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SOP for Schools:
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By students of Garden International School, Bangkok
Friday, March 18, 2011,
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok

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Weekly NewsLetter
15  August  2011
    Vol.1 No.27

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The Editor's Corner


A Lesson Learned
          When the Thai baht went from 25 baht to the US dollar to about 50 baht per dollar in the space of a few days ,that singular event heralded the start of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. The crisis revealed that the so-called “Asian tiger” economies and their currencies were over-valued.

Shifting to 2011 amid the turmoil both in Europe and the United States, the Asian economies have learned the lesson from that time.

In addressing the opening of the 43rd Asean Economic Ministers meeting in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesian Vice President Boediono observed that the economic conditions of all Asean member countries were still going strong during this tumultuous period.

Singapore announced this week that it had dropped its growth projection for the year from a previously estimated 7 percent to between 5 and 6 percent. This coincided with its projection of a drop in non-oil exports to between 6 percent and 7 percent from an earlier prediction of between 8 percent and 10 percent, however there is no panic in Asean. Of all the Asean member states, Singapore is the most export dependent due to its small domestic market.

The real story behind Asean confidence, however, is the growing trade within the region. Tariffs for trade for goods within the Asean region have already been reduced 99 percent in preparation for the coming of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The population of the AEC will be about 600 million at that time, as well.

Further work needs to be done such as implementing all of the resolutions within each country , with service industries being a particularly troublesome sector for several countries.

Foreign direct investment continues to move to Asean and progress is being made on the customs front as well as in connectivity across the region. Cross-border investments within the AEC also need to be improved.

If there are dramatic drop-offs in exports to the West that may push Asean countries to put a greater emphasis to the two large markets that sandwich Asean, India and China.


Top News from Southeast Asia

August  14 , 2011


These were the most newsworthy stories published by Asean Affairs during the week of August 6-August 13.

Asean speeds up trade liberalization
Asean members will try to speed up the elimination of trade barriers within the group and with their trading partners to maximise the benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Indonesian bourse to see more IPOs
As many as 10 more companies could be listed on the stock exchange by the end of this year amid confidence that local investor interest would drive demand in spite of global market volatility, a bourse official said.

Asean trade ministers push to end tariffs
Asean members ready for regional integration under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 may proceed with the plan ahead of the others, says Srirat Rastapana, director-general of Thailand's Trade Negotiations Department.

Jakarta to turn waste into energy
The Jakarta administration is planning to build three treatment centers that will use waste to generate energy, Governor Fauzi Bowo said on Wednesday.

Vietnamese income gap widens
The gap between Vietnam's rich and poor widened 9.2 times last year, according to recent General Statistics Office data.

Malaysia air pact: no price-fixing
The agreement between full-service carrier Malaysia Airlines and low cost carrier AirAsia and its sister airline AirAsia X, should not be viewed as a move to reduce consumer choice in terms of air fares but rather a means of facilitating growth for these airlines.

Singapore cuts growth outlook
Export reliant Singapore cut its 2011 economic growth and trade forecasts on Wednesday amid growing fears consumer demand from the US and Europe could be weaker than previously expected.

Ventiane is “booming”
The economy of Laos' sleepy capital Vientiane grew 12 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, media reports said Monday.

“New city,” plan shot down by BK governor
The Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra plans to veto the controversial land reclamation in the Gulf of Thailand if the Pheu Thai government moves forward with the megaproject.

Thai small business push needs Asean focus
The Thailand Plaza programme to help local small businesses gain exposure abroad needs a fresh focus with more showrooms in Asean countries, according to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (Osmep).

Vietnam property market declines
Efforts by the Vietnamese government to control runaway inflation coupled with signs of an economic slowdown are starting to have a negative effect on the property market, according to the multinational property services firm CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam).

Indonesia consumer surveys are mixed
Two consumer confidence surveys offered different views of how people felt about the Indonesian economy in July. Optimists were upbeat about job prospects over the next six months, while pessimists were concerned about inflation.

Slow US growth impacts Asia
The slower growth in the United States will have wider implications on the global economy since the country's US$14.7 trillion economy makes up about a quarter of global nominal gross domestic product (GDP).

Vietnamese rice exports hit record
Viet Nam's rice exports in the first seven months rose to a record high of nearly 4.62 million tonnes and fetched US$2.18 billion, the Viet Nam Food Association reported.

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