ISLAMABAD    -  Pakistan’s gold reserves increased by 20 per cent during the fiscal year 2018-19 to $3.04 billion as compared to the preceding year’s reserves of $2.534 billion, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report issued on Thursday.

The annual statistical report “Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2020”, presents a comprehensive set of economic, financial, social, and environmental indicators, including for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for ADB’s 49 regional members covering the years from 2000 to 2019. A key statistic in the report highlights how the region has become the biggest contributor to global gross domestic product (GDP), reaching a 34.9 per cent share in 2019 from 26.3 per cent in 2000.

“The Asia and Pacific region has made tremendous development progress over the last two decades, becoming the biggest contributor to global GDP while lifting millions of people out of poverty,” said ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada. “Timely and accurate data enable us to take stock of this progress and areas that require further improvement. Wide access to data, especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, will continue to contribute to the region’s progress on the path to more inclusive and sustainable development.”

Key Indicators 2020 highlights the expanding influence of Asia and the Pacific in global investment and trade. The region’s economies received more than one-third of total global direct investment in 2019, while the region’s global export share increased to 36.5 per cent in 2019 from 28.4 per cent in 2000. More than half of the reporting economies in the region recorded a GDP growth rate of 4 per cent or higher in 2019. These gains are threatened, however, by the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment rising and income falling as lockdowns cause steep reductions in business operations and people’s activities in general. The report includes a special supplement looking at how the granularity of poverty estimates can be enhanced by integrating household surveys and censuses with data extracted from satellite imagery.

The report identifies practical considerations and technical requirements for this novel approach to mapping the spatial distribution of poverty, while outlining the investments required by national statistics offices to fully capitalise on the benefits of incorporating innovative data sources into conventional work programs.