ASEAN Exchanges Embark on Next Phase of Tour
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the next phase of the ASEAN Exchanges’ promotional tour is underway. Titled “Invest ASEAN 2013”, the tour is intended to spur intra-regional trade among the groups seven exchanges. The next focus of the tour is Vietnam, specifically the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), following an enthusiastic meeting on April 1st at the Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) that prompted the ASEAN Exchanges to extend a fourth a leg of the tour. HOSE Chair Tran Dac Sinh gloated that “we are encouraged by the success of Invest ASEAN 2013, signifying a strong interest among investors to trade cross-border in ASEAN”, sentiments echoed by the ASEAN Exchanges during the early stages of the tour in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore – the first to link their exchanges through the ASEAN Trading Link. In addition to the Philippines and Indonesia, the five countries comprise the founding members of ASEAN and have the most advanced economies of the group. While the tour is advertised as contributing to the goal of building an integrated ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, critics highlight the absence of representation from Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, and Myanmar from the ASEAN Exchanges.
A new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns of Asia’s increasingly unsustainable path of energy consumption, that if left unchanged, may lead to massive environmental problems and social inequities. ADB Chief Economist Changyong Rhee stated that “Asia could be consuming more than half the world’s energy supply by 2035,” adding that Asia must do more to contain rising demand and explore cleaner energy options. Rhee continued to argue the need for policymakers to address politically difficult issues pertaining to fuel subsidies and regional energy market integration.
The timing of the report is significant, as it coincides with a warning issued this week by the World Health Organization about the increasing health problems related to India’s rising carbon emissions. Evidently, Asia must aggressively pursue renewable energy technologies if the grim projections of the two organizations are to be thwarted. While admitting that countries will be unable to meet all their power requirements individually, the ADB promotes accelerated cross-border interconnection of power and gas grids to improve efficiency, cut costs, and take advantage of surplus power. On an optimistic note, the ADB concluded by stating, “with increased cooperation, a pan-Asia energy market is achievable by 2030.”