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Sit down, shut up and hang on – The Asian century is here

Jack Burton

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GRAPHIC: paragkhanna.com

In the nineteenth century, the world was ‘Europeanised’. In the twentieth century, it was ‘Americanised’. This century it is all about being ‘Asianised’.

With more than half of the world’s population, Asia has gone swiftly from low to middle-income status in a single generation. Today, its global share of trade grows quickly, along with capital, people, knowledge, transport, culture, and resources. Collectively, Asian economies are now making the biggest impact on the global economy.

By 2040, Asia is expected to generate more than 50% of world’s GDP and nearly 40% of global consumption.

The region now accounts for about a third of global trade in goods, up from just a quarter ten years ago. In the same period its share of global air travellers has risen from 33% to 40%, and its share of capital flows has gone from 13% to 23%.

This has fueled huge growth in Asia’s cities. The region is home to 21 of the world’s 30 largest cities, and four of the ten most visited with tourism a booming export for many existing and emerging tourism hot spots.

Some of Asia’s lesser known cities are also seeing growth. For example, in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, foreign direct investment in technical sectors went from virtually zero in 2007 to US$2.6 billion in 2017,

Bekasi, a smaller city near Jakarta, has emerged as the centre of Indonesia’s automotive and motorcycle industry. And Hyderabad, which registered more than 1,400 patents in 2017, is quickly catching up with India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore.

Around 60% of Asian countries’ total trade in goods occurs within the region, helped by integrated supply chains. More than 70% of Asian startup funding comes from within the region, and 74% of travel within Asia is taken by Asians.

What makes these flows work is diversity within the region. There are at least four “Asias,” each at a different stage of development.

The first Asia is China, the anchor economy. In 2013-17, China accounted for 35% of Asia’s total outward FDI, with about one-quarter of that going to other Asian countries. China accounted for 44% of the world’s patent applications in 2017.

The second, “Advanced Asia,” also provides technology and capital. With outward FDI of 1 trillion dollars, these countries accounted for 54% of total regional FDI outflows in 2013-17. South Korea and Japan are the powerhouses here.

Then there’s “Emerging Asia,” a diverse group of small emerging economies that provide labour and have huge growth potential, due to rising productivity and consumption. These economies are closely integrated with their neighbours: their average share of intraregional flows of goods, capital, and people is the highest of the four Asias, at 79%.

The fourth group, “Frontier Asia and India,” has the lowest average share of intraregional flows, with just 31%, but continues to grow quickly with the world’s fastest growing middle class.

SOURCE: Thailand Business News

Sit down, shut up and hang on - The Asian century is here | News by The Thaiger

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

1.5 million Thais approaching poverty line

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1.5 million Thais approaching poverty line | The Thaiger

A new report by the World Bank has indicated that 1.5 million Thais are approaching the poverty line after Covid-19 ravaged the tourism-dependent economy. In 2020, the report says the poverty ratio in Thailand increased to 8.8%, compared with 2019’s figure of 6.2%.

The report is troubling as the Thai economy already passed rock bottom in the 2nd quarter of 2020, with the the 2nd wave of Covid hitting just before the year end. Now, as many provinces have essentially went into lockdown from domestic and foreign tourism, workers are out of jobs, whereas before, domestic tourism was serving as a way to help businesses survive.

The government stimulated the economy by spending the equivalent of 13% of the gross domestic product, but the World Bank is predicting it may take 2 more years for Thailand to return its economic situation to its pre-Covid state. But the news is not all bad as the World Bank expects the Thai GDP to grow by 4% this year, instead of declining by 6.5% last year.

Such reasoning is due to the expectations of the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out, and global economic growth. But if the Covid-19 situation becomes more severe, the expected economic growth would decline to 2.4%. Political instability in Thailand is another risk factor as months of protests have shaken views on Thailand’s government, which has invoked the lese majeste defamation law on protesters who were criticising the Royal family. Human rights organisations have issued statements that condemned the government as it began charging minors with the law.

Today, Thailand reports 309 new cases of Covid-19, with 80 being locally transmitted. Most of the cases were due to active testing and 12 were from those already in quarantine. Thailand is expected to receive 50,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccinesby the first week of February. The shipment is part of the first lot of 26 million doses on the agreed purchase in October of last year.

SOURCE: TNA

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Thai senior and disabled citizens will receive 2,000 baht handouts

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Thai senior and disabled citizens will receive 2,000 baht handouts | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Post Today

While the government’s economic stimulus packages continue to roll out, there is also a concern for the disabled and senior citizens who are excluded from the criteria to get benefits from the government’s major aids at this stage. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security plans to distribute 2,000 baht handouts to that demographic of the Thai population.

According to the MSDHS Permanent Secretary, the ministry has allocated the budget to help those underprivileged groups who are excluded from the main national relief measures. However, at the initial stage, the handouts will be distributed on a case-by-case basis with the help of reports from the community development volunteers about the actual situation of each affected household.

SOURCE: NNT

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210 billion baht stimulus confirmed for “Rao Chana”

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210 billion baht stimulus confirmed for “Rao Chana” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

A budget of 210 billion baht of stimulus handouts to help financially-affected people from the Covid-19 outbreak, has been confirmed and ready to be distributed to 31 million people. Each applicant in the project will get 7,000 over 2 months, but not in cash. They will only get money transferred via the “Pao Tang” app once subscribing to the website “เราชนะ.com”, an app ‘e-wallet’.

Registration is scheduled for January 29 to February 12. Applicants will be screened for their annual income and how much they have in their bank accounts. Those with an annual income exceeding 300,000 baht and with savings of more than 500,000 baht as of December 31 last year will not qualify, according to Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow. People under the social security scheme, government officials, and state enterprise employees are not eligible for this campaign. Neither are foreigners.

The subsidy covers people’s food, drink, and essential items. They can also pay for public transport service providers who register in the project including motorcycle taxis, taxis, and passenger vans. The amount of money can be topped up each week if not spent, and there is no limit of how much to spend per day.

However, comments and responses are raised among the netizens who say “they prefer cash”. Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith says, “Financial relief is not being given in a form of cash. The money will be disbursed in phases to stimulate steady spending on essential goods. We want to inject cash into small businesses like the co-payment scheme.”

Also, questions have been raised for some people who can’t afford smartphones to get access to the app. Replying to this concern, he said… “The government will see what it can do to help them buy cheap phones”.

According to the Finance Minister, the government has approved several campaigns to help relieve people’s cost of living, including the “Let’s Go Halves” co-payment scheme that starts today as well as discounts on household electricity and water.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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