Injecting new life into Yangon Stock Exchange

THE Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) will be the last of the region's markets to open up to foreign investors. The normally tight-lipped Yangon market regulator announced on July 12 that it would allow foreigners to own shares of companies listed on the bourse.

India's economic roadmap a bumpy ride

THE Modi government has set its sights on doubling the size of the Indian economy to US$5 trillion by 2025. The objective is desirable, but the path to achieving it is not clear because, even for the short term, the leading indicators have been pointing downwards for quite a while.

Vietnam stock market mired by being insular

VIETNAM, the best performing stock market in South-east Asia, is not as yet officially recognised as an emerging market by the global index agency, Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI). The non-recognition denotes the country's unpreparedness, and deters many large funds from investing....

'Big Bang reforms' must not fizzle out

THE Modi government has promised "Big Bang reforms" in its first 100 days. The announcement must be welcomed because the economy has slowed to a five-year low. But then, Indians have heard many slogans before - such as "Make in India", and the promise to create millions of jobs - which by and...

Fallout from US$2b ruling against Monsanto

THE embattled German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, Bayer, has adopted a strategy of "circling the wagons" to discredit the scientists who have been warning that the mass-selling weed killer, Roundup, manufactured by its subsidiary, Monsanto, can cause cancer.

Has the BJP lost its mojo in the core Hindi heartland?

THE wheels are coming off the "Modi juggernaut" that was expected to propel the Indian prime minister and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back to power, according to latest statistical analyses and political forecasts of the general election whose results are to be announced on May 23....

Modi ignoring the two elephants in the room

THE election campaign run by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is neglecting the burning issues of massive unemployment and declining economic growth - both of which have worsened in the latest data released this month.

Cracks opening up in India's BJP in heat of polling season

IN the run-up to the general election, multiple influential voices have emerged from within India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a development that has cautioned Indians about its policies and performance. For a disciplined party such as the BJP, open dissent is not common.

Election slogan humour masks serious issues in India

INDIAN election slogans have never been short on humour. Examples include the former Bihar chief minister's one-liner using the symbol of the aloo or potato: "Samose mein Aloo, Bihar mein Laloo," (Aloo in samosa and Laloo in Bihar), and Indira Gandhi's famous put-down of her weak-kneed opponents...

Bayer pushed to put growth plans on ice

IN recent emotion-charged, real-life courtroom dramas in the United States, Bayer, the German multinational pharmaceuticals and chemicals conglomerate, was cast as a purveyor of cancer-causing products against victims who may not have long to live.

COMMENTARY

India's economic data under a cloud

THE carefully-crafted image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an economic reformer who would power the Indian economy to new heights is fading. Slowing GDP growth, industrial decline, sputtering exports, and unemployment at a 45-year high is worsened by a blackout of economic data and "...

Can one really make money in the market during a war?

INDIAN investors were humming tunes from the epic British musical Oh, What a Lovely War! when stocks were massively boosted by the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999 and when the bourse saw a smaller increase during terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

Reality bites in Vietnam's march towards privatisation

SIGNALLING the caution with which the Vietnamese government is moving in its privatisation programme, only a few large-cap state-owned companies are planning to stage initial public offerings (IPOs) or to return to the market to raise fresh funds on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) this...

Data blackout in India demonstrates a lack of responsibility

INDIA is facing its biggest employment crisis since the 1970s. It is also confronting an unprecedented "employment data crisis" caused by the government's suppression of unfavourable job numbers that can seriously damage the ruling party's prospects in the forthcoming general...

Myanmar's progress towards a bond market boon to private, state firms

MYANMAR has been pursuing its "Capital Markets Development Roadmap" since 2008 to set up a bond market. The country is on the correct path, but now it needs traffic in the form of corporate bond issuers and both foreign and domestic investors....

No big bang, just mini carrots to lure voters

WITH apologies to the American nerdy hit comedy, there will be no more "Big Bang Theories" in India in the coming months because the prime minister, Narendra Modi, will not do anything risky to the economy that could jeopardise his party's chances of winning the general election...

India's North-east eyes S-E Asia as trading partner via Myanmar

THE new age, homegrown brands of the "Seven Sisters" of India's North-east and the state of Sikkim - He Man 9000 Beer, Freshy Sauces, Elrhino dung paper, made from rhino droppings, and a bevy of online startups - are looking at integrating with their neighbours in South-east Asia...

Markets in Cambodia cheer first bond issue

The Cambodian financial markets have welcomed with gusto the first issue of a corporate bond in the country, with a Phnom Penh-based microfinance institution, Hattha Kaksekar, listing its bonds on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) on Dec 6.

Pre-poll investing gathers pace in India

THE great Indian election carnival in the stock market - which happens once in five years during the general election campaign - has begun with investors eagerly picking stocks because there is no better time to make money.

Vietnam has big plans for its bond market

VIETNAM has drawn up a roadmap for its bond market, with an ambitious goal to increase the size of the sector to 45 per cent of gross domestic product - and further to 65 per cent in 2030.

Vietnamese state-owned firms need to get real

THE flop show of the initial public offering (IPO) of the state-owned Vietnam National Shipping Lines in September, and a couple of other lacklustre IPOs held recently, reveals a picture of overzealous state officials setting overambitious fund-raising targets, extremely high stock valuations,...

Lost trade among South Asian nations

REGIONAL trade among the South Asian countries could be worth US$67 billion annually rather than the actual amount of just US$23 billion, according to an influential new study that reveals that their trade is held hostage by four "critical barriers to effective integration"....

N Korea - no longer 'starving' or 'Stalinist'

THE supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is overseeing an economy with growing private participation, amid strong indications he will undertake financial sector reforms in order to privatise the large state-owned companies, and in the more distant future set up a stock market as an avenue...

The 'Blue Economy' and its vast potential

MANY investors are fascinated by the allure of the Blue Economy which aims to harness - potentially - trillions of dollars of the assets of the oceans, while its spin-off idea of Blue Bonds is making a splashy start.

Modi yet to deliver promise to create new jobs

YOUNG INDIANS are still waiting for the bonanza of jobs promised by Narendra Modi when he was campaigning for the position of prime minister in 2013. Mr Modi had declared that if his government came to power, it would create 100 million jobs by 2022.