KARACHI: Following in the finance ministry’s footsteps, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday joined the ‘typo club’ by releasing the current account deficit data and then withdrawing it after a couple of hours.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, a spokesman for the SBP said the Excel sheets released mistakenly earlier in the day contained provisional data. “We will share the revised data on Monday,” he added.
It should be noted that the released data showed the SBP was wide off the mark in its last week’s projection of the current account deficit.
Pakistan’s current account deficit increased to more than $3.34 billion in 2013-14 after widening by as much as $850 million over the preceding fiscal year when it stood at $2.49 billion.
In its report for the January-March quarter released last week, the SBP said it expected the full-year current account deficit to “settle between $2-2.5 billion”.
Shown as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), the current account deficit widened to 1.35% in 2013-14 as opposed to 1.06% in the previous fiscal year.
The current account deficit figure also exceeds the estimate put forward by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “The current account deficit is envisaged to be around 1.2% of GDP this fiscal year,” the IMF staff wrote in their third review of the Extended Fund Facility released on July 7.
According to the SBP, the improvement in home remittances and receipt of Coalition Support Fund money helped restrict the current account deficit in the third quarter of 2013-14 to about one-third the deficit recorded during the same quarter of the preceding fiscal year.
However, the released data showed the current account deficit remained $510 million during June alone. On a year-on-year basis, the current account deficit in June widened by as much as $347 million, as it stood at only $163 million in June 2013.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.
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