01192017Thu
Last update: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 05am

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The year 2016 was a better one for the telcos. It could be termed as a year the telcos finally started consolidating. Mobilink absorbed Warid into its fold and came out with the Jazz-Warid brand. All four mobile network operators (MNOs) kept rolling out new sites to deepen their mobile broadband (3G and 4G) networks. Latest financials of Mobilink, Telenor and Ufone show decent top line growth, showing early signs of mobile data monetization.
The trucking and logistics industry will potentially be the biggest beneficiary of CPEC-led growth and truck companies have accordingly been expanding their existing facilities and entering into agreements with foreign truck manufacturers to cater to the transportation and logistics needs of the country in the immediate next five years.
Where on one hand Karachi is struggling with environmental degradation and shortage of key infrastructure, the country's commercial and financial hub is also racing forward when it comes to building the tallest structures. The city's rapidly evolving skylines now has a new skyscraper - the UBL head office building at I-I Chundrigar Road, which is more than 300 feet high.
In China, we trust. From the KKH and Gwadar port, to K-Electric and power sector across Pakistan, the Chinese are everywhere, and growing. %Dªnd now the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) is owned by the Chinese, who have just purchased strategic stake in the exchange via a consortium of three Chinese bourses: China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFE), Shanghai Stock Exchange, and Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Together these three bourses have bought 30 percent stake in the PSX, whereas two local institutions Pak-China Investment Company Limited and Habib Bank Limited have bought 5 percent each.
Modi's demonetization step to crackdown the black economy; seems to have become a fad as few economies around the world are eyeing the same. At home, there are talks of taking out the Rs5,000 denomination from the economy to clean-up the black economy.
It is hard to say whether the global business elite, or in Martin Wolf's words, the "predatory tax-evading and tax-avoiding plutocracy", feels the negative impact their ways have spread across the world. As per a Boston Consulting Group study, an estimated $10 trillion is stashed offshore, with bulk of it coming from Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. But something changed during 2016. The leaked Panama Papers exposed the tip of the ten-trillion-dollar iceberg. As people started talking, multilateral bodies (EU, G20, and the like) have had to come up with a response. According to the FT, some 55 billion Euros have flown back this year as a result of global crackdown on tax havens and tax amnesties offered by various countries.
The National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) have published a draft of the proposed competitive bidding regulations for public consultation and stakeholder feedback. Last week this column commented upon the gaps contained in the previous regulations pertaining to competitive bidding. It also highlighted the objectives the regulator was trying to achieve with the revision including encouragement of investment by the private sector as well as inducing competition in the electricity market of Pakistan.