Pakistan

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Pakistan


Budget balance: -6.4% (as % of GDP)
Current account: -8.6% (as % of GDP)
Sovereign credit rating: B/Negative
Stock market: -49.5% (2008 YTD, in U.S. dollar terms)

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and its finances are suffering for it. Political instability has caused foreign portfolio investors to flee, and foreign direct investment has slowed to a trickle. As a result, the capital inflows that have helped pay for the country's current account deficit have dried up, and the central bank’s foreign currency reserves have fallen from $14.4 billion a year ago to just $4.9 billion as of Oct. 4. Pakistani leaders met with officials from the International Monetary Fund on Oct. 21 to negotiate an estimated $10 billion to meet short-term balance-of-payments obligations. However, Standard & Poor’s Associate Director of Sovereign Ratings Agost Benard says that country’s banking sector is fairly undeveloped (bank lending accounts for just 30% of GDP), so the government should be able to afford to bail out banks if necessary.