Indonesia’s Rogue Bank

Indonesia’s Rogue BankIn a country replete with financial scandals, there are few with as many twists and turns as Bank Century, whose near failure in 2008 spurred fears of a systemic collapse of Indonesia’s financial system before it was taken over by Bank Indonesia, the central bank, and fashioned into what became Bank Mutiara. The  bank is…

ADB Identifies the Keys to Economic Progress

ADB Identifies the Keys to Economic ProgressGet your investment priorities right. That is the message which emerges from a detailed study by the Asian Development Bank of the ways for countries to transform themselves from low to lower-middle, upper middle and finally high income. Those priorities change over time but none in itself is self-sufficient. The good news is that most…

Trump’s Protectionism Rattles Indian Emigres

Trump’s Protectionism Rattles Indian EmigresBrijesh Patel, who has worked in California's Silicon Valley for 12 years, is contemplating relocating to his home town in Bangalore in south India. The 39-year-old computer engineer fears that the new US administration's proposed radical changes to immigration policies will unleash protectionist, anti-immigrant and anti-minority havoc in a country that more than 2 million…

China’s Coming Debt Crisis

China’s Coming Debt CrisisThe problem of debt in China is not the bursting of a bubble. It is much worse. As the Middle Kingdom approaches the worldwide record of accumulated debt, productivity losses are becoming increasingly apparent. That is very bad news. Every economy relies of a certain amount of debt. That is an empirical fact. But China’s…

Historic Climate Pact Endangered

Historic Climate Pact EndangeredUS President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel the Paris Agreement” is one step closer to reality after leaders from the Group of 20 richest economies backtracked on pledges to allocate $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate change response. The trend will hit hardest in countries that are not only vulnerable to climate…

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too Late

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too LateDonald Trump is encountering a fusillade of criticism alleging that his approach to Asia is creating a vacuum that will be eagerly filled by Beijing.  But those making this argument would be much more honest if they acknowledged that part of the blame lies with Trump’s predecessor as well. That Barack Obama deserves some censure…

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?The year 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for commercial airplane makers. Boeing and Airbus, makers of the “big jets,” will introduce new models this year, as will the two big makers of “regional” airliners Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. Into this busy mix come two Asian aircraft manufacturers, one in China…

A New Asian Great Game Gets Underway

A New Asian Great Game Gets UnderwayNot one but two new Silk Roads are being born from the ashes of the ancient trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent. In effect, a new Great Game – a term used to describe the 19th-century contest for political and diplomatic primacy between Britain and…

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian Visit

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian VisitModerate Muslims and non-Muslims alike may worry that the high-profile visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Malaysia and Indonesia signals another Saudi Salafi assault on traditionally more flexible Southeast Asian interpretations of Islam. But the royal tour, which also includes official visits to Japan and China as well as holidays in non-Muslim Bali, and…

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail Project

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail ProjectOn Christmas Day last year, work officially started on the China-Laos high-speed railway, a major engineering feat snaking from Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan Province, to Vientiane in Laos. Beijing hopes the track will form part of a larger transportation system, dubbed the Pan-Asian Railway, which one day may carry passengers and goods all the…