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Southeast Asia: Confronting The Real Downside Potential

By John Richardson

SOUTHEAST ASIA’S (SEA) economies can be divided into two main categories. These are the heavily export-exposed economies of Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore and the two countries with the biggest internal demand drivers – Indonesia and the …

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Ageing Populations Threaten A Repeat Of The 1930s

By John Richardson

THIS is an era of the populist strongman, and also a woman if Marine Le Pen wins this year’s French presidential election.

We have been here before, of course, many times in history, most notably in the …

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The Hypnotic Allure Of Emerging Markets

By John Richardson

A GLEAMING new skyscraper in downturn Beijing, Bangkok, Mumbai, Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur made for fantastic TV viewing, especially if a photogenic reporter was standing in front of such a building.

The reporter would then talk about …

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The Chemicals “Recovery”: Seeing Through The Flawed Logic

By John Richardson

AROUND 90% or more of the price movements in most chemicals and polymers are tied to crude oil.

Add to that the pick-ups in buying than can occur from time to time, based on supply and demand …

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The World Is Turning Upside Down

By John Richardson

A COMMON view is that Asia’s petrochemicals markets are merely suffering from a temporary destocking phrase, driven by the collapse in crude-oil prices.

So when crude oil prices settle down, everything will be fine.

Many people also …

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The Philippines: What A Fantastic Opportunity

By John Richardson

The Philippines is in a demographic sweet spot, according to the CIA factbook. In 2013, for instance, 34% of the population was aged between 0-14 and 19.1 was aged between 15-24.

This is potentially fantastic news if …

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China: GDP And Forgetting What You Already Know

By John Richardson

THE blog has a terrible confession to make: We sometimes get it very badly wrong. How’s that for modesty?

A couple of months ago we got it very badly wrong when we kept waffling on and on, …

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China Reforms: The Global Implications

By John Richardson

IT can feel logical to assume that the fundamentals of the petrochemicals business in Asia haven’t really changed.

When you think about it, apart from a brief interruption in the region’s success story during the Asian Financial …

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“Fragile Five” Now “The Exposed Eight”

By John Richardson

IT used to be just the “Fragile Five” – Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey.

But last week, the Financial Times, drawing on data and analysis from Schroders, added three more countries to the list of …

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The WTO “Bali” Deal Versus ASEAN Priorities

By John Richardson

WHY sacrifice national or regional growth for the sake of freer global trade?

This is a question the blog has been asking itself since the breakthrough last week at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Bali. …

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