August 21, 2017
By Jamil Anderlini

Are China’ s internet titans about to conquer the world? Listen to the talk in Beijing and in some circles in the west and the triumph of Chinese tech is all but certain. At the very least it will compete on an equal footing with the world-beating incumbents headquartered in Silicon Valley. Take Richard Liu. The founder and chief executive of JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce company and the world’s third-largest internet company by revenue, believes his business and competitors such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu will one day pose a serious challenge to the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon - but not for at...


By Web Desk

Theresa May’s government has handled the Brexit negotiations with the EU so shambolically that even the slightest sign of common sense feels like a breakthrough. Thus it is some relief that the government’s paper on future customs arrangements, published on Tuesday, accepts the UK will need a transitional customs union to avoid a catastrophic shock when it leaves the union in March 2019. There, unfortunately, the good news largely ends. The government still seems to have no clear idea of what will come after a transition, bar some wishful thinking. David Davis, the secretary of state for leaving the EU, remarked that the lack...


By Ihtasham ul Haque

Pakistan’s total debt burden is becoming unsustainable by reaching over Rs24 trillion. The new prime minister should take notice and halt the blatant violation of Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation (FRDL) Act of 2005. Pakistan cannot keep its debt at a sustainable level without achieving about six percent annual economic growth rate to avoid becoming another Greece whose debt level crossed all manageable limits. By appointing Miftah Ismael as his special assistant on finance and taking over the charge of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) along with three committees – energy, privatisation and...


By Saleem Qazi

“Like any ambitious young man, working for an organisation of international repute was my dream. And the most significant day of my career was February 1, 2014, when I joined BASF,” said Faisal Akhtar, managing director, BASF Pakistan. Reminiscing about his humble beginnings, Faisal Akhtar said he started his career 27 years ago, when, while doing his Masters in Chemistry from Karachi University, he was selected for the post of trainee chemist at ICI Pakistan, an established multinational firm. At ICI, he got the opportunity to work for various departments including pharmaceutical, consumer products, PTA, polyester fibres and...


By James Saft

Confronting an economy in which falling unemployment is failing to kindle inflation, as the supposed laws of economics say it should, the European Central Bank counsels “patience, persistence and prudence.” Investors may need to add “suspension of disbelief” to that. The data, both in the eurozone and the United States, is not supportive of the old verities embodied in the Phillips curve, which holds that as unemployment falls, inflation will rise. Minutes from the ECB’s July meeting, at which rates were held steady at 0.00 percent, included a lengthy discussion of the puzzling disconnect between inflation...


By Sirajuddin Aziz

I recall with fondness my childhood years when after dinner my father would recline on his long arm-chair with his favourite Havana cigar… and here he would sometimes involuntarily recite a verse ‘Be-qaul e hasan, jis ko bhata nahin; gaya waqt phir haath aata nahin’ (loose translation: as per Hasan what is not pondered, is that, lapsed time doesn’t make a return). Then, I knew only that it had something to do with the significance of time. Today it means more than just that. Indiscipline in conversation is a recipe for destruction. An important aspect of focus in conversations or even otherwise is giving due...


By Michael Mackenzie

Central bankers and equity investors can find common ground on one topic. At a time when inflation is not a problem and bond yields suggest a degree of disinflationary pressure, no one wants a sharply strong currency let alone a tightening of financial conditions. This clearly shows up when you look at the tussle between US and eurozone equity market performance. Until the latest verbal stoush referencing nuclear weapons between the US and North Korea on Tuesday, Wall Street and by extension the FTSE All World index have been hitting the record books hard. In contrast, eurozone equities have been trading sideways since they peaked in...


By Jude Webber

If you want a friend in Washington, so they say, get a dog. With Mexico certainly in the market for friends as renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement gets under way next week, BrewDog, a Scottish craft beer producer, has trotted up with a cross-border friendship plan. It is vowing to “make beer, not walls” by building a “Bar on the Edge”, half in Texas and half in Chihuahua, Mexico, the northern state where the midget pooch of the same name is thought to have originated. This sounds unlikely to appeal to Donald Trump, and not just because the US president is a famous teetotaller. He is sticking to...


By Ihtasham ul Haque

The worsening balance of payment is turning into a crisis that urgently needs massive $24 billion external financing to pull through 2017-18. How will the government address this key challenge is anybody’s guess considering the increasing political uncertainty and deep polarisation in the society. Senior officials of the ministry of finance and the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) are reportedly hoping to have some adequate external financing from China to help meet their foreign funding requirements. The initial lukewarm response of the World Bank, International Monitory Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) does not...