Macro Bites

Macro Bite # 85

2 min read
The Australian cricket team touched down in Pakistan this week, marking a significant moment for Pakistan cricket, as well as the country at large. The significance does not stem merely from the cricketing prize at hand, although who amongst us has not daydreamed about lifting the prestigious Osaka Batteries presents TikTok Benaud-Qadir Trophy (admittedly the name could do with some refinement). Rather, what’s noteworthy about this tour is that it is Australia’s first visit to the country in 24 years.

The timeline of international cricket in Pakistan has, in many ways, mirrored the trajectory of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country over the last couple of decades. In the initial years of the “War on Terror”, FDI poured in due to Pakistan’s status as a strategic ally. Meanwhile, international cricket tours also continued unabated, as South Africa, India and England visited the country in quick succession. 2007/8 marked the high point for FDI in the country, as well as international cricket, with South Africa coming for another tour. After that, things took a turn for the worse. FDI plummeted in 2009 to USD 2.3 billion (from USD 5.4 billion the year before). And the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Lahore that same year, leading to the suspension of all international cricket in the country.

Fast-forward to present day and things are looking a bit rosy again, at least from a cricketing point of view. The arrival of the Australians comes on the back of a successful South Africa series last year, and it is anticipated that England and New Zealand will tour Pakistan later this year too. Can these visits foster a sense of security, and lead to an uptick in foreign investment in the country? The government will certainly hope so.

WEEKLY DATA WATCH

KSE-100 rose this week, as FBR surpassed its monthly revenue target. PKR depreciated slightly this week, as the war in Ukraine increased demand for USD. Local gold prices also fell this week.

The annual change in Sensitive Price Index fell to 15.23% vs. 15.90% last week. The poorest of the country (Q1) experienced a change of 11.86% vs. 16.61% for Q5. On a weekly basis, prices rose for all quintiles by 0.04%.

Increase in prices of Chicken (+10.5%), Milk (+0.34%) and LPG (+9.45%) contributed to weekly inflation. A fall in the prices of Petrol (-6.23%) and Tomatoes (-27.1%) helped moderate inflation this week.

What Else We’re Reading (Local)

  • Foodpanda has been tremendously successful in dominating the food-delivery market in Pakistan, so why did the country’s CEO resign last month? (Profit)
  • Work has stopped on all government-funded housing projects due to rising costs of steel and cement. Welcome to Naya Pakistan, same as the old Pakistan.  (Dawn)

What Else We’re Reading (International)

  • Early voting has begun in South Korea, in what is expected to be the most wide-open race for the presidency in the country’s recent history. (Bloomberg)
  • Sanctions are expected to sink the Russian economy into a recession, but will not seriously endanger the regime. (FT)

Asad Pabani

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

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