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Pakistan and International Financial Markets

News: Pakistan and International Financial Markets

Date; November 1, 2012
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Development Issues of Pakistan

Higlighting core development issues based on research and fact

Pakistan and International Financial Markets

Posted on October 31, 2012

Pakistan ranks at 58 out of 62 economies in the Financial Development Index of 2012, losing 3 points from its position of 55 in 2011. The Financial Development Report 2012 depicts commercial and retail access to finance shrinking in Pakistan.

Financial systems across the world are stagnating, leading to challenges for a global economic recovery, according to the fifth edition of the World Economic Forum’s Financial Development Report 2012 released today.

The Financial Development Report shows that financial systems in advanced and emerging economies are stalling”, said Giancarlo Bruno, Senior Director at the World Economic Forum. “Macroeconomic uncertainty, as well as concerns related to regulation, contributes to inhibiting the financial industry from funding much-needed growth.”

Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer – Mishal Pakistan, a country partner institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Performance, World Economic Forum said that “the Financial Development Report 2012 ranks 62 of the world’s leading financial systems and capital markets, analysing the drivers of financial system development in advanced and emerging economies to serve as a tool for countries to benchmark themselves and establish priorities for reform”. The rankings are based on more than 120 variables spanning institutional and business environments, financial stability, and size and depth of capital markets, among other factors, he added.

Pakistan continues to show stability on the Financial Development Index of the World Economic Forum on the indicators; cost of closing a business, where the rank of 5 was maintained, also showing stability in frequency of banking crises and output loss during banking crises, Pakistan again secured the top rank of 1 among 62 economies; similarly on the public ownership of banks, which is a percentage of assets held by the 10 largest banks that is located in banks that are more than 25 percent government owned, Pakistan again secured the top rank of 1.

The Report also shows an improvement in the total number of active borrowers from microfinance institutions per 1,000 adults, where Pakistan has improved its position of 12 in 2011 to 9th in 2012.

Pakistan has shown slight improvements on the strength of auditing and reporting standards, where it is ranked 48 in 2012 as compared to 52 in 2011.

On the pillar of legal and regulatory issues Pakistan has shown significant gains, by improving the burden of government regulations, securing 21 rank as compared to 32 last year. The regulation of securities exchanges has also improved 5 points with a rank of 37 out of 62 economies globally.

The current account balance to GDP, a variable, which is the three-year average of current account balance to GDP, indicates the difficulty Pakistan had in mobilizing the foreign exchange necessary for debt service (from 2009 to 2011) has also improved from 53 last year to 40 in the current year.

The economy has also shown improvements in the “aggregate profitability indicator”, which is based on a three-year average of three measures of profitability: net interest margin, bank return on assets, and bank return on equity, this was measured on an average from 2008 to 2010, Pakistan improved 8 points on this, securing 41 rank on the Financial Development Index 2012.

Other area where Pakistan showed improvement of 14 ranks was the real growth of direct insurance premiums, where Pakistan stands at 30th rank.

However Pakistan showed discouraging performance on various key indicators, where it lost it development advantage on multiple factors, whereas; intellectual property protection (53) and effectiveness of law-making bodies (47) as compared to 48 and 43 from last year.

The distortive effect of taxes and subsidies on competition, which is to what extent does government subsidies and tax breaks distort competition, Pakistan lost its rank from 46 in 2011 to 53 in 2012.

In terms of internet users, Pakistan has seen a decline in its internet penetration, where it lost its position of 54 to 61 as compared to 2011 and 2012 respectively.

On the external vulnerability indicator, which is the sum of several measures of external exposure as a percentage of foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan has lost an alarming 14 points and it stands at 20 in 2012. However Pakistan still maintains a development advantage in this area.

Whereas the world has shown improvements in the banking system, such as Tier 1 capital ratios and non-performing loans to total loans, Pakistan has declined in these two indicators, securing 26 and 57 out of 62 economies in 2012.

The decline in deposit money bank assets to GDP (52); the private credit to GDP which is a variable showing private credit by deposit-money banks and other financial institutions as a percentage of GDP also declined from 48 in 2011 to 56 in 2012.

The Financial Development Report (FDR) shows an alarming increase in banks overhead costs, which is the bank overhead costs as a percentage of total assets has increased from the rank of 22 in 2011 to 45 in 2012, impacting a probable profitability of the banks in the coming years.

On the equity market development pillar Pakistan has shown discouraging performance, where stock market capitalization to GDP has slipped from 43 to 50, stock market value traded to GDP from 33 to 43 and Pakistan’s rank on number of listed companies per 10,000 people has dropped from 36 to 43.

The worst news for Pakistan on the FDR is the commercial and retail access finance, where ease of access to credit has been deteriorated to 43 from 30 last year; similarly ease of access to loan has also become difficult, where the Report has ranked it 40 this year as compared to 28 in 2011.

The market penetration of bank accounts, which is the number of commercial bank accounts per 100,000 adults has also declined 19 points in 2012, where Pakistan stands at 59 now, simultaneously debit card penetration has also lost development advantage from a rank of 37 in 2011 to 59 in 2012, showing staleness on part of the growth in the banking system in Pakistan.

On the global front, the Report shows that liquidity appears to be stabilizing in a number of top economies, as highlighted by the fact that turnover velocity rebounded in 2011, moving closer to 2006 levels. However, such gains are offset by considerably weaker domestic market capitalization levels across the world’s stock exchanges.

Topping the Index, Hong Kong SAR came in 1st for a second consecutive year as a result of benefits from a large and efficient banking system, well-developed infrastructure and robust equity markets. Despite these strengths, Hong Kong has a relatively underdeveloped bond market and its financial sector has yet to be fully liberalized.

The United States and the United Kingdom also remain in the same positions as last year, 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Both countries have highly developed financial markets, particularly their foreign exchange and derivatives markets, but they struggle with relatively inefficient banking systems. Banking system stability and currency stability are also areas of weakness. The US, however, has more developed equity and bond markets, while the United Kingdom has stronger corporate governance and legal and regulatory mechanisms. Japan and Switzerland each moved up one spot to 7th and 8th space overall. Both countries have improved the size and efficiency of their banking and financial services and have shown improvements in their legal and regulatory framework.

Mishal Pakistan is the country partner institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Performance, World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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