Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Looking at the positive side of Pakistan’s economy

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A man eats free food in Karachi/Zahid HusseinAmid the conventional wisdom that Pakistan’s economy is falling to pieces — a view reinforced inside the country by soaring food prices and frequent power cuts — it’s interesting to see that someone still sees it as a hot market for foreign funds.

The Melchior Selected Trust Pakistan Opportunities Fund, one of the first funds to target Pakistan, believes the country’s problems have been exaggerated and sees its market as having the potential of “India at half the price”, according to this Reuters story.

It quotes Naz Khan, chief executive officer of KASB Funds in Karachi, as saying there is no reason to be particularly concerned by the tensions along the border with Afghanistan. “We have locked horns with India many times along the border with them in the last few decades,” he says. “This is just a different border and it shouldn’t affect the overall economy.”

The story prompted me to hunt around to see what else is out there painting a positive picture of Pakistan’s economy.

Maybank buys into Pakistan

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Maybak tower in Kuala Lumpur/Bozuki MohammadAfter asking last month whether the media should be more positive about Pakistan – the comments on the whole seemed to suggest we should be, while not being blind to the risks– it was interesting to see that Malaysia’s top lender, Malayan Banking, had no such doubts.

 Maybank said it had bought a 15 percent stake in Pakistan’s largest listed lender MCB Bank for $680 million, the largest banking acquisition into Pakistan, as it bet on a bright economic future despite the recent political turbulence.  It said the acquisition would give it access to ”a high-growth and under-penetrated banking market with a large population”, and that it was confident about Pakistan’s political outlook.

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