Macro Bites

Macro Bite # 93

2 min read
Sweltering heat has enveloped Pakistan this week, with temperatures up to 8°C higher than usual in many parts of the country, and rural Sindh facing 48°C heat. This comes on the back of the hottest March on record since 1961. Once upon a time, a heatwave such as this could be termed an aberration, a once in 50 years-type event. Instead, experts predict that such heatwaves are now likely to hit the subcontinent once every four years.

To make matters worse, the country has also been hit by massive power outages at the same time. Cities are facing 6-10 hours of load shedding, while rural areas are even more affected with no electricity for 8-16 hours per day. While gas and fuel shortages were likely to restrict power supply anyway, the issue has been exacerbated by record-high temperatures driving up the demand for electricity in air-conditioners and other cooling devices.

Another unfortunate effect of this heatwave is the rapid melting of glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountain ranges, creating glacial lakes close to human settlements. The Ministry of Climate Change estimates that 30 glacial lakes, in particular, are at risk of sudden flooding, posing a threat to the lives of 7 million people.
Moving away from environmentally-unfriendly practices may be expensive, but as demonstrated by recent events, the cost of inaction is even steeper.

WEEKLY DATA WATCH   

KSE-100 fell marginally this week, with equity markets around the world showing mixed trends. PKR appreciated this week, due to a dip in international oil prices earlier in the week. Local gold prices rose this week.
The annual change in the Sensitive Price Index rose to 15.86% vs. 15.42% last week. The poorest of the country (Q1) experienced a change of 13.29% vs. 17.02% for Q5. On a weekly basis, prices rose for all quintiles by 0.43%.Increase in prices of Tomatoes (+42.9%), Onions (+13.1%) and Chicken (+2.02%) contributed to weekly inflation. A fall in the price of Wheat (-9.96%) and Sugar (-1.04%) helped moderate inflation this week.


What Else We’re Reading (Local)

  • Punjab’s sugar mills, which are owned by some of the most influential people in the country, owe cane growers more than PKR 21 billion. (Profit)
  • The Federal Shariat Court issued a ruling this week that interest-based banking in the country must be eliminated by December 2027. Can they have a word with the IMF about our foreign interest payments too? (Dawn)

What Else We’re Reading (International)

  • At its current trajectory, climate change is on track to wipe out most ocean life in the coming decades. (Bloomberg)
  • The premier of the British Virgin Islands has been arrested for attempting to traffic cocaine into the United States. (FT)

Asad Pabani

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

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