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January, 2020 Current Topics

 

Source

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong: High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2020Q1, January 2020. Hong Kong’s real GDP is estimated to drop by 3.3% in 19Q4 when compared with the same period in 2018, extending the downward trend of a 2.9% drop in 19Q3. Hong Kong’s economy is expected to shrink by an annual 1.3% for 2019, representing a 1.3 percentage points downward revision from our previous forecast. Global economic slowdown and prolonged protests brought by the anti-extradition bill have hampered consumer confidence and discouraged investments, leading to a higher unemployment rate. In 20Q1, contraction of real GDP is expected to continue to drop by 2.8%, when compared with the same period in 2019. With the government’s supportive stimulus measures, the situation is expected to stabilize in the latter half of 2020. Hong Kong’s annual GDP growth for 2020 is forecast to be a mild 0.4%...

 

HKU

China’s Economic Choices: Where to from Here? December 2019. China’s economic progress is slowing. A rapidly ageing population means its demographics are becoming increasingly unfavourable, and China has reached the limits of its traditional reliance on investment and exports to fuel rapid economic growth. The key question is what comes next. Continuing with the same approach risks a further decline in the pace of growth. This would create major difficulties for its highly leveraged economy, disappoint the growth expectations of its populace, and add to the internal and external economic risks that are already evident. Deep reforms will be required just to sustain a trajectory of 5–6 per cent growth over the coming decade. Beijing’s current policy strategy, with its focus on domestic innovation and protecting the privileged status of state-owned enterprises, is unlikely to prove sufficient...

 

Lowy

Rethinking Taiwan Policy: History, Politics, Ideology, December 2019. The issue of Taiwan has long been one of the most intractable and multilayered in regional political, defence, foreign affairs, trade and security policy. Taiwan is claimed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as part of its territory, and, under its official title of the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan is limited by Beijing to a marginal position in the international system. Political relations between Taipei and Beijing are fractious, but the Taiwan Strait is at the same time a critical link in global supply chains, carrying hundreds of billions of dollars of cross-strait trade in goods and services and investments every year. Hanging over this political and economic relationship is the constant threat of military action from Beijing...

 

ASPI

Augmenting Maritime Domain Awareness in Southeast Asia: Boosting National Capabilities in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, December 2019. Promoting maritime domain awareness (MDA) has become an increasingly high priority area for many Southeast Asian states. The rising salience of a regional maritime ‘disorder’ that’s increasingly being shaped by the influence of so-called ‘grey area’ phenomena, combined with a growing awareness that these non-state challenges can be dealt with only through a whole-of-government approach, has prompted several regional countries to create multiagency operational fusion centres (FCs) to mitigate these dangers...

 

ASPI

Ocean Horizons: Strengthening Maritime Security in Indo-Pacific Island States, December 2019. The report examines how Pacific island countries (PICs) and Indian Ocean island states (IO island states) are managing and prioritising their maritime security challenges. These islands, which we call the ‘Indo-Pacific island states’, face an intricate offshore tapestry. In particular, this report suggests that most of the maritime threats and risks facing the Indo-Pacific island states are increasing. That’s in part because of the general lack of effective maritime security identified in this report. The report describes the current geopolitical environment of the Indo-Pacific island states and how we should understand maritime security in the context of island states...

 

ASPI

How the Geopolitical Partnership Between China and Russia Threatens the West, November 2019. We’re in an era when the risks of major-power conflict are growing. The most likely contenders are China, the rising power, and the US, the formerly dominant power that’s now in relative decline. The other worrying contingency is conflict between Russia and US-led NATO. But what about the third possibility: the prospect of China and Russia collaborating to challenge American power? The most dangerous scenario for America would be a grand coalition of China and Russia united not by ideology, but by complementary grievances. This paper examines Russian and Chinese concepts of great-power war in the 21st century, their views of the West and its military capabilities, and what risks they might both take to regain lost territories...

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #18: The Belt and Road Initiative: Environmental Impacts in Southeast Asia. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is expected to be the largest infrastructure development scheme of the twenty-first century. There is escalating concern over BRI’s potential environmental impacts in Southeast Asia, a global biodiversity hotspot and a focus area of BRI development. Case studies of Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Malaysia show that the success of BRI in bringing about sustainable growth and opportunities depends on the Chinese government and financiers, as well as the agencies and governments involved when BRI investments take place. The adoption of best environmental practices is critical in ensuring that growth is sustainable and that bad environmental practices are not locked in for decades to come...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #17: "Old" and "New" Chinese Business in Cambodia’s Capital . China’s influence over economic and political affairs in Cambodia is undisputed. It is the biggest investor in Cambodia, adding nearly US$5.3 billion between 2013 and 2017, especially into real estate development, the garment industry and the tourism sector. For Phnom Penh’s SMEs, “new” Chinese migrants are an increasingly important clientele, and raw materials, machinery, consumer goods and capital from Greater China have been vital resources. At the same time, they face competition from entrepreneurs from China entering the Cambodian market. For Cambodia’s elite entrepreneurs, known as oknha, China is an export destination for Cambodian timber and cash crops, and “new” Chinese investments provide business opportunities in the form of construction contracts and joint ventures in real estate and tourism development, industrial parks or the energy sector...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #16: E-commerce for Malaysian SMEs in Selected Services: Barriers and Benefits. Findings from a recent survey done to identify the barriers and benefits of e-commerce for Malaysian SMEs in the retail and food and beverage services indicate that both e-commerce adopters and non-adopters are similar in that they perceive the CEO or decision-maker to be the most important factor in the adoption of e-commerce. The relative importance of the other three main factors (namely, organizational, technological and environmental) differ for adopters and non-adopters. Likewise, there are also differences in response based on firm size. Based on the survey findings, Malaysia needs to shift from one-size-fits-all strategies to a more nuanced policy response that addresses the differences in perceived barriers of adopters and non-adopters and which is also cognizant of firm size...

 

ISEAS

A Steady Hand: The EU 2019 Strategy & Policy Toward Central Asia, November 2019. The launch of a new EU Strategy for Central Asia in June 2019 marked a milestone in the gradual development of relations between the EU and the region. The Strategy’s launch coincides with considerable change in and around the region. Internally, Central Asia has experienced a renewed commitment to reform and regionalism; meanwhile, the region has seen a greater engagement by neighboring powers, most immediately through large-scale Chinese and Russian initiatives, but also in the shape of a growing interest on the part of Asian powers as well as the United States. A closer analysis of the EU’s engagement with Central Asia paradoxically indicates a sort of parallel evolution: both the EU and the Central Asian states are products of the post-cold war era, and their relations have intensified along with their own internal evolution into ever more solid entities on the international scene...

 

ISDP

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Asian Development Outlook 2019 Supplement: Growth Slows Further in Developing Asia’s Giants, December 2019. This Supplement projects growth in developing Asia of 5.2% in both 2019 and 2020, having revised forecasts down given the challenging global environment. Excluding newly industrialized economies, regional growth forecasts are revised down to 5.7% for both 2019 and 2020. Regional inflation projections are revised up to 2.8% for 2019 and 3.1% for 2020 as African swine fever continues to elevate pork prices. Elusive trade conflict resolution weighs on sentiment and activity in the region, with further delay still the foremost downside risk to the forecasts.

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Hmong Studies Journal, Vol. 20, 2019  

HSJ

Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, Volume 8, 2019  

CSDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

From ‘Rebalance to Asia’ to ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’: The Development of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, November 2019. Under the Obama administration’s Rebalance to Asia, Vietnam gradually gained importance in U.S. foreign policy as the two countries formed a “comprehensive partnership” in 2013. Despite the Trump administration’s America First policy, the United States prioritizes its partnerships with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries in its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy. While a common concern about China’s behavior in the South China Sea has facilitated the growth of U.S.-Vietnam relations, the foundation of the relationship is cooperation on Vietnam War legacy issues. The two countries have made remarkable progress in advancing diplomatic, economic, and defense ties regardless of remaining challenges. The year 2020 would be ideal for the United States and Vietnam to upgrade the relationship to a “strategic partnership”: it marks the 25th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations, Hanoi’s ASEAN chairmanship, and the start of Vietnam’s term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council...

 

EWC

Domestic Politics Force India’s Withdrawal from RCEP and Broader Trade Disengagement, November 2019. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations concluded at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok on November 4, 2019. Fifteen RCEP members, including the ten-ASEAN countries, and Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, agreed to commence preparation of the legal text of the agreement for signing in 2020. India was the only member to opt out, citing significant unresolved outstanding issues. India’s decision was surprising as it actively participated in the negotiations that lasted for 29 rounds and went on for more than six years since beginning in 2013. Domestic pressures forced Prime Minister Modi to withdraw India from RCEP at the last minute. It also points to disengagement becoming the prominent character of India’s trade policy as domestic protectionist interests successfully undermine outward-oriented economic visions...

 

EWC

Foreign and Security Policy in the New Malaysia, November 2019. Malaysia’s historic change of government in May 2018 returned former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to office supported by an eclectic coalition of parties and interests under the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) banner. This raised questions about how the self-declared Malaysia Baharu (New Malaysia) would engage with the rest of the world. After the election, it was generally assumed that Malaysia’s foreign policy would largely stay the course, with some minor adjustments. This trajectory was confirmed with the September 2019 release of the Foreign Policy Framework of the New Malaysia: Change in Continuity, the country’s first major foreign policy restatement under the new government. Analysis of the Framework and other signals from Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan government confirms that while there may be some course-corrections in Malaysia’s foreign and security policy, it will not stray far from the approach of previous administrations...

 

Lowy

Indo-Pacific Immune Systems to Enable Healthy Engagement with the Chinese State and China's Economy, November 2019. This paper sets out three challenges to the creation of a future for Indo-Pacific states and peoples consistent with the visions of a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) expressed by Japan, India, the US and Australia, and now by the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific. It also describes a path for states to operate in an environment of coercive Chinese state power that seeks to influence how states relate and how they operate within their domestic boundaries.

 

ASPI

The China Defence Universities Tracker 2019. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is building links between China’s civilian universities, military and security agencies. Those efforts, carried out under a policy of leveraging the civilian sector to maximise military power (known as ‘military–civil fusion’), have accelerated in the past decade. Research for the China Defence Universities Tracker has determined that greater numbers of Chinese universities are engaged in defence research, training defence scientists, collaborating with the military and cooperating with defence industry conglomerates and are involved in classified research...

 

ASPI

A New Sino-Russian High-Tech Partnership, 2019. Sino-Russian relations have been adapting to an era of great-power rivalry. This complex relationship, categorised as a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era’, has continued to evolve as global strategic competition has intensified. China and Russia have not only expanded military cooperation but are also undertaking more extensive technological cooperation, including in fifth-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and the digital economy. When Russia and China commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in October 2019, the celebrations highlighted the history of this ‘friendship’ and a positive agenda for contemporary partnership that is pursuing bilateral security, ‘the spirit of innovation’, and ‘cooperation in all areas’...

 

ASPI

Engineering Global Consent: The Chinese Communist Party's Data-Driven Power Expansion, 2019. The Chinese party-state engages in data collection on a massive scale as a means of generating information to enhance state security—and, crucially, the political security of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—across multiple domains. The party-state intends to shape, manage and control its global operating environment so that public sentiment is favourable to its own interests. The party’s interests are prioritised over simply the Chinese state’s interests or simply the Chinese people’s interests. The effort requires continuous expansion of the party’s power overseas because, according to its own articulation of its threat perceptions, external risks to its power are just as likely—if not more likely—to emerge from outside the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) borders as from within...

 

ASPI

Nuclear Strategy in a Changing World, 2019. The immense destructive power of nuclear weapons continues to shape the international strategic balance, not least Australia’s place as a close ally of the United States in an increasingly risky Indo-Pacific region. What is the continuing utility to America’s allies of extended nuclear deterrence? Where is the risk of nuclear proliferation greatest? How should the world deal with the growing nuclear capabilities of North Korea? Is the nuclear order as sturdy and stable and it needs to be?...

 

ASPI

MAS Financial Stability Review, November 2019. Risks to global financial stability have risen against a challenging macroeconomic backdrop. First, the global economy is still experiencing a synchronised slowdown and the outlook is characterised by continuing uncertainty reflecting ongoing trade and geopolitical tensions. Second, many major economies have faced persistently low or negative interest rates, with financial conditions expected to remain accommodative. This in turn has fuelled rising indebtedness, particularly among non-financial corporates. In light of weak revenue growth prospects, further downsides to the current challenging macro-environment could undermine the sustainability of such debt. Third, financial institutions (FIs) and investors have taken on higher risks to achieve their target returns. The result of such search for yield has been an increase in capital inflows into Emerging Market Economies (EMEs), raising the sensitivity of their domestic financing conditions to global shocks...

 

MAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #15: How Will Shifts in American Foreign Policy Affect Southeast Asia?. A new phase in US foreign policy, in which China is viewed as a major threat to American economic and security interests, has begun under the Trump administration. The strong anti-China sentiment is accompanied by efforts to “decouple” from China. If carried too far, they will alienate allies and friends whose cooperation the US will need in order to compete with China. In the broader American foreign policy community, there is an intense ongoing debate on how strong the push-back against China should be. Both moderates and hawks agree on the need for a “tougher” approach but differ on the degree and method of toughness. No coherent strategy has been possible partly because President Trump’s thinking does not always accord with that of his own administration and partly because it is still too early in the day to come out with well-thought-out policies to support such a major change in foreign policy direction...

 

ISEAS

Faultlines in Singapore: Public Opinion on their Realities, Management & Consequences, October 2019. Amidst continued spotlight on social cohesion and divisions in Singapore, this Faultlines in Singapore (FiS) paper examines the views of the local population on the implications of mismanaging across five key issue-spheres including 1) race; 2) religion; 3) class; 4) immigration; and 5) LGBT. It subsequently peruses the views of the population on potential mitigating mechanisms including public discourse and state involvement...

 

IPS

Survey on the Perceptions of Singapore's Built Heritage and Landmarks, August 2019. Discussions of heritage value often place emphasis on the visions of planners or designers, and historical experts’ assessments. However, the way that local users and the general public perceive and interact with heritage sites tends to be overlooked. The Study on the Perceptions of Singapore’s Built Heritage and Landmarks seeks to understand public opinion towards built heritage in Singapore, drawing on an opinion poll of 53 heritage sites. Around 1,500 respondents evaluated the sites in terms of four domains: knowledge, memories, physical appeal and perceived importance...

 

IPS

IPS-OnePeople.Sg Indicators of Racial and Religious Harmony: Comparing Results from 2018 and 2013, July 2019. This paper provides an update of the state of racial and religious relations in Singapore using a series of indicators created by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and OnePeople.sg in 2013. A set of 10 indicators (such as the absence of minority discrimination in using public services; the presence of close inter-racial friendships, and levels of inter-racial and inter-religious social trust) were used to provide a comprehensive gauge on inter-racial and religious harmony in Singapore. The indicators were derived from a series of questions posed to respondents in the large-scale IPS Race, Religion and Language (RRL) Survey in 2013...

 

IPS

International Journal of Korean Studies, Volume XXII, Number 2, 2018  

IJKS

Asia Bond Monitor, November 2019. Emerging East Asia’s local currency bond market reached $15.2 trillion at the end of September 2019 on growth of 3.1% quarter-on-quarter and 13.0% year-on-year. Most emerging East Asian currencies strengthened against the US dollar between 31 August and 15 October. The trade conflict between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the United States (US) remains the primary downside risk. An economic slowdown in advanced economies as well as in the PRC also poses a risk to emerging East Asia. However, the monetary policy easing of central banks in advanced economies is benefiting the region’s financial environment...

 

ADB

Central Bank Digital Currency and Fintech in Asia, Published 2019. The development of financial technology has already radically altered the landscape of the financial system in Asia and promises to have an even greater impact in coming years. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles and developments regarding central bank digital currency and fintech. The first part of the book covers the theory of central bank digital currency, regulatory aspects, economic digitalization, and the role of fintech in advancing financial inclusion for small and medium-sized enterprises. In the second part, selected case studies offer an in-depth overview of recent fintech-related developments in major Asian economies, including Australia; the People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; and Thailand...

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Other ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Global Consent: The Chinese Communist Party's Data-Driven Power Expansion, November 2019. The Chinese party-state engages in data collection on a massive scale as a means of generating information to enhance state security—and, crucially, the political security of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—across multiple domains. The party-state intends to shape, manage and control its global operating environment so that public sentiment is favourable to its own interests. The party’s interests are prioritised over simply the Chinese state’s interests or simply the Chinese people’s interests. The effort requires continuous expansion of the party’s power overseas because, according to its own articulation of its threat perceptions, external risks to its power are just as likely—if not more likely—to emerge from outside the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) borders as from within...

 

ASPI

A New Sino-Russian High-Tech Partnership, November 2019. Sino-Russian relations have been adapting to an era of great-power rivalry. This complex relationship, categorised as a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era’, has continued to evolve as global strategic competition has intensified. China and Russia have not only expanded military cooperation but are also undertaking more extensive technological cooperation, including in fifth-generation telecommunications, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and the digital economy. When Russia and China commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in October 2019, the celebrations highlighted the history of this ‘friendship’ and a positive agenda for contemporary partnership that is pursuing bilateral security, ‘the spirit of innovation’, and ‘cooperation in all areas’...

 

ASPI

Nuclear Strategy in a Changing World, October 2019. The immense destructive power of nuclear weapons continues to shape the international strategic balance, not least Australia’s place as a close ally of the United States in an increasingly risky Indo-Pacific region. What is the continuing utility to America’s allies of extended nuclear deterrence? Where is the risk of nuclear proliferation greatest? How should the world deal with the growing nuclear capabilities of North Korea? Is the nuclear order as sturdy and stable and it needs to be?...

 

ASPI

Ocean of Debt? Belt and Road and Debt Diplomacy in the Pacific, October 2019. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has raised important questions about the risk of debt problems in less-developed countries. The risks are especially acute for the small and fragile economies of the Pacific. Our analysis, however, finds a nuanced picture. The evidence to date suggests China has not been engaged in deliberate ‘debt trap’ diplomacy in the Pacific. Nonetheless, the sheer scale of China’s lending and its lack of strong institutional mechanisms to protect the debt sustainability of borrowing countries poses clear risks. Chinese lending is more intense as a share of GDP in smaller economies. If China wants to remain a major development financier in the Pacific without fulfilling the debt trap accusations of its critics, it will need to substantially restructure its approach, including by adopting formal lending rules similar to those of the multilateral development banks...

 

Lowy

The Bougainville Referendum and Beyond, October 2019. Australia has a long history and a complicated relationship with Bougainville, an island group to the east of the PNG mainland that was administered by Australia as part of Papua New Guinea for 60 years between 1915 and 1975. On 23 November 2019, its 300 000 people will commence voting in an independence referendum, and a clear majority is expected to vote for independence from Papua New Guinea. The Bougainville Peace Agreement requires PNG and Bougainville to negotiate an outcome after the conclusion of the referendum, and Canberra has indicated that it will respect any settlement reached between them. James Marape, the new PNG prime minister, has expressed a clear preference for an autonomous, not independent, Bougainville...

 

Lowy

US-Southeast Asia Trade is Increasing, but so are Deficits, October 2019. Conventional narratives are either supported by facts or overcome them. Recent increased trade flows between the US and the ten economies of Southeast Asia suggest that the predominant narrative of the commercial displacement of the United States by China in Southeast Asia is incorrect. However, the United States’s growing trade deficits and shrinking surpluses with Southeast Asia do bolster an American mercantilist narrative that bilateral deficits are an economic loss for the US caused by Southeast Asian governments’ unfair trade policies...

 

EWC

A Vietnam Perspective on Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, October 2019. In an effort to promote Taiwan’s engagement with Southeast Asia and other Southern countries in the Indo-Pacific, President Tsai Ing-wen declared the New Southbound Policy at the very beginning of her presidency. Vietnam, though not having official relations with Taiwan, appears to endorse the New Southbound Policy and Taipei’s positioning of Vietnam at the heart of the policy. Given that context, the implementation of the New Southbound Policy will have impacts on Vietnam’s overall relations with Taiwan. The “southbound policy,” originally coined as the “Go South” policy, is not a new concept designed by Tsai herself...

 

EWC

Too little, too late for Myanmar in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy? October 2019. Since the early 1990s, a vast bipartisan consensus among Taiwanese policymakers has looked at Southeast Asia as a credible countercheck to China’s growing leverage over the island. As a result, the idea of a ‘go south’ policy aimed at strengthening Taipei’s economic and political standing with ASEAN countries has made headlines both during the Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian presidencies, before being rebranded by the current Tsai Ing-wen government under the banner of the ‘New Southbound Policy’ (NSP) in 2016. In a nutshell, the strategy seeks to reinvigorate Taiwan’s links with its southern neighbors, whilst safeguarding both the special relationship with the United States and its extensive economic ties with the Chinese mainland. Taiwan-Myanmar relations have to be seen against this wider and deeper backdrop,..

 

EWC

Progress and Limitations in Malaysia-Taiwan Relations under Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, October 2019. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has made the New Southbound Policy (NSP) a main anchor of Taiwan’s foreign policy. The NSP is not entirely “new”: Both Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian pursued similar policies aimed at strengthening Taiwan’s economic exchanges with the region and improving its political and diplomatic positioning. In comparison, Tsai’s NSP, while continuing emphasis on economic exchanges, is notable for its greater focus on people-to-people exchanges, and at the same time its political or symbolic dimensions are more subtle or even deliberately downplayed. In general, Malaysia welcomes the NSP. Since 2016, there has been an acceleration of economic exchanges, intensification of people-to-people ties, and increased sub-national level interactions...

 

EWC

India’s Act East and Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy are Win-Win, October 2019. Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP) is a policy initiative introduced by president Tsai Ing-wen after she came to power as the president of Taiwan in May, 2016. The NSP aims to strengthen Taiwan’s relationship with eighteen primary target countries: 10 in the ASEAN region, six states in South Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. Though the NSP is not the first of its kind, Tsai Ing-wen’s vision is new and comprehensive in several aspects and has a broader goal and audience than previous initiatives...

 

EWC

Monetary Authority of Singapore: Macroeconomic Review, Volume XVIII, Issue 2, October 2019 (Full Report, Presentation Slides for Briefing):  

MAS

Effects of Dark Trading on Liquidity of Singapore Equity Market, November 2019. The growth of dark trading in equities has driven academic research and attracted attention from regulators concerned about its effects on market quality. In this paper, we analyse and simulate the effects of dark trading on the market quality and efficiency of Singapore’s equity market. While our results generally support the conventional criticisms of dark trading, we find that on-exchange liquidity ("lit market liquidity") starts to worsen only when the proportion of dark trading increases beyond certain levels. In fact, our simulations suggest that some dark trading can actually improve lit market liquidity for illiquid, and small and mid-market capitalisation stocks...

 

MAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, September 2019. The Singapore economy expanded by 0.1% in Q2 2019 compared with the same period last year, lower than the 1.6% projected by respondents in the previous survey. In the current survey, year-on-year growth in Q3 2019 is expected to come in at 0.3%. The respondents expect GDP growth to come in at 0.6% in 2019, a step down from 2.1% in the previous survey...

 

MAS

Economic Reforms in the Aftermath of Regime Change in Malaysia, October 2019. The 14th General Election in May 2018 brought about an unexpected change in political rule in Malaysia for the first time since the country’s independence in 1957. In its first year of rule, the new Pakatan Harapan-led government implemented several populist economic policies that were drawn from its election manifesto. While these policies may have moderated populist politics to some extent, they have also weakened the government’s fiscal capacity. Ethnic fragmentation and a strengthened opposition alliance have also made it difficult for the new government to implement its ambitious institutional reform agenda. The new government needs to formulate and implement a new growth strategy that overcomes some of the existing structural weakness of the economy...

 

ISEAS

Agglomeration, Human Capital and Foreign Labour: The Case of Malaysia, September 2019. Trade, FDI and foreign labour have been key factors in the growth and transformation of Malaysia. The deindustrialization of the Malaysian economy has been attributed by some to the excessive dependence on the relatively low-skilled foreign labour in the country. This study finds that there is some evidence that foreign labour weakens the relationship between labour productivity and agglomeration. This is likely to take place through the weakening of human capital-effects by low-skilled foreign labour. Policies aimed at managing foreign labour need to take into account geographical agglomeration effects...

 

ISEAS

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Asia Bond Monitor, September 2019. Local currency bond markets in emerging East Asia expanded steadily during the second quarter of 2019 despite ongoing trade conflicts, an economic slowdown in the People’s Republic of China, and moderating global growth. At the end of June, there was $15.3 trillion in local currency bonds outstanding in the region, 3.5% more than at the end of March and 14.2% more than in June 2018. Bond issuance in emerging East Asia amounted to $1.6 trillion in the second quarter, 12.2% higher than in the first quarter...

 

ADB

ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide: Exchange Bond Market in the People's Republic of China, October 2019. This edition focuses on the exchange bond market in the People’s Republic of China, which is one of the country’s most important bond markets and one of only two that are accessible to foreign investment. The ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide: Exchange Bond Market in the People's Republic of China is an outcome of the strong support and kind contributions of ASEAN+3 Bond Market Forum members and experts, particularly those from the country...

 

ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong: High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecasts Current Quarter Model: 2019Q4, October 2019. According to its High Frequency Macroeconomic Forecast, real GDP is estimated to drop by 0.1% in 19Q3 when compared with the same period in 2018, reverted from the 0.5% growth in 19Q2. Clouded by the US-China trade friction, world economic slowdown and escalating protests in Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s economy is inevitably dragged into negative growth in the second half of 2019. In 19Q4, real GDP is expected to fall by 0.9% when compared with the same period last year. We forecast a zero growth in Hong Kong’s GDP in 2019 as a whole, holding back the 3.0% growth in 2018. It is a downward revision of our previous forecast by 1.8 percentage points, reflecting the plunge in domestic demand...

 

HKU

Now I Know my ABCs: U.S.-China Policy on AI, Big Data, and Cloud Computing, September 2019. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cloud Computing (ABC) have generated unprecedented opportunities and challenges for economic competitiveness, national security, and law and order, as well as the future of work. ABC policies and practices have become contentious issues in U.S.-China bilateral relations. Pundits see a U.S.-China AI race and are already debating which country will win. Kaifu Lee, the CEO of Sinovation Ventures, believes that China will exceed the United States in AI in about five years. Others argue that China will never catch up. This essay focuses on two issues: the comparative ABC strengths of the United States and China in data and research and development (R&D); and the emerging ABC policies and practices in the two nations...

 

EWC

U.S.-China Trilateral Aid Cooperation: Features, Prospects, and Recommendations, August 2019. The current trade war between China and the United States has drawn global attention to competition in U.S.-China relations. Such competition should not, however, obscure areas of mutual interest where cooperation is possible. Based on U.S.-China trilateral pilot projects, trilateral cooperation creates opportunities for aid officials and practitioners from China and the United States to communicate, but it would be ambitious to expect the limited number of pilot projects to shape Chinese aid practices or improve Chinese aid performances in the short term. These pilot projects are small in scale, and the level of coordination between China and the United States should be strengthened further...

 

EWC

Making the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Work for Sri Lanka, September 2019. In April 2019, the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved a compact program for Sri Lanka. This is a large five-year grant that was provided to Sri Lanka on the basis that it meets the MCC’s eligibility criteria of good governance, economic freedom, and investment in its citizens. It will be implemented by a team appointed by the Sri Lankan government, under the guidance of MCC. As the process has taken longer than expected, it is hoped that the MCC Board when they meet on 18 September 2019 will grant additional time for the MCC Sri Lanka Compact (MCC Compact) to be approved by Sri Lanka’s Cabinet. President Maithripala Sirisena has suggested that a decision would be taken after the upcoming Presidential elections in Sri Lanka in December 2019...

 

EWC

Australia-Afghanistan Relations: Reflections on a Half-Century, September 2019. It is now fifty years since diplomatic relations were formally established between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Superficially, the two countries might seem to have little in common. Nonetheless, there is more to unite Australians and Afghans than one might think at first glance. Even before the Australian colonies federated, Afghans made their way to Australia to provide transport by camel in Australia’s inland. By the time of the 2016 census 46,800 Afghans were living in Australia. And since 2001, more than 25,000 members of the Australian Defence Force have served in Afghanistan. Recent years have brought Australia and Afghanistan far closer to each other than ever before in their history...

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #14: China’s Evolving Policy towards the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia (1949–2018). The Chinese diaspora, consisting of both Chinese living overseas who are citizens of China (huaqiao), and people of Chinese descent who are citizens of foreign countries (huaren), have significantly shaped the making of modern China. China’s policy towards its diaspora is primarily governed by its national interests and foreign policy imperatives. However, the Chinese government has been careful to ensure that the huaqiao and the huaren fall into different policy domains: Chinese citizens living overseas are subject to China’s domestic policies, while Chinese descendants who are citizens of other countries come under China’s foreign affairs. Nevertheless, from the beginning, the latter continue to be regarded as kinsfolk distinct from other foreign nationals...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #13: Quality, Equity, Autonomy: Malaysia’s Education Reforms Examined. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government promised education reforms before getting elected in 2018, and presently grapples with the complexities of making good on those pledges while seeking to negotiate continuity and change with regard to the previous administration’s Malaysian Education Blueprint launched in 2013. This article situates the education reforms in the context of Malaysia’s highly centralized administration, embedded practices and policy initiatives of recent years. Discussion focuses on three areas—quality, equity, autonomy—where PH has more distinctly differentiated itself from its predecessor...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #12: Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy Outlook. The United States launched a new Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy in late 2017 after reluctantly concluding that its patient effort to engage and socialize China to the rules-based order since 1972 had failed. China’s behaviour since 2009 convinced the United States that China is a revisionist power seeking to impose an authoritarian model of governance in Asia which, if successful, would end the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific as well as endanger US security and vital trade interests. The new US FOIP strategy initiative seeks to engage like-minded nations in economic, security (both traditional and non-traditional), and political governance partnerships to construct a collaborative and scalable network of relations that will be able to respond flexibly to meet a wide range of stakeholder needs and regional contingencies across the Indo-Pacific region...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2019 #11: Between Social Services and Tolerance: Explaining Religious Dynamics in Muhammadiyah. Muhammadiyah, together with the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), are seen as the two pillars of moderate Islam in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah is currently often perceived to be the more conservative of the two and to have more affinity with Islamist groups. On political issues, for instance, it is steered by Islamist imagery. On cultural issues, Muhammadiyah is often guided by old enmity towards what is called the TBC (takhayul, bid’ah dan churafat; delusions, religious innovation without precedence in the Prophetic traditions and the Qur’an, and superstitions or irrational belief). This position has placed Muhammadiyah in an uneasy relationship with both local cultures and traditionalist Islam...

 

ISEAS

Asian Development Outlook 2019 Update and Highlights. Developing Asia’s gross domestic product is forecast to slow from 5.9% in 2018 to 5.4% in 2019 and 5.5% in 2020. Inflation across developing Asia is forecast to increase from 2.5% in 2018 to 2.7% this year and in 2020. Growth in developing Asia is moderating but remains robust. As global trade slows and investment weakens, regional growth forecasts are trimmed from Asian Development Outlook 2019 by 0.3 percentage points for 2019 and by 0.1 points for 2020 compared to April forecasts. The revisions reflect gloomier prospects for international trade and evidence of slowing growth in the advanced economies and the People's Republic of China, as well as in India and the larger economies in East and Southeast Asia...

 

ADB

Selected Asian Development Bank Member Fact Sheets: Afghanistan, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Republic of, Netherlands, Norway, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taipei,China, and Turkey.

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Asian Development Review, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2019 (Full Report):
This edition focuses on perspectives on structural change, whether the traditional path of moving from agriculture to industry and services still holds, the impact of globalization, and the effect of structural change on labor markets. It also discusses the macroeconomic effects of public infrastructure in the Philippines, the impact of extreme natural hazards such as droughts and floods on health-care utilization and expenditures in Sri Lanka, and the relationship between the exporting and ownership characteristics of firms in providing a safe working environment in Viet Nam's manufacturing firms.

  ADB

APEC Capacity Building Workshop on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, September 2019. This publication provides background of the project, summary of presentations, discussions and recommendations from the workshop, APEC Capacity Building Workshop on TFA for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) held in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam on 13-14 June 2019.The workshop was conducted with the following objectives: (1) increase knowledge of MSMEs and experts from MSME associations and supporting organizations on the TFA (the Agreement, ratification of WTO members, implementation of WTO members, opportunities and challenges, how the TFA benefits SMEs, etc; (2) share experience from speakers and among participants, and discuss on how to integrate the TFA in SME development policies and (3) network MSMEs and experts from MSME associations and supporting organizations.

 

APEC

Small-scale LNG in Asia-Pacific, September 2019. Interest in the use of small-scale LNG (SSLNG) has increased in recent years as demand for natural gas in the Asia-Pacific region continues to increase. SSLNG has some unique advantages such as lower initial investment, shorter construction periods and increased operational and logistical flexibility. This makes SSLNG a particularly advantageous way of supplying natural gas to outlying islands or remote regions. This study aims to assess the opportunities and challenges of introducing SSLNG in the Asia-Pacific region and considers study-cases and policies that may favor its expansion in the region.

 

APEC

SMEs’ Integration into Global Value Chains in Services Industries: Tourism Sector, August 2019. This report presents a comprehensive research on structures, main strategies for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in tourism global value chains (GVCs), as well as best government practices and policies on facilitating MSMEs access to tourism GVCs. It has been prepared to facilitate better understanding of the structure of tourism GVCs and the opportunities and challenges for tourism MSMEs in the Asia Pacific and provides APEC policy makers a set of recommendations to improve strategies to integrate MSMEs into tourism GVCs and how to enhance MSMEs competitiveness in tourism services . It includes survey results that present APEC economies’ issues to address the integration of MSMEs into GVCs, as well as a set of case studies including developed and developing economies’ best practices.

 

APEC

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Research Paper Series:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Development Research News:  

PIDS

Latest Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Discussion Papers:  

PIDS

Latest Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Policy Notes:  

PIDS

Journal of Global Buddhism, Vol 19, 2018 and Vol 20, 2019.  

JGB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

  

 
 

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