IN relative terms, one does not know where to peg Pakistans performance on the inflation front. On the one hand, we have been seeing a decrease in the inflation statistics, but on the other hand, we are not doing as well in fighting the price hike as the other economies in the region. India is doing particularly well at curbing inflation while Thailand is doing even better. It was a consequence of the first comparison, in which we are doing slightly well, that the government decided to loosen up a bit its tight monetary policy. It lowered, much to the derision to the IMF it is assumed, the interest rates. The financial sector obviously welcomed this development as it would ease credit provision in the country. This, it is hoped, would spur growth in the economy. Figuring out the extent to which this interest rate drop would have spurred economic growth, as all economists know, is rather tough. There is too much noise and too many different interacting variables in the whole mesh to isolate the effect of this change. A lot of the trouble here lies in knowing where to look. Half-empty types would point out to plummeting auto sales, which fell by 47 per cent in 10 months. But there might be other ways to assess that slump. Car sales are dropping the world over. And the consumer-led growth that our economy had been seeing in the Shaukat Aziz regime had led to a tad too many cars plying the roads. If we were to measure things in terms of percentage change, perhaps the number of cars on the roads is going to a normal level. That is not too bad a proposition given the infrastructure that we currently have. Falling share volume on our bourses, although never a good sign, is not necessarily the end of the world finance types allege. Our stock markets are not that integrated into the economy to serve as an effective barometer of economic activity. Any talk about economic mismanagement has to first consider the military strife in the country. These are not conditions conducive to economic growth. But economic managers have to play the hand that they have been dealt with.