Macro Bites

Macro Bite # 78

2 min read

The Omicron wave has now firmly reached Pakistan, with confirmed Covid-19 cases rising from 348 on December 28 to 3,567 on January 13. This is also reflected in the positivity rate which has climbed alarmingly in Pakistan’s cities, particularly Karachi – which registered a positivity rate of 20.22% on Wednesday. There is some good news though, and that is our progress on vaccines.

As of January 13, 101 million Pakistanis have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. That’s more than half the country. Of them, 76 million are fully vaccinated too. It is an incredible achievement by the government to get that many citizens vaccinated, especially considering how even developed countries have struggled with vaccine hesitancy within sections of their population.

However, the level of protection offered by vaccines does reduce after several months, which is why it is necessary for all who are eligible to get their booster dose. There’s good news on that front as well. As of January 15, all Pakistani citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to get their booster dose. So, go get your vaccines and convince your vaccine-hesitant friends or family to do the same. It’s what is best for you as an individual, as well as for your family and society. Don’t take my word for it, trust the experts.

WEEKLY DATA WATCH

KSE-100 rose this week, as the government managed to successfully pass its mini-budget and a bill amending the SBP’s governance, both requirements of an IMF loan. PKR appreciated slightly this week, as US inflation figures caused the dollar to decline in value. Local gold prices fell marginally this week.
The annual change in Sensitive Price Index fell to 19.82% vs. 20.08% last week. The poorest of the country (Q1) were disproportionately affected with a change of 20.89% vs. 20.10% for Q5. On a weekly basis, prices fell for all quintiles by 0.43%.

Increase in prices of Onions (+14.7%) and Firewood (+1.30) contributed to weekly inflation. A fall in the price of Chicken (-3.40%), Eggs (-2.99%) and Wheat (-0.61%) helped moderate inflation this week.

What Else We’re Reading (Local)

  • Samba Bank is up for sale. A fertiliser company and a fintech are two of the candidates in the running to take over Pakistan’s smallest commercial bank. (Profit)
  • The SAPM on CPEC Affairs, Khalid Mansoor, has claimed that projects worth USD 28 billion are going to be developed in CPEC’s current “second phase”. (Dawn)

What Else We’re Reading (International)

  • The detention of tennis star Novak Djokovic in Australia has shined a light on the country’s extreme and inhumane treatment of refugees fleeing violence and poverty. (FT)
  • Leading TikTok stars are now earning more money than many CEOs of America’s biggest publicly-listed companies. (WSJ)

Asad Pabani

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

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