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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             28  July 2011

Rising prices in Asia

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Rising inflationary pressures in Asian economies are prevalent even as global growth weakens, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

The region can use monetary and fiscal policies as well as exchange rates to ease price pressure, the Manila-based lender said in its Asia Economic Monitor report today. Asian economies also face the risk of increased financial market volatility and destabilizing capital flows, the ADB said.

Asia’s central banks have enacted the steepest increases in borrowing costs as the region led the global recovery from the 2009 recession, with China, India, Thailand and Taiwan raising rates in recent weeks. Still, Europe’s debt crisis and rising U.S. joblessness have threatened demand for exports and wiped more than $2 trillion off stocks worldwide since the beginning of May.

“With robust growth moderating only slightly, many emerging East Asian economies face the challenge of controlling inflation and managing capital inflows in a difficult external environment,” the ADB said. “Inflationary pressures are rising in the region on strong domestic demand and high commodity prices, fueled by continuing capital inflows.”

The lender’s forecast for growth of 7.9 percent this year in emerging East Asian economies may be revised lower, according to the report today, which was prepared by the ADB’s Office of Regional Economic Integration. The economic forecasts remain unchanged from its April predictions for now.

Inflation in many Asian economies has risen above 10-year averages, and have either breached or approached the upper end of official targets, possibly because policy makers delayed removing monetary stimulus as their economies recovered from the global slump, the ADB said.

“With the region’s economies recovering strongly in 2010 and continuing robust growth in 2011, output gaps have narrowed significantly or closed in many economies, thus contributing to rising inflation,” the lender said. “Elevated food and commodity prices and robust domestic demand could push inflation higher yet.”

Asia still relies on U.S. and European demand for its goods, even as Group of 20 nations push to rebalance the world economy so that global growth depends more on domestic consumption. The region accounted for 35 percent of world exports in 2009, compared with 25 percent a decade earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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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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