Pakistan: An Investment Opportunity?

As noted by an interesting blog titled Green Views-Rupee News, Pakistan – despite the political turmoil, assassinations, riots and bombings we read about in the media almost every day – still represents a sound investment opportunity. As the report notes:

“…the fundamentals of the Pakistani economy are sound. Arab and Asian money is still flowing into the Stock Exchange and the entire country looks like a construction site. You don’t read all about the 9 new 5 star hotels being developed in Karachi, or the flyover, and the motorways. You don’t hear about the massive industrializaton and the six industrial zones being set up by China. You don’t hear about giant new cities springing up where there was only desert. Pakistan has the 4th largest coal reserves in the world and now most of the cars run on Liquid Petroleum Gas.

There is excitement in the economic air and stock exchange reflects it….

…Pakistan has the largest WiMax (Huge 17 city wife Hot spot) on hte planet and it is now being upgraded to a nationwide WiMax. With the Free Trade Agreement with China, the Chinese market will be open to Pakistani businesses, and Chinese businesses will use Pakistani soil to build and export through the new port city of Gwadar.

Emar International is spending $28 Billion on constructing two new islands. They are also constructing Manora into a new area worth billions of Dollars. Islamabad is spreading way beyond Fateh Jang, which used to be a backwater “tea spot”.

In fact, at a time when Western magazine covers call Pakistan the world’s most dangerous country, Mark Matthews, Asia stock strategist at the U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong, is upbeat about Pakistan. As the article notes, Pakistan is his number two favorite market, after Hong Kong.

“…When you watch television or pick up a newspaper everything is blood and gore,” Matthews said. “When you go to the country and you do your homework, you see that it’s a fantastic economy, growing 6.5 to seven percent….”

…That positive forecast came even after Pakistan’s central bank reduced its forecast for economic growth to seven percent or less, from an earlier prediction of 7.2 percent. That move followed the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and an exodus of foreign stock investors because of months of political protests and militant violence….

“…Matthews says the political factor in Pakistan is “overstated”. He says even if another high-ranking political figure is killed, it will not spoil Pakistan’s economic growth, which is fueled largely by consumption.

“Basically 99 percent of Pakistanis … aspire for the same things that everybody else does, a mobile phone, a television, a motorcycle,” Matthews said. “The one percent or much less who are not like that, well, they will be thorn on the side of the country for some time but it’s certainly not enough to derail the strong economic growth or, for that matter, the strong stock market.”

This entry was posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008 at 12:03 pm and is filed under Pakistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.