KARACHI: Large-size depositors of banks have been increasing in Pakistan despite poor economic growth rate, including low trade and industry growth.

The State Bank’s latest Statistical Bulletin provides a number of figures that shows that actual increase in deposits was due to increase in the amount of large size deposits and depositors.

While economic indicators showed poor economic health during 2010-13, it was surprising that economy was still producing large amount of wealth. However, most of the wealth remained concentrated to a few thousand account holders.

The finance minister said recently that the country had achieved four per cent growth rate after a gap of six years, reflecting prolonged poor economic health.

According to the Statistical Bulletin, the accounts as well as deposits both witnessed sharp rise during these three years since 2010.

The number of account-holders, having deposits from Rs10 million and above, stood at 30,840 in December 2010 while the amount with the account-holders was Rs1.788 trillion. During this period, the number of account holders of large deposits rose sharply while economy was struggling to remain around 3pc on average. The rising account of large depositors witnessed a significant jump in the calendar year 2013.

The number of large size depositors took a sudden jump from 40,000 to 51,000 during December 2012 to December 2013. The amount rose to Rs2.785tr from Rs2.374tr. The large size depositors account for 37pc of all scheduled banks’ deposits.

The detail of large size deposit growth of banks paints a different picture which seems to have some unexplained relation with poor economic growth rate.

However, the pattern of deposits growth remained unchanged as most of large size deposits were kept for less than six months and less than one year which shows that banks have failed to come out from the decade-old problem of short-term deposits which discourages banks not to lend to long-term projects.

The highest amount of Rs901bn for short-term was deposited till the end of December 2013 for less than six months. For less than one year, Rs217bn were deposited, and Rs647bn for less than two years.

Banks have been investing their 83pc money in government papers to enrich themselves, but how these deposits are growing is yet to be explained. No research is available about the source of wealth growth in Pakistan. It is supposed that it is all legal, despite the fact that it has no match with economic growth.

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