Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
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Nov 18, 2010

Analysis: After freeing Suu Kyi, Myanmar courts investors

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Just days after releasing Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, Myanmar’s military rulers have a message for investors with a steely appetite for risk: their isolated country is open for business.

After entering a new era of military-managed democracy following a November 7 election, the secretive junta is courting investment and touting the potential of a country rich in natural gas, timber and minerals with urgent infrastructure needs.

Nov 4, 2010

For some, Myanmar is ultimate frontier market

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Asset manager Douglas Clayton calls it the ultimate frontier market: a country rich in natural gas, timber and gemstones strategically located between China and India with enormous potential for infrastructure.

But as army-ruled Myanmar heads into its first election in two decades on Sunday, mainland Southeast Asia’s biggest country remains one of the world’s most difficult for foreign investors, restricted by Western sanctions, blighted by 48 years of oppressive military rule and starved of capital.

Oct 15, 2010

Thailand may take ‘prudential measures’ on inflows: IMF

BANGKOK, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Thailand could take “prudential
measures” and further liberalise capital outflows if inflows
are sustained and threaten to create asset bubbles, the
International Monetary Fund said on Friday.

Surging inflows into Thailand’s markets could complicate
policymaking in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy, the
IMF said, projecting GDP growth of 7.5 percent this year and
about 4 percent next year as aggressive fiscal stimulus is
rolled back.

Oct 15, 2010

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Bangkok

By Jason Szep

BANGKOK (Reuters Life!) – With its gilded temples, tuk-tuk taxis, spicy cuisine and racy nightlife, Bangkok is full of contradictions, congestion and centuries-old exotic allure.

Here are some suggestions from Reuters correspondents with local knowledge to help you make the most of a 48-hour visit:

Oct 12, 2010

Thai cabinet considers curbing inflows with bond tax

BANGKOK, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Thailand’s cabinet met on
Tuesday to consider a 15 percent withholding tax on interest
payments and capital gains earned by foreign investors on Thai
bonds, the latest bid by an emerging economy to tame its
surging currency.

From export-dependent Thailand to fast-growing China and
Brazil, governments are moving to rein in their currencies as
investors, turning their backs on low interest rates in the
developed world, pour money into higher-yielding markets.

Sep 20, 2010

Thai to relax outflows as currency surges

BANGKOK, Sept 20 (Reuters) – The Bank of Thailand said on
Monday it will unveil measures this week to spur capital
outflows but analysts doubt they can tame one of Asia’s
fastest-rising currencies as emerging markets worldwide see
huge inflows.

With speculation of further easing in the United States and
Japan, and with the European Union delaying its exit from
crisis measures, emerging markets are the destination of choice
for investors searching for yield.

Sep 16, 2010

Myanmar expands private banks with military ties

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Myanmar is expanding the number of private banks in the reclusive state ahead of November elections, a step that looks set to strengthen the hand of businessmen with close ties to the ruling generals.

The banking expansion follows signs of rising investment in the resource-rich country from neighboring China and growing trade links to Southeast Asia, but economists doubt more banks in the army-run country will boost its capital-starved industries.

Aug 31, 2010

Thai stocks, baht seen extending gains as economy rebounds

BANGKOK, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Three months after bloody
anti-government protests, Thailand’s stock market is the best
performer among Asia’s big bourses and looks poised for more
advances as foreign investors catch up with its strong economy.

Thai stocks .SETI are up 24 percent this year at a
34-month high. In contrast, the MSCI’s measure of Asian stocks
outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS is down around 4 percent.

Jul 22, 2010

North Korea says U.S. drills pose danger to region

HANOI (Reuters) – North Korea on Thursday denounced planned U.S.-South Korean military drills as a grave danger to the region and criticized new U.S. sanctions as “hostile,” urging Washington to focus instead on restarting nuclear weapons talks.

The comments by a North Korean diplomat in Hanoi at Asia’s largest security forum came a day after the United States announced expanded sanctions against the North and two days after Seoul and Washington unveiled plans for joint military exercises.

Jul 19, 2010

N.Korea, Myanmar top agenda for Asia security meet

HANOI (Reuters) – Tension on the Korean peninsula, elections in military-ruled Myanmar and the question of whether the former Burma is developing nuclear arms will top the agenda of meetings of Asian foreign ministers this week in Vietnam.

Southeast Asian foreign ministers met in Hanoi on Monday to discuss regional security ahead of talks this week with counterparts from China, Japan, North and South Korea, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

    • About Jason

      "As Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Jason Szep manages text, pictures and television news operations across 10 countries for Reuters. He has been a Reuters correspondent, bureau chief and editor since 1990 and won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award in 2007. He is a Boston native and has had postings with Reuters in Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Boston and Bangkok. His assignments have ranged from Kabul and Islamabad to the U.S. presidential campaign trail during the 2008 election."
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