This article originally appears in the Daily FT of 3rd February 2016. The world economy is seeing an unprecedented fall in global oil prices, now hovering at around US$ 30 per barrel – levels not seen since 2003. So far this year oil prices have fallen more than 25%. In 2015, oil prices fell […]
Each time I make a presentation or give a talk on the health of the world economy and implications for Sri Lanka, I pause a bit on the Europe section to go beyond the immediate data on prospects for the forthcoming year to talk a little about a more medium to long-term issue that often gets missed. […]
It’s New Years’ Eve. You’ve had a blast and you’ve partied till the wee hours of the new year. But the time comes to figure out how to get home. Most likely you’re going to order a taxi. But, along with hundreds of others. For the first time on NYE in Colombo, you might be […]
“2015 was one of the worst years in the century”, remarked Prof. Joseph Stiglitz at the recent Sri Lanka Economic Forum when I asked him for his take on the health of the global economy. He may sound more bleak than a lot of people, but he isn’t far off the reality. The global economy is […]
Al Jazeera has been keen to run a story on Sri Lanka’s recent policy shifts reading to foreign land ownership. I first flagged it back in 2014, when the government introduced highly restrictive laws that were poorly designed, had serious loopholes, and hurts our FDI attractiveness. This week, Al Jazeera featured Sri Lanka in its […]
Following my first ‘Speakonomics’ on Game Theory a few months ago, this second one unpacks a phrase heard frequently this week – the ‘Fed’s Dot Plot’. I was asked by someone last evening, after a forum on the economy, “what is this dot plot?”. The ‘Dot Plot’ is something that features in the Federal Open […]
One of the mainstays of the Sri Lankan economy is in trouble. Despite over 100 years of history, despite being world’s largest supplier of orthodox tea and the largest exporter of value added tea by a tea growing country, Sri Lankan tea is facing a bleak future. Although the country boasts some world-class tea companies, over the […]
“In an increasingly volatile world, flexibility in government policy is essential” argued Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the respected Indian economist and former World Banker, at an event in Colombo yesterday. That was my main takeaway from his one-hour long tour de force on undertaking economic policy reforms in a country. He argued that flexibility in policymaking […]
New numbers from China are worrying. Exports have fallen again in November, for the 5th consecutive month. Producer prices (a broad proxy for industrial activity and capacity) keeps falling – now in the 45th consecutive month. Growth in fiscal revenue has also slowed, another indicator of reduced economic activity. New data on local government ‘land […]
If there’s one sector that is always a singular beneficiary in times of war it is surely the weapons and armaments industry. According to this article, stock prices of the world’s leading arms manufacturers have soared after the Paris attacks. Check out this stock chart I pulled up, showing BAE Systems rise since the Paris […]
Sri Lanka’s large private sector is truly only a small part of the number of firms in the country. But they contribute over one-fourth of total employment. Meanwhile, although we earlier thought that over 90% was Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the Economic Census reveals that over 93% of firms are in fact micro in […]
නිතරම ඇහෙන්න ලැබෙනවා ඇතම් පාර්ශවයන් “ආනයන අඩු කල යුතුයි!”, නතහොත් “අපනයන වැඩි කර ආනයන අඩු කරමු!” යනාදී වශයෙන් පැවසීම. මේවා වැරදි තර්ක. ආනයන සහ අපනයන හරියට නිවුන් සහොදරයො හා සමානයි. එකම කාසියෙ පෑති දෙකක්. ලොව පුරාම දැන් පැතිරෙන නිපයුම් ජාලයන්හි සාර්ථකත්වය රැන්දී පවතිනේ ආනයන සහ අපනයන එකට ක්රියාකරන නිසා. ඈසියවේ බොහො රටවල් මේ නිශ්පාදන ජාල […] ...
The notion that overall ‘curbing of imports’ is a desirable economic policy objective to be pursued is a fallacy. And it must not be propagated.
I was at a very interesting session on ‘The New Global Financial Order’ at the UNESCAP Asia Pacific Business Forum last week, and something that one of the speakers said struck me. He remarked, “This was a financial crisis more than an economic crisis. It should never have happened. Money was originally only a medium of […]
Earlier this week, economists, policymakers, and business leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region gathered in Bangkok for the UNESCAP’s Trade and Investment Week. Participating in it gave a valuable insight into how economic growth is panning out across the region, and how stakeholders are adapting to a new post-2015 era of development priorities – the Sustainable Development Goals or […] ...
These robotic vacuum cleaners seem to be growing in popularity, particularly in East and South East Asia. Spotted these displayed in the electronics and home section of a mall in Bangkok. The most popular seem to be the Samsung and the LG ones, pictured here. Dyson, the legendary vacuum manufacturer, is reportedly coming up […]
In recent years, much of our foreign policy has been preoccupied with managing international relations related to the end of the war, human rights and governance issues. But as a country seeking to be a serious regional economic player, attracting foreign investment, and boosting prosperity for its citizens, it was high time we reoriented this. Our […]
The World Bank-IFC’s annual ranking and scoring of countries’ business climates and regulatory systems was released yesterday. But there was some confusion. The latest report has done a full revision of its previous years rankings, and several countries – including Sri Lanka and India – had seen their ranks of last year revised. But many […]
China’s growth prospects continue to be a hot topic in discussions on the health of the global economy. It’s easy to be caught up in the bearish sentiment on China, given recent events. And especially given the systemic risks to the world economy that a China slowdown poses. But here is my take on what is likely driving […]
A recent visit to France was quite revealing in the context of something I had written last year. While at IPS, I authored the Policy Perspectives chapter of the annual State of the Economy (SOE) report a couple of times and in last year’s edition on ‘Rising Asia‘ I had written about consumption in Asia and […]