Singapore has much to celebrate. Along with Hong Kong, it is regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s top financial hubs. Although these rivals match each other on many fronts, their stock exchanges do not. Singapore’s SGX is shrinking, while Hong Kong’s stock exchange continues to grow. It’s easy to see that the SGX is ailing but much harder to figure out exactly why—and how to reverse the trend.
In spite of the recent rise of protectionism amongst major trade partners, international trade growth is strong, with emerging markets providing the main impetus. Trade growth could be even stronger if not for the shortfall in trade financing supply relative to demand, a gap that is partly due to regulation compliance. Technology is coming to the rescue, not only in addressing the trade finance gap but ameliorating operations throughout trade channels.
Prospects for Southeast Asia’s largest economy, Indonesia, are looking much brighter, especially after recent raises in the sovereign credit rating. Although the government has set an ambitious growth goal that is unlikely to be achieved, the country is still outshining its neighbours and receiving its just rewards in the form of increased foreign capital inflows and lower borrowing costs, to name a few.
Malaysia—beset by scandal, political turmoil, dropping oil prices and falling currency—hasn’t appeared to be the land of opportunity to investors in recent years. But 2017 has brought hope of a turnaround to this Southeast Asian emerging-market economy, with factors such as improved trade performance, infrastructure development and a stabilizing currency resulting in renewed investor confidence on the nation’s markets.
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Across the world, governments are increasingly acknowledging the need to raise the levels of investment in infrastructure projects within their respective countries.
Trade is the growth engine that empowers the world’s economies. Although circumstances such as the shortage of available trade finance to SMEs limit its operation, other factors such as technology, global governance and education are energizing its transformation into a vehicle carrying the world on an exciting journey toward shared global prosperity.
Vietnam’s banking sector began 2015 on a positive note, with Moody’s having upgraded the financial system from “negative” to “stable” in mid-December. According to the credit-ratings agency, the improvement reflected the “increased stability in the
During their visits to various Southeast Asian countries in October 2013, China’s president, Xi Jinping, and premier of the State Council, Li Keqiang, announced their first plans for the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Top Chinese banking authorities are in the process of gradually releasing the country’s banking system from the state’s ironclad grip. The People’s Republic of China’s top banking regulator, China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), is planning to open the banking sector to more private capital. It will accomplish this by easing approval procedures for interested private firms and by involving CBRC’s local offices more.