KARACHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) crossed $1 billion during the first 10 months (July-April) of this fiscal year, a rise of more than five per cent compared to $963 million a year earlier, the State Bank of Pakistan said on Tuesday.
More than half of that investment — nearly $550m — came from China. Other significant investors were Hong Kong ($129m), Italy ($87m), Switzerland ($72m), the United Arab Emirates ($137m) and the United Kingdom ($58m).
The United States, which invested $181m last year, disinvested $75m during July-April FY16.
Saudi Arabia, despite having excellent relations with the incumbent government, continued to disinvest this year, too. The net disinvestment by the Kingdom during the 10 months under review was $81m compared to $53m a year ago.
Pakistan’s poor economic relations with the Middle Eastern countries are also visible with the net negative investment or negligibly small investment in the country. In fact, most of the countries of the Middle East, except for UAE, showed no interest in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s power sector received the biggest chunk of investment, attracting $518m this year compared to $168m during the same period of the last fiscal year. Of the total, $123m was invested in thermal energy, $104m in hydroelectric and $290m in coal-fired power plants.
The oil and gas exploration sector also remained attractive as FDI in this sector stood at $234m during the 10 months compared to $230m a year earlier.
Net FDI in the financial business sector plunged to $23m compared to $218m during the same period of the preceding fiscal year.
It reflects that the country still has only a few sectors on the radar screen as far as foreign investment is concerned.