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Asean Affairs  15  January 2011


By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     15 January 2011

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These were the most significant stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of January 8-14.

Indonesia assumes Asean chairmanship
Human rights issues and protection of migrant workers will be among the main priorities for Asean during Indonesia's chairmanship of Asean this year. READ MORE:

Malaysia monitoring hot money
Malaysia will closely monitor the inflow of foreign investments into the stock market since registering record highs from Monday.

Malaysian Maybank's acquisition strategy
There was excitement on the 51st floor of Menara Maybank when the top executives hosted a media conference to announce the group's acquisition of a 44.6 percent stake in Singapore stockbroker Kim Eng Holdings Ltd.

Indonesia may lift import duties to ease prices
Indonesia may lift import duties and value-added tax from several food commodities in an effort to maintain price stability and national food security.

Cambodian private sector unwilling to support tourism
Private sector representatives say they are reluctant to contribute US$2 million in cash to a public-private initiative to support Cambodian tourism promotion. READ MORE:

Firms support Thai government scheme
Amid some criticism that the Thai government's Pracha Wiwat welfare scheme is just a plan to gain votes in the coming election, businesses are hailing the initiative, saying it at least helps cut the cost of living for low-income earners.

Philippine peso to hit 40:$1
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will make some technical moves to rein in the rise of the peso, which is expected to hit $40:$1 by the year's end, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) said. "We might see the BSP, from time to time, to tighten the liquidity onshore in order to squeeze out speculators," Ashok Bhundia, BoAML foreign exchange strategist, told reporters.

Corruption, inflation on Yudhoyono's list
Growing concern that inflation could dent the armor of what has been a resilient and robust national economy, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday issued 10 specific directives to guide the government's working program in 2011.

Thailand set to increase interest rate
In a bid to slow down inflation and asset price increases, the Bank of Thailand has signaled it will continue lifting the overnight interest rate from 2 percent. But it has cautioned that it would choose appropriate timing to avoid impact on the economic outlook and foreign capital inflows.

Singapore casinos a hit with government
Singapore's two casino resorts, run by Genting Singapore Plc and Las Vegas Sands Corp., contributed S$420 million ($324 million) in net revenue to the city-state in the April to November 2010 period.

Laos bourse may spur investment
Laos, which opened its stock market yesterday, offers "valuable opportunities" in industries from construction to banking as the country increases its infrastructure investments, investor Mark Mobius said.

Bank Indonesia delays on rate increase
With the specter of inflation hovering over Indonesia, calls for the central bank to raise interest rates sooner rather than later are growing increasingly loud.

Economists upbeat on Cambodia despite investment drop
Investment approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia dropped 54 percent in 2010, compared to 2009, but experts believe the decline is not indicative of Cambodia's ongoing economic recovery.

Vietnam's party meeting starts
The long-awaited Vietnam 11th National Party Congress has opened in Hanoi, with a vision for a new socioeconomic strategy for the next decade to facilitate the country's role as an industrialised nation.

Indonesian rupiah heads down
Indonesia's rupiah declined for a second week as the possibility of increasing inflation and no interest-rate increases puts off overseas investors.

Ground broken for new Cambodian dam
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday presided over the groundbreaking of the Stung Tatay hydroelectric dam project in Koh Kong province, describing Koh Kong as "a battery province" that could help the country's rising energy needs.

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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