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Asean Affairs  20  February 2011


By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     20 February 2010

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These were the most significant stories reported by Asean Affairs during the week of February 12- 18.

Vietnam devalues currency
Vietnam devalued its currency to 9.3 dong against the US dollar on Friday for the third time in a year to address economic problems including double-digit inflation.

Thai bank warns of AEC competition
The retail food, packaging and hospitality sectors stand to be the most affected by the arrival of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, says the Thai bank, Siam Commercial Bank.

Philippines economic index rises
The Philippine economy would likely grow in the first quarter of this year, as the composite leading economic indicator (LEI) improved for a sixth straight quarter since the final three months of 2009.

New bridge to span Mekong
The fourth new Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, across the Mekong River in Chiang Rai s, will further increase trade and travel not only between the two countries but also among the six countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

Transparency vital for Vietnamese investment
Improving the transparency of the business environment at provincial levels was an important factor in attracting urgently needed investment, the vice chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (VCCI) Hoang Van Dung announced at a press conference this week. Dung said transparency created trust among investors and reduced fees for searching for information.

Canadian trade mission arrives in Cambodia
Billion-dollar firms, including Blackberry maker Research in Motion and aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, are among the commercial giants taking part in Canada's first trade and investment mission to Cambodia.

Anti-competition, anti-bribery laws to strengthen
The cost of perceived non-compliance with competition and bribery laws in Asia is set to rise as regulators in the region adopt a more hawkish stance.

Thailand begins alternative energy island projects
Thailand's first low-carbon and eco-friendly community is taking shape on Phaluai island in Surat Thani.

Japanese firms moving to Thailand
Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may relocate to Thailand over the next five years because of the stronger yen and promising and steady growth of the Thai automotive industry. The public and private sectors were urged to prepare for the movement, especially the rising demands of 250,000 to 300,000 skilled workers at different education levels from secondary school to vocational and engineering school.

Bourse mergers buzz in Asia
The proposed takeover of Australia's ASX Ltd by Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) has ignited talks of possible mergers and acquisitions (M&As) among other Asian exchanges amid the growing threat of competition.

New deal proposed for exchange merger
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Australian Exchange (SGX) have altered the terms of their proposed buyout in a bid to deflect the political flak the deal is catching Down Under.

Rising food prices brings poverty
Rising food prices have pushed about 44 million people into poverty in developing countries since last June, the World Bank has warned.

Support needed to develop Vietnam green power
The development of green energy to replace hydro- and thermal power requires strong policy backing, experts have said.

Indonesia imports Vietnamese rice
Indonesia has bought 400,000 tons of 15 percent broken rice from Vietnam for March shipment after Thai exporters could not meet its loading requirements, traders said on Tuesday.

High food prices threaten Asia
Surging food prices in India are forcing families to cut back on meat and vegetables. In Indonesia, they prompted the president to urge people to grow their own chili peppers. And in China, restaurant owners are feeling the squeeze.

Solar projects to increase Demco inventory
The SET-listed contractor Demco Plc expects its construction backlog to expand to 6 billion baht this year after signing an 850-million-baht (US$27.4 million) solar cell construction deal with IFEC Green Power Plus, an alternative energy developer.

L’Oreal to build largest factory in Indonesia
L’Oreal Group, the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company, says it is building its largest factory in the world in Indonesia.

Singapore growth of 4-6 percent for 2011
The Singapore economy grew by 14.5 percent in 2010, reversing the decline of 0.8 percent the year before.

Vietnamese investors look at Lao exchange
Domestic investors are eager to obtain information about the new Lao stock market since the Laos Securities Exchange officially began trading on January 11.

Six percent Malaysian growth is “crucial”
Malaysia is on the way to achieve its developed nation target after gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 6 percent last year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

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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