Finance

Assessing policies to promote financial inclusion, regulation, and education in emerging Asia

Assessing policies to promote financial inclusion, regulation, and education in emerging Asia
Financial inclusion has been receiving increasing attention for its potential to contribute to economic and financial development while fostering more inclusive growth and greater income equality. There are numerous arguments in favor of increasing financial inclusion, and a large body of evidence shows that increased financial inclusion can significantly reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. Greater access to financial services by households can help smooth consumption, ease cash shortages, and increase savings for retirement and other needs, although the evidence on microfinance is less positive. Read more.

Economics

Are financial statements effective in evaluating the creditworthiness of small and medium-sized enterprises?

Are Financial Statements Effective in Evaluating the Creditworthiness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises?
The credit risk database (CRD) was established in March 2001 as a membership organization to collect financial statements, some nonfinancial information, and default information of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Japan. CRD members are composed of all credit guarantee corporations (CGCs) in Japan, government-affiliated or private financial institutions, and so on. Read more.

Economics

Rethinking the small and medium-sized enterprise financing model and the role of commercial banks

Rethinking the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Financing Model and the Role of Commercial Banks
At a time of much global uncertainty and economic slowdown, building internal resiliency is becoming increasingly important. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a central part in this, via its role in enhancing economic dynamism and creating employment opportunities in a country. SMEs usually make up a huge proportion of all businesses around the world. In Thailand, they account for as much as 99.7% of all enterprises, hire 80.3% of total labor force, and contribute 26.3% of export value. Read more.

Information and Communications Technology

Going digital in the Pacific: lessons from Samoa’s online firms

Going Digital in the Pacific Lessons from Samoa’s Online Firms
More than ever before, Pacific firms are moving online. Will this increase e-commerce? This online activity is particularly good news in 2016, as the Pacific has witnessed an 8.2% jump in tourism arrivals. According to Pacific niche exporters, tourists constitute the majority of their overseas customers, often by visiting the seller’s website after they return home to seek out more information or re-order souvenirs. Read more.

Energy

Belling the cat: financing solar renewable energy projects

Belling the Cat: Financing Solar Renewable Energy Projects
World energy demand is forecasted to grow by nearly one-third between 2015 and 2040. A large share of this increase will be from the power sector, and the global demand for electricity is likely to increase by more than 70%, leading to a 16% increase in energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2040. Despite the diplomatic success of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 21, it is clear that the current pledges by various countries in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions fall way short of the “well below 2-degrees Celsius” goal agreed to by world leaders in Paris. Read more.

Economics

Implications of negative interest rates for Asia

Implications of Negative Interest Rates for Asia
The ultra-low and negative interest rate environment in advanced economies and its implications for the rest of the world are currently among the top concerns of financial market participants and policy makers worldwide. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, recently said the low interest rate equilibrium is one of the challenges that the global economy risks becoming trapped in. The phenomenon started when the central banks of the eurozone, Switzerland, Sweden, and Denmark adopted negative interest rates from mid-2014 to early 2015. Japan followed in January 2016 and Hungary was the first emerging market to introduce negative rates in March 2016. Read more.

Economics

Spillover effects of Japan’s unconventional monetary policy on emerging Asia

Like other central banks in advanced countries, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) adopted an unconventional monetary policy after the 2007–2009 global financial crisis (GFC). After Prime Minister Abe advocated the new policy regime, Abenomics, the BOJ became highly aggressive in its unconventional policy (see, for example, Fukuda [2015] for details). On 4 April 2013, BOJ Governor Kuroda introduced quantitative and qualitative monetary easing (QQE) and committed to achieve a 2% inflation target in 2 years. Read more.

Energy

Decline of oil prices and the negative interest rate policy in Japan

Decline of Oil Prices and the Negative Interest Rate Policy in Japan
In February 2016, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), in order to reach a 2% inflation target, initiated a negative interest rate policy by increasing massive money supply through the purchase of long-term Japanese government bonds (JGBs). This policy flattened the yield curve of JGBs. Banks started to purchase government bonds less frequently, because of the negative yield for both short-term government bonds and even for long-term government bonds up to 15 years. On the other hand, a vertical investment–savings curve in the Japanese economy prevented the growth of corporate bank loans. Except for a few periods, the 2% inflation target could not be achieved. This paper examines this phenomenon, presents the reasons behind it, and offers solutions. Read more.

Finance

The institutionalization of the credit surety fund in the Philippines

The Institutionalization of the Credit Surety Fund in the Philippines
The local business community is upbeat with the passing into law of Republic Act 10744, otherwise known as the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act of 2015 on 6 February 2016. Essentially, the said law provides for the creation and organization of the Credit Surety Fund (CSF) cooperatives to manage and administer credit surety funds and to enhance the accessibility of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); cooperatives; and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to bank credit facilities. Read more.

Health

Innovation in health care in South Asia

Innovation in Health Care in South Asia
The countries comprising the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives) commonly known as South Asia face serious healthcare affordability and accessibility challenges. According to World Bank national estimates, South Asian countries houses more than 390 million poor people and a very significant percentage of total population lies below national poverty line (Figure 1). This large number of population is quite unlikely to afford private healthcare services and heavily dependent on the public healthcare facilities. Read more.