CARI Captures Weekly Issue 330

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This week’s main story

The EU-Asean Business Sentiment Survey 2017 ranked Brunei Darussalam as the best in ASEAN for administrative costs for business and second best in categories of ease of importing goods, stable government and political system and regulatory regime.

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This week’s main story

Malaysia is now ranked at 65th place out of 159 countries assessed for the Economic Freedom of the World Report 2017. This is a improvement of 7 places compared to its ranking in the 2015 report.

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This week’s main story

Indonesia moved to a rank of 36 overall, up from 41 last year on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.

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This week’s main story

Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) will create its first academy to boost the skills of cyber-security professionals working in government and critical sectors in Singapore such as energy, healthcare and transport.

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This week’s main story

The Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rebounded to 50.4 in August from 49.3 in the previous month. Vietnam, whose export demand expanded for the 21st straight month, led the pack with a reading of 51.8 for August.

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This week’s main story

According to Louis Kuijs, the Hong Kong-based head of Asia economics at Oxford, Singapore’s labour supply growth is set to shrink by 1.7 percentage points from 2017-2026, and 2.5 percentage points in the following ten years.

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This week’s main story

Singapore plans to retain its spot as a major trading hub Southeast Asia with the new Tuas Port which will be completed by 2040.

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This week’s main story

The Finance Ministry of Vietnam has put forward a proposal to increase value-added tax (VAT) to 12% in 2019 from the current 10% to reduce the public debt.

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This week’s main story

Cambodia will request Japan to invest US$800 million in a skytrain system to connect the country’s international airport to the state capital Phnom Penh. According to Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen during his visit to Tokyo.

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This week’s main story

The Southeast Asian automobile industry is recovering after a year long slump with Philippines and Thailand leading the way. The sales in six major Southeast Asian countries grew by 5% with 1.62 million new vehicles sold from January to June 2016.

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This week’s main story

According to a survey on the situation on ASEAN investment by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), ASEAN countries see their peer, Vietnam, as a “regional special investment destination”.

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This week’s main story

Southeast Asia’s Banks must embrace the digital revolution to cater to the rising middle-class population. Pipit Aneaknithi, President of Kasikron Bank said that ASEAN is at a transition period and that there is a need to provide new and better services for the new generation which has a larger capacity for consumption.

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This week’s main story

Philippines Central Bank is closely monitoring financial risks in the country and is ready to act if necessary. According to the new governor Nestor Espenilla, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) has been vigilant in assessing the current economic situation as the government tries to strike a balance between economic growth and overheating of the economy.

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This week’s main story

After five months of expansion, Southeast Asia’s manufacturing activity turned flat in June, with the Nikkei ASEAN Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) teetering at 50 – the fine line between expansion and contraction. Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia experienced declines while Singapore and Philippines slowed down in manufacturing.

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This week’s main story

ASEAN and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen their strategic partnership at the 7th ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting. The two parties agreed to work together in promoting peace, security and prosperity in the region and addressing regional challenges.

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This week’s main story

ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner. Asia is estimated to need US$26 trillion worth of investments from now to 2030 for utilities, power, telecommunications and transportation.

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This week’s main story

Managing Director of state-run Myanmar Insurance Sandar Oo revealed at the Myanmar Investment Forum 2017, that the Ministry of Planning and Finance intends to release a blueprint for insurance market reforms in the next three months.

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This week’s main story

ASEAN is embracing mobile payments. The larger economies namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand are moving towards being a cashless society.

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This week’s main story

The ten members of the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) agreed to boost cooperation when they convened for their 83rd national committee meeting in Vietnam.

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This week’s main story

The World Economic Forum released its ASEAN Youth Survey at its annual forum on ASEAN in Cambodia. They survey showed that 69 percent of respondents in the six countries polled – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – expect to have a better life than their parents do.

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This week’s main story

The World Economic Forum on ASEAN gathered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to discuss growth in the region. The theme of the summit was Youth, Technology and Growth: Securing ASEAN’s Demographic and Digital Dividend.

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This week’s main story

In its Chairmanship year, the Philippines is keen to place emphasis on micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as the key drivers of economic growth in the region with its thematic priority of “inclusive, innovation-led growth”.

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This week’s main story

An annual report titled, “Leading Maritime Capitals of the World,” by a Norwegian consulting firm has ranked Singapore as the the world’s top maritime capital. Singapore is home to the fourth largest fleet in the world.

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This week’s main story

The recently released IMF’s World Economic Outlook projects, April 2017 predicts that four out of the ASEAN-5 countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, will see a slight acceleration in economic activity this year.

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This week’s main story

China continues to be ASEAN’s largest trading partner and total trade between ASEAN and the world’s second largest economy is expected to reach US$1 trillion by 2020.

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This week’s main story

Indonesia is ranked 15th in a list of 16 countries Trump has put down on his “trade hit list”. The list contains 16 countries which have trade surpluses with the United States. Of the 16 countries, three are ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Indonesia currently has a US$13 billion trade surplus with the world’s largest economy.

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This week’s main story

Filipino Environment Secretary Gina Lopez is the subject of much criticism from the country’s mining industry. Since her nomination to the position of Environment Secretary in June of 2016 she has had 41 firms audited and closed or suspended 30 mines across the Philippines.

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This week’s main story

According to the Vietnamese government the country needs about US$480 billion up to 2020 for infrastructure projects including 11 power plants and 1,380 kilometers of highways.

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This week’s main story

Transparency International came out with its latest report on corruption and bribery in Asia Pacific. Six of the ten ASEAN nations were featured in the report namely Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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This week’s main story

In comparison to all its ASEAN peers Thailand’s currency is seen as a ‘safe haven’ and Thai bonds have gained popularity among investors.

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This week’s main story

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his country would sign the trade deal if a unanimous decision is made by the remaining 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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This week’s main story

The Malaysian Department of Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) saw a year-on-year increase of 3.2 percent. This is higher than the 2.7 percent increase expected by a Bloomberg estimate.

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This week’s main story

Malaysia’s economy grew at the fastest pace in a year, growing by 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 on the back of strong consumer spending, a recovery in exports and commodity prices. While government expenditure has domestic consumption has been the key driver to economic growth with the central bank keeping interest rates low to fuel this growth.

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This week’s main story

The Asian Development Bank released a report titled, “Firing Up Regional Brain Networks: The Promise of Brain Circulation in the ASEAN Economic Community.” The report states that the Philippines experienced the largest brain drain among the ASEAN countries in 2010 with 64% of its highly skilled labour (tertiary educated) leaving the country. While this leads to high remittances, USD 27 billion in 2014, it is also causing a labour shortage in skilled occupations such as nursing and engineering. However, the reports acknowledges the importance of labour mobility especially within the region and observes that no country can be “self-sufficient” when it comes to talent. The report also notes that in the last 30 years the number of university graduates in each of the 10 ASEAN member states has grown.

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This week’s main story

Along with the ongoing improvement of private investment and consumption levels in Indonesia, the Asian Development Bank estimates the Indonesian economy will grow 5.1% in 2017, a slight improvement from 5.0% in 2016. This growth will be further supported by a series of policy reforms in various fields aimed to increase investment, strengthen competitiveness and diversify the Indonesian economy”

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This week’s main story

While there are some notable improvements among ASEAN countries such Myanmar and Singapore, Cambodia received the same dismal score as last year in its 2016 Corruptions Perception Index (CPI), putting Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government as the most corrupt in Southeast Asia. Malaysia and Thailand also join Cambodia in the list of ASEAN countries that display worse ranking than 2015.

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This week’s main story

Myanmar has riveted the world’s attention since it embraced democratic processes in 2011 and ended decades of junta rule. However, the market’s star may be on the wane as The World Bank’s “Global Economic Prospects” predicted a moderating economic growth for the country. The country ended 2016 with a real-time GDP growth that is below than 7% for the first time in five years. The root cause of the deceleration could be a decline in foreign investment as the country’s FDI decreases US$1 billion in 2016 when compared to 2015.

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This week’s main story

The Malaysian economy is forecasted to grow at a better pace in the next two years. The country’s Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak is also optimistic about the ringgit’s chances of stabilising in 2017. As the fundamentals in Malaysia appear steady and stable, the Malaysian ringgit is set to rebound from a 19-year low after being emerging Asia’s worst performing currency last year.

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This week’s main story

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited Cambodia and Singapore on 13-16 December, a part of his preparation for the ASEAN chair in 2017. Duterte wants to get a unified ASEAN stand on certain issues, including trade policies. His message to his ASEAN neighbors were that the Philippines is open for business, but foreign investment pledges to his country have fallen drastically since he took office in June.

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This week’s main story

Tensions are still running high in ASEAN due to the Rohingya crisis. Myanmar has now banned its nationals to go to Malaysia to work, while military chiefs of both countries met to try to mend the ties between them. Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and former United Nations chief Kofi Annan offer advice and support.

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This week’s main story

International criticism over Myanmar’s dealing with the Rohingya crisis has been increasing over the past weeks. The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak joined a protest in Kuala Lumpur, calling for a stop of the killing of Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar has warned that Malaysia risks violating the ASEAN principle of non-interference.

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This week’s main story

With the future of the US-led TPP uncertain following the United States’ presidential election, APEC members discussed alternative free trade agreements during the recent APEC Summit in Lima, Peru.

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This week’s main story

The surprising victory of Donald Trump in the United States presidential election has left ASEAN questioning the status of the region’s ties with the US, which has hitherto played a key role in regional stability.

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This week’s main story

The IMF revised down the world economic growth forecast for this and next year but confirmed strong growth forecasts for the Asean nations. Indonesia is expected to expand at 5.3 per cent next year, higher than the regional average, continuing a long period of fast and stable growth.

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This week’s main story

The Philippines’ new foreign policy of reducing ties with the United States and strengthen relations with China, is raising questions about what this will mean for the other ASEAN member nations as well as the Philippine economy.

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This week’s main story

The world’s longest serving head of state and Thailand’s longest serving monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away at age 88

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This week’s main story

ASEAN’s goals for a single region economy have been met with a multitude of challenges in the past, but will it be able to overcome its two tier market which may derail its future?

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This week’s main story

As Malaysia attempts to achieve its growth targets, continued contraction in manufacturing and employment levels challenge the central bank’s resolve in maintaining its fiscal and monetary policies.

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This week’s main story

Though political and economic undertakings and issues tend to take precedence when it comes to ASEAN initiatives, social issues such as the movement and treatment of migrant workers are still a core focus of the bloc. A new project by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) hopes to support ASEAN’s regional efforts to strengthen policies that defend migrant workers, particularly women.

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This week’s main story

Indonesia’s tax amnesty program continues to help broaden the nation’s tax base. The declaration of assets within fellow ASEAN states however, does not necessarily mean repatriation.

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This week’s main story

A recent survey suggests that although ASEAN’s importance as a marketplace for American companies is still high, the number of firms who have increased trade and investment in the region has declined from last year and the business optimism for the next two years is also lower.

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This week’s main story

Indonesia’s Dilemma

Plagued by the possibility of capital flight due to regional and US FED rate hikes, a slowdown in global economic demand, and a domestic fall in GDP growth rates, Indonesia’s central bank faces tough choices ahead.

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This week’s main story

According to the Singaporean Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), ASEAN has overtaken the United States in the trade of Singaporean goods and services.

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This week’s main story

Thailand’s first democratically held vote since its coup in 2014 was a referendum on accepting a military approved constitution.

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This week’s main story

Police chiefs from the all ten member states signed a historic pact first tabled a decade ago that will speed up the distribution of information, intelligence and assistance in times of crisis.

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This week’s main story

ASEAN released a watered down joint statement regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which neglected to refer to a recent court ruling against Beijing.

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This week’s main story

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has released its findings on 12 July 2016, which affirmed the neutrality of the Spratly islands, the illegality of Chinese claims and operations, and the infringement of Filipino sovereignty.

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This week’s main story

Following decades of progress, ASEAN’s burgeoning infrastructure development is likely to see sustained growth into the future.

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This week’s main story

ASEAN stock markets led by Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand with double-digit gains were relative first-half shelters from China and India, where MSCI index losses reflected internal financial system woes, as the region absorbed more end-June safe haven inflows from Europe’s Brexit crisis.

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This week’s main story

In a vote that stunned analysts around the world, the UK has voted to exit the European Union (EU); this has led to the short term effects of increased volatility in foreign exchange, whilst putting into question the uncertain future of ASEAN-EU/UK trade.

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This week’s main story

A strongly worded joint statement critical of China’s actions released by the ASEAN bloc was retracted shortly after its release due to a need for “urgent amendments”.

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This week’s main story

With the 13th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiation Committee deliberations to finish in under a week, Ronnarong Poonpipat, deputy head of Thailand’s Trade Negotiations Department has called for speeding up the negotiation process.

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This week’s main story

The two day World Economic Forum for ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur involves heads of states from various ASEAN member states including Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia; whilst economic growth, trade, digital innovation, infrastructure, and gender rights are currently on the agenda, ASEAN’s worst drought in more than 50 years is not.

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This week’s main story

Defence ministers of all 10 ASEAN states ratified a Joint Declaration on Promoting Defence Cooperation for a Dynamic ASEAN Community, effectively affirming to combat terrorism in all forms in the region.

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This week’s main story

Southeast Asia nations reached a consensus in Sochi to seriously look into establishing a free trade deal with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), of which Russia is a party to.

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This week’s main story

With unofficial tallies showing President-elect Rodrigo Duterte leading the polls with 40% of the 54 million voters, the current mayor of Davao City has begun to outline policy shifts to the current regime’s approach to crime and peace.

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This week’s main story

According to Citi Research, Indonesia and the Philippines have the most fiscal and monetary policy space to boost domestic growth.

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This week’s main story

Malaysia’s 10-year government bonds completed the biggest weekly drop in almost three months as a debt default by a state investment company damped demand for the nation’s assets.

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This week’s main story

According to Asia-Pacific’s chief economist at IHS Global Insight Rajiv Biswas, the El Nino weather phenomenon causing severe drought conditions will continue to reduce the production of key commodities including rice, palm oil, and sugar.

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This week’s main story

The recent leak of more than 11.5 million confidential documents relating to 214,000 offshore companies serviced by Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca has led to the public scrutiny of many prominent wealthy individuals and public officials across ASEAN.

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This week’s main story

Finance ministers and central bank governors from ASEAN have agreed to make efforts toward realising financial integration in the region by 2025, according to their statement adopted at the Second ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (2nd AFMGM).

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This week’s main story

In a bid to address the shortfall in tax collection this year, the Indonesian government has ordered 23 banks to share customer credit card transaction information so as to better crosscheck the wealth of individuals.

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This week’s main story

The growth outlook for ASEAN economies is likely to be mixed in the next two years according to a press release by Moody’s Investor Service.

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This week’s main story

After receiving 360 out of the total 652 votes from lawmakers, Htin Kyaw, a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) was declared the country’s first truly democratically elected civilian leader in 54 years.

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This week’s main story

A consortium made up of Indonesia’s PT Pertamina and Japan’s Marubeni Corp has signed a deal with US firm General Electric to provide gas turbines for a US$2 billion power plant in Indonesia’s island of Java.

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This week’s main story

Malaysia’s national oil firm announced the retrenchment of 1000 jobs due to financial challenges caused by a downturn in global crude oil prices.

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This week’s main story

According to the Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI), Bank Indonesia’s (BI) rate cut will help to spur growth in the real estate industry.

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This week’s main story

In a bid to attract foreign investment and meet growth expectations amidst a slowing global economy, Indonesia’s 10th economic stimulus package has loosened foreign ownership across several key sectors.

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This week’s main story

Twelve nations accounting for nearly 40% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worth US$30 trillion have ratified the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); this includes the ASEAN member states of Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Brunei.

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This week’s main story

After falling 35% over the past three years, the Rupiah strengthened 5.6% from October 2015 and January 2016.

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This week’s main story

Volatility in oil prices has led to mixed results across ASEAN equity markets and has also resulted in macroeconomic implications for the year.

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This week’s main story

A string of coordinated suicide bombings and shootings left eight dead whilst injuring 30 others in Jakarta’s commercial district.

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This week’s main story

In 2015, Vietnam saw a record high of US$4 billion in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) due to the government’s privatisation drive which sparked foreign interest in firms.

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This week’s main story

ASEAN’s plans to liberalise aviation laws between member states has hit a road block as both Indonesia and the Philippines have yet to ratify the Multilateral Agreement on Air Services (MAAS).

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This week’s main story

Despite the sale of 1MDB assets, which lessened sovereign debt, the continuing slide of commodity prices and speculation surrounding the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) interest rates has muddied Malaysia’s economic outlook.

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This week’s main story

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which has been a work in progress since 2012, has been signed and is expected to increase both the flow of investment and trade between both parties.

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This week’s main story

Despite the lack of progress in negotiations regarding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have standardised Free Trade Agreements (FTA) amongst ASEAN nations, a comprehensive framework regarding ASEAN’s 2025 goals was drafted alongside the formal declaration of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

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This week’s main story

The Institute of International Finance (IIF) recently released a report which estimated that US$6.2 trillion of the total US$7.7 trillion in worldwide household debt over the past 8 years can be attributed to emerging markets.

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This week’s main story

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammudin Hussein called for unity amongst ASEAN nations in the face of rising tensions in the South China Sea during the most recent ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADDM).

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This week’s main story

In a reversal of previous protectionist policies, Indonesia’s recently reshuffled cabinet has begun to push for membership of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well as a trade agreement with the EU.

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captures-thumb-C240
This week’s main story

Several Asian sovereign bonds received a boost on 6 October following the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA).

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captures-thumb-c239
This week’s main story

The regional haze crisis plaguing nations surrounding Indonesia has been the topic of high level talks between Singapore and Indonesia.

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captures-thumb-c238
This week’s main story

Vietnam will supply over 450,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines over the next two years following an auction organised by the Filipino National Food Association (NFA).

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captures-thumb-c237
This week’s main story

Singapore’s snap elections carried out on 11 September 2015 saw the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) extend its 56 year reign.

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captures-thumb-c236
This week’s main story

Heavy smog caused by forest fires in Indonesia has caused delays and even forced the temporary closure two regional of airports in Indonesia and Malaysia.

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captures-thumb-c235
This week’s main story

In a bid to jump start economic growth amidst lacklustre exports, falling factory productivity, and slowing tourism, Thailand’s government has approved economic measures to boost spending in rural areas.

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captures-thumb-c234
This week’s main story

Whilst general elections were not due to be mandatory for another year, Singapore’s President Tony Tan Keng Yam dissolved parliament on the 25 August and has scheduled snap elections to be held on 11 September 2015.

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captures-thumb-c233
This week’s main story

A bombing at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok on the 17 August killed 19 whilst injuring 123, marking the largest terrorist bombings in Thailand’s capital.

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captures-thumb-c232
This week’s main story

Since its Independence from Malaysia in 1965, the city state has relentlessly pursued and achieved unrivalled economic success in a region plagued with poverty and political instability.

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captures-thumb-c231
This week’s main story

The Government is slated to offer 11 new oil and gas blocks to investors in the month of August, with the online tender to be completed by November.

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captures-thumb-c230
This week’s main story

Since Malaysia’s last cabinet reshuffle in June 2014, the total number of ministers rose by two, bringing the new total to 37.

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captures-thumb-c229
This week’s main story

Almost half of Widodo’s 10 priority infrastructural plans highlighted shortly after his inauguration have fallen to political infighting caused by a lack of cooperation amongst various stakeholders and ministries surrounding the reforms.

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captures-thumb-c228
This week’s main story

Malaysia climbed five spots from 11th place to achieve a 6th position ranking in 2015’s Baseline Profitability Index (BPI).

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captures-thumb-c227
This week’s main story

Following progress in extended negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacifc-Partnership (TPP), the US has extended overtures in developing stronger bilateral relations with Vietnam.

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captures-thumb-C226
This week’s main story

According to a recent government statement, the current 49% restriction on foreign ownership in select industries is to be abolished in September 2015.

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captures-thumb-c225
This week’s main story

Currently, overseas investors may only own up to 40% of Indonesian lenders, however, Indonesia’s financial regulator has announced its reconsideration of said restrictions for Islamic Banks.

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captures-thumb-c224
This week’s main story

Following the completion of a six month study into regulations regarding funding towards village development, the corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) of Indonesia has identified the disbursement of state funds as a key point of interest in terms of transparency.

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captures-thumb-c223
This week’s main story

Twelve priority infrastructure projects, which have been identified as key proponents of economic growth and welfare development by the Indonesian government, have been expedited in their approvals process.

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captures-thumb-c222
This week’s main story

Under the leadership of its new CEO Christoph Mueller, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAS) has continued in its efforts to return to sustained profitability, and in line with its 12 point plan outlined, the airlines most recently slashed 6,000 jobs.

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captures-thumb-c221
This week’s main story

According to a statement released by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Thai graduates were the hardest hit amongst individuals affected by rising unemployment rates amidst slow economic growth.

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captures-thumb-C220
This week’s main story

With the death toll reaching above a hundred, the fate of Rohingya refugees continues to remain undecided as surrounding nations continue to provide limited aid.

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captures-thumb-c219
This week’s main story

Following the executions of two Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia in the month of April 2015, Indonesia’s government has announced that 21 countries in the Middle East will no longer be receiving domestic workers from the nation

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captures-thumb-c218
This week’s main story

Following the execution of seven foreign individuals convicted of drug smuggling related crimes, Indonesia faced backlash on the international stage, with many nations condemning its actions.

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captures-thumb-c217
This week’s main story

The military run government, which currently operates under a temporary charter, submitted a recent draft outlining key changes to the previously abolished Thai constitution.

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captures-thumb-c216
This week’s main story

From the 1 July 2015 onwards, legislation passed will allow overseas nationals with valid residence visas to purchase up to 250 houses in designated administrative areas, as well as 30% of condominiums.

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captures-thumb-c215
This week’s main story

Following its 1 April implementation, Malaysia joins 160 other countries in embracing the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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captures-thumb-214
This week’s main story

In a joint statement with Party General Secretary Sayasone of Laos, President Sang of Vietnam affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to making relations with Laos their highest foreign policy priority.

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captures-thumb-213
This week’s main story

World leaders praised Lee Kuan Yew, who died Monday at the age of 91, as a visionary statesman whose confidence and insight helped build Singapore into a prosperous and influential nation. Their tributes arrived as Singapore declared a week of national mourning to mark the death of the city-state’s founding father.

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captures-thumb-c212
This week’s main story

In a bid to curb the rising Baht, Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) elected to lower the policy interest rate from 2% to 1.75%; the move is expected to help maintain the effectiveness of Thailand’s export oriented economy.

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captures-thumb-c211
This week’s main story

President Joko Widodo’s plan to invest US$25 billion in Indonesian infrastructure is aimed at building up ports, power plants, and roadways.

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captures-thumb-c210
This week’s main story

In a move to address struggling international operations, General Motors Co. announced the closure of an assembly plant in Indonesia, cutting 500 jobs.

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captures-thumb-c209
This week’s main story

Year on year growth increased by almost 19% in local Filipino vehicle assemblers in January 2015, as supported by positive performance in both the commercial vehicle (CV) and passenger car (PC) segments.

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captures-thumb-208
This week’s main story

As Prime Minister Joko Widodo embarks on his first visit to Malaysia as the leader of Indonesia, issues relating to economic, labour recruitment, and maritime territorial matters are expected to take centre stage during bilateral talks.

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captures-thumb-c207
This week’s main story

Despite sound economic reforms having been set in motion, President Jokowi’s approval ratings have seen levels uncharacteristic of an administration’s first 100 days.

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captures-thumb-c206
This week’s main story

Falling oil prices have caused the IMF to lower its earlier estimates of 5.2% growth in 2015, and 5.3% growth in 2016, by 0.2% and 0.1% respectively.

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captures-thumb-c205
This week’s main story

Due to unfavourable economic conditions, talks between CIMB, RHB, and the Malaysia Building Society (MBSB) have ceased.

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captures-thumb-c204
This week’s main story

The Widodo administration was quick to capitalise on falling oil prices, lowering subsidies for diesel whilst eliminating subsidies for petrol; the move ultimately increased petrol prices by almost 30%.

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captures-thumb-c203
This week’s main story

Due to slowing Chinese demand for Indonesia’s exports, and a contracting Japanese economy, the Rupiah fell to its lowest point in six years.

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captures-thumb-c202
This week’s main story

The Asian Development Bank Institute, or ADBI, recently published a report highlighting that efficient bank and financial institutions were the underpinnings of successful integration amongst the region’s capital markets.

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captures-thumb-201
This week’s main story

The 30% rise in fuel prices caused by subsidy cuts in Indonesia are slated to slow consumer purchases in four wheel automobiles, whilst bolstering demand for two wheeled vehicles.

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captures-thumb-c200
This week’s main story

By raising fuel prices by 16 US cents, or 30%, the Indonesian government is expected to create more than US$8 billion in savings in 2015.

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captures-thumb-199
This week’s main story

ASEAN banks will increasingly turn to capital markets, particularly by issuing bonds, in order to fund their lending operations, says Moody’s Investors Service. Its assistant vice president/analyst, Alka Anbarasu, said loan growth in most parts of the ASEAN region has steadily outpaced deposit inflows over the past several years, leading banks to use most of their stock of deposits to fund loans.

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captures-thumb-198
This week’s main story

Aimed at enhancing service provision for customers seeking to conduct cross-border transactions, ASEAN’s Banking Initiative seeks to further the goals set out by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

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captures-thumb-197
This week’s main story

Hideyuki Oashi, a deputy director general at the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, recently affirmed the nation’s commitment to ASEAN’s growing services industry at the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) international symposium on October the 24th.

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captures-thumb-196
This week’s main story

As the US Federal Reserve concludes its current stimulus program and continues on its current course of tightening quantitative easing, high levels of consumer debt within Thailand and Malaysia face potential risks according to Moody’s.

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captures-thumb-195
This week’s main story

Aside from non-tariff barriers, the investors service cited disparities in corporate governance, currency, and interest rates between ASEAN member states as barriers against the realisation of the AEC in 2015.

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captures-thumb_194
This week’s main story

Whilst the top 100 ASEAN companies have added close to $150 billion in debt since the end of 2008, Filipino firms have featured the highest rate of growth in debt within the region.

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captures-thumb_193
This week’s main story

In a bid to support domestic investors, Indonesia’s House of Representatives passed a new plantation bill which enforces foreign ownership limits in the plantation sector.

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captures-thumb_c192
This week’s main story

Following Malaysia’s recent abolition of export taxes, Malaysia’s palm oil exports jumped by 30%, eating into Indonesia’s international market share of vegetable oil exports; Indonesia is now looking to reduce similar export tariffs.

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captures-thumb_191
This week’s main story

Indonesia’s parliament has voted to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

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captures-thumb_190
This week’s main story

The chief executives of some of ASEAN’s largest companies have warned that ASEAN’s goals for a liberalised economic zone are under threat.

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captures-thumb_189
This week’s main story

Current interim prime minister of Thailand General Prayuth Chan- ocha handed several key top cabinet jobs to his closest military allies; with senior armed forces officers holding more than 1/3 of the 32 ministerial posts.

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captures-thumb_188
This week’s main story

In a vote that took just 15 minutes, with 191 out of 194 assembly members voting for the motion, General Prayuth was nominated by a legislature made up of most military and police figures.

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captures-thumb_187
This week’s main story

Investments flowing from China into Malaysia are expected to exceed US$1 billion in 2014, whilst Chinese counselor Wu Zhengping hopes total trade volume will reach US$160 billion by 2017.

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captures-thumb_186
This week’s main story

Following two tragic disasters in four months, Khazanah, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, plans to delist and restructure the airliner.

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captures-thumb_185
This week’s main story

Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) recently approved a US$23 billion infrastructure project which will link China’s railways to Thailand by 2021.

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captures-thumb_184
This week’s main story

President Joko Widodo has affirmed his commitment to Singapore’s plan to wield heftier fines against overseas polluters, whilst containing to place emphasis on respecting the sovereignty of Indonesia.

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captures-thumb_183
This week’s main story

Whilst Indonesia’s electoral commission declared Joko Widodo the winner of Indonesia’s most recent elections, alleged voter fraud has been cited by presidential contender Prabowo Subianto, who filed a legal challenge against said result.

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captures Issue 182

This week’s main story

World leaders demanded an international investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine that killed all 298 people on board.

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Captures Issue 181
This week’s main story

While Indonesian shares have risen by 20% since the the beginning of the year, recent election uncertainties have begun to impact equity markets.

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captures-thumb_180
This week’s main story

Tighter mortgage measures have caused Singapore’s private home prices continue to slide for its third consecutive quarter.

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captures-thumb-179
This week’s main story

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) most recent World Investment Report, total inflows to the developing Asian region amounted to 30% of total Global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

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captures-thumb-178
This week’s main story

The ruling military’s latest inclinations towards tightening restrictions on migrant employment have spurred a total of 157,000 Cambodians to flee over the course of a week.

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Captures 177
This week’s main story

In a bid to continue the development of Malaysia’s growing financial markets, regulations regarding the foreign management of unit trusts and corporate-bond rating procedures have been relaxed.

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Captures 176
This week’s main story

Debt in non-financial firms rose to six times the amount of operating cash flows in 2013, from five times the amount in 2012 according to a report by GMT Research Ltd.

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Captures Issue 175
This week’s main story

Thailand’s most recent coup has set its economy back even further, with GDP growth forecasts falling to 1.6% for 2014, and a long term effect of capital flight for the country.

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captures-thumb-174
This week’s main story

The Thai National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) seized control on May the 24th, prompting Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to reveal plans in setting up a government in exile, directly challenging the legitimacy of the military.

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CARI Captures Issue 172
This week’s main story

In line with Indonesia’s raising of capital requirements in its mining sector earlier this year, new regulations are now underway to restrict foreign investments into drilling, maintenance and construction in the oil industry.

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Captures Issue 171
This week’s main story

In line with President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines, the Filipino government ratified an agreement allowing for a larger US presence in the nation’s territory.

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Captures 170
This week’s main story

Whilst recent progress in the ASEAN Trade In Goods Agreement (ATIGA) has fostered a regional environment conducive towards free trade, local Vietnamese enterprises have yet to address the opportunities and challenges a post-2015 ASEAN will bring.

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Captures Issue 169
This week’s main story

Hopes that Indonesia’s most recent parliamentary elections would heal a divided legislature were not realised as partisan strife continues to plague the Indonesian government.

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Captures 168
This week’s main story

The Indonesian Democratic Part of Struggle (PDI-P) recently clinched 19% of the overall votes in Indonesia’s most recent parliamentary elections according to preliminary reports; whilst Governor Joko Widodo lacks the required votes to run for presidency on a single party platform, it places him at the forefront of the road to the presidency.

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Captures 167
This week’s main story

Seven Asean stock markets will jointly launch their own Asean/FTSE Index, with 180 constituents aimed at drawing both regional and global investors to increase their exposure to the region’s markets.

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Captures 166
This week’s main story

Following years of turmoil and scandals, the Bakrie family has cut all ties with Nat Rothschild’s Bumi Plc in a US$500 million restructuring deal; said deal is expected to yield cash repayments amounting to US$40 million to shareholders.

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Captures 165
This week’s main story

Despite slowed growth in its major trading partners, tighter financial conditions around the globe, and increased inflation, the IMF has forecasted a steady year of growth in the Malaysian economy due to solid fundamentals.

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Captures Issue 164
This week’s main story

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing en route to Beijing on 8 March after failing to check in with air traffic control at around GMT 1730, an hour into the flight; search efforts are currently focused on multiple fronts including the South China Sea, Malacca Strait, and Vietnamese waters.

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img-captures-163
This week’s main story

Malaysia Airlines lost contact with flight MH 370 which departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) en route to Beijing in the early hours of Saturday, 8th of March.

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CARI Captures 162
This week’s main story

Indonesia has moved to ease a controversial tax on mineral concentrate exports for firms that build smelters in the country.

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CARI Captures 161
This week’s main story

According to an ASEAN Development Bank Report (ADB), ASEAN members will collectively need to invest approximately US$8 trillion, or US$750 billion per annum between 2010 and 2020 in order to keep up with expected infrastructural needs.

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Captures Issue 160
This week’s main story

The MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan rose by 1.6% following Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s first testimony to Congress, which stressed continuity and caution in US monetary policy.

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Captures Issue 159

This week’s main story

Analysts at Australian Banking Group (ANZ) have warned that rising electricity prices in ASEAN nations will contribute half a basis point towards inflation in 2014, negatively impacting purchasing power and manufacturing markets.

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CARI Captures Issue 158
This week’s main story

Concerns raised on potential Fed tapering and slowing Chinese growth have prompted foreign investors to abandon risky assets in emerging markets for safer prospects in developed countries; in effect, causing a massive selloff which has prompted ASEAN countries to reconsider their monetary policies.

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CARI Captures Issue 157
This week’s main story

Following the recent revisions in GDP growth projections by the IMF, ASEAN economies are expected to collectively continue growing at a projected rate of 5.1 percent despite US Fed tapering and the adoption of austerity in the region.

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Captures Issue 156
This week’s main story

Increased ASEAN integration is driving economic trade and growth in Southeast Asia, but scant improvement has been made to bring down non-tariff barriers even as the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) pledge looms.

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CARI Captures 155
This week’s main story

Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) set to make major inroads into Chinese market as the bank is in exclusive talks to acquire Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank.

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web-issue-154
This week’s main story

MPs from the opposition Democrat Party resigned en masse on 8 December in what was seen as the party’s last-ditch effort to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House of Representatives and transfer administrative power to protesters.

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CARI Captures 153
This week’s main story

CARI and the ASEAN Business Club (ABC) launched the LTB Report in Jakarta, Indonesia to support the development of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on tackling barriers to regional integration.

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Captures Issue 152
This week’s main story

Demonstrations and riots swept across Thailand as thousands of disgruntled protestors stormed several key ministries across Bangkok including the Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry raising political tensions across the nation and has led to the government invoking the Internal Security Act (ISA) across the whole of Bangkok and Nonthaburi on November 25.

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Captures Issue 151
This week’s main story

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ceased all joint military training and operations as well as exchange of information and intelligence with Australia with immediate effect in the latest development of this bilateral row amidst claims of alleged phone tapping of the President and his inner circle by the Australian government.

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Captures 150
This week’s main story

Super Typhoon Haiyan (STH) wreaked havoc across central Philippines, with winds reaching 314kph, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most powerful ever recorded, bringing the estimated death toll to 10,000 people in the Eastern province of Leyte, of which Tacloban is the capital city.

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Captures Issue 149
This week’s main story

While political stability is one of the major concerns, investors are also worried about corruption.

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Captures Issue 148
This week’s main story

According to the latest Asian Economic Integration Monitor report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), achieving the target of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 is “highly improbable” with recent economic and financial challenges further slowing efforts to meet their commitments by the December 2015 deadline.

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Captures Issue 147
This week’s main story

Tax collections have increased by as much as 19% across Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines as ASEAN Governments are lending more focus to taxes as revenues as they seek to continue their growth along the recovery path and to protect their momentum.

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Captures Issue 146
This week’s main story

On the back of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to buy one million tonnes of Thai rice over the next five years from Thai traders, the Chinese government has pledged to buy an additional 1 million tonnes of Thai rice annually through government-to-government (G2G) contracts, going some way to easing the burden on the Thai government and its burgeoning rice stocks.

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Captures Issue 145
This week’s main story

Leaders of the 10-member nation region bloc met in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, for the annual ASEAN Summit to discuss a myriad of issues against the backdrop of economic trade and maritime issues, together with their non-member partners including the likes of the US, China, South Korea, Japan and India.

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Captures Issue 144
This week’s main story

China’s President Xi Jinping made his maiden visit to Malaysia this week as part of his tour of the region. President Xi, fresh from a stop in neighbouring Indonesia, stressed the need to strengthen ties between China and the ASEAN nations.

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