In 2013, Pakistan embarked on a $6.3 billion IMF Extended Fund Facility, which focused on reducing energy shortages, stabilizing public finances, increasing revenue collection, and improving its balance of payments position. The program concluded in September 2016. Although Pakistan missed several structural reform criteria, it restored macroeconomic stability, improved its credit rating, and boosted growth. The Pakistani rupee has remained relatively stable against the US dollar since 2015, though it declined about 10% between November 2017 and March 2018. Balance of payments concerns have reemerged, however, as a result of a significant increase in imports and weak export and remittance growth.

Pakistan must continue to address several longstanding issues, including expanding investment in education, healthcare, and sanitation; adapting to the effects of climate change and natural disasters; improving the country’s business environment; and widening the country’s tax base. Given demographic challenges, Pakistan’s leadership will be pressed to implement economic reforms, promote further development of the energy sector, and attract foreign investment to support sufficient economic growth necessary to employ its growing and rapidly urbanizing population, much of which is under the age of 25.

In an effort to boost development, Pakistan and China are implementing the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" (CPEC) with $60 billion in investments targeted towards energy and other infrastructure projects. Pakistan believes CPEC investments will enable growth rates of over 6% of GDP by laying the groundwork for increased exports. CPEC-related obligations, however, have raised IMF concern about Pakistan’s capital outflows and external financing needs over the medium term.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$1.061 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.007 trillion (2016 est.)
$962.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
data are for fiscal years
GDP (official exchange rate)
$305 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
5.4% (2017 est.)
4.6% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)

note: data are for fiscal years

GDP - per capita (PPP)
$5,400 (2017 est.)
$5,200 (2016 est.)
$5,100 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
data are for fiscal years
Gross national saving
12% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
14.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

note: data are for fiscal years

GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 82% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 11.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 14.5% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.6% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 8.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -17.6% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 24.4% (2016 est.)
industry: 19.1% (2016 est.)
services: 56.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
29.5% (FY2013 est.)
Labor force
61.71 million (2017 est.)

note: extensive export of labor, mostly to the Middle East, and use of child labor

Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 42.3%
industry: 22.6%
services: 35.1% (FY2015 est.)
Unemployment rate
6% (2017 est.)
6% (2016 est.)

note: Pakistan has substantial underemployment

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 7.8%
male: 8.2%
female: 6.8% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 26.1% (FY2013)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
30.7 (FY2013)
30.9 (FY2011)
Budget
revenues: 46.81 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 64.49 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are for fiscal years

Taxes and other revenues
15.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-5.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
67% of GDP (2017 est.)
67.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
4.1% (2017 est.)
2.9% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
5.75% (15 November 2016)
6% (15 November 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
6.98% (31 December 2017 est.)
6.94% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$109.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$103.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$109.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$103.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$155.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$145.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$43.68 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$32.76 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$38.17 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - products
cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; milk, beef, mutton, eggs
Industries
textiles and apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, construction materials, paper products, fertilizer, shrimp
Industrial production growth rate
5.4% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$7.143 billion (2019 est.)
-$19.482 billion (2018 est.)
Exports
$32.88 billion (2017 est.)
$21.97 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
textiles (garments, bed linen, cotton cloth, yarn), rice, leather goods, sporting goods, chemicals, manufactures, surgical instruments, carpets and rugs
Exports - partners
US 17.7%, UK 7.7%, China 6%, Germany 5.8%, Afghanistan 5.2%, UAE 4.5%, Spain 4.1% (2017)
Imports
$53.11 billion (2017 est.)
$42.69 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
petroleum, petroleum products, machinery, plastics, transportation equipment, edible oils, paper and paperboard, iron and steel, tea
Imports - partners
China 27.4%, UAE 13.7%, US 4.9%, Indonesia 4.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.2% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$18.46 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$22.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$82.19 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$70.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$43.21 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$39.06 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$1.983 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.094 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Pakistani rupees (PKR) per US dollar -
105.1 (2017 est.)
104.769 (2016 est.)
104.769 (2015 est.)
102.769 (2014 est.)
101.1 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
1 July - 30 June

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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