Manu writes regularly for The Edge Singapore where these blogs first appeared.
Southeast Asia scarcely disappoints with its capacity to produce uplifting surprises. Malaysia’s voters recently proved the pundits wrong and elected a reformist government that is taking on that country’s challenges with gusto. Since 1998, Indonesia has done the same by pulling off one of the most impressive democratic transitions among emerging market economies.
In the past year, the global environment for Asian economies has grown ever more uncertain. The outlook for critically important drivers of Asia’s well-being – demand for its exports, prices of oil and other key commodities, geo-political pressures, the functioning of the trade regime – are all subject to greater unpredictability. It might be useful therefore to identify the most important variables…
The cyclical uplift in the global economy is set to continue, generating ever growing trade flows which will boost Asian economies. That’s good news for economic growth in the near term. But, what matters for Asia’s long term economic development is foreign direct investment (FDI) which can build the foundations of future growth through skills development, technology transfer, provision of financial capital.
The unveiling of the Budget for 2018 has triggered a healthy debate on how the likely pressures for more government social spending in Singapore should be funded. The government has proposed a two-percentage point rise in the goods and services tax (GST) sometime after 2021, believing that this would be the best option out of the alternatives available.
Sharp corrections in the prices of equities, bonds and commodities dominated the headlines recently as the exuberance of financial markets in the past few months gave way to volatility and uncertainty. Some argue that this is just one of those healthy market corrections which eventually pave the way for another round of upward moves.