The local currency has been getting bashed on the open market in recent days, despite new laws introduced by SBP in a desperate attempt to narrow the gap between curb and inter-bank market rates. These steps have yielded little if any success for the central bank so far, as the Pakistani rupee fell to Rs104 against the greenback while the mentioned gap bloated to over Rs 3. And thats not a good omen.
From the look of things, the decision to go back to the IMF for a fresh programme, has been made. Essentially the government of Pakistan will be retiring debt with a new loan from the same institution, but with some different conditions. The need of the hour is to learn from the mistakes of the past and try to negotiate in a way to reap benefit out of subsequent IMF loans.
Pakistan's market is hailed as an innovation laboratory for branchless banking (BB) services within the South Asia region as well as outside. But it seems that Pakistan's regional leadership could soon be taken over by a relatively late entrant in the sector: Bangladesh.
Deposits held by Islamic banks in Pakistan have witnessed an impressive growth spurt in recent years. However, with the rapidly accelerating Islamic banking market, there comes a flush of surplus liquidity which harshly puts the brakes on the enthusiastic deposit mobilization drives of Islamic banks.
As the Islamic Banking Industry (IBI) marches towards its second five-year strategy plan to steer its performance till 2017, a comparison of the industry's first five-year plan launched in 2007 warrants a little attention.
If Pakistan is to continue relying on remittances to support its current account imbalances, then increasing the quality of labour exported is of paramount importance. At least that’s what the reading is from a recent remittance report by the International Fund for Agriculture Development and the World Bank.
With a representation of 60 percent in the total deposits and over 52 percent in the total advances, the performance of big five banks (HBL, MCB, NBL, UBL, ABL) seems to depict a true picture of the banking industry.