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Asean Affairs  13  February 2011


By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     13 February 2011

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These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of February 5-February 11.

Bank Indonesia raises interest rate
After months of doing little, Bank Indonesia on Friday raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 6.75 percent, citing growing inflationary pressures.

Indonesia could be left out of regional link
Stock exchanges in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand want to set up trading links between their markets and hope to have cross-border dealing in all listed shares by the end of 2011.

Thailand may have April election
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva began his re-election campaign early on Friday. It has been speculated the premier will dissolve the House in April after parliament passes important legislation.

Free trade challenges Vietnam
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is a double-edged sword as it brings both opportunities and challenges to Vietnamese exports, according to Vietnamese economic experts.

Malaysia remains a top offshoring destination
Malaysia continues to occupy the third leading position, after India and China, in the list of the world's leading offshoring destinations, according to global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney's latest Global Services Location Index (GSLI).

Indonesian banks climb in global rankings
A global survey has found five Indonesian lenders among the world's 500 most valuable banking brands, according to consultancy company Brand Finance.

Ringgit Expected To Hit 3.00 Against US Dollar By Q1
The Malaysian ringgit, which touched a new 13-year high of 3.0345 in intra-day trade Monday, is expected to hit 3.00 against the dollar by the first quarter. There is speculation that Asian central banks may raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressure and the continued commercial demand for the local currency.

Joint expansion discussed
Two Thai energy firms, PTT Exploration and Production Plc and Petronas Carigali, are discussing increasing gas production from a joint development area.

Wal-Mart may enter Indonesia
Wal-Mart Stores may become a partner of retailer Matahari Putra Prima in developing its hypermarkets multiple sources said on Tuesday.

More poor Philippine families
The impact of the global financial crisis and the natural disasters that struck the Philippines have resulted in more poor Filipino families, the government reported Tuesday.

DTAC wants same deal as True Move
In the stormy field of Thai telecoms, equal opportunity for competing firms is the battleground as foreign firms feel they are not getting a fair deal.

Rushing to rubber
The upbeat rubber market has encouraged Thailand's CP Group to strengthen its rubber business with an investment infusion from Japan's Marubeni Corporation.

Malaysia's rapid transit takes shape
About 150 kilometers long and costing a whopping RM36.6 billion (US$12.2 billion), the Kuala Lumpur Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) without doubt is Malaysia's largest infrastructure project thus far. READ MORE:

Philippine FDI surges
Foreign direct investments (FDI) to the country surged in November on the back of improved risk appetite for emerging Asia's assets, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Thursday.

New Vietnamese exchange rules may boost liquidity
The Vietnamese government plans to complete the legal framework governing the securities market, says Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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