Shanghai experiment is a major step towards financial liberalisation

Pedestrians walk at the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in the Pudong International Airport bonded area in Shanghai, China, 9 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Daqing Yao, SASS and John Whalley, UWO

Since September 2013 China has been operating a new form of free trade zone (FTZ) based in a small area of Shanghai, called the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (SPFTZ). Only 28 square kilometres in area, the SPFTZ is a concrete first step to China’s new development model, the so-called ‘new normal’. Read more…

Why India needed to cut interest rates

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan listens to a question during a news conference at the RBI headquarters in Mumbai on 3 February 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Ashima Goyal, IGIDR

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has eased its policy stance, cutting interest rates before it was expected to do so. This generated unnecessary controversy from the media and market analysts, who alleged political pressure lowered policy rates. But the case for a cut and change to a more accommodative stance had become compelling.  The fall in trend rates of inflation required this cut. Read more…

Kim Jong-un secure as North Korean economy picks up


Author: Chung-in Moon, Yonsei University

The longevity of Kim Jong-un’s regime in North Korea has been subject to widespread speculation by outside observers. Several factors led some to predict an early downfall for the regime: young and immature leadership, a potential factional struggle, a stagnant economy and a hostile external environment. But this prediction has not yet been realised. The Kim Jong-un regime is alive and well. Read more…

The new normal of Chinese growth


Author: Wang Yong, Peking University

The Chinese economy is widely perceived to have entered a ‘new normal’ — annual GDP growth has slowed to between 7 per cent and 7.5 per cent from the double-digit levels of previous years. This was something that policymakers expected: an inevitable result of economic restructuring. Read more…

Vietnam’s moderate diplomacy successfully navigating difficult waters

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi (L) and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (R) attend a meeting in Hanoi on June 18, 2014. Beijing's top foreign policy official began talks with Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi on June 18 over China's stationing of an oil rig in disputed waters, which sent the two countries' relations plunging to their lowest point in decades. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Thuy T. Do, ANU

Vietnam’s diplomacy saw many successes in 2014, but also faced many challenges.

In early May, the country saw the worst maritime tension with China since their 1988 naval clashes in the South China Sea (SCS). Read more…

Why China’s growing cities do not threaten farmland

A Chinese farmer drives a buffalo to plow his farm field in on the outskirts of Guilin city, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 28 March 2011. (Photo: AAP)

Author: John Gibson, University of Waikato

China recently announced strict controls to stop big cities expanding on to neighbouring farmland. The Minister for Land and Resources Jiang Daming justified these controls by claiming that good farmland has been ‘eaten by steel and cement’. To safeguard food security, land on the outskirts of cities will be classified as ‘permanent basic farmland’ that can be used only for cultivation. Read more…

Political preference crowding out enterprise in Malaysia

Author: Hwok-Aun Lee, University of Malaya

Malaysia’s government-linked companies (GLCs) are, relatively speaking, among the most extensive and powerful in the world in terms of capitalisation, market presence and socio-political mandate.

GLCs reportedly comprise 36 per cent of the Malaysian stock exchange’s capitalisation and 54 per cent of the entities that make up the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index. Read more…