Previous Editions
China’s economic malaise was perfectly predictable

There is very little doubt that the Chinese economy is currently in dire straits. Not only have property prices fallen for two years now, but there are also concerns about the economy entering a period of deflation (or persistently falling prices). A deflationary spiral works in the same way as an inflationary one, except in reverse. As prices fall, households cut back on spending in anticipation of prices falling further; firms cut back on hiring and investments in expectation of future reductions in wages and other costs. Such decisions may be individually rational, but they are collectively irrational as they make deflation a self-fulfilling prophesy.

India’s economic boom is obscuring pressures on smaller businesses

At a recent Mumbai conference about India’s small and medium-sized enterprises, there was much talk over the buffet lunch of pulao and gulab jamun on their prospects.

It did not always match the tone of earlier upbeat speeches at the Confederation of Indian Industries’ summit that praised government initiatives to help small business maximise India’s moment as the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

“For India to grow exponentially, we need more and more of our [small businesses] to mature into large firms in the decade to come,” said Sunil Kant Munjal, president of the confederation and chair of two-wheeler company Hero. But some summit attendees endorsed the view of those economists who say India’s growth and the rapid expansion of the country’s biggest conglomerates has obscured the pressures on smaller businesses.

The IMF is forecasting 6.1 percent gross domestic product growth this year. But the nation of 1.4bn emerged from the pandemic with a K-shaped recovery: rich people’s incomes and spending has risen while those with fewer resources have struggled. And against that backdrop, some economists worry that behemoth business houses — from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries to the storied Tata Group — have gained market share and pricing power that could make it harder for smaller groups to compete.

Bangladesh economy to grow lower than fy24 budget target: ADB

Bangladesh’s GDP is likely to see 6.5 percent growth in FY2023-24 but it will be higher compared to the 6.03 percent growth in FY2022-23, according to the latest Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released on Wednesday.

The Government had set a 7.5 percent GDP growth target in the FY24 national budget.

The Slightly faster growth forecast reflects an improvement in domestic demand and better export growth due to economic recovery in the euro area. Inflation is expected to ease from 9 percent in FY23 to 6.6 percent in FY24 with some fall in global nonfuel commodity prices, expected higher agricultural production and the initial tightening of monetary policy under the new framework.

However, the country is facing higher inflationary pressure from the beginning of the current fiscal year compared to the previous. In July, the inflation rate was 9.69 percent, which was 7.48 percent in the same month of the previous year.

The Current account deficit is expected to slightly narrow from 0.7 percent of GDP in FY23 to 0.5 percent of GDP in FY24 as remittance growth improves. The main risk to this growth projection is a further deterioration in export growth if global demand is weaker than expected, ADB said in a press release.

Indonesia parliament passes Jokowi’s $216 billion 2024 budget

Indonesia’s parliament on Thursday passed President Joko Widodo’s 3,325.1 trillion rupiah ($216.06 billion) budget for 2024, his final year in office, with a fiscal deficit of 2.29 percent of gross domestic product.

The Budget assumes economic growth of 5.2 percent, which is slightly higher than 2023’s outlook of 5.1 percent and a state revenue target of 2,802.3 trillion rupiah.

Japan builds on Asean’s infrastructure ambitions

Japan was ASEAN’s largest provider of financial and technical resources until the 2000s. Japan’s overseas development aid (ODA) through loans and grants to ASEAN member states goes back to 1969, two years after ASEAN was formed.

Japan’s annual net ODA, most of which isdirected towards Asian countries, continues to grow despite some major setbacks. It grew from US$105 million in 1960 to US$14.5 billion in 1995, before declining when Japan’s asset bubble burst in 1992. Japan’s net ODA hit a low at US$7.7 billion in 2007, but rose to US$15.7 billion in 2021, with five ASEAN countries among the top 10 recipients. Much ODA went to the construction of roads, bridges, airports, powerplants and industrial estates, all essential to economic development.

Infrastructure aid was helpful to the original ASEAN members during their early independence. It benefited not only local people and firms but also attracted investment from Japan and other industrialised nations, which jump-started economic development. The same cycle repeated for the four new ASEAN members who joined in the 1990s. In mainland Southeast Asia, Japanese ODA enabled the construction of bridges and estates along Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard and the Mekong River, extending growth to the whole Mekong region.

But Japan’s contribution to infrastructure development among ASEAN states has also faced setbacks amid two long-term changes in Japan’s relative economic position. ASEAN’s infrastructure ambitions were easier to support when Japan’s economy was stronger and the cost of infrastructure investments in ASEAN countries fell below Japan’s aid allocation ceilings.

Pakistan needs to learn from Malaysia’s economic diversity: Gohar

Malaysia is a role model country for developing countries including Pakistan as it achieved great milestones within half a century of its independence and is ranked today 35th economy in the world. On the other hand, Pakistan despite being the 5th largest country in terms of population stands below 40. Our economy is facing enormous challenges and in this bleak scenario, the Malaysian model of economy offers best solutions to Pakistan in tackling these challenges

These views were expressed by Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries & Production DrGoharEjaz while speaking as Chief Guest at a reception marking the 66th National Day and 90th Armed Forces Day of Malaysia. Director General (DG) of Joint Information & Intelligence Operations, Major General WaseemIftikharCheema was the guest of honour on the occasion.

Besides, Heads of missions of the ASEAN countries, diplomats, senior officers from the Foreign Office, members of the Pakistani and the Malaysian business community, the Malaysian nationals, current and former parliamentarians and members of civil society attended the reception and congratulated the host couple High Commissioner Mohammad AzharMazlan and his spouse Amelia Amani Lee Abdullah on the historic occasion. A cake was also cut while national anthems of the two countries were played. A documentary showing the development of the brave Malaysian army and the country’s economic growth was also screened on the occasion. A Malaysian cultural troupe also performed on the occasion showing traditional music and dance of the country.

Maldives leader seeks allies as polls head for second round

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said he was seeking allies Sunday in his bid for re-election, a day after trailing in a first round of polls without an outright winner.

Solih’s attempt for a second term has been turned into a referendum on his pursuit of renewed ties with India, the archipelago nation’s traditional benefactor.

Preliminary results from the election on Saturday showed Solih took 39 percent of the vote, behind his key rival, the capital’s mayor Mohamed Muizzu, with 46 percent.

The Independent Elections Commission (EC) is yet to release final results, but provisional results have been collated by local media based on tallies announced by the EC.

New china-Nepal trade route to open soon as Tibet facility gets green light

A New trading facility in a Tibetan village on the border with Nepal has been given the go-ahead, as China seeks to expand economic ties with its Himalayan neighbour.

Construction work on the Lizi Port – which sits at 4,600 metres (15,000ft) above sea level – has been completed and it passed an inspection by the commerce ministry on Tuesday, according to Chinese state media.

The Inspection found that the facility is ready to start operations, the official China News Service reported.

It did not say when Lizi Port would open, but that it would “spur Tibet’s opening to the outside world, improve connectivity between China and Nepal, deepen China-Nepal friendly exchanges and cooperation, and promote high-quality economic and social development in Tibet”.

The Facility has been built in the village of Lizi, in Yagra, Zhongba county in the Tibetan prefecture of Shigatse. It is some 935km (580 miles) from the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and 499km from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

President Marcos invites Singaporean businesses to invest in Philippines’ renewable energy sector

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has extended a warm invitation to businesses in Singapore to consider the Philippines as their investment hub for renewable energy. During his participation in the 10th Asia Summit Fireside Chat in Singapore, President Marcos highlighted the government’s efforts to lower electricity rates and attract foreign investors to the country’s renewable energy sector.

Under the new policy, foreign investors are now allowed 100 percent equity in the exploration, development, and utilization of solar, wind, hydro, and ocean or tidal energy resources in the Philippines. President Marcos emphasized that this policy change aligns with the country’s objectives of attracting foreign investments to bolster the renewable energy sector and meet long-term climate targets.

“With this development, I encourage our Singapore partners to consider the Philippines and take part in the country’s goal of increasing the renewable share in power generation and offering lower-cost and cleaner energy to the general public,” President Marcos stated during a roundtable meeting with business leaders.

Singapore’s clean image under scrutiny amid money laundering scandal

Singapore’s image as a squeaky-clean business hub is under scrutiny amid a huge money laundering scandal that has so far resulted in 10 arrests and the seizure of assets worth 1.8 billion Singaporean dollars ($1.3bn).

Singapore police last month arrested 10 foreign nationals – aged between 31 and 44 – and raided residences, seizing luxury items including Hermes handbags, Patek Philippe watches, aged Macallan whisky, and Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars.

The Suspects are all originally from Fujian in eastern China but include Cypriot, Turkish, Cambodian and Vanuatuan passport holders.

The Singapore Police Force has alleged the seized assets are the ill-gotten gains of organised crime committed overseas, including scams and online gambling, whose proceeds were brought into Singapore and filtered through the country’s financial institutions.

The Case has cast a spotlight on Singapore’s reputation as a well-run, low-crime financial hub, or a “Switzerland of the East”.

It is also unwelcome news for Singapore’s ruling party, which has been rocked by a string of rare political scandals in the past few months, including a corruption probe involving the transport minister.

Sri Lanka business roundtable in ny to attract investment

A High-Profile business roundtable in New York yesterday was attended by more than 40 US businesses keen on exploring investment and trade prospects in Sri Lanka.

Representatives from Sri Lanka’s private sector and a delegation of senior officials from the United States government were also present.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also took part in the roundtable discussion titled “Economic Opportunities in Sri Lanka.”

The Discussions aimed to foster economic opportunities and strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations, a statement by the President’s media division said.