Top Story: MAS holds the key for covered bonds in Asia
Bankers in Asia are hopeful that the Monetary Authority of Singapore will approve guidelines for the issuance of covered bonds in the country as early as next week. The gossip on the sidelines of a covered bond conference in Singapore last week was that the regulator had almost completed its review of the draft guidelines that it had put out to the market for comment in March. According the MAS's draft guidelines, local banks will be allowed to issue as much as 2% of their assets as covered bonds. That is not much. Considering that Singapore lenders hold assets of SGD221.2bn (USD180.57bn), it would translate into just SGD4.4bn of covered bonds. Bankers in the city believe it could be more once foreign banks' local subsidiaries are included, but it would, at most, be double that amount.
Top Story: Higher capital investments recorded in services sector, says MITI
Capital investments in the services sector have accelerated this year, mostly domestic-led, and will surpass last year's performance, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says. The sector, which has been the key driver of growth in the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), attracted RM64.4 billion capital last year, including RM48.2 billion domestic investments.The services sector now accounts for 58.6 per cent of the nation's economy, way ahead of the manufacturing sector (27.5 per cent). It also contributes employment to 7.2 million out of the 12 million people in the job market.
Top Story: West Could Learn Lessons from Asia, Says IMF Chief
Advanced economies could learn from Asia's experience to develop more resilient, sounder economies, says IMF chief Christine Lagarde, at the beginning of a week-long visit to Southeast Asia. Addressing the Malaysian Economic Association in a packed session in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, during her first visit to the country as head of the IMF, Lagarde said that in the face of slowing growth, the United States and Europe had "a special responsibility to act." "The West can learn from Asia's own brush with crisis in the 1990s," said Lagarde. "Asia's economic foundations became safer, sounder, and more resilient-but still open to the world and open for business. This has important lessons for the advanced economies currently facing severe challenges," she said.
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Top Story: IMF chief confident M'sia can become a high-income country by 2020
International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagarde, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's vision of expanding the domestic market, garnering more investment and establishing more infrastructure in the identified sectors would turn the vision into a reality. "With this goal of moving into a high-income country by 2020, given the rate of growth, I bet you will get there," she said in her speech at the Global Public Lecture entitled 'Asia and the Global Economy -- The Promise of Integration' hosted by the Malaysian Economic Association.