Markets

An Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's Time May Have Come


The proposed Asian infrastructure bank could galvanize growth in emerging Asia and boost lingering global recovery.  According to Western media, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is to rival the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  In reality, the idea of the AIIB was put forward more than a year ago; not to undermine either the World Bank or the ADB, but to deliver the promise that both have failed to deliver – sustained growth in emerging Asia.

A Future with a Low-Carbon Asia


The pattern of energy supply and demand that has prevailed over the last 3 decades is undergoing transformation, with great consequences for Asia’s energy security and regional cooperation. The two factors driving this transformation are the rise of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and India as major energy consumers, and the impressive additions to oil, gas, and coal output. The first is driven by growing populations, industrial growth, and economic ascendance of emerging economies.

The ECB May Add Corporate Bond Purchases


The targeted long-term repo operations had not even been launched when the ECB announced its intention to buy asset-backed securities and covered bonds.  It then began to buy covered bonds before the conclusion of the Asset Quality Review and bank stress tests.

Japan PM Shinzo Abe's Economic Strategy Includes "Womenomics"


‘Womenomics’ is a key pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic growth strategy. In 2013, just 64 per cent of Japanese women aged 15–64 were participating in the labour force — a low rate by OECD standards. As Japan’s labour force is already in decline, it is wasteful that women, and particularly those who have a higher education, have been underutilised. To address this, Abe has set a target to increase the ratio of female managers to over 30 per cent by 2020. In response, several large firms have set similar numerical targets.

Hong Kong's Cloudy Economic Future


Hong Kong’s lingering turmoil suggests that its economic future is not assured.  Recently, the Chinese People’s Daily accused Washington for colluding with Occupy Central protest organizers to try and foment a “color revolution.” In the West, the charge has been downplayed.  Today, Hong Kong must cope with political, economic and external risks.

After Ireland's Phase-out of its Controversial Tax Scheme


Ireland is to phase out its controversial “double Irish” tax scheme. It follows international criticism and the European Union’s investigation into the legalities of Apple and Ireland’s tax arrangement, and a long-term fascination with whether the country is akin to a tax haven for multinational companies. But endless focus on Ireland’s corporate tax rates makes it seem that this is the sole reason for the high levels of foreign investment.

Indonesia Fuel Subsidies' Unintended Consequences


Despite having won the president and vice-president posts respectively, Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla will possess little control, if at all, on the formulation of the next Indonesian budget for fiscal year 2015–16. One particular issue that concerns the new administration is the large portion of funds for energy subsidies, particularly fuel subsidies.

This Week in the Emerging Markets is Busy Again


Emerging market assets have started off the week mixed, with few clear signals to follow. The major currencies also appear directionless at the moment; though eurozone flash PMIs on Thursday could help put the spotlight back on weakness there.

As long as the dollar strengthening trend does not resume in earnest, EM currencies should be OK. On the equity side, EM is taking the back seat, constrained to a high-beta status. Lower oil prices, if sustained, will help the likes of India and Turkey, though this is yet to be priced in.

India's Modi Makes His Maiden Speech before the UN General Assembly


Many have hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly as a historic shift away from the speeches of past Indian heads of government. But in reality, Modi’s speech is more a continuation of the Indian government’s stance on many international issues, albeit with more flourish and charisma, which comes naturally to Modi when he speaks in Hindi.

The Vietnamese Education System is Vital to the Country's Economic Future


For Vietnamese youth, a university degree is the entry ticket to the middle class and a promise (often unfulfilled) of an urban professional job. Enrolment in higher education has grown from 162,000 in 1992 to over two million last year, some 25 per cent of the nation’s college-age population. Business, finance and foreign trade degrees are prized, a consequence of the Vietnamese economy’s globalisation.