Trade

What next for the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

What next for the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
After more than 5 years of numerous missed self-imposed deadlines, trade ministers from the 12 participating Asia-Pacific countries finally concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Atlanta on 5 October 2015. The public fanfare accompanying the announcement led many to believe the agreement would soon come into force. Yet there is a lot that needs to be done before that happens, and there is no guarantee that it will. In this article, I examine two issues: (i) what concluding the TPP means in terms of what was achieved and what remains to be done; and (ii) what the TPP is likely to look like, given what we now know following the negotiations. Read more.
Print This Post

Population, Social Development and Poverty, Urban

Housing policies for the PRC and Hong Kong, China: One nation, two systems

Housing policies for the PRC and Hong Kong, China One nation, two systems
It has been reiterated that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Hong Kong, China are under different economic systems. The PRC is basically socialism with more planned economy features, while Hong Kong, China is basically capitalism with more free market features. Read more.
Print This Post

Social Development and Poverty

Monetizing housing for retirement in Singapore

Monetizing housing for retirement in Singapore
In 2015, the value of housing assets owned by households in Singapore at the aggregate level was 55% of their net worth. Ninety percent of Singapore households owned their homes, meaning that almost all households had wealth saved in housing, and households’ housing wealth was 2.1 times that of the country’s gross domestic product. Read more.
Print This Post

Finance

4 ways to boost SME access to finance from commercial banks in ASEAN

Seamstresses working for a small garment-making business in Indonesia
Concerns about moderating economic growth and rising income inequality in ASEAN economies have brought small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the policy limelight. Arguing that SMEs have significant potential for creating jobs, some commentators are suggesting a host of industrial policies such as financial subsidies and local content rules to promote SMEs. However, government failure may result from heavy-handed state intervention for SMEs. Read more.
Print This Post

Economics, Energy

Do Japan’s oil consuming sectors still react to oil price movements?

Do Japan’s oil consuming sectors still react to oil price movements?
Japan is almost fully dependent on energy imports. In March 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit eastern Japan and damaged the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. This disaster led to the shutdown of all nuclear power plants due to the lack of government safety approvals. Japan replaced this significant loss of nuclear power with energy generated from imported natural gas, low-sulfur crude oil, fuel oil, and coal. Read more.
Print This Post

Urban

Housing markets and housing policies in India

Housing markets and housing policies in India
The cliché “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” from Dante’s Inferno appears more appropriate to the current housing situation in India than anywhere else. India is facing a daunting housing shortage of 49 million units (Tiwari and Parikh 2012) Going forward, with urbanization and growing economic disparity, the challenges associated with housing availability, provisioning, and use will be further extenuated if appropriate remedial measures through policies and programs are not undertaken. Read more.
Print This Post

Finance, Social Development and Poverty

Bringing financial services to the PRC’s poor will boost poverty reduction

A woman in Guangdong with a wagon load of harvested crops
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has achieved remarkable economic growth, but there are a number of serious imbalances between coastal and inland regions, and between urban and rural areas. The government wants to help bridge this gap by developing inclusive finance tools. Read more.
Print This Post

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.
Print This Post

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.
Print This Post

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.
Print This Post