Almost 1,500 years ago in the sixth and seventh century, southern Kazakhstan was part of the famous Silk Road that carried goods, ideas and cultural influences from as far as China to Europe.
Where are Asia’s economies headed to in the short and long term? What shape are they in to withstand future financial crises? And how can they respond to the yawning rich-poor divide, now a key concern among Asian and global policymakers? These were some of the key points discussed over the first two days of business at our 47th Annual Meeting, held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The US Fed has been winding down its bond purchase program, widely known as “quantitative easing,” since December 2013. The program was introduced in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis to fight the recession and foster a rapid economic recovery. With the improvement in the US economy, the Fed suggested at its policy meeting in March that the program may end this coming fall and it may start raising interest rates about six months from then.
Last Friday, 7 March, 2014, Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd defaulted on its 1 billion yuan ’Chaori-11 bond‘ when it failed to pay in full the coupon due that day. The default should not have taken investors by surprise as the company has been struggling over the past few years due to general weakness in the solar panel market.
Any contemporary story on development in Asia-Pacific begins with reflection on massive gains achieved in the fight against poverty. The incidence of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 54.5% in 1990 to 20.7% in 2010, with the number of extreme poor declining from 1.48 billion to 733 million. This precipitous decline in poverty incidence has been accompanied by tremendous gains in access to health and education.
2014 is shaping up to be another challenging year for bond markets in Asia after a see-saw 2013 which saw prices rise at the start of the year, and then fall back on news that the US Federal Reserve plans to reduce or ‘taper’ its quantitative easing operations.
Asians love to talk about money. We discuss the price of everything. How much money does the neighbor make? How much does a traditional Asian wedding cost? How much does a private education cost?
The changing landscape of finance is a huge subject so let’s start with a short history of banking (thanks here to Wikipedia). The word actually comes from banca or bench where the moneylenders sat.
As articulated by Cavoli, Rajan, and Siregar (2004) in their survey of East Asian financial integration, financial integration is a multidimensional process closely associated with development of financial markets.
We can all take simple steps to encourage financial inclusion.