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Facing Eurozone Risks, Asia-Pacific Must Hasten Integration

Addressing UNESCAP’s ministerial session in Bangkok, Heyzer told delegates from 62 countries that Asia-Pacific growth in recent decades had come at a cost of damage to eco-systems and rising social inequalities. Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told the commission the issues are timely, given the global economic challenges.

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The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations

A panel of the U.N. Economic Commission for Asia and Pacific says exports, which are historically the region’s traditional growth driver, are slowing due to the Eurozone debt crisis and uncertainties in the United States. UNESCAP’s panel has lowered the Asia-Pacific region’s growth outlook to 6.5 percent in 2012, from last year’s 7.0 percent, and the U.N. group’s Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer said new economic drivers are needed in the increasingly uncertain global climate as a means to combat slower growth. “The old model of development no longer works,” she said.

“In terms of the new paradigm, we have to address the issues of poverty reduction — the issues of growing disparities in our region — but to turn these around as new drivers of growth.”

The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations

The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations is moving to a single market by 2015, opening borders to trade and people at an unprecedented level

Addressing UNESCAP’s ministerial session in Bangkok, Heyzer told delegates from 62 countries that Asia-Pacific growth in recent decades had come at a cost of damage to eco-systems and rising social inequalities.   Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told the commission the issues are timely, given the global economic challenges.

“We believe the driving force for survivability and prosperity lies in our close cooperation: Each of us can contribute to the stability and the prosperity of the region by forging closer regional economic integration,” he said.”This will provide enormous economic and social development potentials to our region.”

The 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations is moving to a single market by 2015, opening borders to trade and people at an unprecedented level

Tommy Koh, Singapore Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large, said economic integration will boost employment and human welfare, adding that ASEAN’s single market will help meet the challenge of China and India’s growing influence in the region.

“Take, for example, the 10 ASEAN economies [that] cannot compete [individually] with China or India,” he said. “But when we integrate into one, we are 600-million interconnected citizens with a very considerable GDP of $1.8 trillion — we are in a better position to compete with India and China.”

But Koh said concerns over the impact of a eurozone downturn are lingering and called for European policy makers to resolve the problems quickly due to the growing threat of a “dampening impact to the world economy”. A eurozone downturn, he explained, may see Asia’s economic growth rate cut by up to 2.0 percent.   The UNESCAP panel said the region needs to promote seamless regional trade and business links, as well as financial cooperation and a coordinated regional response to risks posed by social and environmental threats UN: Facing Eurozone Risks, Asia-Pacific Must Hasten Integration

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Economics

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance expects 3.5 to 4.5% economic growth in 2022

For next year, the Ministry of Finance is projecting an economic growth of 3.5-4.5% from effective pandemic control measures, incentives, domestic spending, the export sector, private investment support, global economic recovery, and government expenditures.

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The Minister of Finance says Thailand’s economy this year would see only a 1.1-1.2% growth

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Ministry of Finance is now projecting an economic rebound to 4.5% growth next year, with government investments serving as key drivers. The Minister of Finance says the government will focus more on inclusive growth next year, with no sectors left behind.

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Ecommerce

Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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