Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Thailand: stalemate and accommodation

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

Thailand has regained relative calm and stability over the past year, following a long period of political turmoil stretching back to 2005.

The government has finally had some breathing space to roll out its Thaksin-inspired consumption-driven policy agenda. Read more…

China’s Groundhog Day growth pattern

Author: Yu Yongding, CASS

In 2011, in order to rein in a housing bubble and inflation, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) raised the reserve requirement five times and benchmark interest rates on deposits and loans twice. Read more…

Pivots, progress and partners in South Asia

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

The Indian economy continued to struggle through 2012. Growth remained sluggish at about 5.3 per cent of GDP for the September quarter (year on year).

Although starting to fall, inflation — always politically sensitive in India — remains high.

Read more…

Is New Zealand trapped in the Anglosphere?

Author: Gary Hawke, NZIER

The best headline among the usual profusion of journalistic reviews of New Zealand in 2012 is ‘Trivial Pursuits: The big news of the year is a margin-of-error-scale shift in the polls’.

Even in this context foreign affairs played little role in political commentary

Read more…

North Korea changes but remains the same

Author: Ben Ascione, Waseda University

A little over a year since the death of Kim Jong-il, how has Kim Jong-un fared in his first year in charge of North Korea?

Kim Jong-un has moved quickly to consolidate his power. He has taken a raft of top positions including Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Read more…

Will it be business as usual for Malaysia in 2013?

Author: Mahani Zainal Abidin, ISIS

In 2012, the Malaysian economy and its politics went in different directions — the economy out-performed many countries, but there were uncertainties and tensions in politics.

Although the political environment could have dampened business confidence, Malaysia overcame this by pressing ahead with its economic and governmental transformation programs to stimulate investment and business activity. Read more…

Japan’s still got ‘it’

Author: Hajime Takata, Mizuho Research Institute

Twenty-two years since the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in 1990 — referred to by many as the country’s second major defeat after World War II — the people of Japan are still without a clear recovery scenario.

Just two decades after that defeat, in 2011, Japan suffered the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake. So it’s no wonder the country and its people appear victim to an absolute sense of pessimism. Read more…

Pakistan in need of a life raft in 2012

Author: Alicia Mollaun, ANU

Life in Pakistan in 2012 left a lot to be desired.

Politically, 2012 will be remembered as the year the judiciary took on the government and won, successfully ousting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on contempt of court charges.

Read more…

Japanese foreign policy 2012–13: Why Abe’s revival won’t be revivalist

Author: Ken Jimbo, Keio University

Although Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had a landslide victory in the 16 December 2012 lower house election, ousting the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), LDP leader Shinzo Abe refrained from exulting in his victory.

The election result clearly suggests the return of the LDP as a dominant power in Japanese politics, by gaining 294 (61.25 per cent) of 480 lower house seats. Read more…

How to multilateralise Asian regionalism

Author: Jayant Menon, ADB

The Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98 provided the impetus for the region to look to increased regional cooperation to reduce its vulnerability to future financial shocks.

The Chiang Mai Initiative, a reserve pooling system, was launched in its aftermath, which has since grown to $240 billion and been multilateralised, together with a regional surveillance mechanism, the Economic Review and Policy Dialogue process. Read more…

Myanmar: two steps forward, one step backward

Author: Helen James, ANU

Myanmar’s continued progress toward implementing its multi-party democracy agenda in 2012 might be characterised as ‘two steps forward, one step backward’.

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The Philippines the big surprise

Author: Cesar E. A. Virata, C. Virata & Associates

The Philippine GDP growth rate for 2012 is now estimated to be 6 per cent, which exceeds many earlier consensus forecasts of around 5 per cent.

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India’s growth undershoots: is this a new normal?

Author: Ashima Goyal, IGIDR

At first glance India did very poorly in 2012. Growth dipped to 5.3 per cent; inflation remained high; and protests against corruption prevented parliament from functioning, leading to policy and legislative paralysis.

But it was also a year of undershooting, of performance seriously below potential. Since it is easy to slip into habitual doubt there was a rash of analysis on why this trend is the new normal. Read more…

Malaysia’s strong economy and new politics

Author: Mohamed Ariff, INCEIF

Surprisingly, the Malaysian economy could grow at a creditable pace in 2012, despite dismal export performance associated with the slow expansion of the US economy and recession and stagnation in Europe.

Malaysia’s quarterly growth rates have been fairly impressive: 4.9 per cent, 5.4 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively in the first three quarters.  Read more…

Can Pakistan find a way?

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Last October, the Taliban shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai for her advocacy of female education encouraged friends of Pakistan around the world to hope that at least this shocking act might prove a turning point against extremism in Pakistan.

Read more…