KARACHI: Sindh posted the lowest growth rate in personal deposits among all provinces of Pakistan in the first six months of 2015, latest banking data shows.

The outstanding position of personal deposits in Sindh was Rs1.37 trillion at the end of June, up 7.9% from six months ago. Sindh’s share was 29.6% in the country’s total personal deposits, which amounted to over Rs4.6 trillion on June 30.

According to statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), growth in personal deposits in the country outpaced the corresponding increase in personal advances in the first half of 2015.

While personal deposits in Pakistan grew 10.8% in the first six months of the current year, personal advances increased 7.3% nationwide to clock up at Rs381.6 billion at the end of June.

Sindh’s growth rates in both personal deposits and personal advances over January-June remained lower than the nationwide respective averages. However, the opposite was true for Punjab, which fared better than the rest of the provinces in both categories over the same six-month period.

In absolute terms, Punjab’s personal deposits were 63.3% higher than those of Sindh at the end of June. But as for borrowing, data shows outstanding personal advances in Sindh were 2.1 times of the comparable figure for Punjab.

Sindh slowest in growth

Almost 61% of total outstanding personal advances in Pakistan belonged to Sindh at the end of June while the second largest share in advances (28.9%) was of Punjab. This means Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Balochistan, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), FATA and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) collectively had about 10% share in the country’s outstanding personal advances at the end of the first half of 2015.

As for the banking preferences of K-P residents, data shows they are least interested in taking out personal loans from banks compared with their counterparts in other three provinces of the country. The growth rate in personal advances during Jan-Jun remained only 2.2% in K-P as opposed to the average increase of 7.3% nationwide over the same period.

However, personal deposits in K-P increased 18.2% to Rs393.7 billion at the end of June, posting the highest growth rate among all provinces.

The growth rate in personal deposits in Jan-June in G-B far exceeded the nationwide average by clocking up at 14.5%. Its advances, however, registered negative growth of 11.7% over the same period.

Compared with the respective nationwide averages, the increase in personal deposits in Balochistan was significantly higher (15.3%) while growth in personal advances (3.4%) was dismally low in Jan-June. Despite a notable percentage rise in personal deposits in the insurgency-hit province, they remain small in absolute terms. For example, personal deposits in Islamabad alone were 3.5 times higher than those in Balochistan on June 30. In fact, personal deposits in Islamabad at the end of June exceeded the combined personal deposits of Balochistan, G-B, FATA and AJ&K.

There were a total of 41.7 million bank accounts in Pakistan at the end of the last fiscal year, according to another SBP publication. More than 31.3 million accounts, or 75% of all bank accounts, belonged to the personal accounts category.

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