June 11, 2018
By Philip Stephens

Italy is ruled by Eurosceptic populists; Poland and Hungary by authoritarian nationalists. Britain limps towards an unhappy Brexit; a new governing coalition in Spain is confronted by Catalan separatists. No one could accuse Europeans of trying to hide the continent’s stresses and strains.Germany, of course, is the exception. Angela Merkel, that safest pair of hands, remains in charge at the chancellery, the economy is running at full employment, and federal and state governments are struggling to spend their surplus revenues. Now here’s the rub. The nation most vulnerable to the present geopolitical tumult is, well, Germany.Europe...


By Chris Giles.

Take a wooden pallet and stick two sets of mundane goods on to it — Chinese plastic cutlery and British cuddly toys. As it trucks towards Dover, ask yourself the following question: how will this consignment enter the EU after Brexit?The answer is more complicated than you think, but serves as a simplified guide to the costs and benefits of different future trading models. British MPs, preparing to debate these matters next week, might want to take note.Today, there are no checks. When a good is in free circulation for sale in the UK, that also applies in every other EU country. Under an antagonistic “no deal” Brexit, the consignment...


By Mehtab Haider.

The caretaker Minister for Finance Dr Shamshad Akhtar has assumed charge at Q Block or the Ministry of Finance at the Secretariat, and kick-started her sojourn to steer out the economy from the existing morass on internal and external fronts. She is known for her workaholic attitude, as she used to burn midnight oil for discharging her responsibilities. Her close aide just told this scribe that the newly sworn in minister starts her day early in the morning and continues working in the ministry till 8 to 9 pm every day.The minister has a huge task ahead of her. She will have to strategise a comprehensive plan to overcome the difficult...


By Richard Branson

ColumnQ: What do you do if you have a 50-50 business partnership with a friend, but after 10 years, it no longer works? I don’t want to ruin this friendship, but the business is suffering tremendously. He still expects his 50 percent share. From experience I know that he is not going to improve. What would your view and solution be? — P, Australia A: This is a common and sensitive situation, so I frequently receive questions about it. Friends often set up businesses together, and their camaraderie and trust serve them well. However, as the business grows larger and more complicated, this bond can be strained, and yet the...


By Sirajuddin Aziz

Couple of weeks back, these columns carried my piece that was titled “Hiring is difficult”. Much of the feedback was in agreement with the thought; however, one reader brought to attention about ‘firing’ a colleague……. So the piece is titled “Firing is more difficult”. I shall elaborate. Firing a colleague is the most difficult challenge for any supervisor. This act makes heavy demands on the managerial skills. A little slip can be costly. I must admit that there is a class of managers, who can do it, with pleasure and smile. But is it a ‘humanised’ approach to deal with sensitive ‘human resources ’ issue,...


By Zeeshan Haider

FOCUS The caretaker government led by Justice Nasirul Mulk is now fully in saddle. Though constitutionally, the caretaker government is mainly tasked to oversee the elections and is not expected to take any major decisions as it has less than two months to stay in office, yet it has to tackle or lay groundwork for the elected government to tackle at least three big challenges faced by the country. The foremost challenge for Pakistan is how to deal with the monster of twin deficits, which literally runs the risk of losing the gains that have been made to achieve economic stabilisation over the past five years.Many economists for...


By Edward Luce

At the outbreak of the first world war, investors sold dollars and bought sterling. It ought to have been the reverse, since Britain had declared war and the US was standing apart. But crowds rush to safety in a crisis — and sterling was then the reserve currency. Little did they guess that sterling would be undone by war debt.Markets reacted the same way after the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse. Although the crisis began on Wall Street, the dollar rose; America was rewarded for its sins. But profligacy cannot go on indefinitely. By his actions, Donald Trump is bringing forward the dollar’s reckoning.The US president’s most tangible...


By Web Desk

The phoney peace is shattered. Longstanding tension between the Treasury and the Bank of England on how the UK’s financial services should be regulated after Brexit has become increasingly public. The Treasury, keen to keep as much of the City and its juicy tax revenues as possible in Britain, is keen to hew closely to EU regulation to maintain business with the EU27. The BoE, concerned about being a rule-taker, wants more autonomy.Assuming that the UK does leave the single market overall, the BoE’s philosophy is more convincing. Even if the City of London loses some business overseas, the gains for financial stability and regulatory...


By Mehtab Haider.

INSIGHT The caretaker government led by Prime Minister Justice Nasirul Mulk has sworn in after taking oath and assumed powers with the mandate to hold free and fair elections in the country within the stipulated timeframe of two months. The caretaker cabinet is expected to assume its charge this week. The incoming finance minister will have to ensure a smooth transition on the economic front. This will help avert any blown out crisis-like situation during the tenure of the caretaker setup, so that smooth and timely transition of power can happen. This will be the second transfer of power to an elected government in Pakistan. ...