Soaring Exports of Pakistan's Information Technology and Pharma Industries Amid COVID Pandemic

Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 44% during the first quarter (July, August and September) of the fiscal year 2020-21, according to a tweet by Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pharmaceutical exports saw 22.6% increase in the same period over last year.  Pakistan's information technology and pharmaceutical exports are soaring by double digits amid the COVID pandemic, much faster than the overall exports. 

Razzak Dawood on IT Exports

Technology Exports: 
"I am glad to note that our exports of Telecommunication & IT Services have done very well during the period Jul-Sep of this Financial Year (FY). The exports have grown by 41% to USD 444 million as compared to USD 315 million in the corresponding period in the last FY", Mr. Dawood tweeted today.
 

In Fiscal Year 2019-20 ending in June, 2020, the Information Telecommunication (IT) and IT enabled Services (ITeS) export remittances surged 23.71% to $1.230 billion from $994.848 million during the same period in the prior year, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics as reported by Pakistani media

Pharmaceutical Exports: 

Pakistan's pharmaceutical exports have also gotten off to a great start this year,  rising 22.6% in Q1 of the fiscal year 2021 to $68.1 million from $55.6 million last year.  Export of pharmaceutical products accelerated in September with 57.99% increase from a year earlier, according to the latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  
Textile Exports: 

With several major brands moving production to Pakistan amid the COVID19 pandemic, the country's exports have grown at a faster pace than those of Bangladesh and India, according to Bloomberg News. Pakistan's total textile shipments rose 7% in September, compared with India’s 6% and  Bangladesh’s 3.5%. 

South Asia Region's Exports. Source: Bloomberg


“Pakistan has seen orders shifting from multiple nations including China, India and Bangladesh,” said Shahid Sattar, secretary general at the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, in an interview with Bloomberg's Faseeh Mangi. “Garment manufacturers are operating near maximum capacity and many can’t take any orders for the next six months.”
Pakistan's Textiles Growth. Source: Bloomberg

Bloomberg attributed Pakistan's export surge to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration  to be the first in South Asia  to ease the COVID19 lockdown after controlling the spread of the disease. It helped draw companies like Guess Inc., Hugo Boss AG, Target Corp. and Hanesbrands Inc.
Investor Confidence: 
 Pakistan's benchmark stock index KSE-100 has soared 52% since March, beating runners-up Vietnam and India, and gaining twice as much as China, according to Bloomberg News. In spite of the rapid rise, the valuation of the KSE-100 listed companies is among the world's lowest with forward price-earnings multiple of just 7.4 times. Pakistan is heading for an IPO spree, with as many as 10 companies lining up to go public.
IPO Spree in Karachi Stock Market. Source: Bloomberg

V-Shaped Recovery:
With coronavirus spread contained, Pakistan economy is rebounding with V-shaped economic recovery.   Pakistanis have once again defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties.  Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 44% during the first quarter (July, August and September) of the fiscal year 2020-21, according to a tweet by Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pharmaceutical exports saw 22.6% increase in the same period over last year.   The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now. There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% in June, 2020.  The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News.  Pakistan has successfully overcome the challenges posed  by the pandemic and its economic impact. Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.

Covid19 Cases in Pakistan. Source: Our World in Data

Broad Recovery: 
The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News. The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now.  There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output has increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% if compared to June 2020. Month-wise trend of QIM from July, 2018 to July, 2020.    
Pakistan Monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing. Source: PBS

Cement Sales: 

Pakistan is once again experiencing a construction boom with new incentives under Naya Pakistan Housing Program. Monthly cement sales rose to near all-time high of almost 5 million tons in July 2020 as construction activity picked up in both housing and CPEC-related projects. 

Pakistan Cement Sales. Source: Bloomberg

Car Sales:

Gasoline sales in June, 2020 hit new record  and local car deliveries rose to about 10,000 units as people returned to work after easing of lockdown in May, 2020. Kia Motors Corp.’s local unit is planning to add a second shift at its factory in Karachi from January.  

Pakistan Car Sales Recovery. Source: Bloomberg

Multiple Sectors Growing: 

Sectors including food, beverages & tobacco, coke & petroleum products, pharmaceuticals and non metallic mineral products saw an increase in production in July 2020.  Muzzammil Aslam, chief executive officer at Tangent Capital Advisors Pvt., was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “It has surprised everybody".  Aslam expects Pakistan economy at 4%-5% in current fiscal year, higher than the government’s 2.1% target. “The growth is led by an aggregate demand push.”

Summary:
Pakistanis have defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. Pakistan has successfully fought off the deadly COVID19 virus and begun to bounce back economically.  Pakistan’s IT exports increased by 44% during the first quarter (July, August and September) of the fiscal year 2020-21, according to a tweet by Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pharmaceutical exports saw 22.6% increase in the same period over last year.   With several major brands moving production to Pakistan, the country's exports are rebounding faster than its peers in South Asia.  Moody's rating agency has raised Pakistan's economic outlook from "under review for downgrade" to "stable". Pakistan's Planning Minister Asad Umar is talking of a "V-shaped recovery". Monthly cement sales have rebounded to pre-pandemic level, fuel sales have increased, tax collection is up,  exports are rising and the Karachi stock market is booming again. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Javed Bajwa have been on the same page in tackling the health and economic crises faced by Pakistan. Contrary to the critics of Pakistan's civil-military ties,  Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2020 at 10:10am

Inadequate export industry base

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/12/19/inadequate-export-indus...

Although the country’s exports have picked up in the past few months, Pakistan still has a long way to go if it is to compete with regional players such as Bangladesh and India. Last month, on the back of double-digit proceeds, a 32-month high of $2.16 billion was recorded in November, driven predominantly by textile exports, followed by pharmaceutical products, rice and surgical goods. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Husain, speaking at a recent event, correctly stated that Pakistan’s exports cannot grow beyond the annual $25 to $30 billion unless there is diversification and a move towards new industries is made. One of the fundamental reasons why Pakistan has been unable to achieve this is the disproportionately high level of incentives and support in the form of tax rebates provided by the government to a handful of sectors that make up to 90 percent of total exports. Unless there is a concentrated effort by the government to attract investment into other industries, the situation will remain the same and exports stagnant. It would be unrealistic to expect investors to set up a business that is unlikely to get support from the government while an industry already exists that receives ample subsidies and protections, enabling it to thrive.

Another issue is the overreliance on the US and EU markets, that are not growing rapidly enough to justify sticking to them only. In comparison, China and other Asian markets are growing at 5 to 6 percent. China is not only the largest exporter but also the largest trading nation in the world. Pakistan should leverage its strong alliance with the country and tap into its supply chains, providing raw materials and components, boosting its own exports. Another significant impediment to diversifying the export sector is the existence of powerful lobbies that are able to secure and preserve a competitive advantage through the government and other relevant power centres, making it near impossible for new entrants to survive, much less grow. Unless these systemic issues are addressed, Pakistan’s exports will struggle to reach the volume required for it to be considered a serious regional player.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2020 at 8:24pm

#Pakistan #Textile #exports rise 4.88% year-on-year to $6.04 billion between July to November FY21 compared to $5.76 billion in the same period last year. In November, export proceeds were up by 9.27% from a year ago. #economy #Covid_19 https://www.dawn.com/news/1596602

In November, export proceeds were up by 9.27pc from a year ago. In October, export proceeds were up by 6.18pc and in September, they grew by 11.03pc while a decline of 15pc was recorded in August.

In the first month of the current fiscal year, exports recorded a robust increase of 14.4pc on a year-on-year basis. The rebound in exports of textile and clothing is the outcome of a series of incentives to support exporters to meet the challenges in the wake of the pandemic and disruption in supplies.

The demand for country’s exports had collapsed in months following March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while there has been a gradual improvement since June from international buyers.


Adviser to PM on Commerce in a tweet said that in November, the exports of cotton yarn declined by 25pc, raw leather by 21pc, and cotton fabric by 12.2pc. “This is an indication that exports of low value-added products are decreasing and we are moving towards more value-added exports”, he said while adding that “I urge our exporters to keep pursuing this policy.”

The PBS data showed that ready-made garment exports edged up by 4.36pc in value while plunging in quantity by 44.64pc during July to November this year from a year ago. Exports of knitwear increased by 14.34pc in value and 32.35pc in quantity; bedwear exports were up 12.28pc while dipped 7.95pc in quantity.

Towel exports went up 14.24pc in value and 3.79pc in quantity, whereas those of cotton cloth dipped 8.73pc and 31.78pc in quantity.

Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports plunged by 37.34pc, yarn other than cotton by 16.69pc, made-up articles — excluding towels — was up 15.53pc and tents, canvas and tarpaulin increased by a massive 58.05pc during the months under review.

Textile machinery imports dropped by 6.07pc during the first five months of current fiscal year — a sign that no expansion or modernisation projects were taken up by the industry in the given period.

Petroleum imports declined 22.78pc in the first five months (July-November) to $3.94bn, compared to $5.11bn over the last year, the PBS data showed.

Of these, petroleum product imports were down 16.51pc in value in the first five months’ despite increasing by 54.42pc in quantity. Similarly, import of crude oil dipped 27.01pc in value, but posted a growth of 14.78pc in quantity during the period under review while those of liquefied natural gas fell by 34.73pc in value. On the other hand, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports jumped 52.06pc in value in July-Nov, largely to plug a shortfall in local production.

Machinery imports went down 5.78pc to $3.37bn in the first five months from $3.58bn last year. The decline in imports was recorded in almost all kinds of machinery except power generating machinery, office machinery and mobile phones.

The power generating machinery imports went up 21.73pc in the first five months mainly due to revival of power projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and office machinery increased by 0.7pc during the months under review.

In the telecommunication sector, imports surged by 31.32pc on the back of mobile handsets arrivals which were up by 45.26pc. This was the result of a crackdown on smuggling and doing away with free imports in baggage schemes. Import of other apparatus fell by 6.39pc.

The overall transport group witnessed a growth of 13.92pc. This growth was mainly driven by an increase in imports of road motor vehicles (build unit, CKD/SKD) and CBU during the months under review.

An increase of 60.36pc was seen in imports of textile group — raw cotton, synthetic and artificial silk yarn.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 22, 2020 at 9:15am

PM Imran lauds ‘remarkable turnaround’ in Pakistan’s economy

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2276921/pm-imran-lauds-remarkable-turn...

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said the country's foreign reserves have risen to around $13 billion, the highest in three years.

The premier said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought a global slowdown in economic activity in 2020, there is "great news on the economy" and a "remarkable turnaround".

Pakistan has achieved a current account surplus of $447 million for the month of November, added the prime minister. He further said there is a surplus of $1.6 billion for the fiscal year so far versus a deficit of $1.7 billion during the same period last year.

Earlier this month, the premier attributed the positive trends in the country’s economy – improvement in stock market performance and increase in investors’ confidence – to the business-friendly policies of the PTI led federal government.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said that Pakistan’s economy was on the path of recovery. Some official estimates suggested 2.8% growth rate during the current fiscal year.

“Pakistan’s growth is forecast to recover in fiscal year 2020-21 as economic sentiment improves with the expected subsiding of Covid-19 and the resumption of structural reform,” said the ADB.

The country's remittances have also continued to increase over the past months. Cumulatively, in the first five months (July-November) of current fiscal year, remittances grew 27% to $11.77 billion compared to the same period of last year.

Pakistan had received remittances in the range of $1.78-1.9 billion per month in the prior five months - January-May 2020.

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