Thursday, September 29, 2016

ADB Raises Pakistan's 2017 GDP Growth Forecast Amid War Talk by India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised Pakistan's economic growth forecast for fiscal year 2017 (from July 2016 to June 2017) from 4.8% to 5.2%. The Bank also sees brighter outlook for the the entire South Asian region. However, the prospects of even a limited India-Pakistan war could derail the economies of the entire South Asia region. I hope that sanity will prevail in New Delhi to tone down its war rhetoric, abstain from escalation and maintain the current economic momentum.



ADB Forecast: 

"...assuming further improvement in energy supply and security, and likely recovery in cotton and other agriculture-the growth forecast (for Pakistan) for FY2017 is revised up to 5.2%", says the Asian Development Outlook 2016 Update released September 27, 2016.

The ADO which is launched annually in March and updated in September provides a comprehensive analysis of macroeconomic issues in developing Asia.

The ADB report says that "growth in Pakistan will outperform the ADO 2016 projection for 2017".  Here's an excerpt  from the ADB report:

"In Bangladesh and Pakistan, estimated growth in the 2016 fiscal year, to 30 June, exceeded the forecasts because robust performance in manufacturing and services more than compensated for unexpected weakness in agriculture. Increased consumption and public investment contributed to the better performance in Bangladesh in 2016. A slower growth forecast for 2017 is retained as agriculture growth is expected to moderate. Growth in Pakistan will outperform the ADO 2016 projection for 2017 on improvements in energy supply, higher infrastructure investment in an economic corridor project, and a better security environment. Improved growth in these two large economies contrasts with Nepal, where the growth estimate for the 2016 fiscal year, which ended on 15 July, is below the forecast following disruption to supply and trade, delayed reconstruction of earthquake damage, and a poor monsoon. The economy is expected to recover in 2017 as forecast in ADO 2016 on markedly accelerated reconstruction spending and a good monsoon able to lift agricultural output."

Impact of US Interest Rate Hikes: 

On the impact of possible interest rate hikes by US Federal Reserve on national debt situation in South Asia, the ADB report says

"Interest rates pose less risk to India and Pakistan, where public debt is held mostly by domestic investors. However, where a significant share of such debt is short term, as in Pakistan, rollover risks are high and debt dynamics remain vulnerable to shocks. For all these economies, staying on course with fiscal consolidation through sound debt management and the progressive expansion of the tax base will help provide the fiscal resources and resilience needed to cope with future domestic or external shocks."

Macroeconomic Indicators: 

ADO 2016 Update says that the planned reduction in Pakistan's fiscal year 2017 budget deficit would enhance funding for private sector credit and better enable it to support rising domestic demand. The federal government budget for FY2017 projects further reduction in the deficit to 3.8% of GDP achieved through new revenue measures and streamlining current expenditure.

 Tax revenues are projected to increase by half a percentage point, raising the ratio of tax to GDP to 12.8% by eliminating more tax concessions and exemptions, expanding the withholding system as part of administrative reform to widen the tax base, and raising some excise taxes and customs duties, the report added.

The report says that Pakistan's current account deficit is expected to widen in FY2017 to about $5 billion, or 1.6 % of GDP, which is higher than forecast in March. The revision reflects rising global oil prices, declining exports and continued expansion in imports stemming from faster economic growth.

Industrial Indicators:

Pakistan's fiscal year 2015-16 saw production of motorcycles soar to a new high of over 2 million units. This represents a 16.5% surge from last year.  At the same time, passenger cars and light trucks sales rose to over 200,000 in fiscal 2016, a 20% jump over the same period last year.



Motorcycle Sales:

Rising motorcycle sales in Asia's developing nations like Pakistan are seen as a barometer of expanding middle class. It is, in part, attributed to rising incomes and availability of bank financing at historic low interest rates in the country.

As many as 2,071,123 motorcycles were manufactured during July-June (2015-16) compared to 1,777,251 units during July-June (2014-15), according to the latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and reported by Pakistani media.

Car Sales:

In addition to the double digit increase in motorcycle sales, Pakistan also experienced 20% jump in sales of passengers cars, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), vans and jeeps. The total sales of local vehicles increased by 21% to 216,568 as compared to 179,953 units sold in FY15, according to industry data.

Auto Parts Industry:

Rising auto and motorcycle sales are helping boost Pakistan's auto parts industry as well. “We are getting orders and the pace is increasing,” said Sultan and Kamil International CEO Faisal Mahmood speaking to Pakistani media on the sidelines of the 12th Pakistan Auto Show 2016 held at the Lahore International Expo Centre. Mahmood’s company makes more than 350 automotive parts and exports to all major automobile markets in the world.

Other Growth Industries:

Among other industries seeing significant growth are pharmaceuticals (6.54%), cement (17.01%), chemicals (8.13%), non metallic mineral products (10.02%), fertilizers (13.81%), leather products (7.76%) and rubber products (7.16%), according to media reports.

Summary:

Pakistan's economic recovery is in full swing with double digit growth in multiple industries, including auto, pharma, chemicals, cement, fertilizers, minerals, etc.  It is expected to pick up steam over the next several years with new investments on the back of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related projects. Prospects of even a limited war in South Asia could derail the economies of the entire region. I hope that sanity will prevail in New Delhi to abstain from escalation and maintain the current economic momentum.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Is Pakistan Ready For War With India?

India's Israel Envy: Surgical Strikes in Pakistan?

Growing Middle Class in Pakistan

Rising Energy Consumption

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan's Thar Desert Sees Development Boom

Gwadar vs Chabahar Ports

25 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Real Estate is a promising and growing sector of the Pakistani economy. Pakistan spends $5.2 billion on construction in a year and according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, construction output accounts for 2% of GDP.

With the rate of urbanization that Pakistan has been experiencing, there is a growing need for urban planning. Pakistan is home to Asia's largest real estate investors Bahria Town.

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Former chairman and present consultant of Bahria Town, Malik Riaz Hussain has signed an agreement with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, Chairman Abu Dhabi Group, Union National Bank and United Bank Limited under which $45 billion will be invested in Pakistan.

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The top players in the real estate industry are undoubtedly the DHA and Bahria Town. The latter has played a pioneering role in commercializing the real estate development and establishing it as a formal sector. Now the real estate investments come under the tax net. Similarly, DHA is also a top notch housing society. It is well-engineered and has state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities such as schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, cinemas, parks, marriage lawns, clubs, security management and traffic control system etc. Furthermore, the earthquakes in Pakistan have brought to the attention of regulatory bodies and the end consumers the need for enforcement of building codes and quality construction practices. According to survey of some Pakistani property portals including lamudi.pk, Homespakistan.com and Pakistan real estate.net interviewed several buyers of residential homes and commercial buildings and confirms that they prefer quality designing rather than cheaper and casually designed units. Hence, this makes it a perfect case to invest in the booming real estate sector of Pakistan.

Real Estate Investment Trust

Investors piled into Pakistan’s first real-estate investment trust, which was launched this year with a public offer that was heavily over-subscribed, the REIT’s lead manager and analysts said on Thursday.

The Dolmen City REIT offered investors a 25% stake in a 22.24 billion rupee ($218.5 million) shopping mall and an office complex at Dolmen City, one of the most prominent real estate developments in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and its economic hub. The Arabian Sea-front project includes three other structures not included in the REIT.

Traders and the REIT’s main advisor said the initial offer for 75% of the trust to institutional investors and high net-worth individuals through book building on Monday and Tuesday drew demand of more than 7 billion rupees for an offering of shares worth 4.17 billion rupees at a floor price of 10 Pakistani rupees ($0.10). At the strike price, the initial offer raised 4.59 billion rupees, according to the REIT’s lead manager.

The remaining 25% of the stake was to be offered to the public on Friday at a strike price of 11 rupees ($0.11). Analysts and the REIT’s management expected the Friday offering to be fully subscribed as well, raising another 1.53 billion rupees.

“The interest rate is at a 42-year low, with the discount rate at 7%, so for people who invest in fixed-income instruments, REITs are attractive,” said Muhammad Tahir Saeed, deputy head of research at Topline Securities, a Karachi-based brokerage.


https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/real-estate-pakistan-spends-52-billion-construction-year-safwat-zaki

Happiness for some in Pakistan's gated communities

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvKOCZuZAiM

Ahmad F. said...

y the way, in the paperback edition, Anatol Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country, and regarded by some as being very pro-army, has some choice things to say about the ISI in an Afterword. He says that the ISI and MI are guilty of criminal negligence if they did not know that OBL was "hiding in plain sight." And if they knew, then they are "extremely irresponsible."

He says that the signs are not good that Pakistan is going to recover easily from the "miserable patterns" described in the book.

In the concluding paragraph: "As to the deeper reforms that Pakistan needs if it is to prosper, of these there is no sign. Indeed, the Pakistani system as described in this book is entirely incapable of them." The last sentence is ominous: "In the short- to medium-term, Pakistan is stronger than it looks and will probably survive as a state; but if these patterns continue, it will not do so forever."

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad F.: "The last sentence is ominous: "In the short- to medium-term, Pakistan is stronger than it looks and will probably survive as a state; but if these patterns continue, it will not do so forever."


let me offer you what Ruchir Sharma, a real economist and current head of Morgan Stanley's emerging markets, says in his book "The Rise and Fall of Nations".

Sharma says the most important predictor of future growth is demographics.

Countries with a young and growing labor force have a much better chance of future economic growth and stability than anything else.

Pakistan is doing very well on this measure.

Pakistan's work force is over 60 million strong, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics. With increasing female participation, the country's labor pool is rising at a rate of 3.5% a year, according to International Labor Organization.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2015/07/pakistans-growing-population-blessing.html

Sharma addresses the question of Pakistan's low savings rate by saying "it's a chicken-or-egg issue: it's not at all clear which comes first, strong growth or high savings"


https://books.google.com/books?id=CBqZCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT148&lpg=PT148&dq=ruchir+sharma+rise+and+fall+of+nations+savings+rate&source=bl&ots=RFo0J0gSOU&sig=Gid5HW-C7yW91rKcAACDtrKsXEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwicy_GSxLXPAhVS2GMKHQv7AkAQ6AEIQDAF#v=onepage&q=savings%20rate&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

“Doesn’t it just look like Mars?” says a Pakistan Army lieutenant colonel, as laborers toil under the blinding sun, building a road across the barren deserts of Balochistan.

Against a backdrop of scorched mountains, workers cut steel bars and prepare rock for crushing near a viaduct that crosses a dry river bed. In the distance, a truck kicks up dust, bringing materials to the site. Army vehicles patrol the road with signal jammers, while snipers scan the hills—the lair of armed separatists and bandits until a military campaign cleared most of them out a few years ago.

This is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s biggest gambit in his so-called One Belt, One Road project to rebuild the ancient Silk Road, a trading route connecting China to the Arabian Sea that slices through the Himalayas and crosses deserts and disputed territory to reach the ancient fishing port of Gwadar, about 500 miles by boat from Dubai.

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The project includes coal-fired, solar and wind power stations and a network of highways running 3,000 kilometers down the length of the country, from the freezing passes of the Karakoram Highway to the Arabian Sea. They will run through Kashmir, an area claimed by both India and Pakistan that is subject to frequent border clashes, and restive Balochistan, which Pakistan annexed in 1948.
“The energy policy was there for anyone to come and invest, but others were just looking at the political risk,” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview in Islamabad on July 25. “China took a bet on Pakistan when others were shy.”

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The cornerstone of the project is Gwadar, 30 minutes from the border with Iran, or an eight-hour drive from Karachi along a two-lane coastal highway that twists through jagged weather-beaten hills and across arid dust-blown plains.
Bought from the Sultanate of Oman in the 1950s, Gwadar is not connected to Pakistan’s power grid, using electricity imported from Iran, also a major source of fuel and consumer goods, much of it smuggled across the border.
Kids here play soccer, rather than the cricket that is popular elsewhere in Pakistan, wearing jerseys of European stars like England captain Wayne Rooney and France’s Paul Pogba. For centuries, the city looked to the sea for its wealth. Wooden fishing boats clustered in the bay haul lobsters and jumbo shrimp that now find their way to China and other markets in East Asia.

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For 26-year-old Mohammad Younis, Chinese money has meant an escape from needing to find a job at sea. As a teenager he joined a gang of fuel smugglers, driving pickups from Iran. After the authorities clamped down, he landed a job as a driver at the Pearl Continental, a five-star hotel built in 2006 that hosts Chinese engineers.
The hotel plans to triple capacity within five years and add office and apartment blocks, said General Manager Salman Saeed Khan.
“Development is happening at a faster pace than ever before, now that the Chinese have come,” said Younis. “It’s good. We will get jobs.”


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/china-s-new-silk-road-hinges-on-a-small-pakistan-port

Riaz Haq said...

Op Ed by Neeraj Thakur from Catch News

wars have never had a constructive effect on any country. Not only are human lives lost, but participating nations' economies suffer as well. Money meant to be spent on development is diverted towards buttressing the armed forces.

Wars also damage the infrastructure within a country - such as roads, highways and ports - as well as telecommunication towers.

Hospitals come under pressure due to casualties at borders, as well as interior areas in case of surgical strikes by opponents.

In this scenario, let's analyse whether India can afford a war with Pakistan, especially at a time when the Indian economy is trying to recover from a slump.

01
The impact on inflation
The Indian economy has been struggling with inflation for quite a few years. Since 2008, the average Consumer Price Index, also known as retail inflation, has been at 8.73%, which is 100% more than the Reserve Bank of India's comfort zone.

India witnessed two consecutive droughts in 2014 and 2015, due to which the prices of food items had skyrocketed, making most food items unaffordable for the lower and middle classes.

To put in things in perspective, the 1971 war broke out in the month of December. The following year, India reported a 109% rise in the average inflation, at 6.42% .

Given that India's current retail inflation is already above 5% , in case of a war, one can expect the inflation to easily go above 10%, making life difficult for people.

02
Job loss
Wars destroy the value of money and the demand for products. This leads to consumer durable, FMCG and automobile companies losing business, which, in turn, forces companies to cut jobs.

So, in case India and Pakistan go to war, apart from those who are working in the government sector, most people will face the threat of job loss. India is already facing its highest unemployment rate in five years, at 5% of the workforce, which is estimated at above 50 crore.

Should there be war, lakhs of people may have to sit at home in the coming years.

03
No salary hikes
As discussed above, when two countries fight, governments divert all their resources towards armed forces expenditure. While this may generate revenue for certain types of companies, the overall economy suffers.

So, in case you don't lose your job, there are chances that you will not get a salary hike next year.

04
Poverty alleviation programmes on the backburner
According to Business Today, the 1999 Kargil War cost India Rs 10,000 crore, followed by an increase in the defence expenditure, which went up from Rs 39,897 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 47,071 crore during the year of the Kargil conflict - 1999-2000 - a jump of 18%.

The increased budgetary support for defence forces results in a cut in expenditure for poor in the country.

India is home to the largest population of poor people in the world. According to a study conducted in 20011-12 by the then-chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, C Rangarajan, India had an estimated 363 million, or 29.5% of its 1.2 billion population living below the poverty line. According to that study, people living on less than Rs 32 a day in rural areas and Rs 47 a day in urban areas were considered poor.

In case the country's resources are diverted towards war, the suffering for those living below the poverty line would be unimaginable.

05
Long term impact on growth
Growth comes through the development of infrastructure. Wars only lead to the destruction of that infrastructure, be it roads, ports, or oil and gas pipelines. This infrastructure takes decades of investment to be built up, but can be destroyed with one bomb.

Given that Pakistan and India both have long range ballistic missiles, both countries are capable of destroying each other's important infrastructure, which can handicap the economies of both countries.


http://www.catchnews.com/business-economy-news/can-indian-economy-afford-a-war-with-pakistan-here-are-six-startling-facts-1475166605.html

Anonymous said...

Your friend Aakar Patel explains why Pakistani Punjab is so violent.
http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/aakarvani/blame-caste-for-pakistans-violent-streak-not-faith/

Ace said...

India can not but Pakistan can afford war?

Riaz Haq said...

Ace: " India can not but Pakistan can afford war?"

Neither country can afford war.

However, India's poverty rate is 21.3% vs Pakistan's 8.3% living under $1.90, according to the World Bank data.


http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/region/SAS

Majumdar said...

Brof sir,

Neither country can afford war.

I am reminded of a rather vulgar anecdote- I hope you will overlook it. Ek bhookhey ne doosre ki g**d mar li. Aur dono behosh ho gaye.

Regards

Riaz Haq said...

#China to lend $5.5 B and ADB another $2.5 billion for #Pakistan's $8 B #Rail link project. #CPEC http://ecoti.in/z8wb4Z via @economictimes

About 75 per cent of the country's (rail) cargo and passenger traffic passes through the 1,687 km-long Peshawar-Karachi rail line.

Earlier, China had agreed to provide $3.7 billion out of the $46-billion CPEC program for the ML-I project and "now it has decided to increase its contribution to $5.5 billion," Iqbal said.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would provide $2.5 billion t ..


The Peshawar-Lahore section of the ML-I will be built with the ADB loan.

The rail project would be completed in five to six years after which the rail speed would double to 180 kilometres per hour.

Asif said...

$5.5 plus $2.5 = $8 billion for ML1 seems very high don't you think?

Jay said...

Unfortunately for Pakistan, in his book, Ruchir Sharma doesn't identify Pakistan as a "breakout nation" economically.

Sharma described seven of his top candidates, including the Philippines, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Poland, Sri Lanka and Nigeria

Riaz Haq said...

Jay: "Unfortunately for Pakistan, in his book, Ruchir Sharma doesn't identify Pakistan as a "breakout nation" economically."

Sharma's "Breakout Nations" is circa 2012.

My reference is to his 2016 book "Rise and Fall of Nations".

Things have dramatically changed in the last 4 yeas.

Sharma now considers Pakistan a leader among emerging markets for future growth mainly because of "strong growth in working age population" , "cheaper wages outside of China" , "steps to tamp down of extremist violence" and "$46 billion economic corridor".

https://books.google.com/books?id=CBqZCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT148&lpg=PT148&dq=ruchir+sharma+rise+and+fall+of+nations+savings+rate&source=bl&ots=RFo0J0gSOU&sig=Gid5HW-C7yW91rKcAACDtrKsXEw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwicy_GSxLXPAhVS2GMKHQv7AkAQ6AEIQDAF#v=snippet&q=Pakistan&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

Asif: "$5.5 plus $2.5 = $8 billion for ML1 seems very high don't you think?"


The rule of thump for just the track laying is over $1 million a mile.

But this project is a lot more than just track as explained by "Pakistan Today" story:

The Ministry of Railways has already shared plans, under early harvest projects by 2020, to upgrade Karachi-Peshawar main line (ML-1) and extension of ML-2 from Jacobabad to Gwadar via Basima to both CAREC and CPEC. If financing was available, the projects would be completed in relatively short time as the Pakistan Railways has technical expertise to execute the projects, he added.

ADB will be providing multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) to make the railway system more efficient and competitive. Improved railway corridor of Lahore-Peshawar will improve Pakistan Railways’ institutional efficiency. Financial assistance will also be provided for Railways’ modernization, IT-based accounting system and transforming and migrating accounting data into the new accounting system.

Under the plan, 411 km railway track between Lahore-Peshawar section of ML-1 will be upgraded and dualised together with new signaling and telecommunications system, including power supply for these systems, and upgraded passenger facilities at Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar stations. A 53-km section in the hilly area from Kaluwal to Pindora will have to be realigned and dualised. Except for realignment sections in the hilly tract, it is likely that all the work for rehabilitation and upgradation of the physical infrastructure will be limited to the PR-owned right of way.

Except for Pakistan, railways in all CAREC countries have more freight carriers than passenger tariff. CAREC railways have increased freight traffic volumes which shows the large potential for PR to freight forward to and from CAREC countries. Domestic market is large in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China.

In the past, the railways infrastructure plans always received a cold shoulder from the government, but now the situation has changed as multilateral institutions are interested in linking Pakistani ports with China and Central Asia. Now the government wants to attract investment in railways infrastructure and China is asked to finance upgradation of strategically located ML-1 which connects major population centers in three provinces.

Under CPEC, Pakistan has shared Phase-I (Early Harvest Projects) upgradation of ML-1 (Karachi-Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian) and construction of New Dryport at Havelian (Buldher). In medium term, Phase-II upgradation of ML-2 and extension of ML-2 (Gwadar to Jacobabad via Basima) is proposed. The long term Phase-III seeks establishment of Havelian-Khunjrab-Kashghar rail link.

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/08/18/business/pak-railways-poised-to-get-massive-funding-from-cpec-and-carec/

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Logistics Industry to 2020 - $30.77 Billion Outlook and Growth Opportunities - Research and Markets

Pakistan Vision 2025 seeks to enhance the national transportation infrastructure by establishing an efficient and integrated transportation and logistics system. Establishing industrial parks and developing SEZs along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will strengthen the transportation network and logistics infrastructure. Road freight transportation contributed over 90% of the goods transported by land.

Rail freight is likely to gain share due to modernization and expansion. High priority is given to road network development. Private sector participation in logistics infrastructure development is likely to gain momentum, and transportation and warehousing are likely to lead logistics industry growth during 2016-2020.

The potential opportunities in the logistics industry in Pakistan, is estimated at approximately US $ 30.77 billion in 2015. Key targets set in the national development initiatives for the transportation sector include reduction in transportation costs, effective connectivity between rural areas and urban centres, inter-provincial high-speed connectivity. Also high priority is given for the development of integrated road/rail networks between economic hubs (including air, sea and dry ports) and high capacity transportation corridors connecting with major regional trading partners.

Up-gradation of all major airports to trans-shipment hubs, development of cargo villages, modernization of rail transport, E-commerce, CPEC related investments in industrial centres and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will serve as primary macro drivers for logistics sector growth. CPEC related projects intend to upgrade and modernize road transport and related logistics infrastructure such as logistics park and establishment of cargo villages at major airports. Hence, high priority is given for road network development; private sector participation in logistics infrastructure development is likely to gain momentum.

Storage and Warehousing demand from CPEC related industrial corridors are likely to derive increased storage and warehousing requirements including cold chain logistics, establishment of Cargo Villages Ports will facilitate goods traffic to central Asian countries and evolve as a major transhipment hub in the region.


http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160921005655/en/Pakistan-Logistics-Industry-2020---30.77-Billion

Riaz Haq said...

#China and #Pakistan pin hopes on Arabian Sea port of #Gwadar. #CPEC https://www.ft.com/content/06388212-855b-11e6-8897-2359a58ac7a5 … via @FT

From the window of his plush office, Dostain Jamaldini, the moustachioed chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority, looks upon the mostly deserted, three-berth deep seaport that he argues could one day rival Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Presently, no cargo ship is visible in the tranquil Arabian Sea waters — just the small fishing trawlers.

But Mr Jamaldini says the empty port, built with Chinese financial and technical help at a cost of $248m, finished nearly a decade ago and barely used since, will buzz with traffic by December 2017. By that time, Gwadar should be linked by road to the rest of Pakistan, a key part of the plan to create a vibrant and bustling hub.

“Gwadar has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest ports,” he says. “Once we have connectivity, the port will see traffic. We are now waiting for the road.”

The long-anticipated road is slated to be a modern highway network that seamlessly links Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang province, giving the landlocked Chinese region access to the Indian Ocean. A train should run alongside and Beijing also wants to build oil pipelines from Gwadar to western China, potentially a quicker and easier route for supply from the Gulf.

Yet realising this ambitious vision requires extensive ground infrastructure in Balochistan — one of Pakistan’s poorest, most troubled provinces, with a long history of armed separatist insurgency. Analysts say the region’s volatility could prove an obstacle to realising the $46bn China-Pakistan economic corridor.

In August, Quetta, Balochistan’s provincial capital, was rocked by a sophisticated suicide bomb that killed 70 people, many of them lawyers. Pakistan — which has established a 15,000-man security force to protect the infrastructure and the Chinese engineers — publicly called the attack an attempt to disrupt the massive development.

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Prime minister Narendra Modi electrified Indians — and raised the hackles of the Pakistan establishment — in August when he proclaimed New Delhi’s moral support for residents of Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province.
Islamabad has long accused its rival, India, of covertly assisting Balochistan’s separatist insurgents. But former US officials say Washington has never found evidence of Indian military aid beyond New Delhi’s hospitality for Baluchi leaders. Speculation is mounting that New Delhi could be poised to do what Pakistan has always suspected — as it seeks a new, more muscular approach to a neighbour that it blames for numerous terror attacks on its soil.
But security analysts say the prospect of Indian aid for Baluchi rebels is limited by its lack of direct access to the territory. “Actual physical assistance is going to be incredibly difficult,” says Sumit Ganguly, an Indiana University professor. “Geography imposes a certain kind of constraint.”
Chinese analysts also play down the likelihood of India deliberately targeting a Chinese-developed infrastructure project. “It is unlikely that India will act to directly disrupt the CPEC,” Mao Siwei, China’s former consul-general in Kolkata, told the Financial Times. “But strained India-Pakistan relations are extremely detrimental.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to soon switch on 350 MW of #wind #energy farms - report - SeeNews #Renewables https://shar.es/1E1Ir0

The Pakistani province of Sindh is expected to soon become home to 350 MW of operational wind power capacity.

An official of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) told the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) on Sunday that seven 50-MW wind parks along the coastline should be completed by next month. The projects include developments by Yunus Energy, Metro Power Company, Gul Wind Energy and Master Energy.

Meanwhile, Sachal Energy Development Pvt Ltd (SEDL) is building another 50-MW wind farm in Jhimpir, Sindh. It is expected to be finalised by mid-2017, the official has added.

All of the projects are financed by the private sector, he said as quoted by the news agency.

Riaz Haq said...

Faseeh Mangi ‏@FaseehMangi 9h9 hours ago
Atlas Honda sold record 76,309 units in August, The company is nearing completion of 1.3 million units capacity expansion form 750,000 units

Riaz Haq said...

#Moody's maintains stable outlook for #Pakistan banks reflecting strengthening #economy and high liquidity buffers http://fw.to/SBkib8C

Limassol, October 06, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has maintained its stable outlook on Pakistan's banking system, reflecting the rating agency's expectation that the country's banks will continue to benefit from a stable deposit base, high liquidity buffers and an accelerating economic growth under the IMF program, which will create lending opportunities over the next 12-18 months.

Moody's report, entitled "Banking System Outlook -- Pakistan: Economic expansion and ongoing reforms drive our stable outlook" is available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release. Please note that this report does not constitute a rating action.

"We expect the strengthening economy and the central bank's monetary easing to provide banks with plenty of business opportunities and stimulate loan growth to around 12% over the next 12-18 months," says Elena Panayiotou, an Assistant Vice President at Moody's.

The rating agency expects GDP growth to expand by 4.9% in the fiscal year ending in June 2017, which would be the fastest pace since 2008, as the country completes for the first time an IMF program and implements infrastructure projects under with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Although the strengthening of the domestic economy will contribute to the improvement in Pakistani banks' asset quality, Moody's expects the level of credit risk will remain high as banks are heavily exposed to the low-rated Pakistan sovereign (B3, stable) through holdings of securities and government-related loans, which are equivalent in size to 7.7x Tier 1 capital, exposing banks to event risk.

"We expect problem loans will decline to around 10% of total loans by the end of 2017 compared with 11.1% at the end of June 2016. Banks, however, will remain heavily exposed to the low-rated Pakistan sovereign, linking the banks' creditworthiness to that of the sovereign'' says Ms Panayiotou.

In terms of capital, the rating agency expects buffers will come under pressure due to weakening profitability and loan growth, reducing the banks' ability to absorb losses. The pressure on profitability will stem from declining yields on government securities and lower interest rates, which are eroding net interest margins, while higher lending growth and lower provisioning requirements will only partially offset this pressure.

On the other hand, Moody's expects Pakistani banks to maintain ample liquidity and continue to benefit from large volumes of low-cost and stable customer deposits. "We expect inflows of remittances from workers abroad will grow a lower pace but will remain substantial and continue to drive the growth in bank deposits and support banks' funding bases,'' says Ms Panayiotou.

Moody's expects the sector to also maintain strong liquidity buffers, with cash and interbank placements at 9% of total assets as of June 2016, and liquid securities, mainly in the form of government securities, at another 47% of total assets.

Subscribers can access the full report at http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_1031983

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese investor eyeing stake in #Pakistan's Dewan Cement Amid Record Growth of Cement Demand. #CPEC

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1187284/potential-new-player-chinese-investor-eyeing-stake-dewan-cement/

In a development that may raise eyebrows in a highly competitive cement industry, a Chinese investor has expressed interest in due diligence of Dewan Cement Limited in order to acquire a stake in the company.

“We have received a request through email from a potential Chinese strategic investor seeking permission for due diligence of Dewan Cement, which may eventually lead to acquisition of shares in our company,” said a company notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Friday.

“We intend to permit due diligence; if any material development takes place, we will communicate the same to the (stock) exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.”

The development is expected to create an interesting situation in the cement sector where a number of companies are already vying to increase their market share.

“If this due diligence results in some deal, the new investor will most likely install a new plant which may take up to three years to start operations. So this is not an immediate threat to the cement cartel,” Sherman Securities analyst Sadiq Samin told The Express Tribune.

“The due diligence process will itself take two to three months and then we will have to look how it affects the market.”

This would not cause any jitters because cement demand was growing continuously, he said when asked whether the entry of a foreign player would spark fears.

Dewan Cement has a production capacity of around 2.88 million tons per annum, constituting 6.1% of the total installed capacity of 45.6 million tons of the cement industry. It has two manufacturing units including Pakland Cement and Saadi Cement.

Analysts suggest that the situation would have been different if the company had installed a new plant and the Chinese player could immediately start manufacturing cement after taking it over.

Pakland Cement was established in 1981 at Deh Dhando in Malir district, Karachi. The plant was fully operational by 1985 and producing Ordinary Portland Cement.

Anticipating a further growth in demand, cement companies are aggressively engaged in expansion of their plants.

Cherat Cement, Attock Cement, DG Khan Cement and Lucky Cement have already announced expansion plans and these plants will come online over the next three years. The combined investment by these players is expected to be in the range of $700 million to $1 billion.

The construction sector, a major consumer of cement, posted an excellent 13% growth in fiscal year 2015-16 compared to average growth of 4% in the past four years due to economic recovery and the booming real estate sector, according to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2016.

The government expects construction-related activities to pick up further momentum on the back of increasing public sector development spending coupled with massive infrastructure and power projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Riaz Haq said...

September 2016 gasoline (petrol) sales reach 563,000 tons in #Pakistan with rising car & motorcycle sales
http://www.dawn.com/news/1287166/sept-oil-sales-reach-563000-tonnes

KARACHI: Sales of petrol during September 2016 were recorded at 563,000 tonnes below the highest ever sales of 566,274 tonnes recorded in May 2016.

Out of 563,000 tonnes, the share of imported petrol was 422,000 tonnes while local refineries supplied 145,000 tonnes, Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) CEO M Ilyas Fazil said.

He attributed brisk sales of petrol to rising sales of cars — including imported ones which are mostly below 880cc — and other petrol driven vehicles.

He said a number of car owners had switched over to petrol from CNG due to gas load shedding. Higher generator imports are also putting pressure on the higher usage of petrol.

Mr Fazil said country’s stocks of petrol now stand at 220,000 tonnes which are enough to meet the demand for next 12 days. A Pakistan State Oil tanker is currently discharging petrol at Keamari, he added.

Mr Fazil said stock movement of petrol from Karachi to upcountry supply areas continues unabated and “the country remains well supplied.”

Pakistan has achieved highest ever import of 484,207 tonnes of motor gasoline in July 2016.

Riaz Haq said...

From Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-06/pakistan-seeks-1-7-billion-bids-for-southern-highway-project

#Pakistan has a new plan to bridge its chronic infrastructure gap. #Hyderabad-#Sukkur 184 mile motorway. #CPEC
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1195289/pakistan-seeks-1-7b-investment-highway/

Pakistan is seeking foreign investment of $1.7 billion to build a new highway in the southern province of Sindh to supplement a Chinese-funded infrastructure network being laid across the country.
The National Highway Authority will ask for bids next week for the 296-kilometers (184 miles) highway between the cities of Hyderabad and Sukkar, the agency’s Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar said in an interview in the capital, Islamabad.
“Other than the Chinese, this time we expect that Turkish, Malaysians and South Koreans will come and bid,” Tarar said.
Pakistan’s economic growth has accelerated to almost 5 percent in the past three years after averting a balance-of-payments crisis in 2013 by submitting to an International Monetary Fund loan program worth $6.6 billion, which ended last month. Along with an easing of inflation and as domestic security threats have abated, China announced last year it would invest in projects worth about $46 billion in Pakistan as part of a so-called economic corridor.
To read about China’s ambitions in Pakistan, click here.
Infrastructure Landscape
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pegging his 2018 re-election campaign on bridging chronic energy and infrastructure gaps as his administration targets a 7 percent economic growth rate within two years. The construction of a six-lane highway on the eastern route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to start in the first quarter of next year.
“There is big gap between the potential and the actual road network,” said Mohammed Sohail, chief executive officer of Topline Securities Pakistan Ltd. in Karachi. “Investors will look into this opportunity” as the economy continues to expand, he said.
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The highway authority has so far started over $9.5 billion worth of projects in the past three years and is hoping to attract another $5 billion investment in the next five, more than half of which will be pegged to upgrade the China corridor routes, Tarar said. The length of the main highway will be tripled to 1,800 kilometers by linking all road arteries with industrial zones on the route, he said.
The 3,000-kilometer-long corridor stretches from Xinjiang in western China to Pakistan’s Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. Of China’s planned investment, $11 billion is allocated for infrastructure projects and big chunk of it will be spent in Balochistan province, home to the deep-sea port in Gwadar.
“The landscape of infrastructure is going to be transformed in the next three years,” said Tarar. “Imagine you travel from Karachi to Peshawar on the motorway, the time and energy it’ll save with security ensured. Unless you have good infrastructure the economy will drag.”

Riaz Haq said...

From Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-06/pakistan-seeks-1-7-billion-bids-for-southern-highway-project


Pakistan is seeking foreign investment of $1.7 billion to build a new highway in the southern province of Sindh to supplement a Chinese-funded infrastructure network being laid across the country.
The National Highway Authority will ask for bids next week for the 296-kilometers (184 miles) highway between the cities of Hyderabad and Sukkar, the agency’s Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar said in an interview in the capital, Islamabad.
“Other than the Chinese, this time we expect that Turkish, Malaysians and South Koreans will come and bid,” Tarar said.
Pakistan’s economic growth has accelerated to almost 5 percent in the past three years after averting a balance-of-payments crisis in 2013 by submitting to an International Monetary Fund loan program worth $6.6 billion, which ended last month. Along with an easing of inflation and as domestic security threats have abated, China announced last year it would invest in projects worth about $46 billion in Pakistan as part of a so-called economic corridor.

Infrastructure Landscape
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is pegging his 2018 re-election campaign on bridging chronic energy and infrastructure gaps as his administration targets a 7 percent economic growth rate within two years. The construction of a six-lane highway on the eastern route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to start in the first quarter of next year.
“There is big gap between the potential and the actual road network,” said Mohammed Sohail, chief executive officer of Topline Securities Pakistan Ltd. in Karachi. “Investors will look into this opportunity” as the economy continues to expand, he said.
Start your day with what’s moving markets.
Get our markets daily newsletter.

The highway authority has so far started over $9.5 billion worth of projects in the past three years and is hoping to attract another $5 billion investment in the next five, more than half of which will be pegged to upgrade the China corridor routes, Tarar said. The length of the main highway will be tripled to 1,800 kilometers by linking all road arteries with industrial zones on the route, he said.
The 3,000-kilometer-long corridor stretches from Xinjiang in western China to Pakistan’s Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. Of China’s planned investment, $11 billion is allocated for infrastructure projects and big chunk of it will be spent in Balochistan province, home to the deep-sea port in Gwadar.
“The landscape of infrastructure is going to be transformed in the next three years,” said Tarar. “Imagine you travel from Karachi to Peshawar on the motorway, the time and energy it’ll save with security ensured. Unless you have good infrastructure the economy will drag.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Honda’s new plant inaugurated in #Pakistan to produce 1.35 million motorcycles a year in world's 6th largest market

http://www.dawn.com/news/1291204/atlas-hondas-new-facility-inaugurated


LAHORE: Takahiro Hachigo, President, CEO and Representative Director of Honda Motor Co Ltd Japan, on Thursday inaugurated new facility of Atlas Honda Ltd (AHL) in Sheikhupura to expand its motorbike production.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Hachigo announced that Pakistan has now become the sixth largest motorcycle market in the world.

Saquib H. Shirazi, speaking on the occasion, said with the enhancement of the production capacity, Atlas Honda is now well poised to serve the expanding market.

AHL, Honda’s motorcycle production and sales joint venture in Pakistan, discussed its plans to carry out production enhancement in machining and other fields at the Sheikhupura plant during the next three years.

The annual assembly production capacity of AHL has now become 1.35 million units, with 150,000 units from the Karachi plant and 1.2 million units from the Sheikhupura plant.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of World Bank Report "Making Growth Matter" released November, 2016:

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/935241478612633044/pdf/109961-WP-PUBLIC-disclosed-11-9-16-5-pm-Pakistan-Development-Update-Fall-2016-with-compressed-pics.pdf

The government recently set a new national poverty line that identifies 29.5 percent
of Pakistanis as poor (using the latest available data from FY14). By back casting
this line, the poverty rate in FY02 would have been about 64.3 percent. This means
that poverty has more than halved between FY02 and FY14, even according to this
new and higher metric. The new poverty line was introduced in April 2016 precisely
because of Pakistan's success in reducing poverty over the last decade and a half.
Using the old national poverty line, set in 2001, the percentage of people living in
poverty fell from 34.7 percent in FY02 to 9.3 percent in FY14—a fall of more than
75 percent. Other sources of data corroborate this decline—ownership of assets and
dietary diversity also increased over this period. For example, in the bottom income
quintile, motorcycle ownership increased from 2 to 18 percent between FY02 and
FY14. See Section C1.

When poverty declines, it usually coincides with other gains in household welfare.
Throughout the period under review, Pakistan saw substantial gains in welfare,
including the ownership of assets, the quality of housing and an increase in school
enrollment, particularly for girls. First, the ownership of relatively more expensive
assets increased even among the poorest. In the bottom quintile, the ownership of
motorcycles increased from 2 to 18 percent, televisions from 20 to 36 percent and
refrigerators from 5 to 14 percent (see Figure 29). In contrast, there was a decline
in the ownership of cheaper assets like bicycles and radios. Housing quality in the
bottom quintile also showed an improvement. The number of homes constructed
with bricks or blocks increased while mud (katcha) homes decreased. Homes with a
flushing toilet almost doubled in the bottom quintile, from about 24 percent in
FY02 to 49 percent in FY14 (see Figure 30).

Changes in consumption patterns over time were also consistent with the poverty
decline. It is well-known that increases in income are strongly associated with
households spending less of their budget on food, and more on non-food items
(Engel’s law). In Pakistan, the 25 percentage point decline in poverty between FY02
and FY14 was associated with a 10 percentage point reduction in the share of
expenditure devoted to food (see Figure 31).

In Pakistan, the reduction in poverty led to an increase in dietary diversity for all
income groups. For the poorest, the share of expenditure devoted to milk and milk
products, chicken, eggs and fish rose, as did the share devoted to vegetables and
fruits. In contrast, the share of cereals and pulses, which provide the cheapest

calories, declined steadily between FY02 and FY14. Because foods like chicken,
eggs, vegetables, fruits, and milk and milk products are more expensive than cereals
and pulses, and have lower caloric content, this shift in consumption also increased
the amount that people spent per calorie over time (see Table 12). For the poorest
quintile, expenditure per calorie increased by over 18 percent between FY02 and
FY14.

Overall, this analysis confirms that the decline in poverty exhibited by the 2001
poverty line is quite credible, and that Pakistan has done remarkably well overall in
reducing monetary poverty based on the metric it set some 15 years ago.
------

... there is now a considerable body of
research suggesting that the link between food availability and nutritional status is
weak, and is mediated by the ambient disease environment and the quality of water
and sanitation.