East Asia Forum

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East Asia Forum
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Analysis of economics, politics and public policy in East Asia and the Pacific.

Help for Thailand's Economy Can Come via Infrastructure Spending

Date: 24 October 2014

Since Thailand is currently undergoing national reform, public spending should be geared towards repositioning the country’s economic fundamentals while honouring long-term fiscal stability. Infrastructure improvement is a must for Thailand to fully benefit from its geographical advantage at the heart of ASEAN. 

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China Presses on with Renminbi Internationalization

Date: 23 October 2014

There is a positive trend in RMB as a reserve holding, but it is still small compared to other global currencies. Financial markets are still not as deep and liquid as those in developed countries, and are much less than those with global currencies. While the accomplishment is impressive, the RMB is still far from being a full-fledged international currency. 

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

Date: 22 October 2014

‘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. 

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Indonesia Fuel Subsidies' Unintended Consequences

Date: 21 October 2014

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. 

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Northeast Asian Stability and Japan's Security Policy

Date: 20 October 2014

On 1 July 2014, the Abe government made a cabinet decision to reinterpret the Article 9 peace clause of Japan’s constitution to recognise the exercise of collective self-defence under limited circumstances. While the scope of the proposed changes are an evolution rather than a revolution in Japanese security policy, especially due to the tough negotiations with Abe’s coalition partner New Komeito, furor and misconception have surrounded the move. 

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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Goes Beyond Security to Include Trade

Date: 17 October 2014

China recently reaffirmed that it backs India and Pakistan becoming members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). At the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of States of SCO on 12 September, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for full membership for SCO observers, including India and Pakistan. 

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Will Kuroda's 'can do' approach succeed for Japan's economy?

Date: 17 October 2014

Under the leadership of Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) in March-April 2013 did a 180-degree turnaround: it declared that it had the monetary policy wherewithal to end Japan’s chronic, mild deflation and secure a rate of inflation of around 2 per cent and announced bold monetary action to that end. For BOJ-watchers this was revolutionary stuff — and it was coming from establishment Japan. 

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Vietnam Middle Income Trap Could Happen with a FDI-based Economy

Date: 16 October 2014

The Vietnamese economy has experienced a downturn in growth since 2008. In the past five years, the growth averaged about 5.5 per cent a year and is not expected to be much higher in the coming years. For a country of per capita income of about US$2000, that rate of growth is low. 

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Is the ASEAN Economic Community Making Enough Progress?

Date: 14 October 2014

Launched as a political bloc and security pact in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, ASEAN has evolved to embrace an ambitious economic agenda. Its latest project is to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 31 December 2015. 

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Indonesia's Jokowi Could be Plagued by the Red and White Coalition

Date: 14 October 2014

Many commentators assumed following Indonesia’s 9 July presidential election that members of defeated candidate Prabowo Subianto’s six-party ‘Red and White’ coalition would not want to be locked out of government and would seek to realign themselves with president-elect Joko Widodo (‘Jokowi’). 

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Foreign Banks Granted Licenses to Operate in Myanmar

Date: 13 October 2014

On 30 September the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced the names of the nine foreign banks that are to be awarded licenses to operate in the country. It was a keenly awaited decision that, as with the telecommunications licenses last year, was conducted via a generally well-regarded selection process presided over by a German consultancy firm, Roland Berger. 

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More about 'Abenomics' in Japan and it's Potential

Date: 13 October 2014

After two decades of stagnant growth and the Fukushima triple disaster, Japan appears more confident both domestically and internationally. The economy has been inflated, much-needed social change is being discussed with some progress being made, and international diplomacy is once again active. 

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Lessons from Japan's 'Abenomics'

Date: 13 October 2014

One of the striking things about the past few decades of Japan’s economic history has been the fact that textbook macroeconomics could have predicted most of it. Back in the late 1990s, this was a controversial point of view. Many people spoke about the ‘specialness’ of the Japanese economy, just as they have about the ‘specialness’ of recent monetary policy. This over-complication seems unnecessary. In the political economy of reform, as in macroeconomics, we can learn a lot from the Japanese experience. 

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