Pakistan received foreign direct investment (FDI) of $710.1 million in the first nine months of 2014-15, which is almost equal to the FDI received in July-March of the preceding fiscal year.

According to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday, FDI increased by $1 million year-on-year in July-March, as it amounted to $709.1 million in the first nine months of 2013-14.

FDI in March alone was $94.7 million as opposed to the net flows of $74.9 million in February.

With a net FDI of negative $47.5 million in the nine-month period, the largest net outflow of FDI in July-March was recorded in the category of pharmaceutical and over-the-counter products.

Multinational pharmaceutical company, Johnson and Johnson, recently wound up its operations from Pakistan and sold the company to a Pakistani pharmaceutical company for reportedly $30 million. At least four multinational pharmaceutical companies have left Pakistan for good in the last six years.

FDI in 2013-14 clocked up at $1.63 billion after increasing by 11.99% on an annual basis. The increase during the last fiscal year was mainly on the back of the auction of the telecom spectrum that fetched the government $610.9 million in May 2014.

Sectors of the economy other than pharmaceuticals that experienced a considerable net outflow of FDI in the first nine months of the current fiscal year were metal products ($41.3 million), information technology ($29 million), food ($14.7 million), cement ($3.3 million) and industrial electronics ($6.7 million).

The largest increase in FDI in July-March was in the category of oil and gas exploration, which attracted $204.3 million. However, it was 45.4% less than the foreign investment received during the same months of the preceding fiscal year when it totalled $374.6 million.

There was a net inflow of FDI amounting to $125.3 million from the telecommunications sector in July-March. In contrast, the same sector had registered a net outflow of $241.9 million of FDI during the same period of the last fiscal year.

Financial businesses attracted $83.5 million worth of FDI in July-March. However, it was down 31.7% from the corresponding nine-month period of the preceding fiscal year.

Largest contributor to the FDI during July-March was China ($178.3 million), United States ($175.3 million) and United Arab Emirates ($163.3 million).

The year-on-year increase in the net inflow of foreign investment in Pakistan amounts to a massive 118.6% in July-March if the foreign public (portfolio) investment in debt securities is also accounted for.

Debt securities, such as treasury bills, Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs), Sukuks and Eurobonds, received a massive foreign public investment of $954.5 million in July-March.

It is more than 15 times higher than the investments made in this category during the same months of the preceding fiscal year.

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