ASEAN Regulatory Brief: Thai Interest Rates, Myanmar’s Anti-Money Laundering Measures, and New Links for the Philippines’ Stock Exchange

Posted by Reading Time: 4 minutes


In this ASEAN Regulatory Brief, we look at some of the important regulatory changes taking place recently in Thailand, Myanmar, and the Philippines.


The Bank of Thailand believes rates are low enough

The Bank of Thailand has unanimously decided in the third quarter to keep its interest rates at 1.5%. On a statement from September 25, the central bank said the steady rates would preserve financial market stability and not pose additional risks or volatility to the economy.

By keeping a low rate the central bank is signalling that it wants government spending to take the lead in reviving the lagging economy. Thailand has been affected by China’s slowdown and lower-than-expected private consumption and investment.

Professional Service_CB icons_2015 RELATED: Dezan Shira & Associates’ Tax and Compliance Services

Many economists believe the central bank is not likely to cut rates until at least the end of the year. According to Rahul Bajoria, an economist at Barclays, a global bank, weak growth and low inflation will keep rates low for an extended period. Furthermore, a weaker baht has provided some comfort for the economy by ensuring the currency remains competitive relative to regional markets.


Myanmar’s Central Bank issues anti-money laundering guidelines

On September 29 the Central Bank of Myanmar made public on its website new regulatory guidelines for financial institutions. The new guidelines regarding money laundering aim to make the country more attractive for foreign investment.

The changes brought by the new rules include the creation of new corporate governance standards and require banks to put in place comprehensive risk management processes.

Related-Reading-Icon-Asean Link RELATED: Myanmar Investment Update: Financial Incentives, Myanmar-EU Investment Protection Agreement, and a New Stock Exchange

Enforcement and compliance mechanisms have not been set in place, something that has drawn criticism since the draft was first circulated earlier this year. However, the move has been seen as encouraging development in increasing financial transparency in the slowly opening economy. 


The Philippines seeks to join ASEAN stock exchange platform

Philippines Stock Exchange CEO Hans Sicat announced last week the aim to join a cross-border in Southeast Asia. The move can take place as early as next year and is seen as a way to energize the region’s market.

The ASEAN Trading Link was launched in 2012 with the participation of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.  It was designed to allow investors to use the bourse in their home country to trade in stocks listed in other participating ASEAN member states.

Before joining the Philippines would need to clear some hurdles, such as putting trading infrastructure in place. Additionally, it would need to work with the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow investors to buy stocks abroad through brokerages in the Philippines, something is not currently allowed. Nevertheless, the move highlights the increasing regional financial links in the run-up to the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).


Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email or visit

Stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends in Asia by subscribing to our complimentary update service featuring news, commentary and regulatory insight.

Related-Reading-Asean Book Title

Tax, Accounting, and Audit in Vietnam 2014-2015
The first edition of Tax, Accounting, and Audit in Vietnam, published in 2014, offers a comprehensive overview of the major taxes foreign investors are likely to encounter when establishing or operating a business in Vietnam, as well as other tax-relevant obligations. This concise, detailed, yet pragmatic guide is ideal for CFOs, compliance officers and heads of accounting who need to be able to navigate the complex tax and accounting landscape in Vietnam in order to effectively manage and strategically plan their Vietnam operations.

An Introduction to Tax Treaties Throughout Asia
In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we take a look at the various types of trade and tax treaties that exist between Asian nations. These include bilateral investment treaties, double tax treaties and free trade agreements – all of which directly affect businesses operating in Asia.


The 2015 Asia Tax ComparatorAB 1214 Cover small small
In this issue, we compare and contrast the most relevant tax laws applicable for businesses with a presence in Asia. We analyze the different tax rates of 13 jurisdictions in the region, including India, China, Hong Kong, and the 10 member states of ASEAN. We also take a look at some of the most important compliance issues that businesses should be aware of, and conclude by discussing some of the most important tax and finance concerns companies will face when entering Asia.