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…

A World Awash in Dangerous Liquidity

It should perhaps be no surprise that given that the US Treasury Secretary was until recently head of one of the world’s most highly leveraged financial institutions. Leverage is king in the world of funny money promoted by Hank Paulson and the vastly overpaid glitterati of Goldman Sachs and its ilk. But in all the…

Resurrected

Two Indonesian tycoons with massive amounts of debt have escaped bankruptcy and are flourishing again, partly as a result of government shelter and forgiveness and partly because of the convenient location of Singapore as a nearby safe haven. Both own separate Singapore paper and pulp enterprises that are among the biggest in the world.  Both…

Philippines: Off its sick bed?

Could the country perennially described as the sick man of Asia be reviving? Its economic vital signs are unexpectedly better than thought possible, with growth in gross domestic product that could hit 6 percent in 2007. On the other hand, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations released a report this week putting the…

To Market, To Market

Asia’s financial markets have largely shrugged off news of North Korea’s nuclear testing gambit. They just don’t appear to believe that the communist state’s latest machinations are the major threat to regional, let alone world, peace that screaming news headlines across the planet suggest. In Japan, perhaps more nervous than even South Korea about Kim…