Macro Bites

Macro Bite # 73

3 min read
As Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Green Line, Pakistan’s largest city finally received a mass transit service. With a population of over 25 million people, Karachi was the largest city in the world to not have any form of mass transit. Until now. Or to be accurate, until after December 25, when the Green Line will be officially opened to the public, post a couple of weeks of test runs.

Frequent travellers on MA Jinnah Road and mass transit enthusiasts will know that this project has been a long time in the making. Construction for the project started more than half a decade ago, and it was first supposed to be inaugurated in April 2017. Then April 2018. Then June 2019, December 2019, March 2021, July 2021, September 2021, October 2021, and then November 2021. So, one can be forgiven for viewing the December 25 date with some suspicion too.

Even once the Green Line finally does begin operations, it will not be on the complete route that was initially envisioned. While the plan was for the service to run from Surjani Town to Tower, currently it will only run till Jama Cloth Market. The rest of the work has been shifted to the second phase of the project which will be completed on an unspecified date.

Yet, the Green Line is still a positive step for the 400,000 people that the government estimates will use this service every day. It is however only one step, and rather than patting itself on the back, the government should be looking at other complementary solutions to Karachi’s public transport crisis.

WEEKLY DATA WATCH

KSE-100 rose marginally this week, as a $3 billion deposit from Saudi Arabia enhanced investor sentiment. PKR depreciated again this week, amid wider concerns over structural issues in the economy. Local gold prices rose substantially this week, as the rupee remained in free-fall.

The annual change in Sensitive Price Index rose to 18.58% vs. 18.35% last week. The poorest of the country (Q1) were disproportionately affected with a change of 19.71% vs. 19.07% for Q5. On a weekly basis, prices fell for all quintiles by 0.07%.

Increase in prices of Daal Masoor (+3.29%), Onion (1.65%), Milk (+0.74%) and Yogurt (+0.74%) contributed to weekly inflation. A fall in the price of Chicken (-10.6%) and Tomatoes (-13.4%) helped moderate inflation this week.

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What Else We’re Reading (Local)

  • FBR has significantly revised its valuation of real estate prices, causing controversy among realtors and investors. (Profit)
  • The price of chicks is being fixed, according to the Competition Commission of Pakistan, which uncovered price fixing and collusion in the poultry industry. (Dawn)

What Else We’re Reading (International)

  • Funding for Pakistani startups crossed USD 300 million this year, more than the previous six years combined. (Bloomberg)
  • High vaccination rates and zero taxes has made Dubai an attractive prospect for the world’s super-rich. (WSJ)

 

Asad Pabani

Journalist, researcher and documentary filmmaker. Prior works featured in Dawn, Soch Videos and Pioneers Post.

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