The Zindabad Report 30-Jun-2020
Top 3 Company Headlines
PIA to ground a third of pilots over 'dubious' licences (Reuters 25-Jun)
Unilever's 'Fair & Lovely' to get makeover after backlash (Reuters 25-Jun)
PBC to promote Pakistan brands (Express Tribune 09-Jun)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan condemns India's expulsion of diplomats after China clash (Reuters 26-Jun)
Pakistan cracks down on safety breaches, Covid cases top 100,000 (Reuters 08-Jun)
PTI govt approves CPEC’s $7.2b strategic project (Express Tribune 07-Jun)
The Zindabad’s View
Amid the rise of Covid-19 cases in South Asia, Pakistan finds itself once more in serious economic trouble. Inflation is rampant, the economy is in contraction, and over a third of the population faces food insecurity. It seems unlikely that the nation will be able to meet the IMF’s required targets for economic growth and government revenues. A new bailout may be on the horizon.
Internationally, long-standing tensions with India have flared up again in the wake of the Sino-Indian clashes in the Galwan valley. Pakistan stood by its trusted ally by supporting Beijing’s actions and expelling Indian diplomats. Although necessary to keep good relations with China, the Zindabad believes such hazardous diplomatic moves could bring further instability in the region, especially at this time of economic and social turmoil.

Fun fact: Pakistan saw highest inflation in the world during 2020 (Dawn 07-Jun)​​

The Zindabad Report 30-Apr-2020
Top 3 Company Headlines
HBL, MCB Bank profits surge (Dawn 23-Apr)
Indus Motor raises prices up to Rs500k (Express Tribune 15-Apr)
UBL declared Pakistan’s best digital bank (The Nation 02-Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
IMF approves $1.39bn emergency pandemic aid (Reuters 16-Apr)
India and Pakistan border fighting (Reuters 09-Apr)
Covid-19 forecast to render 18.5m jobless (Express Tribune 03-Apr)
The Zindabad’s View
The Covid-19 pandemic is starting to damage Pakistan’s already-struggling economy. Lockdown halted most economic activity in the country. Unemployment is expected to skyrocket in the following weeks. The export sector is also in trouble. Global demand for primary goods is dropping substantially. However, the Zindabad worries that the worst is yet to come. Pakistan’s positive case numbers are starting to pick up.
The govt secured aid from the IMF and the World Bank, indicating its renewed good standing on the world stage. However, the revival of border fighting with India could spell doom for Pakistan’s chances of securing more international support. The Zindabad suggests that all fighting should stop at once, and that all resources should be diverted towards the management of the ongoing outbreak.
Fun Fact: The UK announced a fund for Pakistan in the fight against Covid-19 (Dawn 19-Apr)

The Zindabad Report 31-Mar-2020
Top 3 Company Headlines
Hisense AC-maker hopeful demand will gain pace (Express Tribune 12-Mar)
Carrefour Pakistan launches mobile application (The Nation 11-Mar)
Chinese firm Timesaco set to launch ride-hailing service in Karachi (Dawn 06-Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Rs1.13tr package unveiled to fight coronavirus (Dawn 25-Mar)
Despite impact of virus, Pak-China trade to improve (Express Tribune 24-Mar)
Over $600m of ‘hot money’ leaves country in 12 days (Dawn 13-Mar)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan is not as hard-hit as other Asian or European countries but it has already been reporting thousands of cases. Pakistan’s healthcare system is in no way ready to tackle a pandemic. The Zindabad worries a full-blown outbreak in the country could lead to the collapse of an already-fragile economic equilibrium.
The PTI govt intends to fight the spreading of the virus through a combination of a large-scale fiscal stimulus and closer economic ties with the PRC. At this juncture, China’s  avoidance of a second outbreak is critical for Pakistan. Renewed lockdown of the country’s biggest trading partner could spell doom for the entire struggling economy. 
Fun Fact: Banks will start providing disinfected, quarantined cash to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 (Dawn 24-Mar)

The Zindabad Report 29-Feb-2020
Top 3 Company Headlines
Farrukh Khan joins PSX as MD and CEO (Express Tribune 25-Feb)
Vestas to set up wind turbine unit (Dawn 07-Feb)
Sino-Pak JV launches locally assembled car (Express Tribune 02-Feb)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Turkey to oppose Pakistan blacklisting at anti-terrorism finance meet (Reuters 14-Feb)
Bank profits to grow steadily in Pakistan: Moody’s (Express Tribune 07-Feb)
Foreign investors see growth potential in Pakistan (Dawn 07-Feb)
The Zindabad’s View
Despite Coronavirus fears, the Sino-Pakistani economic relationship is healthy. Substantial investment is flowing into Pakistani infrastructure and JVs are successfully launching and expanding into the Pakistani domestic market. This phenomenon, correlated with renewed investment confidence from the West, is certainly improving the growth prospects of the resurgent Pakistani economy .
Another sign of internal economic revival can be seen in the strong performance of the banking sector. Moody’s recent endorsement of the reforms brought about by the controversial IMF deal is a meaningful step towards the complete reappraisal of Pakistan inside of global capital markets. This will be vital for the long-term monetary stability of the nation.
Fun Fact: Pakistan dethrone India as Kabaddi champs (Express Tribune 16-Feb)

The Zindabad Report 31-Jan-2020
Top 3 Company Headlines
Silkbank signs agreement with (The Nation 25-Jan)
PTV to outsource recoveries worth Rs3 billion (Express Tribune 24-Jan)
SMEDA, UHE ink MoU for young entrepreneur development (The Nation 14-Jan
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan defends Chinese investment after US official's criticism (Reuters 23-Jan)
Tax reforms yield Rs209bn in additional revenue (Dawn 12-Jan)
Pakistan won't take sides in Iran-U.S. confrontation (Reuters 06-Jan
The Zindabad’s View
The govt managed to sail through a month of complex foreign affairs issues relatively unscathed. First, it wisely chose neutrality during the Iran-US confrontation, avoiding collateral damage to its relations with the two countries; then, it defended its economic relationship with China during the Davos conference, assuring continued support from the Chinese leadership. The Zindabad welcomes this newly-found diplomatic deftness as a sign of maturity and dedication to development outcomes.
Domestically, the IMF-imposed reforms continue at a good pace. Recently enacted tax reforms are yielding additional revenue for the cash-short govt. However, economic growth remains sluggish.
Fun Fact: Rags to riches Sunny Ali is on a $1bn mission to revamp e-commerce (Express Tribune 24-Jan)​

The Zindabad Report 31-Dec-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Zarai Taraqiati Bank in trouble as bad loans soar (Express Tribune 25-Dec)
Proton to start producing cars in Pakistan in 3 years (Express Tribune 19-Dec)
Carrefour signs partnership agreement with Daraz (The Nation 17-Dec)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
FATF blacklisting may affect Pakistan's capital inflows (Express Tribune 24-Dec)
Former military ruler Musharraf sentenced to death for treason (Reuters 17-Dec)
Pakistan ranks 151 out of 153 on global gender parity index (Dawn 17-Dec)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan is facing new speed bumps in its long road to economic recovery. Its longstanding corruption issues, recently put in the spotlight by the FATF blacklisting, are deterring possible foreign investors. Moreover, the country’s dismal performance in global gender parity indexes indicates much has to be done in this area, in order to address inequities which may lead to slower economic performance.
Recent public unrest in India offers Pakistan the opportunity to redirect its foreign policy and to more directly address its domestic issues. However, the recent death sentence to former military ruler Musharraf is a step in the wrong direction. Apart from being polarising and divisive, this decision does nothing to better Pakistan’s diplomatic position on the world stage. 
Fun Fact: 15 candidates of Pakistani descent elected to UK parliament (Dawn 14-Dec)

The Zindabad Report 30-Nov-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Hutchison Ports invests despite Pakistan's slowing economy ( Express Tribune 24-Nov)
PIA’s operational losses cut to half (Express Tribune 13-Nov)
K-Electric to build 900MW LNG-based power station ( Express Tribune 12-Nov)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Current account rises into surplus (Dawn 19-Nov)
MSCI retains Pakistan in its EM index ( Dawn 09-Nov)
Pakistan opposition sets ultimatum for government to step down (Reuters 01-Nov)
The Zindabad’s View
The worst seems to be over for the Pakistani economy. Although growth rates are still sluggish, the country’s main economic indicators are finally stable and a current account surplus has been registered for the first time in more than four years. The IMF seems content with the results obtained so far, and has released a second loan package of $6 billion to further boost the recovery.
However, the apparent economic recovery does not seem to satisfy the Pakistani population. Protesters have gathered to denounce the govt’s austerity measures, and the PM’s hold on power has never looked shakier since its election last year. The Zindabad believes more economic progress will have to be seen in order to quell the rising political dissent.
Fun Fact: Brilliant Asif tames Roda to regain IBSF World Snooker title (Dawn 10-Nov)

The Zindabad Report 31-Oct-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
ExxonMobil to help build LNG terminal (Express Tribune 27-Oct)
Pakistan Railways project back on track (Express Tribune 11-Oct)
SBP to launch faster payment gateway next year (Dawn 06-Oct)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
ADB, IMF acknowledge Pakistan’s stabilisation reforms (Express Tribune 20-Oct)
Global watchdog keeps Pakistan on terrorism financing 'gray list' (Reuters 18-Oct)
Pakistan and Taliban call for US to resume Afghan peace talks (Reuters 03-Oct)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan’s complicated foreign affairs continued to trouble the country this month. While disputes with India over Kashmir are always on the horizon, Pakistan’s role as a peacemaker in Afghanistan suffered another hit when negotiations between the US and the Taliban abruptly ended. This development worries the Zindabad, as it could trigger new extremist violence domestically and abroad.
On a brighter note, the IMF-imposed reforms seem to have finally been successful in stabilising the country’s economy: inflation is under control, the current account deficit is shrinking, and international investors are regaining confidence. However, it still has to be seen whether this new business environment will lead to fast and sustainable economic growth.
Fun Fact: Prince William and wife Kate arrive in Pakistan for five-day visit (Reuters 14-Oct)

The Zindabad Report 30-Sep-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
ExxonMobil LNG supply deal (Dawn 19-Sep)
Swvl expands further into Pakistan (Dawn 17-Sep)
Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) to become limited company (ProPakistani 03-Sep)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
IMF refuses to revise projections despite poor fiscal results (Express Tribune 21-Sep)
Pakistan vows 'fullest possible response' to India over Kashmir (Reuters 06-Sep)
PM assures magnates of pro-business policies (Dawn 04-Sep)
The Zindabad’s View
Another month, another series of threats from both sides of the border regarding the Kashmir issue. PM Imran Khan has promised retaliation and both armies are on full alert. However, the Zindabad is somehow reassured by the lack of action so far. A diplomatic settlement will probably be reached.
The PTI govt has been struggling to keep up with the reforms and projections imposed by the IMF deal. Economic growth is slackening, fiscal revenues are stagnating' and the population is growing tired of rising inflation and empty promises. If conditions on the ground do not change, the Zindabad believes political upheaval may soon follow.
Fun Fact:  Driverless cars will be introduced in Pakistan in the next few years (ProPakistani 05-Sep)

The Zindabad Report 31-Aug-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Zong CMPAK conducts first successful 5G trials (ProPakistani 21-Aug)
Nepra starts formal investigation against K-Electric (The Nation 18-Aug)
SBP imposes Rs185m penalty on four banks (Express Tribune 10-Aug)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
US cuts aid by $440m (Express Tribune 16-Aug)
Trade suspended with India, downgrade of diplomatic ties (Bloomberg 07-Aug)
Pakistan seeks Korean investment in CPEC projects (Express Tribune 04-Aug)
The Zindabad’s View
This month’s Pakistani headlines were dominated by India’s unilateral decision to revoke Kashmir’s special constitutional status. Pakistan reacted harshly to this crackdown by expelling the Indian ambassador, suspending all trade ties with its neighbour and taking the accusations of Indian human rights violations up to the World Court. The Zindabad worries this dispute will further destabilise the already embattled Pakistani economy.
On the other hand, Pakistan is still seeking fresh money from foreign investors to reduce its still substantial current account deficit.  It has invited South Korean companies to participate in the Chinese-sponsored CPEC projects, but it is still too early to see whether they will take the bait.
Fun Fact: Govt to plant 10 billion trees in five years (Business Recorder 18-Aug)

The Zindabad Report 31-July-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
PTA invites applications for 5G trials (ProPakistani 22-Jul)
Italian, Chinese majors vie in Pakistan's mega LNG tender (Reuters 19-Jul)
World Bank orders govt pay Tethyan Copper $5.8bn damages (Reuters 13-Jul)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Price squeeze hits the middle class as well as poor (Reuters 18-Jul)
Pakistani traders strike over IMF austerity measures (Reuters 13-Jul)
Rupee volatility, lack of confidence impede FDI (Express Tribune 08-Jul)
The Zindabad’s View
The effects of the IMF-imposed deregulation efforts are still shaking the Pakistani economy. The economy hasn’t stablised yet. Currency exchange rates and domestic inflation keep fluctuating. Furthermore, the crisis has also started to affect the middle class, which is the political base of the current PTI govt. Will we experience new elections soon?
However, not all is grim: privatisations open up space for foreign multinationals, such as the Italian ENI and the Chinese Petrochina, to invest in the FDI-hungry country. Additionally, the Sino-Pakistani economic relationship remains strong, as the China-led 5G trials finally reach the South Asian country. The Zindabad believes Pakistan’s economic revival may lie in this partnership.
Fun Fact: Pakistan’s passport is still ranked among the worst 5 in the World (ProPakistani 08-Jul)

The Zindabad Report 30-Jun-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
US company Solar Stick to invest in Pakistan’s solar energy sector (Express Tribune 26-Jun)
Zong 4G emerges as the most preferred network (The Nation 25-Jun)
Paapam decries proposed electric vehicles policy (Dawn 13-Jun)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Rupee hits all-time low of 161.5 against US dollar (Express Tribune 26-Jun)
PM directs cabinet members to implement austerity measures (Business Recorder 19-Jun)
Budget 2019-20: IMF hand clearly visible in budget proposals (Dawn 12-Jun)
The Zindabad’s View
The first fiscal budget after the IMF deal has been proposed. Regardless of tough parliamentary opposition, the PTI govt announced austerity measures and steep tax increases in order to reduce the primary deficit. This measure might stabilise the erratic economy in the short-term, but it will harm the long-term growth prospects of the country.
The world markets also confirm the precarious situation of the Pakistani economy. The national currency has hit an all-time low against the US dollar, while the FDI inflows dropped by 49% in this fiscal year. This is dire news for a country still very dependent on foreign investment. The Zindabad believes the govt must turn the tide soon in order to avoid long-term stagnation.
Fun Fact: Cat filter left on during Pakistani official's briefing on social media (Bloomberg 17-Jun)

The Zindabad Report 31-May-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Pakistan’s only deep-water port enters phase II of expansion (Express Tribune 07-May)
Jazz, Enfrashare to spur telecom infrastructure development (The Nation 07-May)
Pakistan Post embraces digitalisation to improve efficiency (The Nation 06-May)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
805-point plunge pushes stock index to 3 year low (Dawn 18-May)
Pakistan and IMF reach loan deal (Wall Street Journal, 12-May)
Growth rate slumps to lowest in 9 years (Express Tribune 10-May)
The Zindabad’s View
In the wake of the signing of Pakistan’s IMF deal, the economic situation of the country is particularly dismal. The growth rate has slowed down to 3.3%, the domestic currency is the worst-performing in all of Asia, and the stock market is experiencing strong turbulence. Pakistan is a poor prospect for investment right now.
Prospects for the future are also not rosy. The policy reforms dictated by the IMF deal will further drive up energy prices and unemployment while reducing the government’s ability to intervene in the economy. Pakistan’s relationship with its biggest foreign investor - China - is also up for discussion. The Zindabad does not see an economic growth recovery happening anytime soon.
Fun Fact: Pakistani charity dishes out ostrich as Ramadan treat for poor (Reuters 07-May)

The Zindabad Report 30-Apr-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Mobilink Microfinance Bank’s Profits Increase by 33% in 2018 (ProPakistani 15-Apr)
Facebook Innovation Lab launched (The Nation 04-Apr)
Zapbuddy: Pakistan’s Rival to WhatsApp Finally Launches on Android (ProPakistani 01-Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan PM Khan appoints new finance ministry chief in major reshuffle ( Reuters 18-Apr)
Pakistan reaches 'agreement in principle' with IMF over bailout (Reuters 15-Apr)
Pakistan’s GDP growth may slow down to 3.4%: World Bank (Express Tribune 07-Apr)
The Zindabad’s View
The PTI government has finally managed to obtain a long-sought IMF bailout program.It is expected to be finalised early next month. The program will relieve Pakistan’s current budget deficit in the short term. It is conditional on the introduction of austerity measures and further economic liberalisation. The Zindabad believes that this is a wrong move. History shows that the last twelve IMF programs in Pakistan have not been successful. Why should the 13th be?
On a more positive note, Pakistan’s emerging technology sector seems to be on the rise. The Zindabad believes the sector could be a reliable hotspot for future investments, especially from Western and Chinese capital.
Fun Fact: Five Pakistanis and a start-up make it to Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2019 list (Dawn 04-Apr)

The Zindabad Report 31-Mar-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Govt freezes Rs96bn PIA (PIAA:KAR) liabilities to CAA (Dawn 21-Mar)
Thar Coal (EPQL:KAR) adds 330MW to the national grid (Express Tribune 19-Mar)
Telenor Pakistan (TEL:OSL) partners with Netflix (The Nation 09-Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Economy to slow further in ‘calibrated moderation’, says SBP Governor (Dawn 19-Mar)
World Bank delegation calls on PM, offers economic support (UrduPoint 18-Mar)
Govt decides to sell state lands to pay off debt (Express Tribune 08-Mar)
The Zindabad’s View
Good political news for Pakistan: even if tensions still run high, last month’s military confrontation with India has pacified. PM Imran Khan is playing the leading role as a pacifier. This development lowers investment risk in the country.
However, Pakistan’s budget and current account deficits still need to be addressed. The govt has chosen privatisation and the World Bank’s loans as the two paths to escape debt. The Zindabad feels unsure this will work.
Pakistan International Airlines’ disastrous economic situation continues to trouble the govt. A solution does not seem to be near.
Fun fact: PM ‘nominated for Nobel Peace Prize’ by US publication (Express Tribune 10-Mar)

The Zindabad Report 28-Feb-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Indus Motor’s (INDU:KAR) profit falls 10% to Rs3.4bn (Express Tribune 26-Feb)
PIA (PIAA:KAR) gets another Rs5.6bn bailout (UrduPoint 12-Feb)
Zong 4G, Huawei partnership (The Nation 08-Feb)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Current account deficit falls by 47%, exports grow slightly (Dawn 22-Feb)
Pakistan, Russia sign study on $10bn pipeline (The Nation 07-Feb)
S&P downgrades Pakistan's long-term rating to "B-" (Express Tribune 04-Feb)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan’s govt reinforced its efforts to increase and diversify foreign investment. It needs to reduce its current account deficit. Recent investment deals with the Gulf countries and Russia give some short-term relief but a new IMF loan seems to be on the horizon.
The Pulwama incident and the clashes with the Indian air force worry the Zindabad. Renewed tensions with India will make Pakistan a risky environment for business.
Fun fact: Citizen fined for washing car using water pipe at home (UrduPoint 07-Feb)

The Zindabad Report 31-Jan-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
PM’s aide meets BA (BAY: LSE) to finalise operations pact (Express Tribune 30-Jan)
Danish companies to bid for renewable energy projects (Express Tribune 25-Jan)
Cargill $200m to grow Pakistan business (Dawn 18-Jan)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Tax cuts aim to boost investment (Dawn 24-Jan)
Current account deficit widened 37% in Dec 2018 (Express Tribune 18-Jan)
Saudi Arabia to set up $10 billion oil refinery in Pakistan (Reuters 12-Jan)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan’s large current account and budget deficits loom threateningly over its whole economy. Although it has attempted to diversify foreign investment, the most substantial influxes keep coming from China and the Gulf economies, especially in infrastructure and primary resources. Tax cuts and other incentives have also been applied to strengthen domestic growth but it is still too early to assess the effects.
Fun Fact: Govt declares sugarcane juice as 'national drink' of Pakistan (The Nation 25-Jan)

The Zindabad Report 31-May-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines
Huaneng Fuyun Shipping Co evade Rs1.12bn tax (The Tribune 15-May)
Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) purchase Daraz (Bloomberg 08-May)
ExxonMobil buy 25% share in offshore drilling (The Tribune 29-May)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan borrows $1bn from chinese banks (Financial Times 23-May)
Growth rate predicted to fall to 5.2% (Bloomberg 13-May)
WB signs $400m deal for green projects in Punjab (Dawn 30-May)
The Zindabad’s View
Predictions about Pakistan’s economic growth rates vary widely. Economic growth is predicted to slow for the first time in 6 years. The Zindabad does not trust the govt’s predictions. See last month’s report below.
The unequal power dynamic between China and Pakistan has been exposed.  The govt is reluctant to prosecute a chinese company guilty of tax evasion due to ‘national interests’. 
Fun Fact: Pakistan and India agree to ceasefire along Kashmir border (Al Jazeera 30-May)

The Zindabad Report 30-Apr-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines
Unilever (UPFL:KAR) to invest $120m (Pakistan Observer 28-Apr)
Shell (LON:RDSB) plan 100 fuel stations along CPEC (The News 20-Apr)
Supreme Court blocks privatisation of PIA (PIAA:KAR) (Ch-Aviation 17-Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
PK predicts 5.8% economic growth rate (Reuters 26-Apr)
Foreign reserves fall by $2.7bn since Dec (Financial Times 16-Apr)
China to help upgrade train network (Bloomberg 12-Apr)
The Zindabad’s View
The Zindabad believes the finance minister’s announcement of 5.8% growth (fastest rate in 13 years) should be treated with caution. Despite continued investment due to the CPEC, the country appears desperate as it seeks to raise $1bn from expats.
Fun Fact: PML-N Senator fined Rs2,000 after phone rings in court (Geo News 30-Apr)

The Zindabad Report 31-Mar-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines
Nissan re-enters market with Datsun brand (Economic Times 28-Mar)
Shanghai Power seeks govt. support for K-Electric purchase (Dawn 27-Mar)
PTCL declared fastest growing brand in PK (The Nation 02-Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
India calls for $25bn increase in bilateral trade (Business Today 31-Mar)
World Bank approves $145m to boost housing capacity (Gulf Times 31-Mar)
Central Bank leaves interest rate unchanged (Bloomberg 30-Mar
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan’s growing middle class has been noted by investors, as Nissan seeks to capitalize. The World Bank’s loan to secure low-cost housing will assist in the increase of this middle class. 
The Zindabad believes India’s interest in increasing bilateral trade will not see any development until after the upcoming elections. 
Fun Fact: Malala Yousafzai visits Pakistan for first time since Taliban attack (ABC 31-Mar)

The Zindabad Report 28-Feb-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines
Govt. to sell 49% stake in PIAA:KAR (ch-aviation 26-Feb)
Hayat Group to invest $150m in consumer goods market (Tribune 12-Feb)
Engro (ENGRO:KAR) to mine new coal reserve in Sindh (The Economist 03-Feb)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Steel melter assoc. reject Chinese tax exemption (Steel Guru 09-Feb)
PK placed on terror financing watchlist (Reuters 23-Feb)
WB’s ease of doing business index ranks PK 147th  (Daily Times 17-Feb)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan’s image continues to suffer as the country is again linked to funding terrorism. Luckily for Pakistan it has managed to avoid the ‘Blacklist’ which includes Iran and North Korea. 
The Zindabad believes Pakistan will struggle to fix its image, especially as it approaches the chaotic election period. 
Fun Fact: Fake news states Chinese has become an official language in Pakistan (BBC 28-Feb)​

The Zindabad Report 31-Jan-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines
Govt. seeks to privatise PIA (PIAA:KAR) (Reuters 14-Jan)
PK hopes to recover $800mn from (Etisalat:UH) (The Tribune 31-Jan)
Bahrain’s Ithmaar Bank plans rapid expansion (Reuters 29-Jan)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan allows Chinese Yuan for bilateral trade (Xinhua 03-Jan)
PK ranked 47th in WEF emerging economies list (Geo 23-Jan)
WB predicts GDP growth at 5.5% for 2017-18 (Geo 10-Jan)
The Zindabad’s View
The possible privatisation of the national airline, PIA, is not surprising. It is notorious for its failures.  The Zindabad believes these talks open the door for a dramatic rise in privatisation of other state-run businesses. Pakistan’s economy continues to grow despite recent political turmoil. The Zindabad expects the effects of upcoming elections will be minimal . 
Fun Fact: Despite controversy in India, Padmaavat will be released in Pakistan with ‘U’ certification (The Hindu Business Line 25-Jan)

The Zindabad Report 31-Dec-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Hyundai (KRX: 005380) to enter Pakistani auto market (Xinhua 16-Dec)
Smartphone company Meizu to launch in Pak (Dunya News 07-Dec)
Careem (ride-hailing app) plans 30 city expansion (Bloomberg 13-Dec)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistani bonds rated ‘B3’ by Moody’s (Moody’s 06-Dec)
Qatar requests 100k Pakistani skilled workers (Business Recorder 28-Dec)
UAE Ambassador calls for closer trade ties (Gulf News 15-Dec)
The Zindabad’s View
The Zindabad believes that the investment rewards will outweigh the risks in Pakistan. New companies such as Hyundai continue to enter the market. Moody’s rating indicates the improvements in Pakistan’s economy and generally positive outlook.
The Zindabad expects rapid development of the CPEC project in 2018. This will radically boost Pakistan’s economy.
Fun Fact: Man floods Islamabad police with phone calls saying ‘Jai Hind’ aka ‘Long Live India’  (Times of India 29-Dec)

The Zindabad Report 30-Nov-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)  pulls out of project in PK (Express Tribune 01-Nov)
Siemens (ETR:SIE) to install solar power plant (Renewables Now 07-Nov)
Renault (RNO:PAR)  signs agreement to assemble cars in PK (Auto News 21-Nov)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
PK returns to global bond market (Financial Times 30-Nov)
Use of Chinese currency in PK rejected (Express Tribune 21-Nov)
PK withdraws bid to include $14bn dam in CPEC (Economic Times 15-Nov)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan’s decision to resist China’s demands exposes a troubled relationship between the two countries. The Zindabad believes failure to resolve their issues would damage Pakistan’s economic stability far more than China’s. We can expect Pakistan to give in to other demands in the coming months.
Fun Fact:  Pakistan positioned among top 15 in Mr Ocean 2017 (Express Tribune 30-Nov)

The Zindabad Report 30-Sep-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
China Pak Corp £111m gated community (Asian Image 27-Sep)
Defence Minister clears sale of K-Electric (Express Tribune 29-Sep)
Hong Kong Zhong Huan Co Rs4bn soda ash plant (The Nation 29-Sep)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan to receive $800m from ADB (The News 27-Sep)
UK govt £200m to boost trade with PK (IOE&IT News 19-Sep)
International tourism triples since 2013 (Bloomberg 28-Sep)
The Zindabad’s View
Despite recent political turmoil, Pakistan appears to be largely unaffected. Continued investment has caught the attention of the UK. The Zindabad believes the UK has realised they must take Pakistan seriously, or risk losing out. As the US begins to distance itself, the UK steps up as a potential supporter. This is good for Pakistan.
Fun Fact: Plastic eating fungus found in Pakistan rubbish dump (Independent 22-Sep

The Zindabad Report 31-Aug-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Axiata (AXIATA:KLSE) buy 13k telecom towers for $940m (Arab News 31-Aug)
Puma Energy & Chishti Group to buy 51% of Admore Gas (PR 25-Aug)
New York regulator to fine Habib Bank $630m (Daily Star 29-Aug)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Trump criticises PK’s alleged terror links (New York Times 30-Aug)
Sharif’s brother predicted to replace Abbasi as PM (CNN 01-Aug)
Russia-Pakistan military ties expand (Press TV 30-Aug
The Zindabad’s View
Trump goes on the offensive with harsh criticism of Pakistan. Pakistan has suspended bilateral visits. The Zindabad believes rising anti-American sentiment could lead to further political turmoil.  
The telecoms industry continues to expand. It shows investors are confident that Pakistan will meet expectations following promotion to emerging market status. 
Fun Fact: ICC to send match official to Pakistan for first time since 2009 (ESPN 29-Aug)

The Zindabad Report 31-Jul-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Shell (SHEL:KAR) fined $2.4m for tanker explosion (Telegraph 08-Jul)
DG Khan (DGKC:KAR) $300m cement factory opens Dec (Express Tribune 18-Jul)
3 foreign oil & gas companies end operations (ARY 13-Jul)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
PM resigns following Panama Papers verdict (BBC 28-Jul)
50% fuel tankers fail safety standards (Reuters 27-Jul)
Foreign companies in PK face audit (Dawn 26-Jul)
The Zindabad’s View
"Go Nawaz Go" becomes "Gone Nawaz Gone" following the PM’s disgraced exit.  Political instability threatens foreign investment. The Zindabad believes China will not allow anything to threaten the CPEC. Perhaps China will provide some stability with increased investment. 
Pakistan is cracking down on unauthorised activities of foreign companies. Oil companies will be most affected because they are accused of delaying introduction of regulatory standards. 
Fun Fact:  The PM’s portrait was removed from Jinnah Airport after disqualification (Samaa TV 29-Jul)

The Zindabad Report 30-Jun-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Byco (BYCO:KAR) to reopen oil refinery (Bloomberg 16-Jun)
Scania (SCVB:SS) to enter PK (Such Tv 10-Jun)
Kohat Cement (KOCH:KAR) to set up new plant (Express Tribune 07-Jun)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Trump may take tough stance on PK (Guardian 27-Jun)
IMF says Pakistan outlook ‘favourable’ (The Nation 17-Jun)
CPEC to generate over 700k jobs  (Business Recorder 17-Jun)
The Zindabad’s View
The IMF’s view on Pakistan is supported by the increasing growth of new ventures in the region. The CPEC is credited as the reason for investment by a number of high profile companies.
The Zindabad believes that if the US cut financial aid it would not be devastating. China would prop up Pakistan to maintain the stability of the CPEC. 
Fun Fact:  Pakistan beat India by 180 runs to win ICC Champions Trophy 2017 (Guardian 18-Jun)

The Zindabad Report 31-May-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Bank of China licensed to operate (Reuters 13-May)
Uber to invest $500m in Pakistan by 2020 (Tech Juice 15-May)
PIA (PIAA:KAR)  loses millions due to IT crash (The Nation 30-May)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Power shortages lead to protests (Financial Times 30-May)
MSCI reclassifies Pakistan as emerging market (Reuters 14-May)
Trump proposes $190m cut in aid (Business Standard 24-May)
The Zindabad’s View
Trump’s proposal to cut financial aid to Pakistan can be seen as a confirmation of the country’s growing economy and international position.
The Zindabad believes that energy and security concerns must be dealt with urgently. Failure to do so will lead to further attacks against the govt, halting further foreign investment as companies wait for the PM to restore stability. Pakistan has yet to earn “emerging” market status in the eyes of some sceptical investors.
Fun Fact: British hairstyle of skin fades proving popular in city of Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (The News 29-May)

The Zindabad Report 30-Apr-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Pak Suzuki (PSMC:KAR) launches 1000cc Cultus (Dunya 24-Apr)
Premier Oil (PMO:LSE) sell Pakistani business for $65.6m (Tech Juice 06-Apr
Honda Atlas (HCAR:KAR) introduce BR-V (Dunya 22-Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
World Bank predicts 5.2% economy growth in 2017 (Geo 17-Apr)
PM survives corruption ruling (BBC 20-Apr)
Govt considering tax evasion amnesty  (Bloomberg 18-Apr)
The Zindabad’s View
It appears that news of Pakistan’s ever growing economy has reached Europe. As the Netherlands and France eye up potential business ventures, the Zindabad believes other European countries will follow in their footsteps.
The growth of the motor industry is a good sign that incomes are increasing, with more people having the money to buy luxury goods. The Zindabad wonders whether wealth will reach all levels of society or remain with the middle class. Pakistan still has problems with corruption. 
Fun Fact: Karachi may see the return of international cricket stars during upcoming T20 games (Geo 29-Apr)


The Zindabad Report 31-Mar-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Intel (INTC:NASDAQ) closes offices in Pakistan (TechJuice 21-Mar)
Gezhouba Group (600068:SHA) given hydropower project (Hindustan Times 09-Mar)
Clean fuel firm EGAS Pvt Ltd struggles to take off (Reuters 30-Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
World Bank signs $432.7m deal (Geo 31-Mar)
PM seeks investment from Bahrain (Samaa TV 29-Mar)
Pakistan invites US to invest in China-Pak projects (The News 31-Mar)
The Zindabad’s View
It seems Pakistan wants to change its relationships with the Gulf states. Pakistan wants to be more than just a cheap supplier of labour. The Zindabad believes Pakistan’s recent promotion to emerging market status is a sign of its overall growing importance and confidence.
The US invitation into the bilateral Pak-China CPEC project is surprising. The Zindabad believes this is a diplomatic gesture so that the US does not feel threatened by the Pak-China alliance. Does an attempt to grow its relationship with America undermine Pakistan’s established relationship with China?
Fun Fact: Facebook has removed 85% of blasphemous content after Pakistan requests all insults towards Islam are taken down (Daily Times 27-Mar)

The Zindabad Report 28-Feb-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
IBM (IBM:LSE) to expand into three major cities (TechList 25-Feb)
Tesco (TSCO:LSE) to enter Pakistan market (The News 16-Feb)
Hyundai (005380:KRX) to set up car assembly plant (Reuters 03-Feb)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan upgrading from Frontier to Emerging Market (Washington Post 21-Feb)
Pakistan threatened with economic sanctions for terror links (Forbes 26-Feb)
Recent terror attacks leave country on edge (CNN 24-Feb)
The Zindabad’s View
As Pakistan suffers a wave of terror attacks this month, all eyes are on the govt to see whether they are able to control the situation. Whatever the end result of their actions, the image of Pakistan has been damaged again. Support from the international community is weakening as accusations are made that the country continues to fund terror. Pakistan should choose whose side they are on quickly before their reputation is damaged beyond repair.
Despite all the negative attention on Pakistan it has had little effect on the economy.  Interest in foreign direct investment remains high. This is a sign of Pakistan’s growing strength. The Zindabad suggests we end this bloody month on an optimistic note. If even terror cannot stop the country from advancing, could it one day become the next China/US?

Fun Fact: Pakistan bans Valentine’s Day for being ‘un-Islamic’ which is bad news for all those Cadbury lovers (CNN 13-Feb)

The Zindabad Report 31-Jan-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines
Zorlu Enerji to set up solar power in Punjab  (Tribune 27-Jan)
PSM, PIA (PIAA:KAR), OGDCL (OGDC:KAR) to be privatised (Dawn 19-Jan)
Abraaj Group takes majority stake in Jhimpir Power (Daily Times 26-Jan)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Trump orders ‘extreme vetting’ for Pakistanis (Dawn 28-Jan)
78% American companies willing to invest more (Tribune 17-Jan)
Water dispute escalates between India and Pakistan (Daily Times 22-Jan)
The Zindabad’s View
India is starting construction of two hydro projects in Jammu and Kashmir, in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. The Zindabad predicts troubling times in the sub-continent. Pakistan is calling on the World Bank to arbitrate the dispute but this potentially a very serious matter. The international community will need to intervene if bilateral discussions fail. Conflict threatens the recent success of Pakistan’s markets. 
As several countries encounter the ‘Muslim Ban’, Trump has spared Pakistan from outright visa denials. Evidence shows that countries in the Middle East which have business relations with Trump are also exempt from the ban. Perhaps Pakistan is also a key target for Trump’s business interests. If that is the case, then ‘extreme vetting’ may just be for show, which is good news for Pakistan. 
Fun Fact: Pakistan lifts the ban on Indian movies, which is great news for all of you Shahrukh Khan and Kajol fans (Sydney Morning Herald 29-Jan)

​The Zindabad Report 31-Dec-2016
Top 3 Company Headlines
Chinese consortium to buy 40% of the PSX (China Daily 28-Dec)
PIA (PIAA:KAR) shares fall 8.9% as chief resigns (UPI 13-Dec)
Shanghai Electric to invest $700m a year until 2030 (Samaa TV 08-Dec)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Pakistan will not demonetise Rs5000 note (Forbes 27-Dec)
Trump sees friend in Sharif (Independent 01-Dec)
Chinese-assisted 4th nuclear plant completed (Japan Times 29-Dec)
The Zindabad’s View
Trump says PM Nawaz Sharif is a “terrific guy” running a country with “tremendous opportunities”. Could US-Pakistan ties be the new China-Pakistan? Let’s not put too much faith in Trump to actually find these “opportunities”. The Zindabad suspects the closest he has been to Pakistan is watching the England v Pakistan cricket match on ESPN. Let’s not be too cynical. After all, Sharif and Trump have created fortunes from their businesses. I am sure they will work something out. 
China continues its purchase of Pakistan’s assets and the Zindabad wonders if there is any end in sight. Answers can be found in Pakistan’s decision not to follow India’s footsteps with demonetisation. It seems Sharif is reluctant to harm his ratings with the people or the economy especially as elections near. For this reason, The Zindabad believes there may be several high profile Chinese purchases before summer 2018.  
Fun Fact: Pakistan International Airlines has been mocked for sacrificing a goat on a runway to ensure a safe flight (Daily Mail 19-Dec)

The Zindabad Report 30-Nov-2016
Top 3 Company Headlines
Sindh Engro Coal to complete new plants by 2019 (Geo 15-Nov)
Shanghai Electric now the majority owner of K-Electric (The Asset 08-Nov)
China & Iran may lease Pakistan Steel Mills (Pakistan Today 23-Nov)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
China $35bn to construct ‘New Silk Road’ (China Economic Review 25-Nov)
Minister hopes to strengthen ties with Japan (Radio Pakistan 24-Nov)
PM faces blame for country’s increasing debt (The Nation 22-Nov)
The Zindabad’s View
Pakistan is in more debt but this is unsurprising. Bilawal Bhutto, the Chairman of the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) has launched an attack on the PM, a clear sign of political instability.  Bhutto is seeking an alliance with fellow parties, so watch this space. There may be a revolution brewing. The PM will do all he can to fight back such as building on his ‘special relationship’ with China’s PM.
Pakistan’s debt problems have led to a series of prominent privatisations e.g. K-Electric, Pakistan Steel Mills. The Zindabad wonders how greater foreign ownership of strategic assets will influence the govt. The balance is difficult. Pakistan needs to solve its debt problems, attract foreign investment, and build partnerships to increase its global position - but at what cost?
Fun Fact: Sharbat Gula, the iconic ‘Afghan girl’ pictured on the National Geographic in 1985, will not be deported back to Afghanistan. Instead, she will only be fined $1,100… Anyone want to create a GoFundMe page on her behalf? (Economic Times 06-Nov)