Islamic banking: growing fast but can it be more than a niche market?
For years, Islamic banks have been growing at a double digit pace.
Ernst and Young (E&Y), in their latest World Islamic Banking Competitiveness report, shows the assets of Islamic banks grew at an average rate of 17% per year between 2008 and 2012.
This is two to three times faster than the rate at which conventional banks grew over the same period, due in part to the global financial crisis.
Islamic banks differ because they have to run their operations in a way that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law or sharia.
This prohibits banks from dealing with businesses that are considered sinful or haraam such as pork, alcohol and gambling. Admittedly, this is not much of a constraint.
Is GDP the least worst alternative?
A data release consistently noted for its importance among businesses, GDP has come under scrutiny and was recently overhauled for major economies.
Is it still a useful measure?
Another proponent for QE in the euro zone
In the International Monetary Fund's annual review of the eurozone economy, it concluded that the European Central Bank (ECB) should undertake quantitative easing (QE) if inflation remains too low.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also answers the 'how' question that has been under debate. They recommend that the ECB buy government bonds in proportion to the capital key of the central bank.
The end of the record collection?
The household record collection has changed shape a number of times over the decades. During the 1960s and 70s it was a cupboard full of vinyl discs. In the 80s and 90s, it was racks of cassettes and compact discs. And in the new millennium our collections went digital as the MP3 and download came to the fore and the playlist began to supplant the album.
But common to all these formats was the principle that once you bought the music you owned it forever. Is this about to change as the music industry undergoes yet another transformation?
India's new government faces some hard budget choices
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept into power on promises to revitalise the economy. Voters' expectations are high that the government can deliver growth of 8%, the level that's needed to create enough jobs for the 13 million labour market entrants each year.
That's a tall order, though, as economic growth has languished below 5%, while there was concurrently high inflation of about 10%, which has squeezed incomes in a country that only recently exceeded the income level of one of the poorest countries in the world.
Why are leaders racking up air miles?
The US and China are holding their Strategic & Economic Dialogue with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew flying to Beijing. The Americans are following the visit of German leader Angela Merkel to China. The British Chancellor, George Osborne, is in India and the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is in Australia.
What does the slew of leaders' visits to Asia imply? It's fairly apparent - a need to kick-start trade and investment, particularly in the part of the world that is growing the fastest.
Indonesia's presidential elections: What's at stake?
The world's third largest democracy, Indonesia, is going to the polls on 9 July. These presidential elections could determine whether the world's fourth most populous nation will continue to grow in a "virtuous circle" or end up spiralling downwards in a "vicious circle".
A virtuous circle is when a country grows and accumulates savings that become investment funds which boost capital and growth. More growth means more income and savings, which in turn means more capital that supports growth.
A correspondent, a trucker and an Indonesian traffic jam
Jakarta traffic is famously slow. Traffic jams in the Indonesian capital alone are estimated to cost 0.6% of GDP in lost productive time and extra fuel.
To put that in context, the OECD estimates that logistics costs in Indonesia are 14% of total sales compared with 4% in Japan.