Category Archives: BUSINESS

Escaping spiralling global uncertainty

An electronic stock board displays the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan (Photo: Reuters/Yohei Osada/AFLO).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

The new year and new decade are off to a bad start. The spread of the novel coronavirus out of Wuhan and the bushfires in Australia are global events that remind us how interconnected the world now is.

More than ever we face challenges on a global scale that require global action. But the world is moving in the opposite direction away from collective action.

The world is plagued by uncertainty that only seems to be getting worse. The established Western powers continue to undermine the very values, norms and system they created and sustained. US President Donald Trump continues America’s assault on global trade and global institutions, and the United Kingdom has followed through on its promise to dis-integrate itself from the European Union. The election year in the United States is off to a rocky start and the circus in US Congress reflects poorly on America’s democratic institutions.

Managing China’s rise and its impact on the global system was going to be the challenge of the times and that’s been made harder with its turn towards authoritarianism domestically and a more assertive foreign posture.

The economic, geopolitical, security, health and climate risks we all face are connected and the uncertainty they create is helping to amplify and spread the risks and effects.

States of all shapes and sizes have succumbed to self-interest over collective good. Populism and nationalism are increasingly the driving forces in major powers and empower and unleash nationalists and populists everywhere. Lessons of the past are lost or ignored and the risk is of repeating them.

The framework for the global order was established in the post-war period to avoid the mistakes of the 1930s that descended into the Second World War. The rules-based order that was born at Bretton Woods was far from perfect or fair but …continue reading

    
Take a look at just about any science fiction film. They don’t use dollars, they use some universal currency that can be transferred at the click of a button. Today we’re seeing the emergence of digital currency. What are Bitcoins and are they the future. That’s one conversation taking place in Asia… now.

What are Bitcoins and are they the future?

Take a look at just about any science fiction film. They don’t use dollars, they use some universal currency that can be transferred at the click of a button. Today we’re seeing the emergence of digital currency. What are Bitcoins and are they the future. That’s one conversation taking place in Asia… now.

Saturday | April 11, 2015

I love traveling. I’ve been all across Asia and it’s my mission during the winter to vacate the cold and take refuge in Southeast Asia. But the thing I hate most about traveling is dealing with money.

I’m not talking about the expense of traveling, I’m talking about having to deal with switching currencies when crossing borders. 

Dollars to won to yen to pesos to… you get the idea.

What I loved about science fiction was this notion of a universal currency embraced by the world community. We’re a long way off from that; however we are seeing the emergence of various digital currencies.

The most famous of which is the bitcoin.

Joining me via Skype on this week’s Asia Now podcast is Chris Williams, Meetup organizer for the Seoul Bitcoin Center. We discuss what bitcoins are, their history, the controversy behind them, and where things might lead in the future.

After the podcast, please let me know what you think about bitcoins. Are they the currency of the future or just a fad?

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POLL | ECONOMY

Source: ACCJ Journal
Economy

DECEMBER 2014

Outlook Positive, but Weaker

By Brandi Goode

The 26th Foreign Chambers in Japan Business Confidence Survey was conducted over 10 days at the end of October. About 300 responses were received, of which the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s members accounted for some 30 percent.

Forty percent of the respondents are from North America, and 60 percent from Europe. Most participating companies are involved in service industries or sales and trading, and have been in Japan for over 20 years.

Overall, foreign firms remain bullish about Japan’s economy, although they are less positive than in the previous two surveys. When asked about the economic forecast for the country over the next 12 months, growth was projected, but at a much lower level than in the previous survey in spring 2014. The index is now +.42, compared with +.70 in the spring.

Sales and trading businesses lost significant confidence, with the fall index (+.25) coming in more than 50 percent lower than the spring projection (+.63). Some 55 percent of respondents in this industry category projected “no change” or “some decline” in their operations over the next year.

The reported performance of companies surveyed continued to improve, but at a lower rate than …continue reading

    

How can Southeast Asia increase its preparedness for an Ebola outbreak?

Authors: Mishal Khan, Andrew Lover and Richard Coker, NUS

Southeast Asia is no stranger to epidemics and is a hotspot for emerging disease threats. There have been serious economic and health-sector impacts from zoonoses including Nipah virus infections, SARS and highly pathogenic avian influenza (commonly known as bird flu). While these events catalysed some change in infectious disease policies within the region, many countries’ interest has since waned. Many governments, faced with numerous other pressing health priorities, have classified the threat of other emergencies as remote.

But the recent emergence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa has laid bare fragilities within international health responses on a global scale, even in countries — such as the US and Spain — where it was previously unthinkable that secondary transmission could occur within health facilities.

A new framework is necessary to assess the risk of an EVD outbreak occurring within a country if a case crosses its borders, and to act as a guide on how to increase country-level preparedness. The framework, which builds on a rapid assessment toolkit for communicable diseases, is designed to highlight that the effectiveness of a country’s response to an outbreak is dependent on a combination of broad (horizontal) …continue reading

    

Asian cooperation hanging on a handshake

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and other regional leaders look on as China's President Xi Jinping shakes hands with former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at last year's APEC meeting in Indonesia. This year there is intense focus on the APEC opportunity to begin to fix the political relationship between China and Japan. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The APEC summit is just over a week away and all stops are out in Beijing to make it an economic and diplomatic triumph, despite the huge underlying challenges in managing China’s relations with the region. The primary goals and foundations of APEC are economic — delivering on Asia’s economic development ambitions within the framework of the rules-based global economic system.

But, at its fundaments, APEC is a political construct, committed to those cooperative goals in concert, including with North America. So it’s not surprising that, once elevated to a leader’s level summit, APEC has served on the side to sort out political and diplomatic issues among its members — it provided the first venue for a meeting between a Chinese and US president after Tiananmen; it brought China and Taiwan together routinely before relations developed under their new framework; and it served as a vehicle to sort issues between Australia and Indonesia over the troubles in East Timor, for example.

This year there is intense focus on the APEC opportunity to begin to fix the political relationship between China and Japan, or more particularly the terms that might enable a handshake between the Chinese and Japanese …continue reading