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Daniel J. Brutto

Globalization 4.0: Trade’s New Center of Gravity
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Weekly NewsLetter
15 January’2011
Vol.1 No.1

World Bank’s 2011 economic outlook for Asean

The East Asia and Pacific region led the global recovery from the deepest recession since the 1930s over 2009 and 2010. The recovery was led by robust 10 percent GDP gains in China, where fiscal and monetary support measures contributed almost a percentage point to growth. For the Asean countries, Vietnam, Cambodia and smaller island economies, growth picked up sharply from 1.5 percent in 2009 to 6.8 percent in 2010, partly reflecting strong stimulus-related import demand from China. Overall, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the developing East Asia and Pacific region increased 9.3 percent in 2010 up from a resilient 7.4 percent pace in 2009.
Among Asean economies, Indonesia was least affected by the global financial crisis and recession, in part given earlier reforms to its financial system as well as an export mix (commodities) less affected than manufactures by the falloff in OECD demand. By the first half of 2010 growth patterns had largely normalized with GDP advancing a strong 6.2 percent in the second quarter (year-on-year), largely driven by household consumption, which benefited from low inflation and better consumer confidence; and by private investment associated with improved growth prospects. In Thailand, despite an escalation of political crisis and the onset of global recession, the manufacturing sector helped the economy consolidate recovery.
However, following robust 15 percent growth in the first quarter, GDP declined in both the second and third quarters, as the political turmoil of April and May adversely affected tourism arrivals and services exports. Nonetheless Thailand is likely to have registered 7.5 percent growth in 2010 on the strength of its initial rebound. And in Malaysia inn response to rising demand pressures, the central bank raised policy interest rates 75 basis points between March and July. 
Asean growth should continue in 2011 in spite of inflationary pressures.


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January 15, 2011

These were the most significant stories published by Asean Affairs during
the week of January 8-14.

Indonesia assumes Asean chairmanship
Human rights issues and protection of migrant workers will be among the main
priorities for Asean during Indonesia's chairmanship of Asean this year.

Malaysia monitoring hot money
Malaysia will closely monitor the inflow of foreign investments into the stock market since registering record highs from Monday.

Malaysian Maybank's acquisition strategy
There was excitement on the 51st floor of Menara Maybank when the top executives
hosted a media conference to announce the group's acquisition of a 44.6 percent stake in
Singapore stockbroker Kim Eng Holdings Ltd.

Indonesia may lift import duties to ease prices
Indonesia may lift import duties and value-added tax from several food commodities
in an effort to maintain price stability and national food security.

Cambodian private sector unwilling to support tourism
Private sector representatives say they are reluctant to contribute US$2 million in cash to
a public-private initiative to support Cambodian tourism promotion.

Firms support Thai government scheme
Amid some criticism that the Thai government's Pracha Wiwat welfare scheme is just
a plan to gain votes in the coming election, businesses are hailing the initiative, saying it
at least helps cut the cost of living for low-income earners.

Philippine peso to hit 40:$1
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will make some technical moves to rein in the
rise of the peso, which is expected to hit $40:$1 by the year's end, the Bank of
America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) said. "We might see the BSP, from time to time,
to tighten the liquidity onshore in order to squeeze out speculators," Ashok Bhundia,
BoAML foreign exchange strategist, told reporters.

Corruption, inflation on Yudhoyono's list
Growing concern that inflation could dent the armor of what has been a resilient
and robust national economy, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
on Monday issued 10 specific directives to guide the government's working program
in 2011.

Thailand set to increase interest rate
In a bid to slow down inflation and asset price increases, the Bank of Thailand has
signaled it will continue lifting the overnight interest rate from 2 percent.
But it has cautioned that it would choose appropriate timing to avoid impact
on the economic outlook and foreign capital inflows.

Singapore casinos a hit with government
Singapore's two casino resorts, run by Genting Singapore Plc and Las Vegas Sands Corp., contributed S$420 million ($324 million) in net revenue to the city-state in
the April to November 2010 period.

Laos bourse may spur investment
Laos, which opened its stock market yesterday, offers "valuable opportunities"
in industries from construction to banking as the country increases its infrastructure investments, investor Mark Mobius said.

Bank Indonesia delays on rate increase
With the specter of inflation hovering over Indonesia, calls for the central bank
to raise interest rates sooner rather than later are growing increasingly loud.

Economists upbeat on Cambodia despite investment drop
Investment approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia
dropped 54 percent in 2010, compared to 2009, but experts believe the decline is not indicative of Cambodia's ongoing economic recovery.

Vietnam's party meeting starts
The long-awaited Vietnam 11th National Party Congress has opened in Hanoi,
with a vision for a new socioeconomic strategy for the next decade to facilitate
the country's role as an industrialised nation.

Indonesian rupiah heads down
Indonesia's rupiah declined for a second week as the possibility of increasing inflation
and no interest-rate increases puts off overseas investors.

Ground broken for new Cambodian dam
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday presided over the groundbreaking of the
Stung Tatay hydroelectric dam project in Koh Kong province, describing Koh Kong as
"a battery province" that could help the country's rising energy needs.

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