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…

No Setting Sun

It has long been an article of faith among economists and government planners that a declining population means an eventual decline in the prestige, power and influence of a nation. From Singapore to most of Eastern Europe to Russia, worried government planners have for decades been involved in attempts to turn around their shrinking birth…

A Banking Star’s Inconvenient Singaporean Truth

Investment banks have always been the most outrageous of all the many alley cats in the financial services industry. Nothing must get in the way of profit, least of all telling their investor clients the honest truth about companies and countries.  Text of email attributed to Andy Xie: I participated in the panels on Commodity…

Thaksin Isn’t the Only Loser

No one was killed in last week’s coup in Thailand, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted easily, and although the baht and stock exchange wobbled slightly, the military junta has gone out of its way to assure that its business as usual in Bangkok. That may be true for the average business person, but there…

Indonesia’s gusher of gas, mud and graft

On May 28 at 10 a.m., something terrible went wrong deep inside Banjar Panji I.  There, 1,800 meters into the exploratory gas well being drilled near the Surabaya satellite town of Sidoarjo, about 900 km. southeast of Jakarta, investigators believe employees of PT Lapindo Brantas, the company drilling the well, “broke every rule in the…