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February 1, 2009

•Thailand: Red-shirts rally anew to topple government
UN envoy’s visit offers little hope for Myanmar
Singapore: Manufacturers downbeat over outlook
Vietnam: BIDV bank to cut dong lending rates from Feb 1
• Singapore: Chartered Semi posts Q4 loss, plans layoffs

February 2, 2009

Global crunch to hit Asian car markets in 2009
Philippine F&B company reports 25% rise in net income
Singapore minister: Reserves not for welfare
Asian airlines trim down for expected hard landing
• Myanmar democracy leader seen leaving home for UN envoy talks

February 3, 2009

Indonesia tourist arrivals miss 2008 target
Thai parent mulls listing Laos power unit
Philippine banks’ NPLs drops to 3.78%
Malaysia local rating outlook turns negative
• Vietnam to trim rates further

February 4, 2009

• Canadian bank doubles stake in Thai bank
• Singapore Tourism:
Arrivals decline but revenue up in 2008
• Myanmar democracy leader shuns junta’s minister
• Thai PM sets out on investment roadshow to Japan

• Malaysia: Govt urged to review race policy
• Indonesia expects 2% rise in gas output

February 5, 2009

• Asean Summit:
Thailand to beef up security at summit venue

• Thailand: Rohingya migrants to be sent back ‘home’
• Singapore hotel offers ‘pay-what-you- want’ rate
• Indonesia: Rate cuts to lift growth, more likely to follow
• Toyota leasing unit in Thailand plans bond sale late Feb

February 6,2009

• Thai PM in Japan:
‘Country is back on track’

Indonesia seeks eyes swap deal with Japan
Malaysia's Sime plas water project, rice venture
Thai GM unit looks to state support
• Philippines inflation at 10 month low in Jan



February 24, 2009

• Thailand: Pro-Thaksin red-shirts rally ahead of Asean Summit
• Malaysia to ease investment restrictions
• Indonesia plans more bonds to boost budget
• Asean plans electronic stock link in 2010
• Philippines expects 4% growth in 2009

February 20, 2009

• Vietnam reports $400m in trade surplus
• Singapore reviews financial regulations to reduce risks
• Cost overruns threaten casino projects in Singapore
• Japanese brewer in 1bn deal with Philippines’ San Miguel
• Malaysia: Opposition accuses govt of bribing legislators
• Australia, Indonesia to press forward with free trade pact
• Clinton in Indonesia, promoting ties with Muslim world

February 19, 2009

• Clinton in Jakarta to seek new strategic partnership
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Jakarta amid tight security Wednesday, bringing a mission to seek a stronger partnership with the world's most populous Muslim country, reported Kyodo news agency.

• Four bidders vie for AIG's Philippine assets
US insurer American International Group has shortlisted four potential buyers for its Philippine life insurance business, sources familiar with the negotiations said on Wednesday.

• Rising unemployment could trigger unrest - ILO
Asian nations could become vulnerable to social unrest as millions lose their jobs because of the global economic crisis, the International Labour Organisation was quoted by Reuters as saying Wednesday.

• Thai top mobile operator sees steep decline in 2009 profit
Thailand's top mobile phone operator, Advanced Info Service Plc, reported a 92 percent fall in quarterly earnings on Wednesday due to weak consumer confidence and a goodwill write-off for a subsidiary's network, reported Reuters.

• Thailand to inject $54bn into the economy

Thailand's economic ministers agreed Wednesday to spend 1.9 trillion baht ($54.28 billion) over four years to try and stimulate an economy hit by global and domestic upheaval, the premier said.


February 18, 2009

• Malaysian bank denies being in talks with Dubai investors
Malaysia's top lender, Maybank, said it was not in talks to buy a Dubai investor's stake in Bank Islam, a deal that would have created the largest sharia bank in the Asia-Pacific region.

• IMF sees sharp downturn in Philippines economy
Growth in the Philippines is set to slow sharply this year as the economy faces "strong head winds" from falling global demand and a drop in remittances from Filipinos working abroad, Reuters quoted the International Monetary Fund as saying Tuesday.

• Thai power firm to invest $31m in wind farm project
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding RATC.BK, Thailand's largest private power producer, plans to invest 1.11 billion baht ($31.50 million) in a wind power project in the north of the country.

• Asean welcomes appointment of Canadian ambassador
Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, said on Feb. 16 that Asean welcomed Canada’s appointment of John T. Holmes as its first ambassador to the organisation.

• Chevron sets date to decide on Indonesia deepwater gas project
Chevron Corp will decide whether to move to the final design of the deepwater Kutai Basin natural gas project off Indonesia's East Kalimantan province by year-end, the US major oil firm was quoted by Reuters as saying Tuesday.


February 17, 2009

• Thailand: Car sales to decline 40% in 2009
Vehicle sales in Thailand in 2009 are projected to drop 40 per cent due to the current economic slump, and it will take between one to two years before they recover, a top Toyota executive was quoted by Thai News Agency as saying.

• Clinton launches first overseas trip to 'indispensable' Asia
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched her Asia tour in Japan Monday calling US-Pacific ties "indispensable" for curbing problems like climate change, the global financial crisis and nuclear weapons, reported AFP.

• Philippines: Remittances seen slowing down amid global crisis
The inflow of remittances from overseas Filipino workers is expected to slow down this year as many will lose their jobs due to the global economic crisis, officials said.

• Vietnam to urge Japan to resume loans
Vietnam's Planning and Investment Minister Vo Hong Phuc plans to visit Japan later this month to urge the Japanese government to resume government loans to Vietnam, Kyodo news agency quoted Vietnamese government sources as saying Monday.

• Global slump forces Singapore Airlines to cut fleet
Singapore Airlines said Monday it will cut 17 percent of its fleet and is exploring other cost-saving measures amid a global economic slump which has hit travel and cargo demand.

• Singapore refiner to shut crude unit March-May
Singapore Refining Co (SRC) will take a 135,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude unit offline from mid-March to mid-May for regular maintenance, Reuters quoted industry sources as saying Monday.

• Philippines: Brewery eyes $300m backstop debt
The Philippines' San Miguel Brewery is considering $300 million in backstop debt funding to help buy the domestic beer brands and real estate assets from its parent firm, Reuters quoted a group executive as saying Monday. 


February 16, 2009

• Vietnam: Global slump seen denting FDI inflow
Pledges of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam may drop to $20 billion this year, less than a third of last year's record $64 billion, due to the global economic slump, an online newspaper quoted a state planner as saying.

• Singapore: Sovereign fund losses won't drain reserves
Singapore's reserves will not be depleted by the losses suffered by its two sovereign wealth funds, Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), Reuters quoted a government minister as saying in remarks published on Sunday.

• Indonesia: Non-oil exports likely to decline 20-30%
Indonesia's trade minister said on Saturday export volumes for non-oil and gas are set to fall 20-30 percent this year from 2008 as global trade slows, dealing a blow to Southeast Asia's biggest economy in an election year, reported Reuters.

• Malaysia’s Sime says no cost overruns at Qatar project
Malaysian plantations to autos conglomerate Sime Darby denied that an oil and gas engineering project in Qatar had been hit by 800 million Malaysian ringgit ($222.1 million) of cost overruns, reported Reuters

• Indonesia's Niaga bank sees loan growth slowing down
The head of PT Bank CIMB Niaga said Indonesia's sixth-largest bank has not been as badly hit as its peers by the financial turmoil, but expects a sharp slowdown in loan growth in 2009 the economy slows.

• UN official in Myanmar to assess human rights situation
A United Nations independent expert on human rights arrived in Myanmar Saturday for a six-day visit, UN and Burmese officials confirmed.

February 15, 2009

• Thailand to ask Vietnam to help stabilise rice prices
Thailand's Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot is scheduled to leave for Vietnam on Sunday for a three-day visit to find ways to keep rice prices stabilised.

• Singapore flag-carrier suspend Vancouver route
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced that it will suspend indefinitely, its three-times-weekly service between Singapore and Vancouver via Seoul, reported Channel News Asia.

• Thai PM denies admitting authorities’ abuse of Rohingyas
Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday dismissed a foreign media report he admitted Thai authorities had towed Rohingya migrants out to sea.

• Clinton’s Visit to Asia:
US to deepen bonds with Asia

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged Friday to deepen US bonds with Asia in order to tackle the global economic crisis and climate change as well as prevent nuclear proliferation.

• Indonesia, Japan sign gas sales extension
Indonesia and Japan have agreed on the gas sales extension for 10 years, the Jakarta Post reported on Saturday.

• Human Rights Abuses:
Myanmar’s opposition calls on UN to take action

Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party urged the United Nations on Saturday to take action against human rights abuses in military-ruled Myanmar, voicing hope and frustration over the visit of another U.N. envoy.


February 14, 2009

• Asean+3 to raise swap arrangement to $120bn
Finance ministers from 13 Asian countries will discuss expanding a currency swap scheme to $120 billion at a meeting in Thailand next weekend.

• Myanmar junta extends deputy opposition leader’s detention
Myanmar's military government on Friday extended the house arrest of the deputy leader of Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party, despite recent calls from the United Nations for the release of political prisoners, reported The Associated Press.

• Indonesia's Telkom mulls taking stake in Iran’s TCI
Indonesia's largest telecommunications firm, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, said on Friday it was considering buying a stake in state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI).

• Malaysian: April by-elections a test for government
Malaysia's coalition government faces two critical by-elections in April which the opposition Friday said would be a "referendum" on Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership.

• Philippine: Economy to grow 3.7% in 2009

The Philippine economy is expected to grow at least 3.7 percent this year, the lower end of the government's forecast, with other sectors and slowing inflation offseting weak exports as the global downturn deepens, Reuters quoted a senior government official as saying Friday.

February 13, 2009

• Indonesia: State oil firm urged to build new refineries
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged on Thursday state oil firm Pertamina to build new refineries to cut imports of oil products.

• Investment Prospects:
Vietnam ranked third in Japanese business survey

Vietnam is ranked third in a list of countries showing promise for Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) success in the medium term, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

• Malaysia: Najib to assume premiership on March 31
Malaysia's deputy premier Najib Razak will take over as Prime Minister from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on March 31, Reuters quoted an influential news website as reporting Wednesday.

• Global lender plans loan boost for Philippines
The World Bank is planning to boost loans to the Philippines by up to $1 billion a year from 2009 until 2012 despite banning several firms which the banks said rigged bidding for a roads project, Reuters quoted a top government official as saying Thursday.

• Tata Communications to spend $430m to boost infrastructure
Indian telecoms firm Tata Communications is investing $430 million in an Asian Internet data centre and cable system, AFP quoted the firm as saying Thursday.


February 12, 2009

• Malaysia to cut power tariffs by 3.7%
Malaysia is to cut electricity prices by an average of 3.7 percent from March 1 as the economy of the Southeast Asian country struggles to boost its competitiveness and fend off a possible recession.

• Philippine flag-carrier sees loss on fuel hedges
Philippine Airlines expects to post a net loss for the fiscal year ending March 31 on costly fuel hedges and high fuel prices.

• Singapore Tourism:
Fewer tourists, revenues seen in 2009

Singapore sees a gloomy year ahead for tourism, with visitor arrivals expected to fall as much as 10 percent and revenues to plunge by nearly 20 percent in 2009.

• Thailand Telecoms: TAC plans to boost cash flow in slowing market
Thai mobile phone company Total Access Communication Plc aims to generate more cash flow this year when the overall mobile phone market would grow at a slower pace.

• Vietnam: Tax payment date extended for 5 months

Vietnam has deferred the payment of income tax, including tax due from local and foreign stock investors, for five months until the end of May, postponing an extension of taxation that should have taken effect in January.

• Rohingya issue on agenda at Asean, UNHCR meetings

Thailand is willing to discuss the issue of the Rohingya migrants in top regional meetings this month and next.


February 11,2009

• Financing problems seen hitting Indonesia power projects
Indonesia's efforts to tackle power shortages by increasing its electricity generating capacity may face delays because of problems with financing, Reuters quoted the head of the state-owned electricity firm as saying Tuesday.

• SingTel’s earnings under pressure from tighter competition
Singapore Telecommunications, touted as a defensive stock in volatile markets, faces new challenges in its overseas businesses that account for 70 percent of earnings.

• Malaysia ready to review race policy

Malaysia is ready to review and gradually liberalise its race-based economic policies to promote new investment, Reuters quoted the country's influential trade minister as saying.

• Philippines plans new tack on power plant sale
The Philippines plans to negotiate the sale of a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant after a unit of French utility Suez (LYOE.PA) backed out of a deal to buy the facility, a top privatisation official was quoted by Reuters as saying Tuesday.

• Thai mobile operator still seeking to offer 3G iPhone
Advanced Info Service (AIS) , Thailand's largest mobile phone operator, is still exploring ways to offer Apple Inc's 3G iPhone in the Thai market, even though initial talks ended without agreement, an executive was quoted as telling Reuters.

• Vietnam aims stability in foreign exchange
Vietnam's central bank said on Tuesday it would work to keep foreign exchange rates stable this year as part of efforts to prevent an economic slowdown, reported Reuters.

February 10,2009

• Indonesia: Bad loans up 35% to $1.24bn in 2008
A soaring loan default in some economic sectors has raised questions over the severity of the impact of the global economic crisis on Indonesia, reported local daily The Jakarta Post Tuesday.

• Singapore to spend S$90m to revive tourism
The Singapore Tourism Board will roll out a S$90m initiative to stimulate demand in the tourism sector, reported the city state’s news agency Channel News Asia.

• Singapore mobile operator reports decline in Q3 profit
SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest phone firm, said it was on the lookout for acquisitions even as it posted a 16 percent drop in quarterly profits on a strong Singapore dollar that pinched overseas earnings, reported Reuters.

• Vietnam: Tax payment date extended for 5 months

Vietnam's An Binh Bank, 15 percent owned by Malaysia's top lender Maybank, said its 2008 gross profit fell 70 percent, hit by securities and foreign exchange trading losses

• Business Outsourcing:
Philippine companies reap $6bn in 2008, up 26%

Call-centres and other outsourcing companies in the Philippines earned $6.06 billion in 2008, a 26 percent increase over 2007, AFP quoted the industry association as saying Monday.

• Malaysia: Second stimulus plan to focus on policy changes

Malaysia's government will focus on policy changes in its second stimulus package instead of increased spending as it tries to steer the economy away from a widely anticipated recession in the next six months, Reuters quoted The Edge financial daily as reporting Tuesday.


February 9,2009

• Defections hit Malaysia opposition
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim faced calls to quit on Sunday after losing control of a key state to the ruling party when four of his state legislators defected.

• Philippine central bank sees money supply rising 13-14%
Philippine money supply growth is expected to hit 13 to 14 percent this year, aided by interest rate cuts and continued growth in remittances from Filipinos working overseas, Reuters quoted a senior central bank official as saying.

• Thai PM: No shortfall in reserves
Thailand's prime minister on Sunday defended his economic stimulus package and insisted that plans to borrow money from abroad did not signal a shortfall in the kingdom's reserves.

• Japan-Malaysia venture to manufacture aero parts
Imai Aero-Equipment Mfg.Ltd. (IAC), Japan's largest subcontractor in manufacturing of aircraft components and equipments today entered into a joint venture with Malaysian company Cubic Electronics Sdn Bhd (CESB) to set up their RM100 million aero manufacturing plant in Melaka, Malaysia.

• Indonesia Presidential Elections:
Yudhoyono yet to reveal running mate

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has declined to announce his running mate for the upcoming presidential election, sparking speculation that he wants to keep his options open rather than limiting himself to Vice President and Golkar Chairman Jusuf Kalla, reported local daily The Jakarta Post.



February 8,2009

• Malaysia to cut power tariffs starting March 1
Malaysia's government will cut electricity tariffs for households and industry by 7 to 10 percent beginning March 1.

• Japan to help fund Thailand’s mass transit rail system
The Japanese government has given the green light on providing 63 billion yen to Thailand to help finance constructing a mass transit rail system.

• Philippine canned tuna firm sees revenue boost from new markets
Philippine listed seafood manufacturer Alliance Tuna International Inc expects to register $ 72 million in revenues this year as sales are seen to be boosted by its entry into new markets as well as additional production from its Indonesian cannery.

• Apec Summit:
Singapore to resist protectionism, promotes cooperatioon

Singapore will push forward the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) agenda by promoting economic cooperation in the region and resisting protectionism.

• Global lender urges action on stimulus, bank clean-up
The roll-out of stimulus packages and the clean-up of banks must be accelerated, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Saturday, urging action to avert "a repeat of the Great Depression".

February 7,2009

• Singapore PM's wife to step down as Temasek’s CEO
The wife of Singapore's prime minister will step down after five years as chief executive of Temasek Holdings, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds.

• Thai PM: No funding for GM, individual firms
Thailand's premier said on Friday that the government has no plans to give funding to General Motors.

• Indonesia: No postponement for global bond issue
Indonesia's planning minister said the government would go ahead with a global bond issue, reported Reuters.

• Malaysia: State ‘power grab’ triggers opposition protests

Opposition supporters clashed with police Friday in northern Malaysia's Perak state in an attempt to halt the swearing in ceremony of a new government under the ruling National Front (BN) coalition, which wrested control of the state from the opposition.

• Philippines: Reserves at $39.6bn in Jan
The Philippine's gross international reserves climbed to a record $39.6 billion at the end of January, due largely to inflows from a sovereign bond issue and power privatisation programme.



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