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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.
By Shang-Jin Wei. Posted August 14, 2015
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.
By Naoyuki Yoshino, Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary, Phadet Charoensivakorn and Baburam Niraula. Posted July 31, 2015
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.
By Thiam Hee Ng. Posted July 23, 2015
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.
By Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary, Naoyuki Yoshino, Majid Mohammadi Hossein Abadi and Rosa Farboudmanesh. Posted June 26, 2015
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.
The Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank are a heterogeneous group of economies with different levels of economic development and economic size. However, when it comes to choosing an optimal exchange rate, the Pacific DMCs face similar challenges. All of the Pacific economies are relatively small and have underdeveloped financial and exchange rate markets.
Considering the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for employment and GDP and the number of such firms in Asian countries, further efforts need to be made to offer SMEs access to finance. Asian economies are often characterized as having bank-dominated financial systems and underdeveloped capital markets, and as a result, banks are the main source of financing for SMEs.
The notion of a middle-income trap has generated much interest and discussion, but little consensus. There is no agreement on what the trap is or how long a country needs to be at the middle-income stage to be considered trapped. Much of the current discussion is about growth slowdowns, but is a slowdown the same as a trap? It is also possible that the trap does exist but we do not know what causes it.
The Chinese economy grew by 7.4% in 2014 and is expected to expand by 7.0% this year. These are impressive growth rates for any country but lower than what has been achieved in the past. For 3 solid decades, since the beginning of market reforms in the late 1970s, the economy expanded by an annual average of almost 10%.
The price of oil has more than halved in the 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 $117.15 on 6 September 2014, to $45.13 on 14 January 2015. Figure 1 shows the movements in the spot price of crude oil from June 2009 to February 2015, including the recent price drop.
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