The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) remained open at the start of trading on Wednesday, despite the state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej in the wake of widespread street protests and confrontations accompanied by the threat of strikes, particularly in the utilities and transportation sectors. Although Thai equity markets have been down over 25% in the past three-and-a-half months, they are at present proving relatively resilient in the short term, given the circumstances.
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Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) fell 10.1% in the first quarter this year from the same period in 2008. This represents a decline of 14.6% quarter-on-quarter following a 16.4% fall in the fourth quarter of 2008. All sectors experienced further quarter-on-quarter declines, with the exception of construction and financial services. The broad weakness was especially marked in electronics, biomedical manufacturing, precision engineering, chemicals and manufacturing.
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Prime Minister Najib Razak took over a tough assignment when he took office in Kuala Lumpur at the beginning of April, following the election victory of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). He faced an economy in contraction, with a decline of 6.2% in gross domestic product (GDP) in the first three months of this year and about the same is expected for the second quarter. Not surprisingly, he has announced a stimulus package amounting to US$19 billion.
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Singapore's breathtaking economic growth, an annualized 24% compared with the previous three months, is unlikely to continue at the same pace as key trading partners such as the United States and the European Union struggle to maintain recovery momentum, according to the government.
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A "golden decade" lies ahead for Taiwan equities, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in a report published a day after the island's parliament approved an historic trade agreement with the mainland.
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Jakarta's principal stock market index has more than doubled since President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won the July 2009 presidential elections with a margin that made a run-off unnecessary. Yudhoyono's comfortable victory came three months after his Democratic Party coalition won 314 of the 560 seats up for election to the People's Representative Council, the country's legislature. The stage was set for a period of political stability that has encouraged investment by local and overseas companies, including South Korean steel giant POSCO, and consumer spending.
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When Najib Razak took over as Malaysia's prime minister at the beginning of April last year, following the election victory of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the country's main stock exchange index KLCI stood at 901.
Continue reading "Malaysia reaps reform benefits" »