Responding to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirsena arrives in New Delhi, India. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Iromi Dharmawardhane, ISAS

Sri Lanka’s balance of payments is in dire straits. The country’s mounting foreign and domestic public debt, a huge fiscal deficit and a severe foreign exchange shortfall have led to potentially calamitous economic circumstances. Sri Lanka has not yet secured the means to meet its upcoming foreign loan repayments — US$4.5 billion is due over the next year, to be followed by another US$4 billion in the subsequent year.

Read more…

Size and Japanese power

A man uses a demon mask to make a baby cry during the Nakizumo or crying baby contest at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo on 29 April 2016. Japan’s low fertility rate and ageing population poses challenges to continued economic growth. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

In 2008, the Japanese population peaked at 128 million. Already Japan has a million fewer people today than it did then. With the workforce shrinking even faster — almost 10 million lower than at its peak in 1997 — and the proportion of the population over 60 years old now at more than one-third of the total population, per capita income growth has stagnated. Read more…

The consequences of Japan’s shrinking

Elderly people walk through a shopping mall in Tokyo on 17 September 2013. The proportion of elderly Japanese to the total population is increasing rapidly. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Shiro Armstrong, ANU

Japan’s population is ageing and shrinking.

The population of Japan peaked in 2008 at 128 million. With the fertility rate — or births per woman — falling below 1.5 at the beginning of the 1990s and falling as low as 1.29 in 2004, the population is shrinking rapidly. Already Japan has one million people fewer than in 2008. Read more…

Will structural reforms make it to the G7 agenda?


Author: Yukinobu Kitamura, Hitotsubashi University

Later this month, Japan will host the 42nd G7 summit. One point of discussion will be Japan’s plan to increase its consumption tax in April 2017. Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz have come out against this plan, arguing that Japan should hold off on the consumption tax increase. Read more…

Bank of Japan joins the sub-zero club

People walk with umbrellas in a snow storm in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: AAP)

Author: David Murakami, Tokyo

On 29 January 2016, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced its monetary policy for the new year: quantitative and qualitative monetary easing with a negative interest rate. The policy came as a surprise to money markets. The Nikkei index went up by over 800 points in two days and the yen depreciated sharply against the US dollar.

Read more…

A strong ASEAN+3 should embrace the IMF

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde responds to a question during a press conference at the IMF headquarters in Washington on 14 April 2016. ASEAN+3 needs to embrace the IMF if it is to transform into an essential feature of regional governance in East Asia. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ramon Pacheco Pardo, King’s College London

ASEAN+3 (the ASEAN members plus China, South Korea and Japan) was born from the ashes of the Asian financial crisis and the IMF’s response to it. It’s no secret that displeasure — if not hostility — to the policy prescriptions suggested by the Washington-based institution was a key driver behind ASEAN+3. Read more…

China’s global economic impact is no longer state-owned

View of the headquarters building of Fosun Group in Shanghai, China, 22 May 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Hubbard, ANU

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are often thought to dominate the Chinese market, with profound implications for the global economy. The US–China Economic and Security Review Commission stated that ‘Soviet-style, top-down planning remains a hallmark of China’s economic and political system’. Read more…