May 22, 2017
By Gillian Tett

What is it about the American economy that keeps hedge fund luminaries awake at night? A couple of weeks ago I put that question to Ken Griffin, head of the Citadel group. His answer was illuminating: “Recession.” This is not because Mr Griffin is braced for a downturn right now; like most executives, he expects moderate growth this year, partly because he is excited about President Donald Trump’s reflation plans. But Mr Griffin worries about maths - and history. Over the past century, the average length of an American recovery has been six years. However, the current expansion has lasted eight, so the charts imply that...


By Michael Mackenzie

For global investors and, indeed commentators, China remains a fascinating subject and one that carries a health warning.   Nearly a third of fund managers say the recent tightening of credit by authorities in Beijing, who are taking aim at the shadow banking sector, is now the biggest tail risk for markets, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey released this week. Not since January of 2016 has China ranked above the threat of a eurozone break-up as the biggest worry for investors. The catalyst has been Beijing’s belated effort to bring an enormous credit bubble under control. As a result, interbank lending rates...


By Martin Sandbu

 There have been three pieces of good news in recent weeks for those who support global economic openness. Two of them, from the US, stand out amid the largely discouraging list the Peterson Institute has compiled of the trade actions taken in the first 100-plus days of the Trump administration. The third came from Europe on Tuesday. The first is that Donald Trump stepped back from the edge of withdrawing from Nafta. That is a good thing even if the decision-making process suggests little sign of deliberation. On the Economist magazine’s telling, pro-Nafta White House officials contacted the leaders of Canada and...


By Tim Harford

One of my first economics lessons contrasted perfect competition, which was judged to be a good thing, with monopoly, which was not. There are worse places to begin than by being shown the difference between championing the miracle of the free market and favouring the depredations of dominant businesses. But monopoly power has often seemed like yesterday’s issue. Standard Oil was broken up in 1911; AT&T in 1984. To the extent that we economists worried about companies being too big, we were thinking about the systemic risks from banks that were too big to fail. But we are starting to notice again the risks not of corporate...


By Zeeshan Haider

OCUS The government is basking in the glory of achieving highest economic growth in a decade. The finance minister last week wrote a letter to the prime minister congratulating him and the nation over the expected achievement of 5.2 percent GDP growth in the current fiscal year, which is highest in the last ten days. He hoped that the government would achieve six percent growth target for the next financial year. The macroeconomic indicators undoubtedly have shown very encouraging signs for the past four years and the present government must be credited for making this achievement possible. The country has moved a long way from the...


By Ihtasham Ul Haque

INSIGHT Pakistan-China close-cooperation strengthening got an enormous push, following a decision by the two governments to massively develop Pakistan’s agriculture sector under a recently revealed greater master plan. The plan pledges to boost Pakistan’s mistreated agriculture sector under an increasing $54 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has started appraisal of the new agriculture development projects to be financed under CPEC for which the government of Pakistan would reportedly be extending all necessary sovereign guarantees. The plan, nonetheless,...


By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed

BUSINESS Recently, the news about the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government signing an agreement with China to export live donkeys has been making rounds. The social media users and addicts have picked up this news and discussed it tongue in cheek and shared countless jokes coined around this development. The question here is why out of all the animals it’s the donkey that is getting so much importance? The answer follows here. Over the last couple of years, donkeys have become a highly precious commodity as their skins are high in demand in China and fetching premium prices. A quality donkey skin that would cost around Rs500 to...


By Sirajuddin Aziz

COMMENT Human kind with over centuries and with civilisations growth and decay, has progressed to entertain ‘dissent’ with tolerance and grace. There are pockets here and there where the guillotine for disagreeing is still active and in use. In the corporate world it is handled with greater grace, with the introduction of best practices of good governance. At the apex of any hierarchy, a manager is invariably called upon to mould the team, into a cohesive unit in spite of their varied talents and temperaments. Individuals, as your reports, would subscribe to being recognised in their personal capacity, while the job of a...


By Hussain Ahmad Siddiqui

ENERGY A part of the 9HA gas turbine during assembly at the General Electric manufacturing facility in Belfort, France. The imported-coal-based Sahiwal power plant, the first power generation project developed under the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, is set for inauguration by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif this month during tests and trials of the power station, which will achieve commercial operations and connected to national grid by June. Located at Qadirabad, the project of combined gross installed capacity of 1,320MW (2x660MW), and net installed capacity of 1,227MW, was originally scheduled...