Asia Pacific

The 'Dangerous Populist'


The new Philippine president is waging a tough drug war, pushing economic growth domestically and greater pragmatism in foreign policy that could contribute to Southeast Asia’s future.

Stabilizing Philippine Economic Growth from the Bottom Up


The local business community is upbeat with the passing into law of Republic Act 10744, otherwise known as the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act of 2015 on 6 February 2016. Essentially, the said law provides for the creation and organization of the Credit Surety Fund (CSF) cooperatives to manage and administer credit surety funds and to enhance the accessibility of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); cooperatives; and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to bank credit facilities.

How China's Soft Budget Constraint Created Zombie Firms


This year began with international media attention drawn to the weakness of China’s economy. This prediction was validated on 9 May 2016 when the People’s Daily ran on its front page an article written by President Xi Jinping that expounded on the need for ‘supply-side structural reform’.

Can Philippine President Duterte's War on Drugs Last?


Duterte is gaining in the war on drugs, but at a terrifying cost to Filipino society.  The Philippines is drowning in a wave of killings as the government of the newly proclaimed President Rodrigo Duterte combats the illegal drug trade. Except for a few human rights advocates, there has been no outcry from the population.

Indonesia's Jokowi Makes a Questionable Appointment


In July, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo courted controversy by appointing a former New Order general who has been accused of human rights abuses, Wiranto, as Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs. As security and human rights have come to dominate the political dynamic in West Papua, the new appointment to the third most powerful position in Indonesia’s Cabinet raises new questions for Indonesia’s restive eastern province.

Moody's Likes Australia's Credit


Moody’s has reaffirmed Australia’s AAA credit rating, as Malcolm Turnbull seeks to put pressure on Labor and crossbenchers to pass measures to help repair the budget.

Moody’s Investor Services said in a statement on Wednesday that reasons for maintaining the status quo were the expectation that Australia’s “demonstrated economic resilience will endure in an uncertain global environment”; its very strong institutional framework; and stronger “fiscal metrics” than many of its similarly rated peers.

Japan's Government Accelerates Market-Oriented Agricultural Reforms


In 2015, the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spearheaded a series of unprecedented amendments to the 1947 Agricultural Cooperative Law. These changes will loosen the stifling controls of the national and prefectural organisations of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) over local co-ops and farmers.

Many Hope Australian PM Turnbull has a Plan B


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first major economic address since the July 2 federal election was, in most respects, the kind of speech one might have expected from a leader who had won with a comfortable margin.

He sounded like a prime minister whose campaign agenda had won widespread support, and who had been rewarded with a significantly increased parliamentary majority.

Relaxing Financial Controls the Chinese Way


It is as if Hamlet, the confused prince of Denmark, has taken up residence in Beijing.  The famed-prince wrestled with "seeming" and "being".  So are Chinese officials.  They seem to be relaxing their control financial markets, but are they really?  Are they tolerating market forces because they approve what they are doing, such as driving interest rates down or weakening the yuan?  If so what happens when the markets do something for which they don’t approve?