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ASEAN ANALYSIS  Asean Affairs  24 October 2010

Weekly Summary

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     24 October 2010

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These are the most significant stories that Asean Affairs reported during the week of October 16-24:

Singapore money policy tightened
Taking global markets by surprise, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) tightened its monetary policy yesterday - signaling its intent to combat inflation even as the Republic's economic growth slows.

Laos files first Mekong dam application
Laos has recently filed an application for the building of Sayaboury dam, a mainstream dam on the Mekong River, to be located in the northwestern province of Sayaboury. This is the first application by a riparian country in the Mekong River Commission, encompassing Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, to build such a dam.

Philippines moves on foreign exchange
THE Philippine central bank is set to amen foreign exchange guidelines before the end of the year in a bid to facilitate outflows amid the surge in hot money inflows that have caused the peso to appreciate too fast.

Singapore stem cell breakthrough
A Singapore team of researchers has discovered the most important genes in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), a crucial breakthrough in discovering how human stem cells work.

Asia-Pacific growth is strong
The World Bank raised its economic forecast for East Asia's developing countries Tuesday but said governments need to control increasing risks from surging capital inflows and currency strains. Output has rebounded to above pre-crisis levels and regional growth should hit 8.9 percent this year, up from a previous forecast of 8.7 percent, the bank said. Last year's expansion was 7.3 percent.

Foreign monitors, media barred from Myanmar election
Myanmar said on Monday that foreign election observers and international media would not be allowed into the country for next month's election, a move seen by critics as a sham to entrench military rule.

Concern over Vietnam's oil refinery
The total cost to construct and put into operation the country's first oil refinery has been estimated at around VND43 trillion (US$2.2 billion), nearly VND8 trillion lower than first estimated. But some experts are concerned over its effectiveness.

Insurance for the Asian poor
Indonesian Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo has called on Asian countries to develop micro insurance in the region to empower the poor with insurance services.

Philippines wants more clout at IMF
Given the increasing economic role of emerging markets in the global arena, their share in the quota and representation in the governance structure of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has to increase, the Philippine central bank said.

Garuda ready to take off
Indonesian flag carrier Garuda is "back in business" and moving forward with plans for an initial public offering (IPO) and expansion, just months after a European Union travel ban was lifted, the airline's president director said on Wednesday.

IMF pushes Asia to hike interest rates
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) prodded Asian countries to normalize monetary and fiscal policies amid a buildup in inflationary pressures in the region.

Thai business still wary of currency's rise
Existing measures to restrain the baht's rise are insufficient, according Thai businesses. Thai businesses are calling on the Bank of Thailand, to do more to stem the appreciation of the baht because of the effect on exporters.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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