Pakistan
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-2017
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)

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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)