Time of Trial for Hong Kong’s US Dollar Peg

The time is coming before too long when the world’s highest paid central banker, Hong Kong’s Joseph Yam, may have to do rather more to justify his salary. Being the head of the HK Monetary Authority, or de facto central bank, has been relatively cushy position for most of the 15 years that Yam has…

The Devil and the Dollar

The dollar fell 2% against the yen last week and is at a 19-month low against the euro and appears set to go lower. Several Asian currencies, even including the Philippine peso, are at their best levels since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. Is this a blip? Or the start of a massive decline…

The Rising Dragon’s Environmental Disaster

Reprinted by arrangement with the National Geographic Society from the book Dragon Rising: An Inside Look at China Today By Jasper Becker. Copyright 2006 Jasper Becker. So far it is China’s search to secure supplies of oil that is affecting the rest of the world. China’s biggest domestic oil fields in Daqing in the northeast…

Lenovo’s Long March

So far as the outside world was concerned, Hong Kong-listed Lenovo (previously Legend, and referred to in this book by its Chinese name of Lianxiang) came almost from nowhere in 2004 to buy IBM’s money-losing PC division. It wasn’t exactly unknown -- the company, and its Chairman Liu Chuanzhi, were regularly praised in the global…

Richard Li Gets a Lesson In Singapore

Singapore doesn’t normally spring to mind when democracy is under discussion but in terms of democracy for shareholders the island state has something to teach its financial center rival Hong Kong. This was vividly illustrated when Singaporean authorities insisted on giving minority shareholders in Richard Li’s Singapore-listed Pacific Century Regional Developments the final say on…

Indonesia’s Supreme Court darkens Jakarta’s Year of the Bond

Publicity surrounding the forthcoming visit of President George W Bush Monday to Jakarta may overshadow the latest abuses of the legal system by Indonesia’s Supreme Court to protect domestic borrowers seeking to avoid their contractual bond obligations. But the court’s latest decision could hamper the ability of the government to attract the investment it needs…

Premature Celebration

Most of Asia seems happy with the US election result, signaling the end of the Rumsfeld “war of terror” and a return towards the sort of bipartisanship which has generally characterized US foreign policy. Allies will feel more allied and there is less danger of lurid axis-of-evil rhetoric translating into real war. But with failure…

Living Large

For years, beginning in the late 1980s, Carmen Nuguit routinely carried three foreign currencies -- US dollars, Saudi riyals and Japanese yen  - to exchange at often-shadowy dealers in the Malate district of Manila. Remittances from her older sisters working in Chicago, Riyadh and Shizuo Ka, they arrived through couriers or intermediaries outside the banking…

China Makes Friends in the Gulf

As the United States has stumbled from crisis to crisis in the Middle East earning a reputation for war mongering and callousness, China has quietly but rapidly been widening and extending its links, becoming a new player and substantially upgrading economic ties, especially in the Persian Gulf. For a country relatively new to the nuances…

Slow Surfing in India

India, generally regarded as the outsourcing bull’s-eye of the planet, is far behind China in broadband connections, according to a new report by the New York-based eMarketer Internet research agency, which sees China adding broadband users at a pace that India will take years to match, perhaps if it ever does. Although India’s Telecom Regulatory…