Bitcoin has a phenomenal run
It was a very good year for the cryptocurrency as it soared 1,500% in 2017, surprising many, while earning a financial fortune to its investors.
Nawaz Sharif sent packing
In a long-awaited verdict, the prime minister was disqualified which sent tremors through the business community. Following this case, former finance minister Ishaq Dar also had to face legal issues due to which he went on indefinite leave.
Habib Bank receives a financial hit
In a surprising move, Habib Bank Limited had to shut down its New York branch due to its failure to comply with New York laws and regulations. It was fined $225 million.
Pakistan becomes $300b economy
Pakistan achieved economic growth of 5.3%, the highest in a decade, on the back of recovery in the agriculture sector and better-than-expected performance in the services sector. This put the country in the league of economies that have a size of over $300 billion.
PSX becomes a regional capital market
The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed many developments in 2017. A Chinese consortium acquired 40% stake for Rs8.96 billion before 20% was sold to the general public. Pakistan also made the actual shift to the MSCI emerging markets index.
New entrants into Pakistan’s auto sector
The auto sector fared well as foreign companies announced plans to enter the Pakistani market. Hyundai announced to set up an assembly plant with Nishat Mills, while Volkswagen also made similar plans. Renault and Kia also announced investments.
SBP grants licence to Bank of China
Bank of China opened its branch in Karachi, which was its first branch in South Asia. It is China’s second bank to open its branch in the country after ICBC.
Pakistan raises $2.5 billion from global markets
In a largest-ever transaction, Pakistan raised $2.5b from global capital markets by issuing the five-year Sukuk (Islamic bond) and the 10-year Eurobond at relatively lower rates, suggesting that foreign investors are still confident about the country’s $300b economy. The country’s external debt and liabilities surpassed $85b.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2018.
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