Social Development and Poverty

Untold side of Asia’s poverty story and SDGs

Untold side of Asia’s poverty story and SDGs
On 25–27 September, less than 3 weeks from now, heads of state of 192 nations will sign up for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the new global development agenda. Notwithstanding such an important change, poverty eradication will remain the most important goal and Asia is expected to continue its dominant role in attaining this goal for the world. Read more.
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Finance

Mortgage lending and financial stability in Asia

Mortgage Lending and Financial Stability in Asia
Domestic banking crises often originate in the real estate sector. Therefore, one might conclude that mortgage lending is negative for financial stability. However, in normal (noncrisis) periods, mortgage lending may actually contribute to financial stability. This is because mortgage loans have different risk properties from other bank assets such as commercial loans, so having some share of mortgage loans in a bank’s portfolio tends to diversify the risk of that portfolio. Also, because individual mortgage loans are small, they do not contribute much to systemic risk, except in periods of real estate bubbles (IMF 2006). Read more.
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Social Development and Poverty, Water

Extending the reach of flood insurance

Rice fields submerged by floods in Pakistan
Over the past few weeks, South Asian countries have been suffering torrential rains and devastating floods and landslides, exacerbated by Cyclone Komen, leaving over 100 dead and over a million displaced from Pakistan to Myanmar. The annual monsoon season in the region, normally a lifeline for farmers, this year resulted in floods that have caused severe damage to crops. Read more.
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Economics

PRC’s slowdown for Asia’s growth – key takeaways

PRC’s slowdown for Asia’s growth – key takeaways
After many decades of driving regional growth, the economy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is now slowing down, and this is likely going to have a noticeable effect on the world economy and especially globally integrated economies in developing Asia. Read more.
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Health

Impact of universal health coverage: A micro-founded macroeconomic perspective

Impact of Universal Health Coverage: A Micro-founded Macroeconomic Perspective
Universal health coverage (UHC) has become a key agenda of policy makers in many countries. According to the definition of the World Health Organization (2010), UHC is the goal that “all people have access to health services and do not suffer financial hardship in paying for them.” In most developing countries, the goal of UHC is not easy to reach due to the fact that large, resource-poor populations have limited access to health services. Given that resource-poor people cannot afford out-of-pocket health expenditures, or can only afford them by sacrificing other priorities, a health financing system where people are required to pay for use directly is one of the major barriers to reaching UHC. Although cost sharing is necessary to prevent the overutilization of health services arising from the potential problem of moral hazard, universal coverage is more likely to be reached when the out-of-pocket ratio for direct payment is sufficiently low. Read more.
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Economics

Importance of SMEs in the Thai economy

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in the Thai economy. In 2012 there were 2.7 million SMEs in Thailand (see Figure 1) comprising 98.5% of total enterprises. In the same year, SMEs accounted for 37.0% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 80.4% of the workforce. Thai SMEs also contributed to 28.8% of total exports and 31.9% of total imports by value in 2012. Read more.
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Economics

East Asian bond markets entering choppy waters

Over the long term, Asian markets may be more affected by the actions of the Fed than recent market volatility
After years of smooth sailing through calm market conditions, bond markets in East Asia are navigating through stormier weather. Data from the supplement to the 2015 Asian Development Outlook released this week shows that weaker growth in the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has weighed down overall regional growth. Read more.
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Finance, Trade

Japanese banks’ appetite for economic partnership agreements

Japanese banks’ appetite for economic partnership agreements
When viewed through the lens of trade deals negotiated with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Japan has shown recent willingness to engage in global free trade. However, is there any indication that these deals are striking a chord where it matters most, with Japan’s services sector, which comprises 70% of its economic activity? Read more.
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Finance

Loan-to-value policy as a macroprudential tool: The case of residential mortgage loans in Asia

Loan-to-value policy as a macroprudential tool: The case of residential mortgage loans in Asia
The global financial crisis of 2007–2009 underlined the need for central banks and financial regulators to take a macroprudential perspective on financial risk, i.e., to monitor and regulate the buildup of systemic financial risk in the economy as a whole, as opposed to simply monitoring the condition of individual financial institutions (microprudential regulation). This has been highlighted in numerous reports, e.g., G30 (2009), IMF (2009), Brunnermeier et al. (2009), and TdLG (2009). The regulatory response to this in advanced economies, under the guidance of the G20 and the Financial Stability Board, has tended to focus on strengthening the liability side of banks’ balance sheets by enforcing stricter capital adequacy requirements, including the introduction of a countercyclical buffer and the introduction of liquidity requirements (see, e.g., BIS 2010a). Read more.
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Economics

Impacts of oil prices on emerging and developed economies

Impacts of oil prices on emerging and developed economies
In recent years, the sharp increase in oil prices that began in 2001 and the two sharp declines that followed in 2008, due to the subprime mortgage crisis, and at the end of 2014–early 2015 have renewed interest in the effects of oil prices on the macro economy. Most recently, the price of oil has more than halved in a period of less than 5 months since September 2014. After nearly 5 years of stability, the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil in Europe fell from over $100 per barrel in September 2014, to below $46 per barrel in January 2015. Read more.
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