Emerging Market Upgrade:
Pakistan's Karachi Stock Exchange KSE100 Index has rallied 14% in 2016, making it Asia's best performing market so far this year in anticipation of the MSCI announcement.
The upgrade could attract additional $475 million of inflows by the middle of next year as investors rush to buy Pakistani shares, according to analysts quoted by Bloomberg News.
Pakistan was classified as Emerging Market in 1994, a status it retained during the Musharraf years. It was downgraded to frontier status in December 2008, four months after the former president was forced out by PPP and PMLN politicians.
Loss of investor confidence after President Musharraf's departure triggered a major bear market that wiped out nearly $37 billion of market capitalization at the Karachi Stock Exchange. It led to the imposition of a floor on share prices that caused near total paralysis of market activity for more than three months, according to Bloomberg News.
Pakistan is seeing soaring foreign direct investment (FDI) with improving security and the start of several major energy and infrastructure projects as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), according to the UK's Financial Times business newspaper.
A New High in FDI:
The year 2015 was a bumper year for foreign investment pouring into Pakistan, says the Financial Times. The country saw 39 greenfield investments adding up to an estimated $18.9 billion last year, according to fDi Markets, an FT data service. This is a big jump from 28 projects for $7.6 billion started in 2014, and marks a new high for greenfield capital investment into the country since fDi began collecting data in 2003.
|Pakistan FDI Source: FT.com|
The number of projects in 2015 is the largest since Pakistan attracted 57 greenfield projects back in 2005 on President Musharraf's watch. China is now the top source country for investment into the country, surpassing the second-ranked United Arab Emirates, primarily due to its investments in power.
|Top 10 Destinations of Chinese FDI 2012-14. Source: UNESCAP|
Major CPEC Projects:
China's Shanghai Electric, a power generation and electrical equipment manufacturing company, announced plans last year to establish a 1,320 megawatt coal-based power project in Thar desert using domestic coal, scheduled to launch in 2017 or 2018. Traditional energy and power projects made up two-thirds of last year’s total greenfield investment into Pakistan at $12.9 billion with alternative energy bringing in a further $1.8 billion.
Among the more notable projects, UAE-based Metal Investment Holding Corporation announced plans to partner with Power China E & M International to invest $5 billion to build three coal-fired plants at Karachi’s Port Qasim. In addition, the transportation sector is also showing promise, with 12 projects totaling $3 billion being announced or initiated last year.
Special Economic Zones:
Beyond the initial phase of power and road projects, there are plans to establish special economic zones in the Corridor where Chinese companies will locate factories. Extensive manufacturing collaboration between the two neighbors will include a wide range of products from cheap toys and textiles to consumer electronics and supersonic fighter planes.
The basic idea of an industrial corridor is to develop a sound industrial base, served by competitive infrastructure as a prerequisite for attracting investments into export oriented industries and manufacturing. Such industries have helped a succession of countries like Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, China and now even Vietnam rise from low-cost manufacturing base to more advanced, high-end exports. As a country's labour gets too expensive to be used to produce low-value products, some poorer country takes over and starts the climb to prosperity.
Once completed, the Pak-China industrial corridor with a sound industrial base and competitive infrastructure combined with low labor costs is expected to draw growing FDI from manufacturers in many other countries looking for a low-cost location to build products for exports to rich OECD nations.
While the commitment is there on both sides to make the corridor a reality, there are many challenges that need to be overcome. The key ones are maintaining security and political stability, ensuring transparency, good governance and quality of execution. These challenges are not unsurmountable but overcoming them does require serious effort on the part of both sides but particularly on the Pakistani side. Let's hope Pakistani leaders are up to these challenges.
Pak-China economic corridor is a very ambitious effort by the two countries that will lead to greater investment and rapid industrialization of Pakistan. Successful implementation of it will be a game-changer for the people of Pakistan in terms of new economic opportunities leading to higher incomes and significant improvements in the living standards for ordinary Pakistanis. It will be in the best interest of all of them to set their differences aside and work for its successful implementation.
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#Pakistan shares soar to all-time high after #MSCI upgrade
Pakistan's benchmark index jumped as much as 3% in early trade on Wednesday, climbing to a record high after the country's stock market was reclassified overnight and included in the MSCI's emerging market index category.
By 10.55 a.m. local time (0555 GMT), the benchmark 100-share index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was up 865.68 points, or 2.3%, at 38,383.43 points.
The index recorded its biggest single-day gain since March 31, 2015, and is one of Asia's best performers this year.
Pakistani brokerages upgraded their outlook on the market and said the main index was now likely to rise above 40,000 by the end of the year.
"Pakistan's market multiple is lower than the emerging market multiple so there will most likely be a re-rating of the Pakistan market in the short term," said Saad Hashmey, chief economist and director of research for Topline Securities.
"It might not be as high as the emerging market but there will be plenty of upside," he added.
The stock exchange was dropped from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index when it imposed a floor on the market during the financial crisis in 2008, effectively trapping local and foreign investors for several months.
Over the past few years officials have been enacting a host of market reforms to regain the trust of investors, including demutualising Pakistan's bourses to weaken the influence of stockbrokers and deepen the investor base.
Intermarket Securities, a local brokerage, said the move by MSCI had prompted it to upgrade its end-of-year target for the benchmark index to 41,000 points.
"The jovial mood following this re-rating event is expected to reflect in market performance today," Intermarket said in an early morning research note.
Traders said large-cap stocks expected to be included in the MSCI Emerging Market index were trading higher. Habib Bank was up 3.83% at 191.30 rupees, while Oil and Gas Development Company jumped 2.95% to 146.60 rupees.
Research firms estimate the MSCI upgrade will result in about $400 million in inflows into Pakistan's stock market by passive tracker funds alone.
Reduction in terrorist violence is helping improve security situation for economic growth in Pakistan:
Terrorism deaths, 2015.
(US State Dept.)
#China eases rules for #Pakistan’s banks. #CPEC #FDI
After successful negotiations by the Ministry of Commerce, Chinese authorities have eased the regulations for Pakistan’s financial sector which will make it easier for Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to establish a branch in China.
HBL will be the first South Asian commercial bank to open a division in China. It will be located in China’s northwest city of Urumqi.
“The bank has received formal approval from the Chinese authorities and will open its branch by the end of this year,” announced Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir, accompanied by the president and CEO of HBL, at a press conference on Monday.
HBL to open branch in China
The minister said after successful negotiations with the Chinese authorities under the Trade and Investment Agreement 2009, they relaxed their criteria for Pakistan’s banking sector by curtailing the currency reserves limit from $20 billion to $15 billion.
The banking channels will be opened under the Trade and Investment Agreement signed by the two countries. Under the agreement, both sides have agreed to provide concessions to each other in 11 sectors including the banking sector.
Dastgir was optimistic that the step would enhance trade facilitation between the two countries and they would now be able to open letters of credit with HBL instead of a foreign bank.
“This initiative will also help Pakistan’s banking channel to reach the Central Asian countries bordering Urumqi.”
China cuts cost estimate by another $200 million for Gwadar LNG pipeline
Replying to a question, the minister said availability of Pakistan banking channels in China would also be helpful in overcoming the challenges of over and under-invoicing in bilateral trade as most of the businessmen conducted trade through cash.
HBL President Sultan Ali Allana said HBL’s initial plan was to cover the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor trade route and it would then expand its branches to other cities of China.
He said they had got approval from the Chinese authorities and the first branch would be opened in Urumqi before the end of current year.
“HBL has a long-term strategic plan in China and will broaden its channels in other cities in future with appropriate investment,” said Allana.
#Pakistan shares index plummets 848 points ( 2.22%) on #Brexit vote http://reut.rs/28TmOQL via Reuters
Pakistan stocks plunged more than 2 percent and recorded their biggest percentage loss in more than five months as Britain's exit from the European Union rattled global markets.
The benchmark 100-share index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange closed down 2.22 percent, or 848.01 points, at 37,389.88, after recovering from an intraday low of 36,826.
"Markets fell as an impact of Britain's exit from EU, Asian markets fell as well as commodity prices. Oil prices are also down by five percent," said Fawad Khan, head of research, KASB Securities Private Limited.
Index heavyweights that led the losses include Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd, which slipped 4.18 percent, while Pakistan Petroleum Limited declined 4.34 percent and Pakistan Oil fields Ltd fell 3.93 percent.
Yen has appreciated as a result of Britain's exit, hurting auto sector stocks.
Honda Atlas Cars (Pakistan) Ltd lost 5 percent and Pak Suzuki Motor Co Ltd declined 5 percent.
Pakistan's stock market had its second worst week of 2016. Its still Asia's best market and only to give double digit returns #Brexit
Dawn Op Ed: Can Pakistan be the next Silicon Valley?
Technology is the core growth driver in the 21st century; policymakers can’t ignore its interplay with entrepreneurship and focus solely on ‘bricks and mortar’.
This is the century of the ‘tech entrepreneurs’. Embracing this notion intelligently — by studying others’ successes and mistakes — will speed up Pakistan’s evolution.
Pakistan can channel local entrepreneurs into industries it fully or partially controls, for example defence and healthcare.
To retain the smartest Pakistanis, a richly-funded, high paying and elite training program can be instituted that polishes them into innovation leaders.
Pakistan’s Research & Development expenditure vis-a-vis its gross domestic product (GDP) was $2 per person. In comparison, India spent $9 per person.
With 100 million Pakistanis joining the labour force in the coming decades, Pakistan cannot afford to wait.
India's decade of innovation
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took the podium to speak about a new national innovation policy on a sunny morning in January 2013, there had hitherto been no comprehensive government-led focus on innovation in India. Policies of yore never tied knowledge production to commercialisation, leading to innovators unable to make money. So innovation never boomed.
The policy Singh unveiled in 2013 finally took a much-needed holistic approach. The decade leading to 2020 was labeled the ‘Decade of Innovation’, with a central theme of supporting for innovative entrepreneurship. Fragments of the Indian innovation ecosystem were all streamlined for the first time.
There existed within Singh’s policy echoes of the Chinese model. In China, the central government plays a homogenising role to curtail knowledge gaps caused by too much provincial devolution. The thinking is that for the machine to work, every cog must be made to do its part. And while the jury is out on India’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) 2013 policy, the success of its Chinese counterpart is readily visible.
Pakistan may be a large country, but in this respect, it must act like a small one, with the central government formulating a holistic and nation-wide innovation policy. Everyone must get on the same page, or else Pakistan will remain stuck as the world pulls away ever faster.
although Pakistan isn’t slick enough to tempt foreign immigrants from developed economies, it can at least try to get its own immigrants back. About 13,000 Pakistanis working in Silicon Valley are obvious candidates — their engineering skills as good as any.
Luring back expats is an integral part of the equation but it doesn’t complete the equation. The other part is producing greater numbers of smart people in the first place; exploiting that massive population base.
At all levels, the education system instituted by the Pakistani government relies heavily on rote-learning. That’s got to go. Moreover, the secondary and higher school certificates curriculum promotes convention and obedience at the expense of experimentation or creativity. Guess which of these traits produce innovation?
#China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor on track, says #Chinese envoy. #CPEC
In the energy sector, 16 projects have been sorted out to be implemented first, which can generate 10.4 million kw of electricity in total, Sun said, adding that half of the projects have been under construction, and will help Pakistan ease its power shortages.
A solar power plant in Punjab province's Bahawalpur city, built by the Chinese company ZTE Energy, has recently installed a 300-megawatt generator unit, which can produce 480 million kWh annually, enough to satisfy the daily power consumption of at least 200,000 Pakistani families, Sun said.
Regarding transportation, the ambassador said, phase II of the Karakoram highway, the Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi highway, and the Pakistan portion of a cross-border optical cable project are already underway.
As the largest transportation project under the CPEC, the 392 km-long Multan-Sukkur stretch is expected to create nearly 10,000 jobs at the peak of its construction, the ambassador added.
According to incomplete statistics, the CPEC projects under construction have employed more than 6,000 Pakistani workers by the end of March, besides the employment indirectly created and driven by the projects, Sun said.
Furthermore, Chinese companies participating in CPEC helped residents in remote areas of Pakistan gain access to clean water, electricity and better transportation.
China's Three Gorges Corporation and Tebian Electric Apparatus have provided generators, solar lights and water purification units to residents in remote regions while China Road and Bridge Corporation has repeatedly helped locals build makeshift bridges and water ducts and taken part in rescue and relief operations.
The China Development Bank, Huawei, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, as well as other Chinese entities, have also sponsored Pakistanis to receive further education in China, donated school buses to Gwadar and set up education funds, which have received wide praise from the local population.
The CPEC, which highlights energy, transport, the Gwadar port and industrial cooperation at the current stage and will seek to expand cooperation to such sectors as finance, science and technology, education, poverty alleviation, and urban planning.
"The CPEC is a mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation, which will contribute to the prosperity and development of China, Pakistan and the region and the building of a community of shared destiny between the two countries," Sun said.
"We will fully implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of China and Pakistan, and push forward the construction of CPEC to benefit the Chinese and Pakistani peoples," Sun added.
Chinese firms are to invest $46 billion in the project over six years, including $33.8 billion in energy projects and $11.8 billion in infrastructure, as part of an agreement inked by the two sides during a visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to China in 2014.
The CPEC is part of China's transnational 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) initiative, which includes the land-based New Silk Road and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.
China's access to Gwadar, close to the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping lane, could open up an energy and trade corridor from the Gulf across Pakistan to western China.
The CPEC when completed will also give China land access to the Indian Ocean, cutting the nearly 13,000 km sea voyage from Tianjin to the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Malacca and around India, to a mere 2,000 km road journey from Kashgar to Gwadar.
Increase in Pakistan’s energy consumption depicts higher economic activities
Pakistan's primary energy consumption increased by 5.9 percent to 78.2 million ton oil equivalent (MTOE) in 2015, compared with 73.2MTOE in 2014 depicting higher economic activities.
According to the statistical data of British Petroleum on energy use around the world, the primary energy consumption in China grew by 1.12 percent from 2014 to 2015 that has resulted in slowdown in China’s economy. India’s primary energy consumption increased by 5.1 percent during the same period which is lower than that of Pakistan. Indian GDP growth, though highest in the world remains much below the peaks it attained at the start of this decade.
The fuels consumed for producing primary energy show that in 2014, Pakistan consumed 22.8MTOE of oil that increased to 25.2MTOE in 2015. Its natural gas use also increased from 37.7MTOE in 2014 to 39.0MTOE in 2015. The consumption of coal remained the same at 4.7MTOE in both years.
According to the report, electricity consumption in Pakistan increased from 96.2 terawatt-h in 2008 110.0 terawatt-h in 2015. The increase was restricted to 99.3 terawatt-h till 2012; showing cumulative increase of 4 percent only, but in the next three years the consumption cumulatively increased by 10.7 percent of which 2.7 percent increase was in 2015 over 2014. Indian electricity consumption in comparison increased more robustly being 833.4 terawatt-h in 2008 that increased to 1,304.8 terawatt-h in 2015.
India produces 45.5MTOE from natural gas, 407.2MTOE from coal that is 100 times more than the primary energy that Pakistan derives from coal. Its hydro electric generation is 8.6MTOE. It derives 15.5MTOE from renewable that is 30 times more than what Pakistan obtains from renewable. The primary energy obtained by China from natural gas is 177.6MTOE, from coal it is a whopping 19,203MTOE. Its hydro electric energy amounts to 254.9MTOE, nuclear 38.6MTOE and renewable 62.7MTOE. The renewable energy extracted by China is equivalent to 60 percent of the total energy produced in Pakistan.
Bangladesh in 2008 consumed only 34.2 terawatt-h electricity that was almost 1/3rd of the power consumption in Pakistan. In 2015 the gap was reduced to 60 percent of the power consumed in Pakistan. Bangladesh is exporting much more than Pakistan despite low power use because it adds high value to its apparel. The power requirement of the garment industry is nominal when compared with spinning, weaving and processing that produce low value-added textiles exported by Pakistan. The electricity consumption in China increased to 5,810 terawatt-h in 2015 compared with 3495 terawatt-h in 2008.
Coal, wind and solar energy are the cheapest source of energy around the world. Wind and solar along with hydro electricity are the cleanest energy fuels. China fulfilled 1,920MTOE of its energy needs from coal, India 388.7MTOE, and Pakistan only 4.7MTOE. Coal use for energy production is confined only to the private sector in Pakistan. Around 3,000MW coal based power plants are expected to be commissioned by 2019 after which share of coal in the energy mix would substantially increase. Wind power consumption in China was 41MTOE in 2015, it was 9.4MTOE in India and only 0.1MTOE in Pakistan. Solar power production in 2015 was 8.9MTOE in China, 1.5MTOE in India and only 0.3MTOE in Pakistan. Pakistan is also on the course to double its hydro electric production to over 16,000MW by the end of 2021.
#London #FTSE composite index includes six #Pakistan companies.Additional $57 million expected to flow into #Karachi
KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) continued to attract international attention, as six of its listings were taken on board by the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) index.
FTSE is a London-based provider of indexes, which helps international investors track their funds at bourses worldwide.
FTSE, in its semi-annual review, included Habib Bank, Mari Petroleum, Searle Pakistan, Engro Fertilizers, Fauji Cement and Nishat Mills from Pakistan into its Global Equity Index Series Asia Pacific excluding Japan.
“The changes will be effective after the close of business on Friday, March 17, 2017 (i e on Monday, March 20, 2017),” FTSE Russell reported on its official website.
The PSX witnessed a bull ride on Thursday, as its benchmark KSE 100-Index surged 1.44%, or 703.92 points, and closed at 49,696.08 points.
Invest and Finance Securities said in a note, “we do highlight the news item as a major sentiment booster, which should aid the market to continue ascending northward.”
The development is believed to trace additional foreign funds into the PSX.
“Since approximately $67.25 billion funds track FTSE Global Equity Index Series, based on the assigned weightages we estimate a total of $56.8 million to enter Pakistan,” the brokerage firm said.
“This [estimated] flow is in addition to the expected $771 million inflow (passive: $374 million and active: $396 million), which we estimated post-MSCI inclusion,” it added.
Earlier, MSCI – another world leading indices provider – announced in June 2016 to upgrade Pakistan into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in May 2017.
The FTSE website added the FTSE World Asia-Pacific excluding Japan Index is one of a range of indexes designed to help investors to benchmark their Asia-Pacific investments. The index comprises large- and mid-cap stocks providing coverage of the developed and advanced emerging markets in Asia-Pacific excluding Japan.
“The index is derived from the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS), which covers 98% of the world’s investable market capitalisation,” it said. The FTSE Global Equity Index Series covers around 7,400 securities in 47 different countries-covering every equity and sector relevant to international investors’ needs.
Indexes within the FTSE Global Equity Index Series are designed for the creation of a broad range of financial products, such as index tracking funds, derivatives and exchange traded funds, as well as being performance benchmarks.
"Besides, valuations of Pakistan's stock market being at a 50% discount to major emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia, it offers a favourable risk-reward ratio," said Martinsson of Tundra Fonder. On its inclusion, Pakistan will command a weight of around 0.2% in the MSCI EM index. This could lead to $250-275 million flowing into Pakistan's equity market. The FTSE's inclusion of six Pakistani stocks will translate into an inflow of $56 million. These flows are badly needed follo ..
What's also exciting investors is a surge in auto sales, offtake in cement, rise in property prices, benign inflation and lower interest rates. "Last 30 years Pakistan has suffered due to violence and terrorism that cost its economy $20 billion," said Amin Hashwani, former president of the Pakistan-India CEOs Business Forum. "Today, a comparatively better security environment, heavy investment related to CPEC, increased domestic investment and enhanced overseas remittances have triggered growth. ..
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