Asia Pacific

  • Cambodia's future generations face serious food security risk.

    Economic Land Concessions Risk Cambodia's Future Food Security

    Conflicts over land and natural resources remain the most contentious issue in Cambodia today. Since the early 2000s, large swathes of land have been allocated by the government to domestic and foreign investors in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs).

    International financial institutions, US and European multinational corporations, and both state-owned and private companies in neighbouring Asian countries have been implicated in bankrolling, acquiring and operating ELCs.

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  • Revitalizing Japan's economy is proving difficult for Abe.

    Japan's Abe Reaches for More Arrows

    Prime Minister Abe is attempting to revitalise the Japanese economy after two decades of stagnant growth. In December 2012, he launched the reform program that became known as Abenomics, consisting of monetary policy aimed at reflating the economy, flexible fiscal policy with medium-term fiscal consolidation and structural reform.

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  • India's Rajan stepping down did not happen to rave reviews.

    How is India's Rajan Leaving a Good Thing?

    The surprise announcement last week that Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, was stepping down sent shockwaves around the world. Rajan, a brilliant academic who came from the University of Chicago to take up the appointment under the Singh government, was credited with stabilising the economy and turning inflation around. He is an outspoken champion of both economic and social reform. When push came to shove, he chose to go.

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  • Is India really growing as fast as it purports?

    Lingering Doubts about India's Economy

    After two years of the Modi government, the Indian economy presents a mixed picture. Despite claims that it is the fastest growing large economy in the world, doubts linger about its actual health.

    These doubts stem from confusion about GDP estimates since the new series was announced in January 2015. Many seasoned observers continue to suggest that the growth in gross value added (GVA) recorded in these estimates overstates India’s actual economic performance. The macro estimates seem to strongly differ from micro phenomenon.

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  • Japan's tourism industry is booming.

    In Japan, Inbound Tourists Have Eclipsed Outbound Tourists

    Japan registered a travel surplus of about US$10.6 billion in 2015, suggesting its growing competitiveness as an exporter of tourism. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), the number of inbound tourists increased by 47.1 percent to 19.7 million in 2015, outnumbering outbound tourists for the first time in 45 years. Foreign tourists also spent a record US$32.6 billion, up roughly 70 percent from 2014. So what explains Japan’s booming tourist industry?

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  • The Indian Central Bank is looking for a new chief.

    Do You Want to Run India's Central Bank?

    This week’s long-speculated departure of Indian central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan reflected the Indian government’s view that he was no longer welcome at the helm. However, it also reflects the challenges all central bankers face in driving an economy.

    Post the news, there has been a lot of unnecessary hype about his exit and the likely impact on financial and forex markets, and in the longer-term, the stability of the Indian economy.

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  • India has the greatest domestic demand of all EM countries.

    India's Domestic Demand is Highest in the EM Space

    According to current IMF projections, India is now the fastest growing major economy in the world. In 2016, it is expected to grow over a full percentage point faster than China. This is a remarkable turnaround by any standard and especially impressive against the backdrop of a stagnant global economy.

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  • Using 'North Korea' and 'reforms' in the same sentence seems odd.

    Does North Korea's Workers' Party Congress Signal Economic Reforms?

    In early May this year, North Korea hosted its seventh Workers’ Party Congress, the first such meeting in 36 years. The nation’s capital was decked in colourful decoration and celebratory events were held to mark the occasion.

    The congress continued to communicate many of the well-worn messages of nuclear resoluteness and displays of strength in the face of the international community, but also showed indications of a changing state of affairs in North Korea.

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  • Federalism in India is an imperative.

    India's Federalism Works, but there is Room for Improvment

    In economic terms, the federal system was created with the intention of maximising economies of scale, while still providing public services to cater to people’s divergent preferences. However, there is more to federalism than just the economics.

    In political terms, federalism involves building a strong national polity by combining sub-national entities and, in emotional terms, federalism provides a national bond while permitting multiple local identities to be retained.

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  • Religion, Gender and Culture conspire to bog down Indonesia.

    Indonesia Mired in Religious and Gender Conflicts

    Religious identity and gender relations are integral to women’s experiences of citizenship in Indonesia. While around 88 percent of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, it is emphatically not an Islamic state, in which state law and Islamic law are coterminous. So what is the relationship of religion to citizenship rights for women in the Muslim majority?

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