Economy & Trade

April 2015 ASEAN Regional Meetings

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There are a number of important ASEAN regional meetings taking place in April, including the 43rd ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ) held in Manila, and the 26th ASEAN Summit, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur.

Indonesia Struggles to Strengthen Weakening Rupiah

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Tuesday, March 17th, Indonesia’s central bank, Bank Indonesia, announced that it will hold the country’s key interest rate steady at 7.5 percent. The bank has chosen not to follow the recent regional trend of countries drastically cutting their borrowing costs. Markets have so far met the news positively and the rupiah has strengthened 0.6 percent to 13,165 against the dollar – the largest gain in eight weeks. Indonesia’s government has been struggling to strengthen a rapidly weakening rupiah, the country’s currency. The rupiah is Asia’s worse performing currency against the U.S. dollar this year.

CLMV in India’s “Act East” Policy

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The 2015-2016 Indian budget includes a proposal to set up manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

ASEAN Case Study: The Auto Industry and GM

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With the ASEAN Economic Community going into effect at the end of this year, many companies are now seriously considering moving their operations to the region. However, the question remains as to where in ASEAN to base your business. As such, it is helpful to consider corporations that have made the move to ASEAN in the past and to try and understand their reasons for doing so. We delve into GM’s expansion into the region and provide snapshots of their operations in a few key countries.

British Firms Encouraged to Expand into the Philippines

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British firms are being encouraged to set up shop in the Philippines in order to take advantage of this up and coming Southeast Asian country. Last week, in a recent sign of the growing business relations between the two countries, British Ambassador to the Philippines, Asif Ahmad, hosted the Great British Festival in Manila.

March 2015 ASEAN Regional Meetings

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March will see a number of important ASEAN regional meetings; these include the ASEAN-OECD Conference and Meetings on Good Regulatory Practice held in Kuala Lumpur and the ASEAN-EU Science, Technology and Innovation Days held in Paris.

Services Now Over 25 Percent of Singapore’s Exports

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Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry announces that services now make up a quarter of the country’s exports, reflecting a structural shift in exports in which services are growing faster than goods.

Philippine Economic Growth Looks Strong in 2015

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The Philippines has become one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with an annual GDP growth rate of 6.1 percent in 2014 – the second highest in the Asia-Pacific region after China. This healthy growth is due to strong economic fundamentals and a faster than expected GDP growth of 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Business Optimism in Singapore Drops Again – Time to Worry?

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Local businesses in Singapore started 2015 with a pessimistic outlook, continuing a downward trend for the third quarter in a row. According to the newest Business Expectations Survey (BES) – conducted by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB) – the current Business Optimism Index (BOI) score of +1.11 percent, is the lowest since the first quarter of 2013. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the BOI stood at +10.79 percent. The SCCB has pointed to global economic uncertainty, rising cost pressures and manpower issues, as well as lower demand in the export-oriented sector, as possible drivers behind the lowered optimism.

Singapore-Vietnam in 2015: Trade and Investment Partners

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As investment and trading partners, Singapore and Vietnam have proven to be an unstoppable combination – with 2014 bilateral trade up 20.3 percent year on year. Vietnam’s strategic location, low-cost labor, burgeoning consumer class, and incentives to foreign investors have made Vietnam an attractive destination for Singaporean foreign direct investment (FDI). While Singapore, with the highest GDP per capita in ASEAN, remains a prime market for Vietnamese exporters.

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