Where's the Real Population "Disaster in the Making"? Pakistan or the West?

Multiple western newspaper headlines are screaming of a "disaster in the making" in Pakistan after the latest population census in the country. These headlines beg the following questions:  Is Pakistan's total fertility rate of 2.62 children per woman a bigger disaster than the sub-replacement level of less than 2 children per woman in the West? Are the rapidly aging western societies and declining working population less of a disaster than Pakistan with its younger population and a growing percentage of it in the work force?  To answer these questions, let's consider the following quote:

“So where will the children of the future come from? Increasingly they will come from people who are at odds with the modern world. Such a trend, if sustained, could drive human culture off its current market-driven, individualistic, modernist course, gradually creating an anti-market culture dominated by fundamentalism - a new dark ages.” ― Philip Longman, The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It

Fear of Population Bomb:

The above quote captures the true essence of the West's racist fears about what some of them call the "population bomb": East will dominate the West economically and politically for centuries if the growing colored populations of developing Asia and Africa turn the West's former colonies into younger and more dynamic nations with rising education and better living standards.

Much of the developed world has already fallen below the "replacement" fertility rate of 2.1.  Fertility rates impact economic dynamism, cultural stability and political and military power in the long run.

Pakistan Population Pyramid by Age/Gender. Source: Theodora via CIA

Pakistan Population Growth:

Pakistani women's fertility rates have declined significantly from about 4.6 in 2000 to 2.62 babies per woman in 2017, a drop of 43% in 17 years.  It is being driven drown by the same forces that have worked in the developed world in the last century: increasing urbanization, growing incomes, greater participation in the workforce and rising education.  Pakistan now ranks 65 among 108 countries with TFR of 2.1 (replacement rate) or higher.

The latest Census 2017 results show that Pakistan's population growth rate has declined to 2.34% between 1998 and 2017, down from 2.61% (from 1981 to 1998) and 3.4% (from 1961-81). Life expectancy has increased from about 62 years in 1998 to 66.5 years now. The total fertility rate has declined from 4.6 children per woman in 1998 to to 2.62 children per woman in 2017.  At the same time, Pakistan's labor force is growing at a rate of 3.6% a year, faster than the 2.34% overall population growth. Given Pakistan's human capital growth in recent years, it is a welcome situation that is expected to produce significant demographic dividend for the country.

Labor Force Expansion:


Pakistan's labor force expansion is the 3rd biggest in the world after India and Nigeria, according to UN World Population Prospects 2017. Rising working age population and growing workforce participation of both men and women in developing nations like Pakistan will boost domestic savings and investments, according to Global Development Horizons (GDH) report. Escaping the low savings low investment trap will help accelerate the lagging GDP growth rate in Pakistan, as will increased foreign investment such as the Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Increased savings and investments will not only enlarge the nation's tax base but also help create more jobs for the expected new entrants into the work force as it did in 2000-2010, according to a World Report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".

Pakistan's Total Fertility Rate 2.62 Children Per Woman. Source: Washington Post 


Source: World Bank Report "More and Better Jobs in South Asia"

Pakistan's working age population in 15-64 years age bracket is expected to increase by 27.5 million people to 147.1 million in 10 years, according to Bloomberg News' analysis of data reported in UN World Population Prospects 2017.  Pakistan's increase of 27.5 million is the third largest after India's 115.9 million and Nigeria's 34.2 million increase in working age population of 15-64 years old. China's working age population in 15-64 years age group will decline by 21 million in the next 10 years.

Source: Bloomberg

Pakistan's labor force growth will continue by adding 80 million workers n 30 years' time, third only to India's 234 million and Nigeria's 130 million additional workers in 15-64 years age group. China's work force will decline by 171 million workers in this time period.

Source: Bloomberg

Savings, Investment and GDP Growth:

Currently, about a third of Pakistan's population is below the age of 15, dependent on working age adults. This high ratio of dependent population results in low savings, low investment and consequent slower economic growth and sub-par socio-economic development.

Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Pakistan's national savings was about 10% of GDP in 1960s. It increased to above 15% in 2000s in Musharraf years, but declined afterwards. It is well below the savings rates in South Asia region with India's 30%, Bangladesh's 28%, and Sri Lanka's 24.5%.

Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Higher levels of inequality in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka account at least partially for their higher savings rates than Pakistan's because people in higher income groups tend to save more of what they earn. But the other probably more important reason for Pakistan's lower savings rate is the larger percentage of children under the age of 15 who do  not work and depend on their parents' incomes.

Rising working age population and growing workforce participation of both men and women in Pakistan will boost domestic savings and investments, just as it has in other South Asian nations.

Countries With Declining Populations:

115 countries, including China (1.55), Hong Kong (1.17),  Taiwan (1.11) and Singapore (0.8) are well below the replacement level of 2.1 TFR.  Their populations will sharply decline in later part of the 21st century along with the economic growth rates.

 United States is currently at 1.87 TFR, below the replacement rate but still better than China and other developed nations mainly due to immigration.  "We don't take a stance one way or the other on whether it's good or bad," said Mark Mather, demographer with the Population Reference Bureau. Small year-to-year changes like those experienced by the United States don't make much difference, he noted. But a sharp or sustained drop over a decade or more "will certainly have long-term consequences for society," he told Utah-based Desert News National.

Japan (1.4 TFR) and Russia (1.6 TFR) are experiencing among the sharpest population declines in the world. One manifestation in Japan is the data on diaper sales: Unicharm Corp., a major diaper maker, has seen sales of adult diapers outpace infant diapers since 2013, according to New York Times.

Median Age Map: Africa in teens, Pakistan in 20s, China, South America and US in 30s, Europe, Canada and Japan in 40s.


The Russian population grew from about 100 million in 1950 to almost149 million by the early 1990s. Since then, the Russian population has declined, and official reports put it at around 144 million, according to Yale Global Online.

Reversing Trends:

Countries, most recently China, are finding that it is far more difficult to raise low fertility than it is reduce high fertility. The countries in the European Union are offering a variety of incentives, including birth starter kits to assist new parents in Finland, cheap childcare centers and liberal parental leave in France and a year of paid maternity leave in Germany, according to Desert News. But the fertility rates in these countries remain below replacement levels.

Summary:

Overzealous Pakistani birth control advocates need to understand what countries with sub-replacement fertility rates are now seeing: Low birth rates lead to diminished economic growth. "Fewer kids mean fewer tax-paying workers to support public pension programs. An "older society", noted the late Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker, is "less dynamic, creative and entrepreneurial." Pakistan's labor force growth is forecast to be the 3rd biggest in the world after India's and Nigeria's, according to UN World Population Prospects 2017. Rising working age population and growing workforce participation of both men and women in developing nations like Pakistan will boost domestic savings and investment, according to Global Development Horizons (GDH) report. Escaping the low savings low investment trap will help accelerate the lagging GDP growth rate in Pakistan as will increased foreign investment such as Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor over the next several decades.

Here's a discussion on this and other subjects:

https://youtu.be/ucopTLFQdKY




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Labor Force Expansion on Saving, Investments and GDP Growth

Pakistan's Population Growth: Blessing or Curse?

Pakistan's Expected Demographic Dividend

World Bank Report on Job Growth in Pakistan

Underinvestment Hurting Pakistan's GDP Growth

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Musharraf Accelerated Growth of Pakistan's Financial and Human Capital

Working Women Seeding a Silent Revolution in Pakistan

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
There is a wide range of figures quoted for TFR in Pakistan.
Some estimates like the ones from the World Bank and Population Research Bureau (PRB) are as high as 3.6.


Now the CIA estimated Pakistan's population at 201,995,540 as of July 2016.

That's really close to the 207 million Census 2017 population figure.

So I think the CIA pyramid is a pretty good starting point for TFR estimation.

It requires some work to figure out a reasonable TFR estimate using raw data from population pyramid.

Here's a rough calculation of total fertility rate in Pakistan that I have done:

Population of Women 15-50 years: 50 million

girls 15-19 10 million

women 20-24 10 million

women 25-29 9 million

women 30-34 7 million

women 35-39 5 million

women 40-44 4 million

women 45-49 4 million

Median age in the country: 23.4 years .... 104 million below this age

Let's assume these 104 million are children of 50 million women 15-50 years. Let's also assume 20 million of these women will have another 1.5 children per woman to add another 30 million children

So it's 134 million children among 50 million women

It works out to total fertility rate of 2.68 children per woman.

Based on data from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphic...

and https://theodora.com/wfbcurrent/pakistan/pakistan_people.html
Riaz Haq said…
INDIA - Bloomberg reports that India's Youth will be the World's Future by having the strongest workforce in the world.

Half of India's population are millennials, under the age of 25 whereas two-thirds of the country's population is below the age of 35.

India's workforce is expected to increase to a billion people between the ages of 16 and 54.
The workforce is expected to derive from North India where Uttar Pradesh has a fertility rate of nearly 3 whilst its neighbouring state, Bihar boasts a fertility rate of 3.3. Taking into account Bihar's already 100 million population, the state is expected to contribute generously to the establishment of a leading workforce.

India's current demographic transition is occurring on a large scale.

Compared to China's generation mainly in their 50's who have removed their country from poverty to middle-status income, India's population in their 20's are expected to do the same.

Similarly, South Africa's increasing workforce have been trained and prepared for the workplace by Workforce Holdings this year. Independent Online reported in March that diversified services company, Workforce Holdings have trained nearly 15 000 individuals in preparation for the workplace.

The group provides a number of work-related services including temporary as well as permanent recruitment. 1 100 permanent staff are employed by Workforce Holdings and the company has 32 000 temporary contractors weekly.

Workforce Holdings is also listed on the AltX board of the JSE.


https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/india-may-soon-knock-out-chinas-workforce-11135871

Raghuram Rajan flags India's biggest worry that could cost Modi a win in 2019 elections: Slow Job Growth

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/raghuram-rajan-flags-indias-biggest-worry-that-could-cost-modi-a-win-in-2019-elections/articleshow/60434472.cms

"Remember that we have what we call the population dividend. A million new people entering the labor force every month," Rajan said. "If we don’t provide these jobs that are required, you have a million dissatisfied entrants. And that could create a lot of social mischief."

Rajan is right in this aspect. India will have the world’s biggest labor force by 2027 and the millennial generation is crucial to anchor one of the fastest paces of economic growth. However, fresh employment opp ..

Under Modi, just over 10,000 jobs a month are being created instead, according to government figures from 2015.

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60434472.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Govt not going to IMF for any bailout: Finance Division spokesman



https://www.samaa.tv/economy/2017/09/govt-not-going-imf-bailout-finance-division-spokesman/

The spokesman of the Finance Division gave following comments in response to the report:

The fact that Pakistan’s economic indicators are positive has been acknowledged internationally. Recently, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated that Pakistan enjoyed growth despite trade contraction.

The external sector which was under strain in the last two years due to falling exports and declining remittances has now started showing positive and impressive growth both in exports and remittances.

In August 2017, exports have witnessed a growth of 12.89 percent over the same period of 2016, while over previous month the exports are higher by 14.41 percent and imports are only 2.42 percent and during July-August, FY 2018 exports have registered a growth of 11.80 percent.

Similarly, workers’ remittances have shown a growth of 13.18% during July-August, FY 2018 and on month on month basis higher by 26.8 percent in August 2017.

These all bode well that pressure on current account will ease, going forward. The growth in FDI is also on upward trajectory. During July 2017, FDI posted a stellar growth of 162.8 percent.

With regard to taxation, it is to be noted that the share of direct taxes in total taxes has increased over the years.

In 1990-91 the direct taxes were just around 20% of total taxes, rose to 31.1 percent in 2004-05, 38.2 percent in 2012-13 and 39.1 percent in 2015-16.

In FY 2016-17 the share of direct taxes reached 40% and it has become the single largest tax collected by FBR.

The government is focused on further increasing the share of direct taxes through various policy and administrative reforms including broadening of tax base.

Substantial progress has been made to bring potential taxpayers in the tax net during the last four years. As a result of these efforts the number of income tax return filers which was around 766,000 for the tax year 2012 has risen to 1.26 million in the tax year 2016 and would further increase in coming years.

The reforms program has started paying dividends in shape of higher tax revenues, an efficient, modern, transparent and taxpayers’ friendly revenue organization.

The revenue collection has witnessed a substantial increase during last four years. The net collection increased from Rs 1,946 billion in 2012-13 to Rs 3,362 billion in FY 2016-17, registering an overall growth of around 73%.

In absolute terms revenue collection has been increased by Rs 1.4 trillion. The tax-GDP ratio of the country has reached 12.5 percent in FY 2016-17.

With regard to debt, the claim that PML(N) government borrowed record Rs 10.8 trillion is incorrect and based on incorrect projections. The actual increase in present Government’s 4 year tenure is around Rs 6.1 trillion.

Even if the year 2018 is added as projected, the total debt increase in 5 years is expected to remain around Rs 7.5 trillion until 2018. The statement is only intended to mislead the general public by propagating increase in total debt by Rs 10.8 trillion by the current government, which is based on mere projections and may include PSE debt and other external debt and liabilities as well, which are not part of total government debt.

Moreover, the contention of large borrowing from external sources is incorrect. Out of total debt, external debt proportion fell from 21.4 percent of GDP in 2013 to 20.6 percent of GDP in 2017. Against the total external debt, the largest component is multilateral and bilateral concessional debt, which constitutes around 85 percent.

External debt sustainability has increased manifold during the tenure of present government as recent debt sustainability analysis shows that external debt would remain on a downward trend over the medium term and staying well below the risk assessment benchmarks.

Riaz Haq said…
India's consumption story set to end due to low jobs growth, investment, warns Ambit

http://www.firstpost.com/business/indias-consumption-story-set-to-end-due-to-low-jobs-growth-investment-warns-ambit-4032625.html

The ongoing consumption demand that began in fiscal 2012 is unsustainable given the poor employment growth as private sector investments still remains a far cry, and this growth story may get hard stop soooner than later, warned a brokerage in a report.

According to Ambit Capital, despite the slowdown in income and employment growth between FY12 and FY17, private consumption continued to grow at a rapid pace, especially in categories like FMCG and passenger vehicles "showing resilience".

As per the brokerage, the rise of consumption growth over FY12 to FY17 has been driven by higher retail credit.

"As corporate credit demand waned over 2011-12 to 2106-17, both NBFCs and banks pushed retail credit aggressively. The retail credit-GDP ratio rose from 13 percent to 16 percent in 2016-17," Ambit said.

However, it noted the "current bout of consumption growth appears unsustainable mainly because consumption boom has uniquely been accompanied by a contraction in the investment-GDP ratio" to 7 percent during FY12 to FY17, while the ratio for consumption-GDP is 3 percent.

"Cross-country evidence suggests that only consumption booms that are accompanied by an increase in investments tend to be sustainable as this is a tangible proof of jobs being created and/or efficiency improving," it said where the averages of these have been 4 percent each.

The report also noted that the current retail credit-funded consumption binge is likely to experience a "hard stop" sooner than later on basis of various trends, including a plunge in consumer confidence to a four-year low during the first quarter of the current fiscal.

Besides, households' savings ratio at an 18-year low and retail NPA problems have begun to emerge particularly in the housing finance segment, are also factors which could effect retail credit-funded consumption, Ambit said.
Riaz Haq said…
Are we entering into a "jobless" growth phase in South Asia?

By Dr. Selim Raihan, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Executive Director, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM).

http://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/economics/are-we-entering-jobless-growth-phase-south-asia-1459387

The relationship between economic growth and employment is an important issue in economics discourse. Promotion of inclusive growth also requires economic growth processes to be employment friendly. The measure that captures the employment effect of economic growth is the "employment elasticity" of economic growth, which is the ratio of percentage change in employment to the percentage change in real gross domestic product (GDP).

We have calculated the employment elasticity with respect to the change in real GDP for the South Asian countries for three different periods from 2001 to 2015. There are mixed patterns among the South Asian countries. During 2001 and 2005, Maldives had the largest employment elasticities (1.39) and Sri Lanka had the lowest one (0.08). India, with a share of 75 percent of the total population in South Asia, had the employment elasticity of only 0.38, one of the lowest in South Asia. Two other large countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, had employment elasticities of 0.70 and 0.77 respectively.

For the period of 2006-2010, India experienced a drastic fall in employment elasticity to only 0.03 despite the fact that the average GDP growth rate of India increased from 6.6 percent (2001-2005) to more than 8 percent (2006-2010). Over these periods, Bangladesh also had a similar experience where employment elasticity declined from 0.77 to 0.4 in the wake of a rising average GDP growth rate from 5 to 6 percent. While Afghanistan, Maldives, and Nepal also experienced a decline, Pakistan and Sri Lanka could increase the elasticities.

Over the recent period between 2011 and 2015, Bangladesh experienced a further fall in the employment elasticity to 0.28, while India's improvement is meagre (from 0.03 to only 0.09). Despite the slower economic growth rates during this period, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan could increase their employment elasticities. Sri Lanka had a further fall in employment elasticity to only 0.14. During this period, India had the least employment elasticity among all South Asian countries.


The aforementioned analysis points to the concern that two major South Asian countries, India and Bangladesh, experienced a substantial reduction in employment elasticities throughout the periods of high economic growth. While during 2001 and 2005, the annual average job creation in Bangladesh and India were 1.6 million and 11.3 million respectively, in 2011-2015, such numbers declined to 1 million and 3.2 million for Bangladesh and India respectively. Most of the other South Asian countries experienced either volatile, or slow or stagnant economic growth, and therefore, despite a rise in employment elasticities, the actual employment generation in these countries had not been substantial. It is also important to mention that while SDG 8 talks about ensuring "decent" jobs for all, South Asian countries are seriously lagging far behind. In most of the South Asian countries, there are persistent employment challenges such as lack of economic diversification, poor working conditions, low productivity and a high degree of informality. This is reflected by the fact that among the top five countries in the world with very high proportion of informal employment in total employment, four are from South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan).
Riaz Haq said…
When 3 million people died in 1943 Bengal famine caused by the British decision to divert food supplies for war, Churchill said it's the Indians' own fault because they breed like rabbits".

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/not-his-finest-hour-the-dark-side-of-winston-churchill-2118317.html

Many of his colleagues thought Churchill was driven by a deep loathing of democracy for anyone other than the British and a tiny clique of supposedly superior races. This was clearest in his attitude to India. When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he "ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back." As the resistance swelled, he announced: "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion." This hatred killed. To give just one, major, example, in 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal, caused – as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has proved – by the imperial policies of the British. Up to 3 million people starved to death while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies to the region. He bluntly refused. He raged that it was their own fault for "breeding like rabbits". At other times, he said the plague was "merrily" culling the population.

Skeletal, half-dead people were streaming into the cities and dying on the streets, but Churchill – to the astonishment of his staff – had only jeers for them. This rather undermines the claims that Churchill's imperialism was motivated only by an altruistic desire to elevate the putatively lower races.

Hussein Onyango Obama is unusual among Churchill's victims only in one respect: his story has been rescued from the slipstream of history, because his grandson ended up as President of the US. Churchill believed that Kenya's fertile highlands should be the preserve of the white settlers, and approved the clearing out of the local "blackamoors". He saw the local Kikuyu as "brutish children". When they rebelled under Churchill's post-war premiership, some 150,000 of them were forced at gunpoint into detention camps – later dubbed "Britain's gulag" by Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Professor Caroline Elkins. She studied the detention camps for five years for her remarkable book Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya, explains the tactics adopted under Churchill to crush the local drive for independence. "Electric shock was widely used, as well as cigarettes and fire," she writes. "The screening teams whipped, shot, burned, and mutilated Mau Mau suspects." Hussein Onyango Obama never truly recovered from the torture he endured.

Riaz Haq said…
Here are the key statistics reported by Credit Suisse:

Total Household Wealth Mid-2016 :

India $3,099 billion Pakistan $524 billion

Wealth per adult:

India Year End 2000 Average $2,036 Median $498.00

Pakistan Year End 2000 Average $2,399 Median $1,025

India Mid-2016 Average $3,835 Median $608

Pakistan Mid-2016 Average $4,595 Median $1,788

Average wealth per adult in Pakistan is $760 more than in India or about 20% higher.

Median wealth per adult in Pakistan is $1,180 more than in India or about 120% higher

http://www.riazhaq.com/2016/11/cs-wealth-report-2016-average-pakistani.html
Riaz Haq said…
'No Need to Panic,' Says #India's Jaitley as Firms Defer Spending Amid Slowing #GDP Growth. #Modi #DeMonetisation

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-24/-no-need-to-panic-says-india-s-jaitley-as-firms-defer-spending

Companies are going to be ‘hard nosed’ about spending: L&T CFO

Economy decelerated to 5.7% last quarter, slowest since 2014

Asia’s third-largest economy expanded at the slowest pace in three years in the quarter ended June 30 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to ban 86 percent of the nation’s cash and the country’s biggest tax reform disrupted businesses. Meanwhile loan growth is languishing near the lowest level since 1992 as companies struggling with bad debt and idle capacity await evidence of a pick up in demand before they buy machinery or hire more workers.

“Private sector is going to be hard nosed when it comes to committing investment,” Larsen’s Shankar Raman said in an interview at the sidelines of the forum on Friday. “We have already committed investment and have not seen returns flow through, so no board in their right mind will like to sanction further investment, unless there is a viable business plan around it.”

Indian factories were running at about 74 percent of capacity in October-December, business sentiment in manufacturing worsened in the April-June period and consumer confidence dipped in June. The Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index contracted for a second month in August, a report showed earlier this month.

"We have to push for more reforms. We have to set our house in order," Niti Aayog’s Kant said at the forum. “Government alone cannot create infrastructure. Private sector participation is a must.”

The government’s revenue may be threatened in the coming months by the new goods and services tax, implemented July 1. The reform -- one of India’s biggest since the economy opened to foreigners in 1991 -- was a win for Jaitley and promises to unite India’s 1.3 billion people into a massive common market.

However, early hiccups include confusion about the method of filing receipts and the multi-layered tax structure, which contrasts with a single rate in most countries. Businessmen are also claiming hefty tax credits, which could drain government finances.

"I am concerned that after GST and cash ban, which were seen as reforms by investors, India is now seen to be slipping fiscally" said Priyanka Kishore, lead Asia analyst at Oxford Economics, Singapore.

To read more about the impact of GST on companies, click here

Any deterioration in public finances risks the wrath of rating companies such as S&P Global Ratings, which last week downgraded China for the first time since 1999 citing soaring debt. India carries the lowest investment grade rating and a cut to junk status could force some investors to dispose their Indian assets.

"How do you maintain the balancing act between continuing to spend in an economy, continue to maintain your banks and support them, and how do you maintain standard of fiscal prudence?" Jaitley said. "And this is the challenge we are facing."

Jaitley also needs funds to inject fresh capital into India’s struggling banks. The lenders are sitting on $191 billion of souring debt. Under-provisioned banks are also unwilling to lend more, which means investment by private companies may shrink this year.

Jaitley has said he expected strong banks to take over weaker ones especially in the state-run sector. Earlier this year, the government gave the Reserve Bank of India greater powers to go after defaulters and recover loans through a new bankruptcy code.

"We are looking at both consolidation and strengthening," Jaitley said, without providing a timeline.
Riaz Haq said…
Economist K. Basu on reviving #India’s #economy amid declining #investment to #GDP ratio. #Modi @inquirerdotnet

http://opinion.inquirer.net/107391/reviving-indias-economy

In the second quarter of 2017, India’s growth rate fell to 5.7 percent. It is now tied with Pakistan — behind China, Malaysia, and the Philippines — on the list of major economies for which The Economist provides basic economic data. Neighboring Bangladesh, which is not on that list, is now growing at over 7 percent per annum (and Bangladesh’s per capita income now exceeds Pakistan’s).
Given the Indian economy’s massive size and extensive global linkages, its growth slowdown is a source of serious concern both domestically and around the world. But it is not too late for India to reverse the trend. The key is to carefully craft policies that address both short- and long-term challenges.

In the short term, policymakers must address declining demand for Indian products among domestic consumers and in export markets. All signs point to falling consumer and business spending. India’s index of industrial production only grew by a meager 1.2 percent in July, compared to 4.5 percent a year earlier. Output of consumer durables fell by 1.3 percent; a year earlier, it grew by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, annual export growth has fallen in recent years to just 3 percent, compared to 17.8 percent in 2003-2008, India’s rapid-growth phase. This is partly a result of a stronger rupee, which has raised the price of Indian goods in foreign markets.
But there is another potential driver of the sharp rise in imports: people may be over-invoicing, in order to shift money abroad. This could indicate that big traders expect a
correction in the rupee’s exchange rate.
This should worry the Indian authorities — and spur them into action. To mitigate the rupee’s appreciation, thereby boosting external demand, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) must be given greater policy space and autonomy.
My advice would be for the RBI to lower interest rates further, thereby aligning India’s monetary policy more closely with that of the world’s other major economies. While the current tendency toward very low interest rates is not ideal from a global perspective, the fact is that as long as India remains an outlier, it will encourage the so-called carry trade, which artificially drives up the rupee’s value.
The bigger challenge facing India will be to nurture and sustain rapid growth in the long run. It is worth considering the efforts of another major emerging economy: China.
China’s government has identified specific economic sectors to boost. India can adopt a similar approach, with health and education being two particularly promising sectors.
Despite its success, India’s medical tourism industry still has plenty of untapped potential. The income earned from such tourism could help the country shore up its own health system, ensuring that all Indians — including the poor and especially children, among whom malnourishment remains rampant—have access to quality healthcare.

-------------

Yet India’s investment-to-GDP ratio is now slipping, from over 35 percent in the last eight years to below 30 percent today. This can be explained partly by an increase in risk aversion among banks, which are concerned about nonperforming assets. Falling business confidence may also be a factor.
If India implements policies that boost short-term growth, while laying the groundwork for long-term performance, confidence should rise naturally. Once investment picks up, India will be able to recapture its past rapid growth — and sustain it in the coming years. That outcome would benefit not just India, but the entire global economy. –Project Syndicate


Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/107391/reviving-indias-economy#ixzz4tf0wqljS
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
Riaz Haq said…
State Bank of Pakistan report January 2016:

While foreign savings are important in financing the
saving-investment gap, the most reliable source of
funds for investment in a country is its own saving –
Pakistan’s record in this aspect is also not encouraging.
National savings as percent of GDP were around 10
percent during 1960s, which increased to above 15
percent in 2000s, but declined afterward (Figure 7).
Pakistan’s saving rate also compares unfavorably with
that in neighboring countries: last five years average
saving rate in India was 31.9 percent, Bangladesh 29.7
percent, and Sri Lanka 24.5 percent.
Similarly, domestic savings (measured as national
savings less net factor income from abroad) also
declined from about 15 percent of GDP in 2000s, to
less than 9 percent in recent years (see Box 1 for methodology of measuring savings). Domestic savings are
imperative for sustainable growth, because inflow of income from abroad (remittances and other factor
income) is uncertain due to cyclical movements in world economies, exchange rates, and external shocks.


http://www.sbp.org.pk/publications/staff-notes/SavingInvestmentStaffNote-Jan-16.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan boasts the world's fastest growing retail market. Growing middle class & youth bulge are big reasons why.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-28/135-million-millennials-drive-world-s-fastest-retail-market

Middle class expected to surpass U.K., Italy over 2016-21
By Faseeh Mangi
September 28, 2017, 1:00 PM PDT
From
Nearly two-thirds of Pakistan population under 30 years old
Pakistan’s retail stores forecast to grow by 50% in 5 years
Pakistan’s burgeoning youth and their freewheeling attitude toward rising incomes have turned the nation into the world's fastest growing retail market.

The market is predicted to expand 8.2 percent per annum through 2016-2021 as disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International. The size of the middle class is estimated to surpass that of the U.K. and Italy in the forecast period, it said.

Pakistan's improving security environment, economic expansion at near 5 percent and cheap consumer prices are driving shoppers to spend up big. Almost two-thirds of the nation's 207.8 million people are aged under 30, according to the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank.

“We have a new millennial shopper at hand. They don’t mind spending to have the kind of lifestyle they would like,” said Shabori Das, senior research analyst at Euromonitor. “It’s not like the Baby Boomer generation where savings for the future generation was important.”

Pakistan is bucking the trend in the U.S. -- where stores are closing at a record pace as e-commerce undermines bricks-and-mortar. It's also attracting foreign operators: Turkish home appliance maker Arcelik AS and Dutch dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina NV entered the market last year via acquisitions. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and Renault SA are all building plants in the South Asian nation.

Pakistan’s retail stores are expected to increase by 50 percent to 1 million outlets in the five years through 2021, Euromonitor said. Its three biggest malls, Lucky One in Karachi and Packages Mall and Emporium Mall in Lahore, opened in the past two years.

Pakistan is mirroring what India went through about four years ago. Both countries have young populations with more income and less inclination toward saving which is a distinct difference to what retailers elsewhere are dealing with, said Das.

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