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Asean Affairs  31 March 2011

G-20 in Nanjing discusses yuan

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     31 March 2011

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Although commentators say the world is now in the “G-Zero” phase, a power vacuum where no world coalition holds sway, the G-20 has started its meeting on Chinese soil in Nanjing.

The meeting started with a call by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for more consistency in exchange rates to facilitate easier flow of capital. The target of this is China , who many say won’t allow their currency to appreciate quickly enough.

Its doubtful that any progress will be made with China on that score but China’s push for the yuan to become a reserve currency in the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket. That proposal was backed by French President Sarkozy as well as Geithner but Geithner stated that any currency in the basket would have to loosen control of their currency and that implies flexible exchange rates.

At least for now, expect no changes in the status of the yuan. But as pressure builds, a tit for tat looms. China gets its reserve currency in exchange for the adoption of a flexible exchange rate policy. This would benefit commerce globally as well as in Asean.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   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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