“It is said that enlightened governments… do not mobilise when there is no advantage, do not act when there is nothing to gain, do not fight when there is no danger.” – Sun Tzu
Markets have been captivated by the prospect and imagery of a “currency war” following Japan’s dramatic shift in monetary policy, and the recent 20 per cent depreciation of the yen. The narrative goes something like this: The sharp devaluation of the Japanese yen will be the casus belli which will provoke retaliatory devaluations by other Asian economies in self-defence.
All very colorful, dramatic and scary, to be sure. But to-date this is purely hypothetical, and likely to remain so. Continue reading »
Surprise, surprise. When it comes to words and actions of big companies, yet again we find that rhetoric belies reality – this time courtesy of The Economist Corporate Network.
The Economist group’s emerging markets advisory arm compiles an annual survey of leading corporate executives on their attitudes and investment patterns in Asia. In its report, Investing in an Accelerating Asia?, the group found that investment in Asia by global multinational corporations is lagging the expectations, forecasts and optimism voiced by their top executives. Continue reading »
It is hardly surprising to see mixed economic views of a country or region. But these days, Asia has become a forecasters’ chop-suey of tasty and unpalatable tidbits.
While it boasts growing internal markets, strong capital inflows and still-impressive annual growth among some economies, the region remains vulnerable to global slowdowns, the whims of western central banks, natural disasters and inadequate regional co-operation. Among the growing stream of mixed messages on the region’s trajectory came the United Nations Economic and Social commission for Asia and the Pacific, launched on Friday in Bangkok. Continue reading »
Robust domestic demand, the rise of the middle class and healthy corporate balance sheets are reasons why southeast Asia is being talked up as the last man standing in an otherwise anaemic global economy.
But Thiam Hee Ng, a senior economist at the Asian Development Bank, has sounded a rare note of caution on the region. He points out four factors that should give the boosters pause. Continue reading »
The conventional wisdom for the past six months has been that south-east Asia is pretty much the last man standing in the global economy.
Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore have delivered decent growth, thanks to strong domestic demand and, even as the eurozone crisis and China’s deceleration have buffeted them.
The US’s decision to suspend some key sanctions against Myanmar is the latest and perhaps most prominent endorsement received by that country’s new quasi-civilian regime.
Global interest has surged, due to Myanmar’s vast untapped natural resources, underexploited agricultural sector and huge underemployed labor force. While there is justifiable excitement – the IMF expects 6 per cent economic growth this year – those new to Myanmar will find that it is hardly virgin territory. Continue reading »
The deep summer lull of the markets has come early this year as uncertainty reigns and the global economy continues its shuddering slowdown. Bank of England governor Mervyn King said on Thursday night that economic conditions as seen from the UK had further deteriorated markedly in just the past four weeks.
But while he and others – such as BlackRock’s Peter Fisher – debate the usefulness of further monetary easing in the west to chivvy things along, Frederic Neumann at HSBC reckons that in emerging Asia, it is fiscal firepower that provides the best defence – unless that is you are in India or perhaps Malaysia. Continue reading »
Slowing growth, falling exports, the impact on Asia of the eurozone debt crisis and a potential surge in oil prices: there were some stark warnings issued on Thursday by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Continue reading »
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