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2020 Highlights

 

 

 

 

 
     

 

2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

     

 

March, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging Giant Shaking up the EU? Impacts, Challenges and Implications of China’s Investment Frenzy in Europe, March 2020. Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has experienced an exponential surge globally over the past decade, challenging the traditional norms of international investment. This phenomenon is the result of a long series of policies formulated by the Chinese government, that have ushered in key reforms driving China’s economic liberalization and its integration into the global economy. While initial reforms launched under the aegis of Deng Xiaoping in the 1970’s, were conceptualized as a tool to attract foreign capital and know-how, the onset of the millennium marked a new phase in China’s internationalization strategy, with Chinese multinationals staggeringly expanding their presence abroad and conquering global markets...

 

ISDP

Cyber Risk Surveillance: A Case Study of Singapore, February 2020. Cyber risk is an emerging source of systemic risk in the financial sector, and possibly a macro-critical risk too. It is therefore important to integrate it into financial sector surveillance. This paper offers a range of analytical approaches to assess and monitor cyber risk to the financial sector, including various approaches to stress testing. The paper illustrates these techniques by applying them to Singapore. As an advanced economy with a complex financial system and rapid adoption of fintech, Singapore serves as a good case study. We place our results in the context of recent cybersecurity developments in the public and private sectors, which can be a reference for surveillance work.

 

MAS

Private Banking Sales and Advisory Practices, February 2020. Singapore has established itself as one of the leading global private banking and wealth management centres. High-net-worth individuals and accredited investors choose Singapore because of its sound financial regulation and strong rule of law, amongst other factors. MAS expects financial institutions operating in the private banking industry in Singapore (referred to as “PBs” henceforth) to uphold high standards of market conduct and transparency in their dealings with clients, so as to safeguard clients’ interests and Singapore’s reputation as a leading wealth management hub...

 

MAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2020 #3: Terrorism in Indonesia after “Islamic State". The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) movement in Indonesia in 2014 re-energized violent extremism in Indonesia. As a result of effective counterterrorism policing, however, IS networks have been decimated and the structure of jihadism in Indonesia has shifted from organizations to autonomous networks and cells, increasingly organized via the Internet. Although support for violent extremism in Indonesia remains marginal, cells of IS followers maintain a low-level capacity to conduct lethal attacks against civilian and government targets. Most IS operations in Indonesia are sporadic and low-level attacks against the Indonesian police. Religious minorities have also been high-profile targets, as in the Surabaya church suicide bombings of 13 May 2018. There are some indications, however, of militants’ renewed interest in attacking foreign targets, such as tourists on the resort island of Bali...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2020 #2: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle: Nurturing Exclusivist Interpretations of Islam in the Malaysian Home. As an increasingly conservative wave of Islam engulfs the globe, literalist Salafi interpretations of the faith have become prevalent in Malaysia. While there are several Islamic schools of thought in the country, including those deemed “deviant”, the loudest voices are always the more extreme. Over the past year, there has been increasing recognition of women’s roles as recruiters, financiers and influencers for radical Islamic groups. More women have been arrested for their support for and involvement in the Islamic State (IS), but much of the focus has been on their desire to marry a jihadi soldier or channel funds to the cause. In Malaysia, these women (including returnees from IS) are seen to be followers, not decision-makers or active agents in extremist action. While Malay-Muslim women were both economically and socially active prior to colonization, patriarchal norms are now commonplace because of Islamic and Western conventions, as well as increasing conservatism in society...

 

ISEAS

Trends in Southeast Asia 2020 #1: The Vietnam-US Security Partnership and the Rules-based International Order in the Age of Trump. Vietnam-US relations have kept strengthening since bilateral normalization in 1995, including in the defence and strategic domains. This has turned the two countries into increasingly important security partners for each other. The shared perception of the China threat, especially in the South China Sea, provided the strongest momentum towards bilateral strategic rapprochement in recent years despite the strategic uncertainties generated by the Trump administration. Such strategic dynamics also shaped Vietnam’s supportive view of the US-led regional and global orders. In the short to medium term, challenges for bilateral relations include the further improvement of mutual trust and the building up of Vietnam’s capacity to participate in more substantive defence cooperation initiatives with the United States. In the long run, how to balance its strengthening ties with Washington and the troubling yet important relationship with Beijing remains a challenge for Hanoi...

 

ISEAS

Taiwan Flashpoint: What Australia Can Do to Stop the Coming Taiwan Crisis, February 2020. A major strategic crisis is brewing across the Taiwan Strait, one which threatens to be significantly more serious than earlier crises of the 1950s and mid-1990s. Current tensions between China and Taiwan, and the fear that a major conflict could erupt, are generally attributed to Beijing’s growing assertiveness. However, these tensions are ultimately the product of changes in the dynamics of the triangular relationship between China, Taiwan and the United States and, most importantly, the balance of military power underpinning those ties. These tensions have sparked renewed debate in Australia over whether conflict would trigger Australia’s obligations under the ANZUS alliance...

 

Lowy

Taiwan’s 2020 Election and Its Implications for the New Southbound Policy, February 2020. The elections in January 2020 marked a new era for Taiwan, clearly demonstrating citizens’ resistance to China. The results showed that incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was re-elected with a landslide victory of 8.17 million votes (57.1%) which is higher than the previous record high of 7.65 million votes obtained by the Kuomintang (KMT) President Ma Ying Jeou in 2008. Although KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-Yu failed to win the election, he also obtained 5.5 million votes (38.6%), surpassing the 3.81 million votes obtained by the KMT’s Zhu Lilun in 2016...

 

EWC

America’s “Pacific Principle” in an Indivisible Pacific Islands Region, February 2020. The United States should, I have argued, pursue the “Pacific Principle.” The main features of this principle are power, purpose, and commitment to access and engagement across the region in all dimensions from security to public diplomacy. These actions matter more than what the United States calls the region running from our west coast to the eastern coast of Africa. The Pacific Island countries (PICs) and region (PIR) are crucial for many reasons; and not only because of China’s rising activities there. Four Indo-Pacific contests, over the balance of power, order, relations, and narratives, are having particular impacts on the PIR. An emerging feature is the increasing indivisibility of the region; that is, the declining significance of the colonial-era, sub-regional delineations of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. These trends provide a basis for framing America’s policy approach to the PIR...

 

EWC

Ict for Development in the Pacific Islands, February 2020. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) as an invisible driver of socio-economic change have long captured the imagination of politicians, policymakers and aid professionals alike. Since the first fibre-optic submarine cable connected Fiji 20 years ago, many reports and studies have been written about the potential that the introduction of ICTs in the South Pacific would bring for reaching targets of poverty reduction and economic growth. The internet, mobile devices and e-commerce have already penetrated the Pacific, configured to the political, economic and sociocultural context of the various island nations. Fiji was the first island to get linked up to the global network of submarine communications cables in 2000. In 2020, all major islands in the region are connected through one or more domestic and international fibre-optic cables. The region is connected...

 

ASPI

Australia's Implementation of Women, Peace and Security: Promoting Regional Security, February 2020. Australia’s implementation of women, peace and security examines the benefits of Australia strengthening its implementation of the women, peace and security agenda to bolster its regional stability and national security efforts. Since its formal establishment by the UN Security Council in October 2000, the women, peace and security agenda has become the central framework through which to advocate for women’s participation across all peace and security decision-making processes, to promote the rights of women and girls in conflict and crisis settings, and for the integration of gender perspectives into conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflict rebuilding efforts and throughout disaster and crisis responses. The agenda, when implemented holistically, can also complement states’ national security efforts and strategies aimed at promoting regional stability...

 

ASPI

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia's Next Cybersecurity Strategy: Views From the Strategist, February 2020. Back in 2016, Australia launched a new national cybersecurity strategy. The strategy covers a four-year period to 2020, and given the changes in the security environment, an update is now clearly warranted. To that end, the government has just released a discussion paper to kick off the public consultation. The closing date for submissions on the discussion paper is 1 November. To complement the public submission process, ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre is initiating a public debate on what should be included in the next cybersecurity strategy. Contributions will be compiled into a report that we will deliver to the Department of Home Affairs to inform the strategy’s development...

 

ASPI

Four Factors that Could Shape Southeast Asia in the Coming Decade, January 2020. Southeast Asia is witnessing major changes to its political, strategic and economic fabric. Some of these, such as the rise of China, have been anticipated for some time, while others, such as the US-China trade dispute, the growing prominence of the Indo-Pacific as a strategic concept, and the Trump administration’s retreat from liberal internationalism, have unfolded rapidly and disruptively during the past few years...

 

EWC

Has U.S. Government Angst over the China Danger Diminished? January 2020. The so-called “truce” in the trade war with the signing of the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement on January 15 comes amid indicators that the intense U.S. government consensus pushback against a wide range of perceived challenges posed by China may be subsiding. The American government’s hardening policies toward China emerged somewhat erratically following publication of the surprisingly tough Trump administration national security and national defense strategies at the turn of 2017-2018. Both strategies identified China as America’s top international danger...

 

EWC

Addressing China’s Exported Emissions, December 2019. Once known as the world's top carbon polluter, China has recently recommitted itself as a leader in sustainability and renewable energy. Moving to fill the gaps left by the United States at the Paris Climate Talks, China has ramped up its renewable energy commitments, including plans to cap its CO2 emissions, drastically increase forest stocks, and expand its non-fossil fuel market share to 20 percent, all by 2030. This move has been highly favorable for Chinese diplomatic relations with its Southeast and Pacific Island neighbors who have labeled climate change as a top priority...

 

EWC

Thailand’s Response to the United States on Labor Rights, December 2019. The United States has suspended Thailand’s trade privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), emphasizing the inadequate protection of worker rights in Thailand as the reason for its judgement. Washington suggests Thailand has not done enough to improve working conditions for both Thai and migrant workers despite numerous domestic reforms in recent years...

 

EWC

Cooperation Between the United States and Pakistan: What is the Future? January 2020. Within the Indo-Pacific region, the United States and Pakistan have sharply divergent strategic objectives. While American objectives have changed over time, focusing in recent years on rivalry with China, Pakistan’s strategic objective has remained constant—to maintain a balance of power with India. Yet Pakistan retains close strategic and economic ties with China, and the United States considers India an important strategic partner. Nevertheless, the two countries have worked together for nearly two decades toward two tactical goals—achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan and eliminating terrorism in South Asia. There is potential for them to cooperate more broadly, for example, increasing direct foreign investment to Pakistan and helping Islamabad balance its relations with the United States and China. Washington’s willingness to expand such cooperation will depend on Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting terrorism in the region.

 

EWC

Women, Leadership, and Asian Economic Performance, January 2020. In an era of slowing economic growth, Asian countries face an imperative to boost productivity. One possible source of economic revitalization would be to make better use of women in the labor force. Although female representation in corporate leadership has been rising gradually over time, as of 2017, women comprised only 16 percent of executive officers and 11 percent of board members in publicly listed firms in Asia. Research shows that Asian firms with female executive officers and board members perform better in terms of net profit margin and return on assets than firms that lack females in leadership positions. Public policy can improve this gender gap. For one thing, countries that produce large numbers of female college graduates in fields such as law, business, or economics tend to generate more female corporate executives.

 

EWC

Determinants of E-Commerce Adoption and Utilisation by SMEs in Thailand, January 2020. This study empirically investigates the factors and barriers which hinder e-commerce adoption and utilisation levels by Thai SMEs in the food and beverage and retail industries. Older SMEs are likely to have lower levels of e-commerce utilisation. Larger SMEs are more likely to adopt e-commerce. Social media and website are significantly drivers of e-commerce utilisation levels. Food delivery platforms are crucial in enhancing higher e-commerce utilisation levels in the food and beverage industry. Smartphones are found to be a cost-effective tools for e-commerce transactions. The most significant barriers which can hinder the e-commerce adoption are customers’ knowledge of e-commerce and internet security...

 

ISEAS

MAS Survey of Professional Forecasters, December 2019. The December 2019 Survey was sent out on 21 November 2019 to a total of 27 economists and analysts who closely monitor the Singapore economy. This report reflects the views received from 22 respondents (a response rate of 81.5%) and does not represent MAS’ views or forecasts. The Singapore economy expanded by 0.5% in Q3 2019 compared with the same period last year, higher than the 0.3% projected by respondents in the previous survey. In the current survey, year-on-year growth in Q4 2019 is expected to come in at 1.0%...

 

MAS

2018 Singapore Asset Management Industry Survey, September 2019. 2018 was a challenging year for global financial markets and the asset management industry. Global assets under management (“AUM”) declined by 4% to US$74 trillion, compared to an increase of 12% in 2017, weighed down by uncertain global growth prospects. Global net inflows for 2018 also slowed to US$944 billion, below the record high of US$2.2 trillion in 2017, reflecting investors’ cautious stance amidst the uncertain outlook. In contrast, Singapore’s asset management industry registered a relatively good expansion of 5.4% to S$3.4 trillion, or US$2.5 trillion. Singapore continues to serve as the Global-Asia gateway for asset managers and investors to tap the region’s growth opportunities, with 75% of AUM sourced from outside of Singapore in 2018. 67% of total AUM was invested in the Asia Pacific, of which more than a third of Asia Pacific AUM were investments into ASEAN countries...

 

MAS

Latest APEC publications:

 

APEC

Latest ADB Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADBI Working Paper Series:  

ADB

Latest ADB Publications:  

ADB

Latest Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Policy Notes:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Research Paper Series:  

PIDS

Philippine Institute for Development Studies - Development Research News, October-December 2019  

PIDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004