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Asean Affairs  30  January 2011


By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     30 January 2011

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These were the most important stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of January 22-January 28.

Chinese firm to fund Indo road project
China Metallurgical Group Corporations has expressed interest in financing a road construction project worth Rp 1.5 trillion (US$165 million) in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, the regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) says.

Hot money sets Philippine record
Foreign portfolio investments (FPI) into the Philippines surpassed the 2007 record, hitting a new high last year, according to the central bank.

Thai rubber supply tight
The growing automobile sector - especially in countries such as China and India - has accelerated demand for tires.

Singapore has high FDI investments
Singapore achieved record high investment commitments last year and this momentum is expected to continue into this new year.

Indonesia signs deals with India
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Monday he hoped to help secure lucrative investment deals worth $15 billion on a trip to India this week. READ MORE:

Tin price at all-time high
The price of tin on the Kuala Lumpur Tin Market (KLTM) soared to close at an all-time high of US$27,500 per tonne yesterday on concerns over tight supplies amid continued strong demand, especially from Europe, Japan, China and India.

PTTCH has joint venture with US partner
PTT Chemical Plc (PTTCH), Thailand's largest petrochemical producer, made a strategic equity investment of US$60 million in Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm Myriant Technologies and vowed to continue their partnership with other potential bioplastic ventures.

CEOs in Asia Pacific confident of growth
Two years after the financial meltdown, 54 percent of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in the Asia Pacific are very confident of growth in the next 12 months, says PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)in its 14th Annual Global CEO survey.

Thai industry still in dark about AEC
Most Thai businesses remain indifferent to the growing challenges of labour mobility within Asean once regional economic integration is completed in 2015, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). READ MORE:

IMF raises growth forecast for Asean 5
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday raised slightly its average growth forecast for the Asean 5, which includes the Philippines. In its World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update, the IMF forecast emerging and developing economies to grow by 6.5 percent this year and in 2012.

UN shark conservation plan fails
A UN plan to preserve the world's sharks has been a resounding failure, according to a report on Thursday that blames Indonesia, India, Spain and Taiwan and 16 other major catchers of the fish. READ MORE:

US solar firm to build Vietnam plant
A US solar panel maker Wednesday said it will build a $300 million factory in Vietnam, boosting the country's efforts to reinvent itself as a hub for high-tech manufacturing.

Siam Cement looking at US investment
Siam Cement Group (SCG) is in talks to acquire a US petrochemical firm.

Indo's rice import buy rattles market
Indonesia's bumper purchase of 820,000 tons of Thai rice, more than four times the volume initially sought, lifted the market on Wednesday, but traders were unconvinced prices would stay high with Vietnam's rising supply and lower imports projected from the Philippines.

Malaysian steel price hike
Local cold rollers have raised the prices of cold rolled coils (CRC) in view of the general increase in the cost of raw materials and the recent floods in Australia.

US Fed move to boost capital inflows
The recent move by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) to maintain its US$600bil bond-buying plan may prompt further inflows of capital into high-growth regions.

US enters South China Sea arena
Kurt Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, revealed Washington's plan to help the Philippines increase its maritime capacity to protect the country's claim over the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Jakarta gridlock worsens
Commuters in Greater Jakarta are abandoning public transportation in droves in favor of private vehicles, an official said on Thursday, while the city's administration said it would take steps to ease traffic on congested Jalan Casablanca.

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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