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Young South Koreans Losing Interest in the North

It is not easy being a young person in globalised South Korea. The intense competition that defines South Korea’s education system and the irregular employment market that awaits graduates has led to rising inequality, falling birth rates, insecure employment and high numbers of youth suicide. Beyond South Korea’s domestic wellbeing, globalisation and its accompanying economic insecurity also have implications for foreign affairs, particularly attitudes towards North Korea.

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Japan's GDP Disappoints

The US dollar closed the pre-weekend session well off its lows that were seen in response to the disappointing retail sales report.  It has been unable to sustain the upside momentum, and as North American dealers prepare to return to their posts, it is trading lower against most of the major currencies. The notable exceptions are the Scandi-bloc, which are consolidating last week's gains, and sterling, which remains pinned near $1.29.

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Emerging Markets Officials Express Exchange Rates Concerns

EM FX ended the week on a soft note, despite the weaker than expected US retail sales report. Official concern about strong exchange rates is beginning to emerge. First, it was Korea, and then on Friday it was Brazil as acting President Temer said his country needs to maintain a balanced exchange rate, neither too weak nor too strong.

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Emerging Markets Boosted by Lower Rates

Scratch an investor, and you will find two models.  One is a fair value model, perhaps based on free-cash-flow or earnings expectations, or breakup value.  The other is based on liquidity.  We suspect that the latter is overwhelming the former in the emerging market equity space.

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South Korea's High Growth Model has its Shortcomings

Just a few decades ago, South Korea was seen as a model for achieving both growth and equity. In the past half-century, South Korea has gone from being one of the poorest societies in the world to an advanced industrialised economy, joining the OECD in 1996. The country’s rapid industrialisation and export-led development are often cited as an example of ‘compressed growth and transformation’ in the developing world.

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How did China's Productivity Find a Lower Gear?

China’s substantive economic slowdown following the 2008–09 global financial crisis has added fuel to the long-running debate over the sustainability of China’s growth model. Despite the government’s unprecedented stimulus package, the official statistics — though often accused of exaggerating real performance, especially in times of crisis — show that China nearly halved its pace of growth, from 13.5 percent per annum in 2005–07 to about 7 percent per annum in 2013–15.

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Thailand Coup Leaders' Democracy is Lacking

More than two years since the coup, Thailand’s political situation remains volatile. The coup leaders have vowed to make Thailand more democratic and commit to political reforms. Yet the first draft of the military-sponsored constitution was rejected a year ago. The military was compelled to set up a new drafting commission, this time led by Meechai Ruchupan, a pro-junta legal expert, with a mission to win support from the populace for the new constitution.

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Fiji's Rabuka Returns to Lead SODELPA

In September 2014, Prime Minster Voreqe Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party swept to victory in an election that heralded Fiji’s return to elected government, almost eight years after Bainimarama seized power in a military coup. In securing his position as a democratically elected leader, Bainimarama also confirmed a political truism in Fijian politics: whoever assumes power because of a coup, consolidates power through the first post-coup ballot.

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