ED: M. M. ALAM
KARACHI: To mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Swiss Business Council (SBC) in Pakistan, the Consulate General of Switzerland here in collaboration with the SBC hosted an exclusive event at the Swiss Consul General’s residence.
Consul General and Patron of the SBC – Philippe Crevoisier addressing the ladies and gentlemen in the audience (consisting of diplomats, senior management of Swiss/other multinational companies, and leading businessmen) said that only if Pakistan was able to present to the international community the country’s on-ground realities and business potential, many more foreign investors would consider investing in Pakistani market.
Mentioning that Swiss-Pak bilateral trade (CHF 518.5 Million in 2017) was promisingly increasing for the past three years, the Consul General also commended SBC’s efforts to further improve commercial ties between the two friendly countries.
SBC President Farhat Ali, (who is also the Council’s founding President and Chairman of the Board and Executive Managing Director of Polygal N.V. in Pakistan) gave an overview of the Council’s achievements over the past decade most prominent of which is the Council’s partnership with Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE); equivalent of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Board of Investment.
Farhat Ali further added that SBC with support from S-GE is committed to link Swiss and Pakistani companies. “Thanks to our business network at home and in Switzerland, in the past two years six small and medium-sized enterprises from Switzerland have successfully entered the local market”, he further added.
The highlight of the event was keynote address by the Dean and Director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi – Dr. Farrukh Iqbal who presented his views on Pakistan’s macroeconomic matters in perspective of the challenges and opportunities for foreign investors.
Dr. Iqbal held: “Pakistan has performed below its growth potential for many years now. In particular, the private investment rate has been stuck at a low level of 10% of GDP for almost a quarter century now.
“This reflects a pessimism on the part of domestic investors that go beyond energy shortages and security conditions.
“Among factors to consider more deeply are the quantity and quality of education and health services available to the population to enable them to play a more productive role in the economy of the future.”
Swiss companies in the past ten years have invested CHF 1.5 Billion in Pakistan making Switzerland stand among top ten foreign director investors.
Major exports from Switzerland to Pakistan are pharmaceuticals, textile machines, and watches. Main Pakistani exports to Switzerland are textiles and agro-foods.
On the occasion, recognition certificates were also awarded to member companies who have completed 10 years with the Council.
Asian markets stage a recovery!
HONG KONG: Asian markets staged a tentative recovery today from the previous day’s steep losses, with investors increasingly anxious about the state of the global economy.
With a mixed lead from Wall Street, regional traders had few catalysts to drive buying, while safe-haven flows saw the dollar edge up against high-yielding currencies.
Attention is also back on London, where MPs essentially wrested control of the Brexit debate from Prime Minister Theresa May with a vote that will allow them to decide on a number of possibilities for how to proceed.
Investors in Asia were suffering a hangover from Monday’s pummelling, which came on the back of a drop in benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yields below those for three-month bills – for the first time since before the global financial crisis.
This so-called inverted yield curve shows investors are more willing to buy long-term debt – usually viewed as a higher risk — as they consider the short-term outlook more hazardous. Such a scenario has preceded several recessions in recent decades.
“Recession worries may be premature for the US, but the negative signals are consistent with the recent data,” said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.
US economists less optimistic, see slower growth: survey
WASHINGTON: US economists are less optimistic about the outlook and sharply lowered their growth forecasts for this year, amid slowing global growth and continued trade frictions, according to a survey published Monday.
And while the odds of a recession by 2020 remain low, they are rising, the National Association for Business Economics said in their quarterly report.
The panel of 55 economists now believe “the US economy has reached an inflection point,” said NABE President Kevin Swift.
The consensus forecast for real GDP growth was cut by three tenths from the December survey, to 2.4 percent after 2.9 percent expansion in 2018.
The economy is expected to slow further in 2020, with growth of just 2 percent, the report said.
Three-quarters of respondents cut their GDP forecasts and believe the risks of to the economy are weighted to the downside.
“A majority of panelists sees external headwinds from trade policy and slower global growth as the primary downside risks to growth,” NABE survey chair Gregory Daco said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, recession risks are still perceived to be low in the near term.”
Panelists put the odds of a recession starting in 2019 at around 20 percent, and for 2020 at 35 percent, slightly higher than in December.
Daco said that “reflects the Federal Reserve’s dovish policy U-turn in January” when the central bank said it would keep interest rates where they are for the foreseeable future, a message reinforced this week.
After four rate increases last year, Daco said a “near-majority of panelists anticipates only one more interest rate hike in this cycle compared to the three hikes forecasted in the December survey.”
Panelists see wage growth as the biggest upside risk to the economy, despite expected increase of just 3 percent this year, as inflation holds right around the Fed’s 2 percent target.
Meanwhile, amid President Donald Trump’s aggressive tariff policies, the panel projects the trade deficit will rise to a record $978 billion this year, beating last year’s record $914 billion.
In an interesting twist in the survey, only 20 percent said they expected to see the dreaded “inverted yield curve” — when the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note falls below the 3-month bill — this year.
In fact, the yield curve inverted on Friday for the first time since 2007.
Is Uber buying Careem for $3.1b?
DUBAI: According to the rumors making rounds here today it seems that Uber is about to acquire Careem for $3.1b!
Sources privy to NPTV have insinuated that the deal will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday 26th March). Initially Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and the rest in notes convertible to Uber shares.
It comes as Uber prepares for its initial public offering — expected next month — which could see the rideshare giant’s value increase to $100 billion.