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April, 2018 Current Topics

 

Source

 

 

 

 

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, March 2018. The Singapore economy expanded by 3.6% in Q4 2017 compared with the same period last year. This was higher than the median forecast of 2.6% reported in the Dec 2017 Survey. The economy is forecast to grow by 3.2% in 2018. The respondents expect the GDP growth to come in at 3.2% in 2018, an upgrade from the 3.0% median forecast in the previous survey...

 

MAS

Stronger Together: Safeguarding Australia’s Security Interests Through Closer Pacific Ties, April 2018. Australia views stability in the Pacific Islands region as a critical aspect of its own national security. The 2016 Defence White Paper and 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper each place significant importance on the region. Both white papers also hint at increasing geostrategic competition in the region and a general sense of unease with growing Chinese influence in the Pacific. Yet why the Pacific Islands region is so important to Australia, and the extent to which China may be challenging Australia’s influence with its neighbours, is often poorly articulated...

 

Lowy

Charities and Terrorism: Lessons from the Syrian Crisis, March 2018. Humanitarian disasters offer opportunities for terrorist groups to infiltrate conflict areas under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance, and to raise or send funds to these areas under the same cover. In the case of Australia, terrorists and their supporters have at times sought to portray themselves as humanitarian workers in order to construct a legal defence. While most humanitarian groups operating in Syria have legitimate aims, the civil war and rise of radical Islamist groups that resulted has shown how easily the desire to assist those in need can be manipulated by jihadists. In order to minimise the likelihood of this sector being exploited in the future, countries such as Australia should utilise regulatory and legislative frameworks to limit the ability of individuals and groups to exploit humanitarian assistance in high-risk areas.

 

Lowy

Australia-Fiji Relations in 2018: Finding a New Normal, March 2018. Richard Herr, Academic Coordinator for the Parliamentary Law, University of Tasmania, explains that “Australia knows that Fiji sees China as providing an economic, diplomatic and aid alternative to traditional friends that was not available in previous decades.”

 

EWC

Japan’s Oceania Engagement and Maritime Security, March 2018. Dr. Rieko Hayakawa, founder of the Sasakawa Pacific Islands Fund, explains that “The United States Pacific Command (PACOM) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) have welcomed Japan’s NGO initiatives for the maritime security of the western Pacific.”

 

EWC

The Role of the French Military on Key Issues for Oceania, March 2018. Helene Goiran, member of the Maison de la Melanesie research group, explains that “France has the second largest EEZ in the world located mainly in the Pacific, and is responsible for protecting the fragile maritime environment and its extensive fishing, mineral, and energy resources.”

 

EWC

Mariana Islands – US Military Strategy ‘On Hold’, March 2018. Grant Newsham, Senior Research Fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, explains that “CNMI and Guam, both American territories, are strategically important given their locations in the Western Pacific close to Asia.”

 

EWC

The United States is Losing the Pacific, March 2018. Ben Bohane, Founder and Director of Wakaphotos, explains that “The United States is building nothing, offering nothing and, until recently, even failing to pay its due Compact funds to Micronesian allies.”

 

EWC

Strategic Overview of Oceania, March 2018. Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow, Chatham House and Director, The Oceania Research Project, explains that “In the past decade Indonesia, Japan, India, and especially France (which has territories in Oceania) have all deepened engagement with Pacific Island Countries.”

 

EWC

Women's Economic Empowerment and the G20 Agenda, February 2018. In not a single country has gender equality yet been achieved in practice. Worse still, in 9 out of 10 countries laws discriminate against women's ability to be economically active. This despite all 193 UN member countries formally committing in 2015 to promote gender equality and empower women and girls. At current rates of progress, it will take another 217 years to reach economic parity. Yet the case for economic parity is compelling...

 

EWC

Putting Women's Economic Empowerment in the Asia Pacific at the Core of the G20, January 2018. This paper presents background and resource information used to develop the formal report for the Inaugural 2017 Women20 for the G20 Asia-Pacific Dialogue, hosted by the East-West Center and sponsored by the global professional services organization EY. Participants included current and former heads of state, government officials, academic experts, representatives of regional and international organizations, business, and civil society leaders.

 

EWC

US International Economic Policy in the Trump Administration, January 2018. The United States benefits from international trade, and Asia and the United States have a mutually beneficial and deepening economic relationship. A byproduct of that deepening economic integration, however, is a tendency toward increased income and wealth inequality within the United States. The appropriate response is not to adopt trade protection but rather implement a package of improved adjustment measures and longer-term policies to enhance US competitiveness...

 

EWC

The Internet of Insecure Things, Published 2018. The IoT (Internet of Things) offers benefits to all industries, but the connectivity of these once isolated things also introduces new vulnerabilities that can affect our homes and industries. As well as promising convenience and efficiency, the IoT is a problem because a vast number of internet connected devices with poor default security create a large attack surface that bad actors could take advantage of for malicious ends. A variety of international organisations and government groups are working on issues pertaining to the IoT, but at present there’s no coordinated vision to implement standards for the IoT on a global scale...

 

ASPI

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #6: Reconciling Economic and Environmental Imperatives in Batam. Batam’s economic transformation has been accompanied by a marked degradation of its natural environment. Enforcement to protect the environment has often been inadequate on many fronts, exacerbated by population increases. Though regulations exist for the provision of public amenities like wastewater and sewerage treatment, existing facilities are run-down and ill-equipped to cope with the present demands. The capacity of reservoirs to meet the present demand for water is also strained because of the large population base, with illegal intrusion and squatters further threatening supplies. Economic and environmental imperatives can be reconciled if more emphasis and resources are put into enforcing regulations and protecting the environment.

 

ISEAS

Mine Closure: Checklist for Governments, February 2018. The objective of the Mine Closure Checklist for Governments is to provide policy makers in the APEC region with the essential elements of a successful mine closure governance framework based on leading international guidelines and standards, as well as international experience. This Checklist is designed to provide a logical, sequential series of steps that will allow policy makers to identify gaps in their current mine closure framework and identify how to address those gaps. A clear, effective mine closure framework will help protect the environment and interests of the community, and will also encourage the benefits that are brought by investment and development of mining opportunities.

 

APEC

Asia Bond Monitor, March 2018.Risks to economic growth and stability of East Asia remain—faster-than-expected rate hikes in the United States and monetary policy normalization in other advanced economies; and growing threats of protectionism. The continued recovery in the global economy has contributed to a rally in financial markets that lasted through January. Financial risk and volatility indicators—such as the CBOE Volatility Index, credit default swap spreads, and emerging market bond spreads—narrowed in January. However, a price correction in equity markets and an uptick in risk indicators were observed in the first week of February due to uncertainties in US macroeconomic policies and expectations of accelerated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve...

 

ADB

Slowdown in the People’s Republic of China: Structural Factors and the Implications for Asia, Published 2018. This book analyzes the causes of the recent slowdown in the PRC and assesses the growth potential of the PRC economy, the conditions under which that potential growth could be realized, and the implications for other Asian economies. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been growing at an unprecedented rate since economic reforms were initiated in 1978, achieving an average annual real GDP growth rate of 9.7% over the entire period through 2015. As a consequence, the PRC has achieved a remarkably successful transition from one of the poorest countries to upper middle-income status in just over one generation...

 

ADB

The Implications of Ultra-Low and Negative Interest Rates for Asia, Published 2018. Asia has been uniquely affected by low and negative global interest rates. This volume explores these effects--from foreign direct investment and portfolio investment, to exchange rate effects, credit availability, and more. Twenty years after the East Asian financial crisis, Asia is facing challenges as advanced economies implement unprecedented low and negative interest rate policies to jumpstart moribund economies and avoid deflation. As the longer ends of yield curves in many advanced economies plunge into negative territory, fears are growing that these policies may create unintended side effects, including cash hoarding, housing bubbles, and damage to banks’ balance sheets...

 

ADB

Improving Labour Market Outcomes in the Pacific: Policy Challenges and Priorities, Published 2017. Underemployment, informal work, gender disparities, and a large share of young people not in education, employment, or training characterize labour markets in the Pacific island countries. Size and remoteness of Pacific Island countries have hindered economic growth and limited positive labour market outcomes. A very young and growing population is both an opportunity and a concern: Pacific Island countries stand to benefit from a demographic dividend, but labour markets are simply not producing enough jobs to accommodate all the young women and men entering the workforce each year...

 

ADB

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Political Reform in Mirziyoyev’s Uzbekistan: Elections, Political Parties and Civil Society, March 2018. Since taking over from long-time President Islam Karimov in 2016, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has pursued an aggressive policy to transform Uzbekistan’s decision-making processes, invigorate civil society, encourage political competition, address human rights and develop a civic culture consistent with the country’s status as a modernizing, forward-looking regional power in Eurasia with a steadily increasing majority of citizens under the age of 30. To declare significant these changes, which seem to take place daily, is to perhaps understate their potential in light of the last 30 years of history...

 

ISDP

Judicial and Governance Reform in Uzbekistan, March 2018. Since President Mirziyoyev assumed power as interim president in September 2016, a major agenda of reforms has been introduced in Uzbekistan. In this broader agenda, judicial and governance reform has been identified as key to the entire reform process. The scope and speed of reforms outlined in this study are bold and unprecedented. Given the systematically negative coverage of developments in Uzbekistan prior to the transition of power, these reforms may appear to have emerged ex nihilo. But while little of a positive nature was reported, many of the reforms under Mirziyoyev trace their origins to developments in the past decade. Indeed, already in 2005, reforms in the judicial sector introduced habeas corpus and abolished the death penalty...

 

ISDP

India's Relations with ASEAN: Posture Versus Reality, February 2018. Vibhanshu Shekhar, Former Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that “These incomplete projects highlight a fundamental difference between the posture and reality and raise questions over India’s ability to deliver results.”

 

EWC

Australias Future in Space, February 2018. Australia is approaching an important window of opportunity to change our approach to the use of space for defence and national security purposes and, more broadly, to the establishment of a sovereign space industry. We now have the opportunity to move from a traditional policy of dependency on others to become an active space power— one with sovereign space capabilities in orbit and an active and growing space industry sector coordinated by an Australian space agency...

 

ASPI

Project LAND 400: Defining the Army, February 2018. Defence’s most comprehensive, and expensive, package of land force modernisation is underway, at a cost of $50–70 billion. Nine complementary programs cover every area of land warfare, from personal equipment for the soldiers through to unmanned aerial vehicles, amphibious craft, special forces helicopters, digital networks, surface-to-air missiles and long-range battlefield rocket systems. Moreover, those programs are in addition to Navy and Air Force projects, such as sea and air lift, that directly support the land force...

 

ASPI

Beyond Access: Making Indonesia’s Education System Work, February 2018. Indonesia’s biggest challenge regarding education is no longer improving access but improving quality. The Indonesian Government hopes to develop a ‘world-class’ education system by 2025. However, numerous assessments of the country’s education performance suggest that it has a long way to go before it will achieve that goal. Many Indonesian teachers and lecturers lack the required subject knowledge and pedagogical skills to be effective educators; learning outcomes for students are poor; and there is a disparity between the skills of graduates and the needs of employers...

 

Lowy

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #5: Accidental and Intentional Exporters: Comparing Indonesian and Malaysian MSMEs. Regardless of the size of the domestic economy, there are ample reasons for firms to extend their markets beyond home shores. These include increasing sales, improving profits, diversifying risks, reaping economies of scale, matching the moves of competitors, enhancing competitiveness or accessing government incentives. Both Indonesia and Malaysia seek to enhance the competitiveness of their micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by including internationalization goals in their respective national development plans for these enterprises...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #4: EduCity, Johor: A Promising Project with Multiple Challenges to Overcome. EduCity, built as an integrated learning hub, is a constituent part of Malaysia’s general programme to enhance its reputation as a regional centre for higher education. Located in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, on a 305-acre catalyst development housing seven higher education institutions, EduCity aims to become a best-in-class higher education destination and at the same time provide talent to support economic activities in Iskandar Malaysia...

 

ISEAS

Back in Business: Industrial Policy for Emerging Economies in the New Globalization, February 2018. Today’s emerging economies face a dual structural transformation challenge: (i) to move closer to the current world technology frontier (traditional catch-up), and (ii) to adjust to technological change in advanced economies and increasingly binding environmental and social constraints. They must do so subject to their available state capacity. The paradox of industrial policy is that it is most straightforward when state capacity is the most constrained. In this paper, the authors suggest that emerging economies still should explore sector-based horizontal policies addressing market and state failures in individual industries.

 

ADB

Population Aging and the Possibility of a Middle-Income Trap in Asia, February 2018. What happens to Asia if it gets too old before getting rich? In this paper, the authors explore the possibility that Asia faces a middle-income trap due to demographic factors. They find that many economies in East, South, and Southeast Asia satisfy conditions for a demography-driven middle-income trap. Analyses show that support ratio—the ratio of workers to consumers—matters for economic growth. But as the economy grows, fertility declines, ultimately leading to low support ratios and a lower speed of convergence, creating conditions for economic stagnation.

 

ADB

Indonesia: Enhancing Productivity through Quality Jobs, Published 2018. The book focuses on Indonesia’s most pressing labor market challenges and associated policy options to achieve higher and more inclusive economic growth. The challenges consist of creating jobs for and the skills in a youthful and increasingly better educated workforce, and raising the productivity of less-educated workers to meet the demands of the digital age. The book deals with a range of interrelated topics—the changing supply and demand for labor in relation to the shift of workers out of agriculture; urbanization and the growth of megacities; raising the quality of schooling for new jobs in the digital economy; and labor market policies to improve both labor standards and productivity.

 

ADB

ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide 2018: Myanmar. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar began to emphasize the development of its financial and capital markets in 2008. Much has been achieved since then. There were a number of significant milestones in the Myanmar financial and capital markets in 2013, including the Central Bank of Myanmar gaining its independence by law from the then Ministry of Finance, and the passage of the Securities Exchange Law (SEL). The SEL (i) laid the foundation for the key legal framework for the securities market, (ii) established the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar and the Yangon Stock Exchange, and (iii) defined market participants and their activities.

 

ADB

ASEAN+3 Bond Market Guide 2018: Cambodia. This Bond Market Guide reports on the significant developments expected in Cambodia’s bond market, including the issuance of corporate and government bonds and subsequent debt securities listings on the Cambodia Securities Exchange. Among the long-term development objectives of Cambodia’s Financial Sector Development Strategy 2011–2020 were to develop the government securities market and to issue government bonds by the National Treasury. In 2010, the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) was established. The National Bank of Cambodia began issuing negotiable certificates of deposit in 2013, effectively creating an interbank money market...

 

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Journal of Bhutan Studies, Volume 35, Winter 2016  

Bhutan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding the BRI (China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative) in Africa and the Middle East, February 2018. The BRI builds on China’s ‘Going Global Strategy.’ It appeared somewhat suddenly in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which guides national investment strategy from 2016 to 2020. At the 19th Communist Party Congress (18 to 24 October 2017), a resolution calling on the BRI to be written into the Chinese Constitution was adopted. Another resolution enshrined ‘Xi Jinping thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’...

 

ASPI

Cyber Maturity in the Asia-Pacific Region 2017. In 2016–17, cyber maturity across the Asia–Pacific improved and the region again avoided a major incident, such as an attack on critical national infrastructure. Most online criminal activity continues to be perpetrated by non-state actors who generate significant revenue from illicit behaviour with little risk of prosecution or arrest. With notable exceptions, such as North Korean financial cybercrime and Russia’s interference in the US election, countries were not engaged in flagrantly irresponsible actions during the reporting period. Looking at the big picture, macro trends are pulling in both directions, but the overall trajectory, for now, remains positive. On the negative side of the ledger, the region has so far escaped a major state-led cyber incident more because of the peaceful macro environment than because of strong defences and resiliency...

 

ASPI

When Turnbull Meets Trump, May 2017. Donald Trump’s election as US president is accelerating a profound global transformation that has huge consequences for Australia. Unlike his predecessors, Trump is less willing to defend the liberal international order that has been of immense benefit to Australia’s security and prosperity. If fully implemented, the US president’s protectionist agenda would be a direct threat to Australia’s economic interests. And the US alliance is coming under unprecedented pressure from China in the region. At home, there are an increasing number of Australians who see a growing gap in both interests and values with a Trump-led America...

 

Lowy

The Shape of Australia's Future Engagement with the United Nations, March 2017. Australia is currently bidding for another term on the United Nations Security Council in 2029–30 as well as seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018–20. But Australia’s broader engagement with the United Nations is patchy and underwhelming. It needs to be upgraded to ensure that Australia has a greater say on global issues that are important to its national interests...

 

Lowy

Latest Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Discussion Papers:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Policy Notes:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Development Research News:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Economic Issue of the Day: Demographic Dividend, December 2017

 

PIDS

UK-Japan Cooperation in Preserving the Liberal Order, January 2018. John Hemmings, Director of the Asia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society in London, asks “Will [these relationships] actually deter would-be aggressors when all is said and done?” John Hemmings, Director of the Asia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society in London, asks “Will [these relationships] actually deter would-be aggressors when all is said and done?”

 

EWC

Japan and the UK as Strategic Partners After Brexit, January 2018. Michito Tsuruoka, Associate Professor at Keio University, Japan, explains that “Brexit overshadows the otherwise remarkable progress in Japan-UK ties.”

 

EWC

US-Japan Cooperation in Disaster Recovery and Regional Development, January 2018. Mampei Hayashi, Associate Professor at the Kansai University of International Relations, explains that “the United States and Japan have expanded their alliance to cooperate in the emergency response and early recovery phases following a number of disasters in the Asia Pacific.”

 

EWC

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #3: GE-14 in Johor: The Fall of the Fortress?. Johor is a key battleground in Malaysia’s 14th General Elections. The state is economically vital to the country: it is the birthplace of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO); and it has a large number of parliamentary seats. Johor-specific dynamics that have worked to the advantage of the ruling coalition include: UMNO’s unique links with the state; the tight control over religion; and the phenomenal scale and success of the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) scheme. Despite these advantages, support for the ruling coalition has been slipping across the state. Furthermore, the emergence of new parties such as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) will challenge Barisan Nasional’s control over Johor’s rural and Malay heartland...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #2: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in Johor: New Party, Big Responsibility. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) was officially launched on 14 January 2017, led by prominent personalities including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and former Kedah Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir. Upon establishment, the party immediately announced that they are aiming to win the southern state of Johor in the upcoming general election. Historically, UMNO splinter parties have never been able to threaten UMNO in this state. Since independence, Johor has always been seen as an UMNO bastion. PPBM has moved quickly to establish themselves in all parliamentary and state constituencies in Johor, however, and it has been rather successful in attracting support from those aged below 35. Their key challenge remains the rural and female voters...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2018 #1: Logistics Development in ASEAN: Complex Challenges Ahead. Growing urbanization, increasing trade and investment due to integration, and emerging new business models like e-commerce are accelerating the demand for efficient logistics in each ASEAN country. The logistics sector is inherently complex due to its scope, ranging from physical infrastructure covering four modes of transport, customs, and services. Each of these sub-sectors is regulated by different government agencies, leading to complex challenges in each country’s logistics sector. Policymaking has a tendency to be done piecemeal rather than integratively, while a more or less fragmented governance structure impedes implementation. ASEAN liberalization commitments focusses on raising the cap on foreign equity, while regulatory reform remains untouched. Also, flexibility offered in these commitments allows for non-compliance...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #23: Legislation on Underwater Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia: Evolution and Outcomes. This paper examines the evolution of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) legislation in Southeast Asia. Legislation in every country differs, with some reflecting great cultural awareness and some signalling neglect. It seems that some countries regard shipwrecks and their cargoes as resources rather than cultural heritage. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that sponsors its own maritime archaeological programme. Others rely on private funding, usually in exchange for a share of the recovered cargo. These public–private partnerships have in some cases created a culture of corruption, xenophobia, paranoia and greed...

 

ISEAS

Russian Hybrid Tactics in Georgia, January 2018. Since its independence in 1991, Georgia is the country in the former USSR that has been most frequently and harshly subjected to Russian hybrid tactics – a practice that gained considerable attention after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Russia has at times of confrontation with Georgia – a common occurrence throughout these 25 years – relied on a combination of multiple pressure points to influence the decision making of the Georgian government, particularly in foreign- and security policy. These pressure points have included traditional sources of state power and coercion, including the use of military force or the threat thereof; leveraging geopolitical realities on the ground, most prominently Russia’s control over the two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as means to exert diplomatic pressure; and the exploitation of economic dependencies as means for establishing punishments or rewards for different policy choices...

 

ISDP

Uzbekistan’s New Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity under New Leadership, January 2018. During the year following Shavkat Mirziyoyev's election as president of the Republic of Uzbekistan he has introduced dramatic changes in that country. Some of these changes have come in the form of legislative acts of the Oliy Majlis or Supreme Assembly, Uzbekistan’s parliament. Others have taken the form of administrative orders issued by the President or his principal Ministers. At no other time since Uzbekistan's establishment as an independent state have more innovations been introduced, or with greater speed. Since these changes are bound to affect Uzbekistan's internal economic, social, and political life, and since they directly affect Uzbekistan's ties with its regional neighbors and its relations with all the world's major powers, the Central Asia- Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center has undertaken to document this year of innovation...

 

ISDP

Foreign and Domestic Investment in Global Bond Markets, January 2018. The Asian equity and bond markets have grown rapidly in the past decades. However, challenges have emerged including lack of liquidity, inactive institutional participation, and less favorable investor profiles. This paper analyzes the drivers of foreign versus domestic investment in global bond markets. The analysis suggests that there are some differences between foreign and domestic investors in both advanced and emerging bond markets. Foreign investors seem more sensitive to risk–return profile than domestic investors, especially in emerging markets. They are also attracted by greater market openness and sound sovereign credit ratings. Finally, regional market integration can benefit emerging bond markets by broadening the investor base.

 

ADB

State-Owned Enterprises Leverage as a Contingency in Public Debt Sustainability Analysis: The Case of the People’s Republic of China, January 2018. The leverage of state-owned enterprises (SOE) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has grown to a large liability. While there is no room for complacency, there is no need for panic either; even if authorities had to step in to mop up as much as 20% of SOE debt at risk gone bad. This would appear to be manageable at roughly 2.7% of the gross domestic product in 2016 or 5.5% by 2021. The paper demonstrates a method to include SOE debt as a contingent liability in the public debt sustainability assessment framework. The authors of the paper further conclude that while corporate leverage is large, it appears fully manageable.

 

ADB

Fiscal Policy in a Currency Union at the Zero Lower Bound, January 2018. The interaction between fiscal policies within a currency union depends on the degree of trade openness between the members of the union. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero lower bound, fiscal policy can be used to achieve macro stabilization objectives. At the same time, fiscal policy is also a key policy variable within a single currency area that allow policy makers to respond to regional demand asymmetries. How do these two uses of fiscal policy interact with one another? Is there an inherent conflict between the two objectives? How do the answers to these questions depend on the degree of fiscal space available to different members of the currency area...

 

ADB

The Financing of Local Government in the People’s Republic of China: Stimulus Loan Wanes and Shadow Banking Waxes, January 2018. Shadow banking activities in the People's Republic of China have grown since 2012 as a result of a "stimulus-hangover effect." The People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s four-trillion-yuan stimulus package fueled by bank loans in 2009 has led to the rapid growth of shadow banking activities in the PRC after 2012. The local governments in the PRC financed the stimulus plan mainly through bank loans in 2009, and resorted to non-bank debt financing after 2012 given the mounting rollover pressure from bank debt coming due, a manifestation of the stimulus loan-hangover effect...

 

ADB

Global Value Chains and Effective Exchange Rates at the Country-Sector Level, December 2017. The real effective exchange rate (REER) is one of the most cited statistical constructs in open-economy macroeconomics. We show that the models used to compute these numbers are not rich enough to allow for the rising importance of global value chains. Moreover, because different sectors within a country participate in international production sharing in different ways, sector level variations are also important for determining competitiveness. Incorporating these features, we develop a framework to compute REER at the sector, country, and bilateral level and apply it on inter-country input-output tables to study the properties of the new measures of REER for 35 sectors in 40 countries.

 

ADB

The Role of Exporting and Trade for Entry over the Business Cycle, December 2017. We study the role of international trade and the export participation decisions of establishments for firm creation over the business cycle in a general equilibrium model. The model captures two key features of establishment and exporter dynamics: (i) new establishments start small and grow over time, and (ii) exporters tend to be bigger and more productive than non-exporters. When the cost of creating establishments fluctuates with aggregate productivity, we find the model can generate procyclical fluctuations in the stock of domestic establishments and importers similar to the data...

 

ADB

Fair Taxation in the Digital Economy, December 2017. We are living in a technology-driven era in which new developments and innovations are happening at a rate we have never seen before. As technology merges with the economy, we have witnessed the rise of the digital economy, which is growing day by day. The international community—and developing economies particularly—can greatly benefit from these innovations. Policy makers, however, must ensure they are harnessed in a way that ensures the benefits are shared as equitably as possible. With any new development come new challenges. In particular, the spread of the digital economy creates challenges for international taxation as well as domestic tax revenue mobilization...

 

ADB

Latest ADB publications:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Journal of Korean Studies, Volume XXI, Number 1, 2017  

IJKS

Southeast Review of Asian Studies, Volume 39, 2017  

SERAS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Economic Issue of the Day:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Policy Notes:  

PIDS

The 'United States Factor' in Southeast Asia: The Philippine and Singaporean (Re)assesments, December 2017. Ithrana Lawrence, Former Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, explains that “Although recognized as a major non-NATO US ally since 2003, the Philippines increasingly views China as an important and economically attractive source of support.”

 

EWC

Populist Politics in Indonesia, December 2017. Ehito Kimura, Associate Professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, explains that “populism is not just a movement but also a political strategy.”

 

EWC

More Than Submarines: New Dimensions in the Australia–France Strategic Partnership, December 2017. In this compendium examining the France–Australia relationship, we have brought together experts from each country to explore our shared histories and plot a course for where we might take the relationship in the future. Each section examines a different aspect of the relationship—historical, international security, defence and the South Pacific—from a French and an Australian perspective. The experts brought together in this volume cover a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience as officials, academics and practitioners. What emerges is a rich and complex picture of two vibrant and activist countries, grappling with complex problems, but each determined to contribute to making the world safer and more just...

 

ASPI

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Africa: Mining and Australia’s Interests, November 2017. Australia has commercial and strategic interests in helping to prevent and counter violent extremism in Africa. Australian mining companies are engaged across the continent in Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya and many other countries where there have been high-profile terrorist attacks and kidnappings of foreign nationals, including Australians. Those threats already affect the way Australian mining companies approach their operations on the continent. With rising risks to Australian nationals, businesses and foreign investment through the mining industry, violent extremism in Africa is a direct threat to Australian national interests...

 

ASPI

Australia’s Management of Strategic Risk in the New Era, November 2017. Australia’s strategic outlook is deteriorating and, for the first time since World War II, we face an increased prospect of threat from a major power. This means that a major change in Australia’s approach to the management of strategic risk is needed. Strategic risk is a grey area in which governments need to make critical assessments of capability, motive and intent. Over recent decades, judgements in this area have relied heavily on the conclusion that the capabilities required for a serious assault on Australia simply did not exist in our region. In contrast, in the years ahead, the level of capability able to be brought to bear against Australia will increase, so judgements relating to contingencies and the associated warning time will need to rely less on evidence of capability and more on assessments of motive and intent. Such areas for judgement are inherently ambiguous and uncertain...

 

ASPI

The Missing Middle: a Political Economy of Economic Restructuring in Vietnam, December 2017. Vietnam’s cautious and sequenced adoption of market institutions has brought more than two decades of impressive economic performance, all while leaving the country’s underlying political economy largely intact. Notably, Vietnam has leveraged greater integration with the international economic system, including through ascension to the World Trade Organization in 2007 and the conclusion of a spate of free trade agreements, as a means of reinforcing domestic change...

 

Lowy

Industry Dynamics in Growth Triangles: The E&E Industry in SIJORI 25 Years On, November 2017. The SIJORI Growth Triangle, which encompasses Singapore, Johor (Malaysia) and Batam Island (Indonesia), was launched in 1989 as a ‘single investment destination’ offering differing factor endowments in close proximity. Singapore was the ‘core’ of the region with Johor and Batam occupying the land, labour, and resource-intensive ‘non-core’ spaces. During the 1990s, investment flows into the three territories, particularly in the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry, mirrored this division of labour...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #22: Malaysia's Bumiputera Preferential Regime and Transformation Agenda: Modified Programmes, Unchanged System. Malaysia has employed an extensive, constant and embedded Bumiputera preferential regime for several decades, but in recent years, the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Programme was introduced, aimed at building capable and competitive Bumiputera businesses, and reaching out to disadvantaged Bumiputera students. Official rhetoric and public discourse recurrently and erroneously maintain that need-based and merit-based affirmative action have replaced ethnicity-based programmes. The author proposes a systematic framework for integrating need-based selection...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #21: Parties in the Periphery: Organizational Dilemmas in Indonesia's Kepri Province. Political parties in Indonesia’s Kepri (Kepulauan Riau, or Riau Islands) Province suffer from low organizational capacity. The set-up of their branch offices is barely adequate, with cadres and volunteers acting as the main administrators, while activities, funding and recruitment remain erratic, insufficient and disorganized. Rather uniquely, the province’s capital Tanjungpinang is not its commercial centre, resulting in discrepancies in the organizational priorities of political parties present there. Instead, it is Batam, the commercial capital, that receives greater attention and is more attractive as a location for crowd-intensive events...

 

ISEAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, December 2017. The December 2017 Survey was sent out on 23 November 2017 to a total of 28 economists and analysts who closely monitor the Singapore economy. This report reflects the views received from 23 respondents (a response rate of 82.1%) and does not represent MAS’ views or forecasts.

 

MAS

MAS Financial Stability Review, November 2017. While the global economy has strengthened, medium-term vulnerabilities remain Gradual monetary policy normalisation in developed markets continues to support global growth. But accommodative financial conditions have also facilitated financial excesses amid persistent search for yield. This raises the risk of disruptive corrections when the excesses unwind. Within the region, China has shifted its focus to addressing financial stability risks whilst still achieving firm economic growth. Close monitoring is warranted, given potential spillover effects on the global economy and financial markets...

 

MAS

A Guide to Digital Token Offerings, November 2017. On 1 August 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) clarified that if a digital token constitutes a product regulated under the securities laws administered by MAS, the offer or issue of digital tokens must comply with the applicable securities laws. This paper provides general guidance on the application of the securities laws administered by MAS in relation to offers or issues of digital tokens in Singapore. For purposes of this guide, the securities laws refer to the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) (“SFA”) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (“FAA”). The contents of this guide are not exhaustive, have no legal effect and do not modify or supersede any applicable laws, regulations or requirements.

 

MAS

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ADB

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ADB

Asian Development Outlook Supplement: A Firmer Growth Outlook for Asia, December 2017. The growth outlook for developing Asia this year is upgraded to 6.0%, or 0.1 percentage points higher than the rate envisaged in September in Asian Development Outlook 2017 Update. The unexpectedly strong expansion in Central, East, and Southeast Asia more than offsets a downward adjustment to growth forecasts for South Asia. In 2018, regional growth is expected to slow slightly to 5.8%, as predicted in the Update. Excluding the newly industrialized economies of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore, Taipei,China, and Hong Kong,China, the growth outlook for the region is revised up to 6.5% from 6.4% for 2017 but unchanged at 6.3% for 2018...

 

ADB

Education and Skills for Inclusive Growth, Green Jobs and the Greening of Economies in Asia--Case Study Summaries of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, Published 2017. This book presents an overview of the main research findings and case studies concerning education and skills for inclusive growth, green jobs and the greening of economies. Focusing on India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, it discusses government and business sector responses to these issues and how Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems and institutions are addressing both the renewal of curricula in the context of green growth dynamics, and patterns of training and skills development to meet demands...

 

ADB

Human Capital Development in South Asia: Achievements, Prospects, and Policy Challenges, Published 2017. Human capital is an important factor for economic growth in South Asia. Between ť1981 and 2010, human capital contributed about 22% of annual gross domestic product per worker growth in India. During the same period, it contributed around ?ť21% in Bangladesh, and ť16% in Sri Lanka. However, education and skills remain the binding constraint. Raising the quality of education and skills in South Asia’s workforce can play a critical role in catching up to the level of development of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and other successful Southeast Asian economies...

 

ADB

Pacific Economic Monitor, December 2017. The Pacific is among those parts of the world most vulnerable to weather-related disasters. To illustrate, 5 of the top 15 countries with the highest risk, and 10 of the top 30 facing the largest potential economic losses from disasters, are in the subregion. With climate change bringing additional risks from global sea level rise—and potentially heightening vulnerability to more intense, frequent, and prolonged extreme weather events—Pacific economies are stepping up adaptation efforts to brace for future adverse impacts...

 

ADB

Water–Energy Nexus in the People’s Republic of China and Emerging Issues, Published 2017. This report analyzes the trade-off between the two sectors in the context of the People’s Republic of China and proposes recommendations to ensure that the choices made are sustainable in the long run. Water and energy are both valuable resources and indispensable for human society and economic development. By nature, water and energy are interlinked. Water plays a critical role in the generation of electricity for cooling of thermal power plants and in hydropower, as well as in the production of fossil fuels such as coal; energy is required to treat, distribute, and for wastewater treatment. Choices made in either of the sectors may have unintended and often negative implications on the other sector.

 

ADB

Large-Scale Soil Health Restoration: The Way Forward for Reversing Climate Change while Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security, November 2017. This paper describes soil health, and lists soil-regenerative agriculture practices that can mitigate and reverse climate change, improve water management, and enhance food and nutrition security. Soil has been overlooked as a natural resource yet it can be an ally in bringing carbon dioxide levels down by functioning as a natural carbon sink. Soil health is also central in feeding a growing global population. Healthy soil increases the adaptive capacity of plants to withstand extreme weather conditions and lessens crop failures. Healthy soil is also essential to fight malnutrition, particularly in rural areas.

 

ADB

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APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Rejuvenation? China’s Search for a New ‘Global Order’ November 2017. This Asia Paper explores how China, a ‘partial’ global power, can set the agenda and determine the rules in a global order dominated by a declining yet unyielding global power. In exploring this question, we present the argument that building ‘alternative’ regional and global institutions might be a safer strategy for China. Further, it examines how China is through institutions, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) incrementally delimiting its sphere of influence and shaping other states’ actions in Asia. Despite the People’s Republic of China’s narrative that AIIB and the BRI have been great successes and projects of the century, China’s multilateral institutions still face insurmountable challenges...

 

ISDP

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #20: The 2017 Johor Survey: Selected Findings. ISEAS commissioned the 2017 Johor Survey to understand Johor residents' attitudes towards state and federal government, the economy, Islamic identity, the Johor royal family, as well as development projects like Iskandar Malaysia. This is a presentation of selected findings from the survey. A majority of respondents are satisfied with the Johor government's management of the state. There is mild optimism over the economic future of the state across the board, except for Chinese respondents who are generally more pessimistic. Chinese respondents are more likely to report smaller improvements in the financial situation of their households...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #19: Malaysia’s Electoral Process: The Methods and Costs of Perpetuating UMNO Rule. Malaysia will hold its 14th general election before August 2018, bringing renewed focus on the nature of political competition in the country. This paper provides a systematic overview of the electoral process and an assessment of how it shapes the country’s political environment. Political competition in Malaysia is extensively manipulated to provide the incumbent government substantial advantages in elections. Most of the manipulations are a result of institutional bias during the pre-election phase. They create a fundamentally uneven playing field that has entrenched the political dominance of the UMNO-led coalition...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #18: Harnessing the Potential of the Indonesian Diaspora. In recent years, the Indonesian government has increased efforts to harness the economic, political, and social potential of its diaspora. A recent high-profile event was the 4th annual Congress of Indonesian Diasporas that took place in Jakarta on 1 July 2017. Opened by former U.S. President Barack Obama, the event was intended to draw the Indonesian public's attention towards the contributions of Indonesian diaspora communities abroad. Current estimates put the number of overseas Indonesians at up to 8 million people worldwide. Members of the Indonesian diaspora are lobbying for legislative amendments, including dual citizenship, parliamentary representation, property ownership rights, and constitutional recognition...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #17: The Central Role of Thailand’s Internal Security Operations Command in the Post-Counter-insurgency Period. The Thai military's Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) was in charge of a wide range of civil affairs projects during the country's struggle with the communist insurgency between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s. These projects — including rural development programmes, mass organizations and mobilization campaigns, and psychological operations — provided justification for the military to routinely penetrate the socio-political sphere...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #16: The Political Economy of Chinese Investment in Cambodia. China suffers from a trust deficit in the region, and Southeast Asian countries have adopted hedging strategies, at varying degrees, aimed at diversifying their economic and strategic interests from Chinese investments and influence. Cambodia considers China as an important strategic and economic partner in providing performance legitimacy and as a countervailing force against its immediate neighbours...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2017 #15: The Growing “Strategic Partnership” between Indonesia and China Faces Difficult Challenges. Jakarta–Beijing relations have experienced significant progress, especially since the Yudhoyono presidency. Economic links between the two countries have expanded rapidly and tourism and cultural exchanges have also shown improvements. Issues that may affect Indonesia-China relations negatively in the future include...

 

ISEAS

Mounting Pressure for Japan to Tackle Immigration Policy, November 2017. Toshihiro Menju, Managing Director at the Japan Center for International Exchange, explains that “Recent projections by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research show that steeper population declines are ahead.”

 

EWC

The 2017 APEC Summit: A Game Changer for the Asia-Pacific? November 2017. Le Dinh Tinh, Senior Fellow at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, explains that “For the first time ASEAN leaders had a dialogue with APEC members’ heads of delegation. This is a testament to both ASEAN and APEC’s continued aspirations for a wider community of cooperation.”

 

EWC

India's Responses to the Complex Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar, November 2017. Baladas Ghoshal, Secretary General of the Society for Indian Ocean Studies, explains that “New Delhi has to balance between its security concerns and moralism on humanitarian issues.”

 

EWC

India's Evolving Subregional Strategy, November 2017. K. Yhome, Senior Fellow with the Observer Research Foundation, explains that “New Delhi’s evolving subregional approach needs to view the three subregions as a single strategic arch.”

 

EWC

A Grim Outlook for China's Civil Society in the Wake of the 19th Party Congress, October 2017. Ketty Loeb, Grants and Development Specialist at the East-West Center, explains that “The concurrent crackdown on some aspects of civil society with the apparent “opening” of legal and administrative efforts, then, form the fine balance of the Xi administration’s approach to civil society thus far.”

 

EWC

China and the United States as Aid Donors: Past and Future Trajectories, Published 2017. The United States and China have followed nearly parallel paths as providers of foreign aid over the past seven decades. Although both programs were ostensibly aimed at Third World economic development, both countries also leveraged the programs to further their own national interests, using very different strategies. The United States has largely provided foreign aid with the aim of stabilizing the world order, favoring a patron-client relationship with recipient countries, and using aid to promote economic and political liberalization...

 

EWC

Clear Waters and Green Mountains: Will Xi Jinping Take the Lead on Climate Change? November 2017. President Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement shone a light on China’s efforts to fight climate change, which are as much about economics and technology as environmental responsibility. Longer-term technological and economic change may lead China to eventually show greater diplomatic ambition on climate. China cannot assume an international leadership position on climate until it deepens its domestic energy transition and greens its overseas investments.

 

Lowy

Autopilot: East Asia Policy Under Trump, October 2017. Despite President Donald Trump’s promise to adopt an America First foreign policy, US policies in East Asia — on issues from trade, to diplomatic engagement, to the North Korean nuclear crisis — now more closely resemble those of Trump’s predecessors than his campaign vision. There are few advisers around President Trump with the necessary expertise, experience, and inclination to implement an America First foreign policy in Asia. Most principals hold conventional Republican views, and lead institutions that have advanced conventional policies. As a result, US policy in East Asia is on autopilot. The greatest risks are not a deliberate crash, but that of a crisis, in which the autopilot will disengage and President Trump will be required to fly the plane; or that the United States will drift far off course before a qualified pilot can retake control.

 

Lowy

An Accident Waiting to Happen: Trump, Putin and the Us-Russia Relationship, October 2017. US–Russia relations are more problematic and acrimonious than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Hopes in Moscow that Trump’s election might lead to a rapprochement have evaporated, and even limited cooperation appears a distant prospect. Trump’s anarchic tendencies will further destabilise relations in a volatile international context. The risk of direct confrontation between the United States and Russia has increased tangibly.

 

Lowy

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APEC

Asia Bond Monitor, November 2017. Yields in emerging East Asia rose between 1 September and 31 October, tracking increases in yields in major advanced economies. While emerging East Asia’s financial markets have been stable on the back of strong global economic growth, potential risks are looming. These include further tightening of global liquidity as more central banks move to normalize monetary policy, and the longevity risk faced by financial institutions, which will require more hedging instruments in financial markets...

 

ADB

Third Review of Enhancing the Asian Development Bank's Role in Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, November 2017. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Directors adopted the Policy on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism on 1 April 2003. The policy calls on ADB to (i) assist developing member countries (DMCs) in establishing and implementing effective legal and institutional systems to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism; (ii) increase collaboration with other international organizations; (iii) strengthen internal controls to safeguard ADB funds; and (iv) upgrade ADB's staff capacity...

 

ADB

The Sri Lankan Economy: Charting a New Course, Published 2017. This is a pivotal period in Sri Lanka’s economic development. The end of conflict opens a door for accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. Reform is needed to regain momentum because fiscal imbalances and rising public debt could jeopardize macroeconomic stability...

 

ADB

At A Glance: Food Insecurity in Asia: Why Institutions Matter, Published 2017. While overall food security has improved remarkably in Asia in the past decades, food insecurity still prevails in many developing countries in the region. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, over 500 million Asians still suffer from hunger. Sound strategies need to be developed and actions undertaken to fight food insecurity in Asia.

 

ADB

Asean 4.0: What Does the Fourth Industrial Revolution Mean for Regional Economic Integration? Published 2017. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to a set of highly disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain and 3D printing, that are transforming social, economic and political systems and placing pressure on leaders and policy-makers to respond. The paper discusses the huge benefits these technologies will bring, such as empowering SMEs and creating new ways to connect citizens to healthcare...

 

ADB

Central and Local Government Relations in Asia, Published 2017. This book’s insights are essential for policy makers in Asia and academics and researchers in the areas of economic development, public finance, and fiscal policy as well as development aid officials, multilateral banks, and NGOs.

 

ADB

Compendium of Supply and Use Tables for Selected Economies in Asia and the Pacific, Published 2017 . This publication outlines the relevant statistical and economic concepts, data compilation and development practices, project implementation strategies, and the results of the project. It also includes an abridged version of the supply and use tables (SUTs) of the 19 participating economies. The more detailed tables are available online through the ADB website.

 

ADB

Asian Economic Integration Report 2017: The Era of Financial Interconnectedness - How Can Asia Strengthen Financial Resilience? (Full Report, Highlights). This year’s Asian Economic Integration Report introduces a new composite index to gauge the progress of regional cooperation and integration (RCI) in Asia and the Pacific. RCI plays an important role in supporting economic growth and poverty reduction, and has been high on the development agenda for many Asian economies in recent years. Supporting RCI is one of ADB’s key strategic priorities for development assistance in the region. An index that calibrates the status of RCI can be a useful policy tool for assessing the progress of RCI efforts especially by various subregional initiatives...

 

ADB

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ADB

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ADB

Hmong Studies Journal, Vol. 18, 2017  

HSJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

  

 
 

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