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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Pakistan has achieved steady growth since 2013 in the aftermath of a credit facility agreement with the IMF. Economic growth slowed in recent years due to measures taken by the authorities to address macroeconomic imbalances and turned negative in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the IMF's estimates, growth picked up in 2022 reaching 6% of GDP despite disruptions caused by floods, a tight monetary stance, high inflation, and a less conducive global environment; while a strong inflow of remittances (around 10% of GDP, mainly from Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE) supported private consumption. The IMF expects the economy to decelerate slightly in 2023 (+2%) before picking up again the following year (+4.2%).

Concerning public finances, the full-year current account deficit is forecast at USD 4.7 billion (1.5% of GDP) in FY23 after USD 17 billion (4.6% of GDP) recorded in FY22 (Fitch Ratings) in light of restrictions on imports and foreign exchange availability, as well as fiscal tightening, higher interest rates and measures to limit energy consumption. The public debt-to-GDP ratio also increased in 2022, reaching 77.8% (from 74.9% one year earlier) but is expected to follow a downward trend over the forecast horizon (71.1% in 2023 and 76% in 2024, according to the IMF). In 2023, Fitch Ratings noted that a default of some sort appears probable following indications that the authorities are considering debt restructuring, while further deterioration in external liquidity and funding conditions could also worsen the situation. Inflation spiked to an estimated 12.1% in 2022 and is projected to further increase to 19.9% in 2023 amid continued rupee depreciation, high prices of petroleum products, and the persistent increase in the rates of agriculture commodities (Pakistan’s imports of food surged by 65% following the floods). The World Bank Report estimated financial needs for post-flood rehabilitation and reconstruction to amount to at least USD 16.3 billion.

Pakistan's unemployment rate stood at around 6.2% in 2022 and is expected to remain stable in the near future. Nevertheless, the number of people no longer actively seeking work is increasing. The level of underemployment remains very high and much of the economy is informal. While the poverty rate has fallen by 40% over the last two decades, it is still high: using the lower-middle-income poverty rate of USD 3.2 per day, in fact, the World Bank calculated that Pakistan's poverty ratio stands at around 40%. The country has a low GDP per capita (PPP), estimated at USD 6,662 in 2022 by the IMF.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 374.66340.640.000.000.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 6.1-
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,6501,471000
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 76.276.672.270.468.3
Inflation Rate (%) n/a29.223.612.27.9
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -17.48-2.390.000.000.00
Current Account (in % of GDP) -4.7-0.7-1.8-1.6-1.6

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

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Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector is very important for the Pakistani economy: it contributes 22.7% of the GDP and employs 37% of the active population. Wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables and tobacco are among the major crops. Cattle livestock farming remains important as the country is among the top 10 beef and veal producers in the world. Pakistan is the fifth-largest cotton producer in the world and has abundant natural resources, mainly copper, oil and gas. During 2021-22, the agriculture sector recorded a growth of 4.4%. The crops sector outperformed and posted a growth of 6.58%, with cotton ginning growing by almost 9.2%. In the same fiscal year, livestock farming grew an estimated 3.2%: overall, the sector had a share of 61.89% in agriculture and 14.04% in GDP (data Ministry of Finance).
The industrial sector contributes 18.8% of the GDP and employs 25% of the population. The major industries are textile production (the largest source of foreign exchange revenue), oil refining, metal processing, and the production of cement and fertilisers. Maritime transport is also a significant activity; however, the market is dominated by foreign shipping companies and the state-owned Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC). The manufacturing sector accounts for 12.4% of GDP, with large-scale manufacturing accounting for three-quarters of the total. During the first nine months of the fiscal year 2021-22, large-scale manufacturing grew an estimated 10.4%. Overall, the industrial sector grew by 7.2% in FY 2022 (data Ministry of Finance).
The tertiary sector comprises 52.1% of the GDP and employs more than one-third of the workforce (38%). The IT sector is growing rapidly, contributing around 1% of GDP and accounting for 3.5% of exports. Remittances from Pakistanis working abroad represent a considerable financial income for the country. During FY 2022, the services sector posted a growth of 6.2%, on account of 10% growth in wholesale and retail trade, 5.4% in transport and storage, and 4.1% in accommodation and food service (Ministry of Finance).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 37.5 25.2 37.3
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.3 19.8 51.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) 4.4 7.2 6.2

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Pakistani Rupee (PKR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 104.77105.46121.82136.50158.24

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Despite economic and political difficulties, Pakistan has taken steps to liberalise its trade and investment framework as part of commitments made with the WTO, IMF and the World Bank. Nevertheless, the share of foreign trade in Pakistan's GDP continues to be low, at 27% (World Bank, latest data available). Textile products account by far for the largest share of exports (around 60%, mostly comprising linen, clothing and cotton, making the country the 9th textile exporter in the world), followed by rice (4.877 million tons, valued at USD 2.51 billion in FY2022). In regards to imports, the largest items are petroleum products, followed by palm oil, telephones and coal (Comtrade).

The United States is the top destination for Pakistani exports (21.1%, mainly textile), followed by China (10.5%), the United Kingdom (7.3%), and Germany (5.4%). China is by far the largest supplier of goods and services in Pakistan (28.3%), ahead of the United Arab Emirates (10.1%), Indonesia (5.8%), the United States (5.3%), and Saudi Arabia (5.2%). The free trade agreement (FTA) with China impacted Pakistani manufacturing exports, which have declined in recent years, and local businesses worry the completion of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor would further increase the share of Chinese products in the domestic market. Click here for an overview of Pakistan’s free trade agreements.
Pakistan's trade structure has been structurally in deficit: in 2021, imports of goods reached the record level of USD 72.5 billion (+58.3% year-on-year), while exports grew at a slower pace (+28.9%), totalling USD 28.3 billion. Concerning the trade of services, imports reached USD 9.8 billion, whereas exports amounted to USD 6.5 billion. For the same year, the World Bank estimated the country’s trade deficit at 8.9% of GDP (from 8.1% one year earlier). The latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics show that in the fiscal year 2022 (July ’21-June ’22), exports of goods reached USD 31.7 billion (+25.5% y-o-y), against USD 80 billion in imports (+42% y-o-y).

Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 60,07850,33245,83772,48971,072
Exports of Goods (million USD) 23,42523,32921,97928,31930,936
Imports of Services (million USD) 11,67010,2957,98510,58710,508
Exports of Services (million USD) 5,9335,8705,3926,5447,358

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 27.628.926.727.132.3
Trade Balance (million USD) -31,911-22,881-22,172-36,859-34,266
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -37,648-27,306-24,765-40,902-37,416
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 15.77.6-5.114.515.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 19.019.517.418.021.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -7.820.
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -29.326.

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Pakistan does not belong to any Customs Union.

It is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Pakistan has signed Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with nearly 40 countries. It has also signed ‘Double Taxation Agreements’ with nearly 50 countries.

The country has signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).

For more details, visit:

Pakistani Government

Pakistani state

Federal Board of Revenue


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United States 21.1%
China 10.5%
United Kingdom 7.3%
Germany 5.4%
Netherlands 4.9%
See More Countries 50.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 28.3%
United Arab Emirates 10.1%
Indonesia 5.8%
United States 5.3%
Saudi Arabia 5.2%
See More Countries 45.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Arif ALVI (since 9 September 2018)
Prime Minister: Shehbaz SHARIF (since 11 April 2022)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2023
Senate: March 2024
National Assembly: 25 July 2023
Main Political Parties
Pakistan has a multi-party system in which no party has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties work with each other to form coalition governments to direct the National Assembly. Political alliances in Pakistan shift very frequently. Some of the major political parties in the country are:

- Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP): a mainstream political party derived out of the Pakistan People's Party
- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI): centre-left
- Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM): self-proclaimed liberal
- Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA): far-right
- Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (JUI-F): far right
- Jamaat-e Islami Pakistan(JI): far right
- Awami National Party (ANP): Democratic socialism
- Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP)
- Awami Workers Party (AWP): Left Wing
- Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP): far right

Executive Power
The President is the chief of state and is elected by an Electoral College composed of the members of the Senate, the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies, for a five-year term. The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The President is supposed to have a largely ceremonial role; however, Presidents with an army background have played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's history. The Prime Minister is elected by the lower house of the parliament through a vote for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law and running the day-to-day affairs of the country. The council of ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Pakistan is bicameral. The parliament consists of The Senate (the upper house) having 100 seats, with its members indirectly elected by provincial assemblies to serve six-year terms; and the National Assembly (the lower house) having 342 seats, with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms (of which 272 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 70 members - 60 women and 10 non-Muslims - directly elected by proportional representation vote). The President can be impeached and removed from his office by a two-thirds majority vote of the National Assembly, but the Constitution of the country also grants the President the unique power to dissolve the National Assembly and also to dismiss the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Pakistan, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.