The country stuck between the US and China

  • 17 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Tourist watch the sun set on the Philippine island of Boracay Image copyright Getty Images

Two years ago the Philippines was entrenched in the bitterest of disputes with regional giant China, bringing a David v Goliath-style case against it over the South China Sea islands.

Fast forward to present day: now, the Philippines wants Chinese cash.

What happened? Well in part there is a genuine dilemma here for the Philippines.

It's a small island country, stuck on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific, surrounded by much larger, powerful nations.

The Philippines' main source of income and military assistance has been from its former colonial masters, the United States.

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Hunting rhinos: What Dalian Wanda saga says about China

  • 26 July 2017
  • From the section Business
Wang Jianlin Image copyright Getty Images

"Nobody is safe".

That was the stark assessment a long-time China watcher gave me while discussing what's happening to one of the country's richest men, Wang Jianlin.

Read full article Hunting rhinos: What Dalian Wanda saga says about China

Riots and looting: my memories of Asia's financial crisis

  • 30 June 2017
  • From the section Business
Rioting in Jakarta, 1998 Image copyright AFP

The phone call came in the middle of the night. It was my mother, frantic but trying to inject calmness into her voice.

There were riots in Jakarta, she said. The supermarket down our road had been set on fire, and people were out on the streets looting stores and ransacking homes.

Read full article Riots and looting: my memories of Asia's financial crisis

China's MSCI inclusion is a game changer

  • 21 June 2017
  • From the section Business
Investors monitor stock price movements at a securities company in Beijing on 15 June 2016 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption More than 200 companies on China's A-shares are now on the MSCI

Have you heard of Wuilangye Yibin? Or Kweichou Moutai? What about Shanghai Pudong Development Bank?

Chances are soon you will, especially if you're a foreign investor looking at China's markets.

Read full article China's MSCI inclusion is a game changer

Pakistan sees record fall after stock upgrade

A Pakistani stockbroker watches share prices on monitor during a trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi Image copyright Getty Images

Last week was meant to be Pakistan's moment in the sun.

On 1 June it was upgraded from the MSCI Frontier Markets Index and moved into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which was a "huge boost to its ego" as one analyst told me and a "reputational boost" for the whole country.

Read full article Pakistan sees record fall after stock upgrade

A long term view: The man who took a chance on Pakistan

Mattias Martinsson in Karachi Image copyright Mattias Martinsson
Image caption Mattias Martinsson put money in Pakistan when most people wouldn't take the risk

On 2 May 2011, Barack Obama announced that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan.

He was shot dead at a compound near the capital, Islamabad. And once again, Pakistan was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Read full article A long term view: The man who took a chance on Pakistan

Why the US has changed its tune on the yuan

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin prepares to testify at a Senate Banking Committee and International Policy hearing on Capital Hill May 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Positive words about China from the Trump administration. What's changed?

A funny thing happened in the US on Thursday night. Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, testifying in a senate banking committee hearing, said something positive about China.

In response to a question from the floor about why the US has yet to name China a currency manipulator - an often repeated vow made by President Trump on the campaign trail - Mr Mnuchin responded that recently, "China has used its currency reserves to go in the other direction which is actually good for American workers".

Read full article Why the US has changed its tune on the yuan

S Korea election: Why the economy is top priority

Moon Jae-in, the presidential candidate of the liberal Democratic Party of Korea, attends a joint debate forum for presidential candidates at a TV station in Seoul, South Korea, 2 May 2017 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Moon Jae-in is the front-runner in the South Korean presidential election

For all the talk of North Korea and the controversial THAAD anti-missile system, my recent trip to South Korea left me in no doubt that for most voters, top of their minds going into the country's presidential elections is something far less headline-grabbing: the economy.

In the 1960s, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Today it's Asia's fourth largest economy and one of the world's most advanced.

Read full article S Korea election: Why the economy is top priority

Brexit not deterring Asian investors from UK property market

  • 28 April 2017
  • From the section Business

Investing in property is a mainstay of most Asian portfolios and the UK has typically been among the most desirable of destinations.

Recent data suggests that despite the uncertainty created by Brexit and the upcoming general election, Asian investors are flocking to the UK's shores more than ever before.

Read full article Brexit not deterring Asian investors from UK property market

Is real reform possible at South Korea's chaebols?

  • 24 April 2017
  • From the section Business
Lotte store in Busan airport

You just have to walk down the streets of Seoul to see how pervasive is the influence of South Korea's massive family-run business empires - or chaebols as they're known.

Samsung, Lotte, LG, Hyundai: they are unavoidable, selling everything from mobiles to laptops, cars to washing machines as well as food, drink and even health insurance.

Read full article Is real reform possible at South Korea's chaebols?