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Makati City
Monday, August 21, 2017
Asian emerging-market curren-cies have been having their best year since before the 2013 taper tantrum, bolstered by pace-setting growth rates and attractive yields. But the Philippine peso has been left out of the party—ironically after it held up better than peers, including Indonesia’s rupiah back in 2013. Unless things change,...
HANOI, Vietnam—Vietnam has been battling raging dengue-fever outbreaks with more than 10,000 new infections reported over the past week stretching its medical system. The number of admitted patients represents a 42-percent increase over the same period last year along with seven more deaths, the Ministry of Health said last Friday....
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Indonesia’s president on Wednesday vowed a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth and a renewed commitment to protecting diversity after volatile months in which the country’s reputation for tolerance was undermined by religious tensions and attacks on minorities. Joko “Jokowi” Widodo repeated familiar themes in his annual address to...
Policy-makers in Indonesia and Malaysia have been so successful in quashing currency volatility that this is breeding a new danger: complacency. Traders are being deprived of the experience to cope when fluctuations inevitably return, according to PT Bank OCBC NISP in Jakarta. At the same time, companies may cut back...
CANBERRA, Australia—Scientists have potentially narrowed the search area for the missing Malaysian airliner to three specific locations in the southern Indian Ocean through new satellite and drift analysis of the 2014 crash released Wednesday. But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau cautioned that the drift analysis by Australian science agency CSIRO...
BANGKOK—A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a student activist to 2 1/2 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the charge of lese majeste—or insulting the monarchy—for sharing a BBC article about the country’s new king on Facebook. Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa was initially sentenced to five...
OVER in Asia’s booming dollar-bond market, there are two notable absentees: Thailand and the Philippines. The two countries are missing out on the rush to dollar-denominated debt, instead relying on their domestic fixed-income markets and lending from banks—something that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Issuance from Thailand and the Philippines...
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who threatened last Friday to use force over a border crisis with neighboring Lao PDR, announced last Saturday that the situation had been peacefully resolved after he made a lightning trip for face-to-face talks with his Laotian counterpart. Hun Sen, an enthusiastic user...
AS Asean foreign ministers, as well as foreign ministers from the US, China and other partners of the region meet for a series of top-level talks, the 50-year-old regional bloc should assert that Southeast Asia is nobody’s backyard, a think tank in Manila said. Ambassador Albert F. del Rosario, chairman...
For evidence of China’s burgeoning swagger on the world stage, look no further than Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s performance at an Asian security meeting this week. Wang was easily the most active among the dozens of diplomats participating in the Asean talks in Manila, holding 14 meetings on Sunday alone....
Thai Beverage (ThaiBev), the spirits giant that makes Chang beer and SangSom rum, is expanding into the fast-food business to take advantage of the rising appetite for fried chicken in Asia. ThaiBev agreed to purchase more than 240 existing KFC restaurants in Thailand for about 11.3 billion Thai baht ($340...
Vietnam’s plan to sell its Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. stake in tranches may help the government extract the best price after the brewer’s market value surged to $7 billion. The phased sale will be one way for the government to get “maximum valuation” for its 90-percent holding in the company,...
DISAGREEMENTS over North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests and territorial disputes in the South China Sea prevented the region’s foreign ministers from promptly issuing their joint communiqué after an annual gathering in Manila, two Southeast Asian diplomats said last Sunday. One of the diplomats told The Associated Press (AP) that...
WHILE economies in the Asean remain to be among the most dynamic and resilient in the world, the regional bloc must be wary of the “political consequences” of its economic relationships, a private think tank in Manila said last Friday. “Asean has some 600 million people or about 10 percent...
Southeast Asia’s top diplomats will seek talks “as soon as possible” on a proposed non-aggression pact with China aimed at preventing clashes in the South China Sea and will likely hold back on criticism of China’s aggressive acts in the disputed waters in a weekend summit. An initial draft of...
If anyone can break Prime Minister Najib Razak’s stranglehold on Sabah, the Borneo state that holds the key to power in Malaysia, it should be Shafie Apdal. Shafie’s roots in Sabah run deep. He is the nephew of a former chief minister, and rose from the local branch of Najib’s...

Court acquits Thai ex-PMs

Two former Thai prime ministers have been cleared of abusing their power in a case involving the quelling of an antigovernment protest in 2008. The court in Bangkok acquitted Somchai Wongsawat, his then-deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and two former police officials on Tuesday. A judge said the court could not conclude...
As Indonesians keep their wallets in their pockets, foreigners are pulling money from a stock market dominated by consumer companies. Consumer-goods companies’ second-quarter net income has dropped 31 percent year-on-year, while motorcycle sales, a key barometer in a nation where there’s almost one scooter for every three people, fell 29...
SINGAPORE—Amazon is introducing express delivery to Singapore in its first direct effort to tap into surging online shopping in fast-growing Southeast Asia. The American e-commerce company announced last Thursday it will begin operating a distribution facility bigger than a football field in the wealthy island nation. It promises to deliver...
MANADO, Indonesia—A six-nation summit cohosted by Indonesia and Australia agreed last Saturday to set up a forum to strengthen cooperation between intelligence services to counter extremist threats in Southeast Asia. Security ministers and officials from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and New Zealand held a one-day meeting in Manado,...
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