Tag Archives: malaysia

Australia launches Australia-ASEAN Council

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australian govtSydney, Australia : With an eye on strengthening partnership bonds between Australia and South East Asian countries, the Australian government launched Australia-ASEAN Council. This initiative will work towards building links between all the countries of South-East Asia.

South-East Asia is the one of the most important strategic and economic regions in the world with a combined GDP of around 2.5 trillion US dollars, and a population of over 620 million people. The 10 member nations of ASEAN now represent almost 15 per cent of Australia’s total trade, with two-way trade valued at almost $100 billion in 2014. The 10 member ASEAN countries include Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The Australia-ASEAN Council will shape Australia’s engagement with South-East Asia and strengthen partnerships through stronger business, education, science, arts and cultural links. It will also work closely with the New Colombo Plan and Australia Alumni networks to facilitate ongoing links between individuals and organisations.

UK Today – David Cameron initiates Global Fin Tech Hub

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UK 10 downing streetLondon, UK: Prime Minister David Cameron has taken up an initiative to project and promote UK as a Global Financial Technology Hub for the world participants. On a trade mission during his South East Asian visit, Cameron strongly promoted UK’s quest of attaining the FinTech Leader status in the world map.

Companies such as Blockchain, Pennies and Earthport were amongst the 31-strong delegation hoping to capitalise on the opportunities available in the fast-growing markets of Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The Prime Minister’s trade mission came as FinTech membership body Innovate Finance published its new manifesto titled Innovate Finance Manifesto 2020.
Innovate Finance is an independent membership-based industry organisation that aims to advance the UK’s standing as a leader in financial technology (FinTech) innovation both domestically and abroad.

Members range from the world’s leading global corporations to the UK’s most promising FinTech start-ups who through Innovate Finance, receive a single point of access to policy makers, regulators, investors, customers, educators, talent and key commercial partners.

Global investment in FinTech-related activity has tripled in the last year from $4billion to $12billion across more than 730 deals. Projections for annual global investment in FinTech is expected to reach $46bn in 2020. It is becoming increasingly evident that FinTech and the digital revolution, that underpins the expansion of this sector, has the potential to fundamentally change the way financial services operate.

With over 120 members from across the FinTech ecosystem, Innovate Finance seeks to address some of the key issues affecting the growth of the sector, from attracting greater inward investment to helping shape the development of proportionate and effective regulation, whilst continuing to champion a truly democratic and inclusive financial services industry.

In its quest to become the leading FinTech centre, at the Summer Budget the government appointed UK’s FinTech Special Envoy. It also announced that it will undertake a FinTech benchmarking exercise in the autumn to help identify barriers to the development of the sector in the UK.

50 countries do not meet fiscal transparency requirements: US Report

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Department of StateThe US department of State has concluded that, of the 140 governments that were potential beneficiaries of foreign assistance and were evaluated 50 did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Of these, eleven governments made significant progress toward meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.

On January 14, US Secretary of State John Kerry released the FY 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, assessing whether governments that receive U.S. assistance meet minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. The Department’s assessments evaluate the substantial completeness, reliability, and public availability of budget documents, as well as the transparency of natural resource extraction contracting and license procedures.

The Report is prepared under Section 7031(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014. The Report examines governments receiving bilateral allocations of assistance under the Act. In compiling the Report, the Department assessed the fiscal transparency of governments as of the date the Act became law.

Governments meeting fiscal transparency requirements

The Department assessed the following governments as meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for FY 2014: Albania, Angola, Armenia, Argentina, The Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia.

The following table lists those governments that were found not to meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency and identifies whether the governments made significant progress toward meeting those requirements:

Governments Assessed Pursuant to the Act as not Meeting Minimum Requirements of Fiscal Transparency for FY 2014

Significant Progress

No Significant Progress

Afghanistan

X

Algeria

X

Azerbaijan

X

Bahrain

X

Bangladesh

X

Burkina Faso

X

Burma

X

Burundi

X

Cambodia

X

Cameroon

X

Central African Republic

X

Chad

X

China

X

Comoros

X

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

X

Congo, Republic of the

X

Dominican Republic

X

Egypt

X

Ethiopia

X

Fiji

X

Gabon

X

Gambia, The

X

Guinea

X

Guinea-Bissau

X

Haiti

X

Kazakhstan

X

Laos

X

Lebanon

X

Libya

X

Madagascar

X

Malawi

X

Maldives

X

Nicaragua

X

Niger

X

Nigeria

X

Oman

X

Sao Tome and Principe

X

Saudi Arabia

X

Somalia

X

South Sudan

X

Sudan

X

Suriname

X

Swaziland

X

Tajikistan

X

Tanzania

X

Turkmenistan

X

Ukraine

X

Uzbekistan

X

Yemen

X

Zimbabwe

X

US views fiscal transparency as a critical element of effective public financial management since it helps in building market confidence, and sets the stage for economic sustainability. Transparency also provides a window into government budgets for citizens of any country, helping them to hold their leadership accountable. Reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive U.S. assistance help to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is used appropriately and sustain a dialogue with governments to improve their fiscal performance, leading to greater macroeconomic stability and better development outcomes, the US department of State goes on to emphasise.

The Office of Monetary Affairs (OMA) monitors global macroeconomic developments and works to prevent and resolve financial crises in countries where U.S. interests are at risk. It seeks to increase the financial security of the United States and its key partners. OMA also works to expand global economic growth and development by advocating sound macroeconomic policies that foster economic stability and expand opportunities for U.S. trade and investment worldwide.

OMA provides the Secretary of State with expertise on global financial and macroeconomic issues, working in close cooperation with the Treasury Department’s Office of International Affairs. OMA is also the Department’s liaison with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, OMA interacts with a wide range of foreign government officials and representatives of other international and non-governmental organizations. It also consults with representatives of private financial institutions to ensure that U.S. financial interests abroad are accurately and effectively reflected in U.S. foreign economic policy.

To help poorer countries overcome unsustainable debt burdens and improve their chances for economic growth and development, OMA promotes debt relief through the Paris Club, representing the Secretary of State as Head of the U.S. delegation. The Paris Club is the forum for coordinating debt relief policy among sovereign creditors and negotiating individual country debt treatments. Paris Club agreements can also affect non-member country and private sector creditors when debtor countries are required to seek comparable treatment. OMA also coordinates with the Treasury Department to formulate U.S. debt-relief policies more broadly and to promote initiatives through multilateral institutions.

OMA develops strategies to fight corruption and improve transparency from an economic and business perspective. OMA heads the U.S. delegation to the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions, coordinates the interagency to combat bribery of foreign public officials, and ensures compliance with the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in Internationals in International Business Transactions, also known as the Anti-Bribery Convention.

Click Here for Government by Government Assessment (Fiscal Transparency Report)

Market volatility in December 2014 could leave its impact on 2015

market_volatilityHong Kong, Jan. 12: Market volatility in December 2014, according to Fitch ratings, could be a foretaste of what is to come in 2015 as the US Federal Reserve moves towards raising interest rates while other major central banks may ease policy further.

It was striking that the Emerging Asian markets should have been caught up in turbulence coming from Russia, as the region’s direct links with Russia are few. These events show that Emerging Asia remains vulnerable to contagion from events elsewhere.

Nonetheless, Fitch expects real GDP in Emerging Asia, excluding China, to expand by about 6% in 2015 and 2016, remaining the world’s fastest-growing region. We forecast China’s GDP to expand at 6.8% in 2015 and 6.5% in 2016, as the government’s bid to rebalance the economy works through. Lower oil prices and faster growth in advanced economies support most Emerging Asian countries, including China.

Positive pressure on ratings is ebbing, says Fitch Ratings in its 2015 Outlook for Emerging Asian Sovereigns. This follows a run of upgrades since 2011, the latest being Vietnam, which was raised to ‘BB-‘/Stable on 3 November 2014. Eight of 10 Emerging Asian sovereigns are on Stable Outlook, with two (Malaysia and Mongolia) on Negative Outlook. A deeper dive into credit profiles using Fitch Ratings’ four main categories for analysis reveals marginally more negative than positive momentum.