Feb 3, 2014

From Thailand recent political saga to worries about the effects of regional populism

Just read a article in BloombergView about the rise SEA populism.

Thailand Is Only the Tip of Asia’s Iceberg @BloombergView
By William Pesek Jan 24, 2014


Similar examples of populism trumping progress can be found in such places as Vietnam, Brunei and Myanmar. Even the most first-world of Southeast Asian economies -- Singapore -- has some worried. Case in point: a Jan. 13 Forbes article alleging that the city is headed for an “Iceland-style meltdown.”

The common denominator in all these countries is weak leadership, and it’s appearing at the worst possible moment. The rapid growth Asia has enjoyed since the 2008 global crisis had more to do with Ben Bernanke than we like to admit. All that hot money pumped up gross domestic product, boosted asset prices and pushed yields lower to make government debt loads appear manageable.

The Fed chairman’s largesse made growth too easy. It bred hubris. Officials in Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur were too busy cutting ribbons, toasting flashy new skyscrapers, applauding splashing initial public offerings, and basking in headlines about Asia having decoupled from the West to do their jobs properly.

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