AEC Feed

ASEAN+ February 10, 2018 01:00

By Asia News Network

Laos to enjoy better economic growth by 2021

The business sector in Laos expects the country’s economy to steadily and robustly surge by 2021, when a mega railway link between Laos and China and some hydropower projects are expected to begin operations.

The transportation and power sectors are the main indicators pointing to positive growth in future in Laos, which is part of the Asean bloc. It is believed that these projects will lead to a big boost in domestic investments, production and exports.

Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Daovone Phachanthavong, told Vientiane Times that transportation by train is expected to make products cheaper and cut about 10 per cent of foreign freight costs, compared to transportation by trucks.

Exports of farm products and the tourism industry will benefit from the regional inter-connectivity of logistics.

In 2017, Laos enjoyed a trade surplus of US$261 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Statistics showed the value of exports hit US$4,803million, an increase of 13.4 per cent compared to 2016, while imports were valued at US$4,542 million, an increase of 7.6 per cent. – The Vientiane Times 

90% of private companies hedge foreign debt: BI

While global markets face increasing volatility, Bank Indonesia (BI) said the private sector was resilient as most companies have hedged their foreign currency denominated debt.

“We issued the rule requiring private companies to hedge their foreign currency denominated debt in 2015 and now 90 percent of them have done it,” BI senior deputy governor Mirza Adityaswara said in Jakarta on Thursday.

In one week, the rupiah depreciated 1.48 per cent against the United States dollar to 13,612 rupiah per dollar.

The depreciation was caused by market perceptions on the projected increase of the Federal Reserve key rate, Mirza said.

 As the US labour market has shown improvement, market players expect the Fed to increase its reference rate by four times, instead of three times as planned previously.

Mirza believed that the movement would be temporary and other countries would also face currency depreciation. “This is just a market adjustment because of temporary volatility,” he added. – The Jakarta Post

AirAsia seen sticking with Airbus A330neo

Malaysia’s AirAsia is expected to reconfirm its commitment to the A330neo jet after Boeing sought to poach one of Airbus's top customers, a person familiar with the discussions said. 

In what would deliver an embarrassing blow to Airbus, AirAsia cofounder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes announced last week he was looking at buying Boeing 787s to expand the fleet of its longhaul arm AirAsiaX, as well as the A330neo and A350.

AirAsiaX has 66 A330neo jets on order worth $19.6 billion at list prices, but is reassessing its options for new routes.

The decision of Asia's largest budget carrier currently exclusively an Airbus customer is seen as crucial as Airbus tries to shore up its slowselling A330neo and Boeing looks to cement an advantage in widebody sales, industry sources say.

With billions of dollars at stake, analysts caution that airplane purchase talks can swing either way at the last minute.|– The Star

RCBC readies countersuit in Bangladesh row

Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) has threatened to bring Bangladesh Central Bank officials to court for allegedly maligning the local bank and using it as the “scapegoat” in the $81-million cyberheist that happened in early 2016.

In a statement y, RCBC said it was mulling legal action against Dhaka officials.

“RCBC has had it and will consider a lawsuit against Bangladesh Central Bank (BB) officials for claiming the bank had a hand in the $81-M cyberheist two years ago,” RCBC said.

 “We will not allow them to continue to malign RCBC. Various reports, including their own, indicate an inside job. BB and Dhaka officials refuse to release their findings to hide from the Bangladeshi public what could very well be the involvement of its own officials who may have helped loot their money deposited with the New York Federal Reserve,” the bank said. – Philippine Daily Inquirer