Indonesia Still Finding its Sea Legs

Implementing Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) vague ambition to become the maritime power connecting the Pacific and India Oceans — a so-called ‘global maritime fulcrum’ (GMF) — will be an enormous challenge for Indonesia. Making matters worse, since the announcement of the GMF, there has been no detailed policy blueprint, even though efforts to realise the vision have been underway.

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Encouraging Japanese Board of Director Diversity

The current potential growth rate of the Japanese economy is estimated to be less than 0.5 percent. Given Japan’s rapidly declining working-age population, it will be critical to increase the labour participation rate of women and elderly people in order to promote economic growth. The ‘new three arrows’ of Abenomics stress the need for Japan to ensure the ‘dynamic engagement of all citizens’ in the economy.

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Is China's World Order Role Exaggerated?

China’s status within the prevailing global order has sparked one of the most contested debates in international affairs. For some, it evokes their worst fears over a rising revisionist power; for others it creates inflated expectations over what the Chinese leadership is willing to commit to within the global arena.

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Maybe Third Times a Charm for Rajoy?

There is a small chance that the political deadlock in Spain will be resolved this week.  Despite the agreement on some 150 policy points, the Popular Party and Ciudadanos, the new center-right party, they will not secure a majority without the tacit support of some members of either the Socialists or the new left party Podemos.

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Can Thailand's Latest Constitution Last?

The result of the Thailand’s recent referendum appeared to show an easy win to the ‘yes’ camp. Sixty-one percent of voters approved the draft constitution while 39 percent voted ‘no’. Fifty-eight percent also approved a second question, inserted at the last minute, on whether a non-elected prime minister could be appointed by a joint sitting of the Senate and House of Representatives.

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Old Urbanization Patterns Won't Help a New China

China’s unprecedented growth since reforms began in the late 1970s has been accompanied by an equally transformative process of urbanisation. China’s urbanisation rate increased from 17.9 to 54.8 percent between 1978 and 2014, which represents the largest peacetime population movement in human history. The transfer of labour from the agricultural sector and rural areas to non-agricultural sectors and urban areas in China underwrote the world’s fastest sustained period of economic growth in the past three decades.

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Complex, Obscure Financial Transactions behind 1MDB

Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal reached a crescendo in July 2016. The US Attorney General claimed that more than US$3.5 billion belonging to 1MDB was ‘allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates’ between 2009 and 2015. The case is officially closed in Malaysia, but Prime Minister Najib Razak’s difficulties remain.

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Indonesia's Jokowi Relying on Military Leaders

Without networks within the military, and having no effective power over the political parties, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has been constrained in his political manoeuvres. To combat this, Jokowi has installed retired army generals to important civilian posts as coordinating ministers, defence minister and head of state intelligence.

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Will India’s Monetary Policy Continue to Weaken Rupee?

During the second bi-monthly monetary policy decision in August this year, the Reserve Bank of India maintained the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility as unchanged at 7.25%. As a consequence, the reverse repo rate against the liquidity adjustment facility will remain unchanged at 6.25%.

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Setting Up Your Emerging Markets Week

EM ended last week on a soft note, as Fed tightening expectations ratcheted up.  The December Fed funds futures contract has an implied yield of 0.5%, the highest since June 2.  Note that on June 3, US rates plunged after the May jobs shocker (+38k).  If the hawkish Fed storyline can be maintained, then EM will have trouble getting traction.  This Friday’s jobs report for August will be key, with consensus at +185k vs. +255k in July.

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Pros and Cons of Businesspersons as Politicians

South Africa’s economic capital, Johannesburg, has a new mayor, Herman Mashaba. His election marks two watershed moments: he is a member of the Democratic Alliance, which has never run the city before; and he’s a successful businessman who has never been a public servant. Does a business background matter in public service, particularly in the South African context? The Conversation Africa’s business and economy editor Sibonelo Radebe chatted to Lumkile Mondi from the University of the Witwatersrand.

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Japan's Double Economic Whammy

In February 2016, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), in order to reach a 2% inflation target, initiated a negative interest rate policy by increasing massive money supply through the purchase of long-term Japanese government bonds (JGBs).

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