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from Breakingviews:

Asia’s solid exterior hides internal weakness

By Andy Mukherjee 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Asian economies are becoming more resilient externally, but sputtering economic growth is weakening them from within.

Over the past year, the region’s economies have beefed up their external defences. Trade balances have improved by 4 to 8 percentage points of GDP in India, Malaysia and Thailand. When exports grow relative to imports, more liquidity finds its way into local financial systems. The exchange rates for Indonesia, India, Malaysia and the Philippines, after stripping out the effects of inflation, are also more competitive than before the summer of 2013, when it looked like a move to tighter monetary policy in the United States would cause capital flight from Asia.

Growth, though, is faltering. Even after reporting on-target 7.5 percent GDP expansion in the second quarter on July 17, China is expected to grow at its slowest pace this year in more than two decades. The malaise is broad-based. At the start of last year, economists’ consensus forecast for 2014 GDP growth in Asia averaged 7 percent. That has fallen to about 6 percent, yet expectations for large advanced economies are roughly intact.

from Breakingviews:

Unavoidable coup is awful for Thai economy

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Thailand’s latest military coup was probably unavoidable. But that doesn’t make it any more likely that an army takeover will heal the country’s deep-seated divisions. The increased risk of violent conflict leaves the economy, which contracted by 2.1 per cent in the first quarter, further adrift.

from Andrew R.C. Marshall:

Reuters Wins Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting

Reuters Wins Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, Finalist for Investigative Reporting and Breaking News Photography

NEW YORK, April 14, 2014 - Reuters, one of the world's largest multimedia news providers, was today awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. Reuters journalists Jason Szep, Andrew R.C. Marshall and team were honored with the first-ever text Pulitzer Prize to be won by Reuters for their series on the oppression of the Muslim Rohingya of Myanmar.

from Breakingviews:

Thai telco bets on yield to defy political turmoil

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Thailand’s telecom operators are relying on yield to defy the country’s political turmoil. Escalating protests and low valuations make it an odd time for a financially healthy company like Jasmine International to pursue a $1.4 billion spinoff. Though the plan to give its broadband infrastructure assets a separate listing makes financial sense, investors may need to be tempted with sweeteners.

from Photographers' Blog:

Nights with the Bangkok protesters

Bangkok, Thailand

By Athit Perawongmetha

Thai anti-government protests have been going on for some three months and during weeks of political unrest my attention has been focused on the action of the daily news.

The protesters’ takeover of major intersections in the city harks back to a tumultuous April and May of 2010, when supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra took to the streets. I now find myself in the same location near Bangkok’s central Lumphini Park where violent street battles between protesters and government security forces took place.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Behind the wave of market anxiety

What has caused the sudden anxiety attack that overwhelmed financial markets after the New Year? We may find out the answer at 8.30 on Friday morning, Eastern Standard Time.

Almost all agree that the market turmoil has been linked to alarming events in several emerging economies -- including Turkey, Thailand, Argentina and Ukraine -- that has spilled over into concerns about more important economies, such as China, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and Brazil.

from Global Investing:

It’s not end of the world at the Fragile Five

Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding capital-hungry Fragile Five countries, real money managers have not abandoned the ship at all.

Aberdeen Asset Management has overweight equity positions in Indonesia, India, Turkey and Brazil -- that's already 4 of the five countries that have come under market pressure because of their funding deficits.  The fund is also positive on Thailand and the Philippines.

from John Lloyd:

As the world revolts, the great powers will watch

Civil wars, those raging and those yet to come, present the largest immediate threat to human societies. Some have similar roots, but there is no overall unifying cause; except, perhaps, a conviction that the conflict is a fight to oblivion. Victory or death.

Syria currently leads in this grisly league. Deaths now total well over 100,000 in the war between the country's leader, President Bashar al-Assad,and opposition forces. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported nearly 126,000 dead last month, and said it was probably much higher. More than 2 million Syrians have left their country as refugees, and 4.25 million have fled their homes to other parts of Syria. Last week, a report by three former war crime prosecutors alleged that some 11,000 prisoners had been tortured, many to death, in “industrial scale killing” by the regime of President Assad.

from The Human Impact:

The din of misogyny at Bangkok protests

In fiery speeches at protests calling for her ouster, Thailand’s first female Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been called ugly, stupid, a bitch, a slut and a whore.

A university professor recommended sending a large group of men to “sexually snare” her. A decorated doctor offered to give her vaginal repair surgery and to change her sanitary pads, andsaid she could become a nude model because she hasn’t yet reached menopause.

from Breakingviews:

Bangkok’s fiscal bias fans Thai political angst

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Thailand’s turmoil has its roots in extreme inequality. The most recent protests – the latest in an ongoing political crisis – is at least partly a reflection of a deeper chasm worsened by a biased fiscal policy.

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