US key interest rate unchanged as global economy worries

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen attends a press conference in Washington D.C., the United States, Sept. 17, 2015. The Federal Reserve announced on Thursday that the federal funds rate will stay unchanged considering the weak global economy and low inflation. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged, saying the rising uncertainty abroad and low inflation were the key reasons behind the decision.

After concluding a two-day monetary policy meeting, the Fed said in a statement that the economic activity is expanding at moderate rate with labor market approaching maximum employment but inflation staying muted.

However, in light of the heightened uncertainties abroad and a slightly softer expected path for inflation, the Fed judged it appropriate to wait for more evidence, including some further improvement in the labor market to bolster its confidence that inflation will rise to 2 percent in the medium term, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said at the press conference on Thursday.

In regard to foreign developments, the central bank is paying more attention to the developments in China and emerging economies, according to Yellen.

China’s economy is growing at a slower pace as it rebalances its economy, which has no surprise, said Yellen, but adding that developments in financial markets in August, in part, reflected concerns that there was down-side risk to Chinese economic performance.

In addition, the substantial downward pressures on oil prices and commodity markets have significant negative impact on resources-exporting emerging markets and advanced economies. Important emerging markets have seen significant outflows of capital, pressures on their exchange rates and concerns about their future performance.

Besides the rising uncertainty in emerging markets, the low inflation is one of the reasons holding the Fed back in raising interest rates.

The core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index, an inflation gauge preferred by the Fed, only went up 1.2 percent year on year in July, far below the central bank’s 2 percent. The index has been below the Fed’s target for over three years.

The recent drop in oil prices and the further appreciation of U.S. dollar have put some downward pressure in the near-term on inflation, which means that it will take a bit more time for these transitory effects to fully dissipate, said Yellen.

According to the Fed officials economic projections released on Thursday, they expected the core PCE price index won’t meet the Fed’s target until 2018, while the unemployment rate will drop to 4.8 percent, below 4.9 percent, the level the Fed considered as full employment.

Yellen said that as the labor market heals, there will be further upward pressure on inflation. But She said the process is slow and is characterized by lags, and that is why it takes a few years as the inflation to get back to 2 percent, while the unemployment rate falls and even overshoots its longer-run normal level.

The Fed still leaves door open to a rate hike sometime this year. Most Fed officials still expect a first rate increase this year, Yellen said, noting that 13 out of the 17 Federal Reserve Board members and Federal Reserve Bank presidents are looking for a move in 2015.

The Federal Open Market Committee, the monetary policy decision body, will hold two policy meetings this year, in October and December. According to Yellen, every meeting has possibility for a rate increase.

Yellen reiterated that market should pay less attention to the timing of the first interest rate increase and more attention to the expected path of rates.

“The stance of monetary policy will likely remain highly accommodative for quite some time after the initial increase in the federal funds rate,” said Yellen.

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Malaysian Deputy Public Prosecutor, Kevin, an angel was abducted, killed and cemented in drum by hired men

KEVIN Morais (pix) was a pure professional, highly ethical, very hardworking and humble. He possessed no ego of any form.In his work he was very thorough, often asking as many questions as it required to understand every permutation completely.

He took his work as a prosecutor very seriously, often missing meals, and constantly suffered from red watery eyes after reading law throughout the night. He gave his all to the cases he took on. Sometimes, when witnesses turned hostile or the case went awry for reasons beyond Kevin’s control, it affected him deeply. It hurt him to talk about those cases.

Kevin was married to his work.He took on cases others left behind as serving justice was uppermost in his mind. He endeavoured to make sense of every case so he could fight for justice. He had an excellent command of English and loved trading witty puns with the equally competent.

Every time there was a meeting, staff of all rank would line up to shake his hand not because they had to, but because they wanted to shake the hands of Tuan Kevin Morais and greet him. From the gentle bow of their bodies to the deferential nod of their head and the way they extended their hands – like an offering – you could see the tremendous respect they held for him.

Despite being extremely busy, Kevin always had time for those who sought him. He took the time to explain things slowly and made sure they understood perfectly, trying as it may be for those without legal training.

I often told him, “Kevin, these men hold a tremendous measure of respect for you. This is far more valuable than any Datuk or Tan Sri title.” In his usual deprecating manner, he would laugh it off and say, “Oh, Jess, you so flatter me.”

Kevin was a peaceful soul. He always believed in the goodness of people. It never ceased to amaze me how devastated he would be if he found out how bad or guilty they were. In his trademark hand-over-the-mouth gesture, he would keep saying, “No, no please. Not him too!” It amazes me that he was so innocent even after years of practising his profession, choosing to believe good over evil.

I hold him very dear in my heart and not a day has gone by since his disappearance that I’ve not broken down. My constant question to God is, “Why Kevin, God? Why?” My answer is that the angels in heaven wanted him where he belongs.


SUBANG JAYA: It was a dead end road hemmed in on one side by a swampy area near a primary school with Sungai Klang at the end of it.

This was where, after almost 13 days since going missing, Deputy Public Prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais was found.

His decomposed body was discovered cemented in an oil drum which was dumped into the swampy area.

A 52-year-old army doctor is be­­lieved to have hired several men to kidnap and kill Kevin, who was involved in the prosecution of a RM700,000 corruption case against him.

After abducting Kevin in Bangsar, it is believed that they killed him by bludgeoning him before stuffing his body in an oil drum and pouring in cement.

They then dumped the drum in the swamp near SKJC Chee Wen here. The road next to the swamp was a dead end and hardly used by motorists.

Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh said the doctor was one of seven people detained over the abduction and murder of Kevin.

“We detained four men, two women and a child on Tuesday and one of the suspects led us to this location. We had to send divers into the swamp and they verified that an oil drum was sitting on the river bed,” he said at the scene yesterday.

Comm Mohmad said a forklift took out the drum before personnel from the forensic unit broke it open.

“The body was found in a gunny sack covered with cement,” he said, adding that the body was taken to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for a post-mortem.

Investigators did not open the gunny sack at the scene but it is believed that the body is intact.

Comm Mohmad said in Penang, police had seized a Mitsubishi Triton, a Honda Accord and RM17,100 cash while in Klang Valley, authorities confiscated a Proton Persona, RM15,000 cash and a receipt for the purchase of cement, stones and sand, believed to have been used in the case.

The Mitsubishi Triton was used to ram into Kevin’s government issued Proton Perdana on Sept 4 along Jalan Duta before he was forced into another car. One of the other suspects then drove away in the Proton Perdana.

“This incident was captured on CCTV in Jalan Duta and that led us to the arrests,” he said, adding that po­­lice would be applying for a seven-day remand against the four men.

It is learnt that three more suspects are still at large. The woman and child are believed to be family members of one of the men caught.

“We expect to make more arrests soon,” he said, adding that three of those caught were being investiga­ted for links with gangsterism.

He also denied that the case had any link to the murder of AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi or the 1MDB scandal.

“I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the Morais family,” he said, adding that police believed that the army doctor and the other four men were in cahoots.

“It is possible that the doctor hired these men to abduct and murder Kevin,” he said.

Kevin went missing after leaving his residence in Menara Duta here for work in Putrajaya in a grey Proton Perdana bearing the registration plate WA6264Q.

Kevin must have been killed because of his cases, says brother: We want justice

KUALA LUMPUR: The grieving youngest brother of Deputy Public Prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais has called for justice to be done against those who killed him.

When met outside the Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) mortuary, 49-year-old Datuk Richard Morais said his brother must have been killed because of the cases he was involved in.

“I don’t know what to say. This is not a normal death,” said a teary-eyed Richard after the body of his brother was wheeled into the hospital.

“Everybody knows that this was case-related,” he added.

However, Richard said he did not know what case could have caused the 55-year-old to end up dead.

Inconsolable: Relatives supporting a distraught Richard after he arrived at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur mortuary to identify his brother’s body.

“He was a secretive person. He was very professional about his work. He did not share with his family members. Work came first,” he said.

Richard described his brother as a “strict man” who lived for his job and the law.

Another brother, David Morais, said the post-mortem might take up to two days to determine it was Kevin and what killed him.

“It is unbelievable that this can happen to him. We are just waiting for the post-mortem to be over,” he said.


Kevin was not just a DPP, he was family too

Image for the news result
The concrete is seen after it was broken out of the drum which contained the body of former ..

Banding together for unity, AnakAnak Malaysia

National pride: EcoWorld’s father and son team Tian Xiong (left) and Kee Sin proudly wearing the campaign’s wristbands.

It has been more than a month since the #AAnakAnakMalaysia campaign started and today marks the final day of the simple yet meaningful campaign.

What started out as a campaign to unite Malaysians and uphold the spirit of independence quickly grew and flooded social media, especially with images of the people creatively expressing their patriotism using the campaign’s signature #AnakAnakMalaysia wristband.

Together, two proud Malaysian companies – EcoWorld Develop­ment Group Bhd and Star Media Group Bhd (formerly Star Publications (M) Bhd) – banded together to remind us what it means to be Malaysian and to look beyond skin, cultural background, race and creed.

The campaign stands firm in its belief that embracing diversity is key to success and with millions of shares of pictures with the hashtag (at, it was evident that the campaign struck a chord in the hearts of Malaysians.

Wong (left) beaming with pride as he shows his solidarity with Malaysians.

The Star sat down with EcoWorld chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, executive director Liew Tian Xiong and Star Media Group Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai to hear from them the journey of the campaign towards Malaysia Day and its impact.

Tian Xiong said the response to the #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign was beyond what was imagined.

When coming up with a Merdeka-Malaysia Day campaign, he said the group branding team had wanted to do something different.

“Over the years, we realised that fewer flags are being waved. We just wanted to do something significant and remind people that there is a lot to look forward to in this country,” he said.

Although there were about 20,000 pictures shared through the hashtag, Tian Xiong said the total number of shares accumulated to about six million across all social media platforms.

“Everyone was posting pictures –no matter where they were. There were so many creative pictures,” he said.

Tian Xiong’s favourite so far has been the one where a father uses his fingers to form the shape of a heart on his pregnant wife’s belly, signifying the coming of an “Anak Malaysia”.

The campaign drew attention in the media with Tian Xiong even getting personal feedback.

“Everyone has been saying that it’s a good campaign. We made 480,000 wristbands for this and there are still people asking for more,” he said, adding that he always made it a point to pass these to his friends whenever they met up for their weekly football games.

“I’ve never been embarrassed to be a Malaysian. This country has a lot to offer and it gives you character.

“Even when I was studying abroad, I always wanted to come back,” he said.

Growing up, Tian Xiong said being tolerant of other races came naturally, particularly when he was surrounded by people of various ethnic groups every day.

His father Kee Sin said as a parent, the key was to teach children to respect each other, not to look at skin colour, and to embrace diversity.

“Parents should let their children mix and mingle with different races and Malaysians should make friends, rekindle friendships and not stay within their own boundaries,” he said.

In EcoWorld, he said diversity was their theme, which was embraced by all employees.

Growing up in Plentong New Village, he said it never mattered what race each child in the football field was then as everyone just bonded over the sport.

He believes that the reason for such troubled times in the country is because people have taken the country’s richness in culture, race, and religions for granted.

Leaders, he said, should now think of ways to move forward.

A proud Malaysian, he said he always did his little part in placing Malaysia on the world map whenever he travelled.

“I always make it clear to everyone I meet where I come from and will continue to remind people,” he said, adding that overseas, it did not matter what one’s race was as everyone identified themselves as Malaysians.

Wong agreed with EcoWorld that the response to the campaign had been overwhelmingly successful.

“The National Day-Malaysia Day campaign struck a chord with all layers of Malaysians because the majority of us are tired of race politicians and, certainly, disconnected politicians who use race and religion to ensure their survival.

“This is not what most moderate Malaysians want for this country. Malaysians want to celebrate these two great days, not mark these important dates with fear.

“We must be able to go to the streets on Aug 31 and Sept 16 in a celebration of joy. These two dates are about Malaysians of all races, religions and cultures coming together as one people,” he said.

It was shocking, he added, that some had chosen to draw and emphasise on the differences – whether real or imaginary.

Wong said they got daily calls from Malaysians wanting to be part of the initiative and, regardless of race, he could see the genuine joy and pride each time they put on the wristbands.

“We share this joy for our little part in making history for Malaysia.

“It was truly a people’s initiative to spread the word of moderation and we hope to carry out a similar collaboration next year where, again, all Malaysians can make a simple statement of their love for our Malaysia which we truly love,” he said.


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Errant hill clearing by developers causes of floods, sinkholes, seepages damaged houses!

Misery raining down: The stretch in Paya Terubong is flooded during the downpour on Saturday Sept 12, 2015 — Photo courtesy of Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong.

GEORGE TOWN: The flash floods in low-lying parts on the island especially Air Itam, Paya Terubong and Bukit Jambul were caused by uncontrolled development of the hills, claimed state Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong.

“Paya Terubong became flooded after a downpour that lasted more than an hour and this was due to the clearing of the hills in Air Itam. The state has given developers a free hand to carry out their projects on the hills.

“The situation is so bad now that we do not even know if these developers are genuine as the state has failed to take action against anyone despite the local media reporting about our hills going bald due to development,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Pictures of a stretch in Paya Terubong being flooded have been circulating online since the downpour on Saturday with a news portal claiming that the cutting of hills and development of new condominiums were the cause of the floods.

Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Project chairman Chow Kon Yew said the flooding was the cause of work being carried out by a developer involved in a high-rise project in the area.

“The drains became blocked and this resulted in the water flowing onto the road during the downpour. Workers were sent by the developer to clear the drain and the water receded within an hour.” – The Star

Massive flood water from IJM Trehous construction project next to Bukit Jambul Hill pond is now flooded, overflown, diverted and entered visibly through inside houses at Lintang Bukit Jambul 1, instead of direct to the drain at Paya Terubong road. This is because the pond water outlet was choked and the original underground piping system is confirmed broken and formed sinkholes with water diverted to residential houses.

Sinkhole in front of house

<< Pond water flown out from house to drain 

These caused damages to houses due to soil erosion, multiple slabs collapsed, multiple cracks; broken tiles: cements, pipes and water leakages, etc.

House Slabs collapsed

To prevent further damages to houses, residents proposed to Penang City Council to construct an alternate outlet for pond water smoothly flown out to alternate area, close and seal up with cement the existing outlet which was not properly constructed as it was choked/stucked all the times.

Probe on cause of mudslide

GEORGE TOWN: Illegal hill clearing behind the Green Garden Apartments in Paya Terubong could have been the cause behind the mudslide on Wednesday.

Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said there was a possibility that the hill was illegally cleared for farming.

A team has been sent to inspect the hill to determine how the mudslide occurred and to investigate the extent of the illegal clearing.

“We will have a press conference on Saturday to explain what we discovered.

“I can’t say much yet as investigations are ongoing,” he said yesterday.

Chow added that the flash floods were also due to the inability of two retention ponds in two development sites in the area to cope with the surface runoff.

Works to widen and deepen the retention ponds are ongoing.

Early Wednesday morning, a downpour caused a deluge of fast-flowing mud and debris from the hills to hit Jalan Paya Terubong while flash floods hit low-lying areas of the island.

In a press statement issued on the same day, Chow said the flash floods in Penang were due to an increased surface runoff where the water level increased suddenly, causing drains to be filled to the brim.

“The drains in George Town were not designed to handle such heavy rainfall,” he said.

A check on Penang’s tide chart also showed that the rising tide was highest at 8.19am, about an hour after the rain began in most parts.

Among the worst affected areas were Bandar Baru Perda, Kampung Nelayan, Kampung Sulup, Kampung 14 and Kampung Masjid in Teluk Kumbar, and Kampung Seronok and Kampung Binjai in Bayan Lepas.

According to a weather review from August to October available on the Malaysian Meteorological Department website, countries in South-East Asia are currently in the phase of the south-west monsoon.

Floods and mudslide hit Penang

GEORGE TOWN: An early morning downpour caused flash floods in many parts of the town here, leading to traffic snarls at low-lying areas like Jalan Khaw Sim Bee, Jalan Westland, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Logan, Jalan Anson, Jalan Transfer and Jalan Hutton.

However, the worst-hit areas were away from the town centre, with a deluge of mud and sand hitting Jalan Paya Terubong heading towards Balik Pulau.

There was also a bumper-to-bumper crawl after an uprooted tree blocked a good part of the road.

Traffic police were deployed to the scene to control the traffic flow until the tree was removed.

Resident Y.S. Chai, 42, who lives in a terrace house in Jalan Paya Terubong, said the flash flood was one of the worst that had ever occurred as it washed mud and soil down to the road and into the house compounds.

Deluged: Water flowing down the hillslope in Paya Terubong, Air Itam. – ZAINUDIN AHAD / The Star.

She said the heavy rain lasted for only about 30 minutes but muddy waters rose very quickly and rushed onto the front porch of her house.

“I have never encountered a flood this bad before. It took us around three hours to clean everything up,” she said.

Further down the road, a gloomy Pon Kah Tong sprayed water from a hose to clear the mud that had accumulated in his car service workshop.

Paya Terubong is an area that has seen rapid development in recent years.

The floods subsided before noon.


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Tibet celebrates 50 years of liberation and its founding in Lhasa

The Chinese central government has over the years instituted many polices to help Tibet’s development, in order to enable Tibetans to enjoy better education, higher incomes, better health care and social security. CCTV reporter Liu Yang is in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s capital Lhasa. She talked earlier about the region’s transformations, as regional autonomy of ethnic minorities has been implemented in Tibet for 50 years.

Potala Palace bathed in the morning light in Lhasa, June 1, 2013. [Photo by Li Zhongmin/All rights reserved by]

Autonomy and assistance drive Tibet to prosperity

The now-50-year-old Tibet autonomous region has every reason to rejoice: The national regional autonomy mechanism is working well and benefiting ordinary Tibetans.Yet the 14th Dalai Lama and those in Dharamsala of India will not be sharing the festive mood, for this is not what the Dalai Lama wants. The “high degree of autonomy” he advocates is de facto independence. He wants the central government to forsake any military presence in the region and for the region to conduct its own diplomacy. This would mean the region becoming an independent sovereignty entity.But for that to happen, he would first have to overturn the established jurisprudential truth that Tibet is a part of China. Which is impossible.

The Dalai Lama knows that the autonomous region was an outcome of negotiations between the central government and the local authorities of Tibet, and was written into the famous 17-Article Agreement for Tibet’s peaceful liberation. Until the armed rebellion in 1959, the Dalai Lama himself chaired the preparatory committee for the Tibet autonomous region.

And the design drawn up then has served Tibet well, no matter how unwilling he is to acknowledge it.

There is but little exaggeration in local administrators’ familiar claims that Tibet is enjoying its golden days, because it keeps changing for the better with each passing day.

Few of these changes would have been possible without the very special autonomy bestowed on Tibet.

Such autonomy facilitates local administration, because, in addition to making laws and regulations on its own like all other local governments, the regional government is authorized to tailor national laws to local conditions in their implementation.

Even among the country’s autonomous regions, Tibet has been the subject of envy for the policy favors it has received. Financial subsidies from the central government accounted for almost 93 percent of financial expenditures of Tibet from 1952 to 2014, not to mention the endless aid programs provided by dozens of central government offices, provinces and major State companies. And the sixth central conference on Tibet has just promised further efforts to improve local living standards.

More importantly, the traditional culture of Tibet, from Tibetan Buddhism to the Tibetan language and way of life, which the Dalai Lama says is a target of “cultural genocide”, remains alive and well.

Compared with the Dalai Lama’s pipe dream “autonomy”, what the Tibetan people enjoy now is genuine and practical freedom to build better lives. – China Daily/Asia News Network

Real Tibet can’t be concealed by Dalai’s lies
A grand ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region is held at the square of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, Sept. 8, 2015. (Xinhua/Ding Lin

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. People of all ethnicities have held celebrations for this anniversary.

For all these years, there have been two Tibets in public opinion. One is the real Tibet. The other is an imaginary one hyped by the Dalai Lama clique and Western opinion who often denounced that Tibet is not what it used to be under the rule of the CPC.

The imaginary Tibet does not exist, but with the instigation of Western media and the Dalai Lama, this Tibet has a certain influence in the international opinion sphere. This is perhaps the longest-lasting lie in the modern world.

This lie even forms moral and political correctness in the Western world, which blocks Westerners from knowing about the real Tibet. Some people believe only changes in the power structure and political relations between China and the West can break the lie.

The 14th Dalai Lama is lauded as a “saint” and his image was made into a smiling and wise old man. But his record when he ruled Tibet will thwart the Western public’s notions. The Dalai Lama never dares to talk about his past. This cruel ruler in exile once received the Nobel Peace Prize plotted by Western forces. He also enjoyed the spotlight as a guest of Western leaders. But once the Western opinion reveals his shadowy past, he will be exposed as a cheater.

What should Tibet be like? Western opinion articulates it into an original ecological community with no association with the modern world. They view Tibetan people as aborigines and see all modern facilities in Tibet as destruction.

This is an unfair and unreasonable mentality. It is for the Tibetan public and Chinese people as a whole to assess the social achievements of Tibet. They know what Tibet most needs and care more about Tibet’s development than any external forces.

Tibet has achieved remarkable political progress and undergone unprecedented modern infrastructure construction. Besides, this was all done with Tibet’s culture and ecology protected. Compared to Native Americans in the US, the Tibetans have kept their originality more.

The lies told by the West will not last long. As China gradually moves to the center of the world stage, people across the world will have the chance to see the real Tibet. Tibet will help improve China’s image. The Dalai Lama clique that has become an appendage to external forces to destabilize Tibet is bound to be the loser as time goes by. – Global Times

Why is the Dalai Lama Lying?

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Great contribution from the Chinese: UN Chief Praises WW2 parade, 回憶麻坡 (Muar)人支援抗戰

UN chief praises parade, China’s great contribution

The world has been saying about Beijing’s grand military parade on Thursday, held to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the end of World War Two. Here’s what many world leaders who attended the commemorations thought.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken to CCTV about his feelings regarding China’s V-Day parade. He said he was deeply impressed by the celebration, and has fully recognized China’s contribution during the World War Two.

The world has been saying about Beijing’s grand military parade on Thursday, held to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the end of World War Two. Here’s what many world leaders who attended the commemorations thought.

“The V-Day parade was very grand. I felt that not only Chinese leaders, but also ordinary Chinese, could cherish the memory of the victory in the war against Japanese aggression, as well as the memory of the martyrs who made contributions.”

回憶麻坡 (Muar)人支援抗戰

《血脉长城——华侨华人与抗日战争》 20150822 第一集 海外赤子 情系中华_新闻频道_央视网(


  • (圖:星洲日報)





– See more at:


UN chief stresses UN′s impartiality after Japan protests China parade trip 반기문

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World economy flying on one engine !

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde participating in the Asia Finance Conference at the Bank of Indonesia, in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sept 2, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

With a strong dollar and growing fiscal and trade deficits, small wonder that the markets are debating whether that engine is flying on empty

I was in Jakarta this week attending an IMF-Bank Indonesia conference on the Future of Asian Finance, the title of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) book launched last week with essays by IMF experts reviewing the lessons from the past and sketching how Asia can build its future, with a supportive financial system.

This is a very useful book, because it contains massive amount of helpful data and analyses for Asian policymakers to strategise how to respond to the current turbulence.

This weekend, the G20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors are meeting in Ankara, as Turkey takes the chair of G20 Presidency for 2015, with the key objectives of: strengthening global recovery and lifting potential; enhancing resilience; and buttressing sustainability.

Unfortunately, the current environment is heading in the opposite direction.

In the IMF Note for the G20 Meeting assessed that global growth for the first half of 2015 was slowing; financial conditions for emerging market economies have tightened; and risks are tilting towards the downside.

My interpretation is that basically what the IMF is saying is that if we are not careful, a perfect storm may be looming.

Understandably, the fund called for strong mutual policy action to raise growth and mitigate risks.

The real problem is that G20 members’ policy actions are likely to pull in different directions.

Sept 15 will be the seventh anniversary of the failure of Lehman Brothers, a landmark event, which triggered efforts to prevent global collapse that set up the greatest financial bubble in recorded history.

In the first half of 2015, almost every country witnessed record peaks in their stock markets, bond markets and real estate prices.

Given the fact that most countries are still slowing or having modest recoveries, this bubble has been pumped up by advanced country central banks in an activist monetary gamble called quantitative easing.

Indeed, the McKinsey Global Institute has warned that global credit and leverage is at its highest ever, and despite much soul searching about the need for macro-prudential regulation to prevent bubble risks, there has been not much deleveraging.

We have the odd situation whereby the governor of the Bank of England, currently chairman of the Financial Stability Board, warns about real estate bubbles, but hasn’t dared so far to raise interest rates in his own country.

The Fed has also anguished over whether to raise interest rates this month or in December. The polarity of debate is astonishing.

There are those who say that the US economy is now strong enough to take a 25 basis point interest rate increase, whereas authoritative figures like former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers have argued that another round of QE4 may be necessary to prevent “secular stagnation”.

When the Chinese authorities intervened in the A share market in August, the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal revelled at China’s debacle, only to wake up after their own markets, Dow, Nikkei and German Dax, witnessed the largest drops since 2011 after the announcement of the yuan devaluation of only 1.9%.

People in glass houses should not throw stones at each other, forgetting that other people’s misery, mistakes or misfortunes rebound on oneself.

The markets are not wrong to be nervous. The current global slowdown and turbulence is not the fault of any single country, but the result of a highly fragmented international financial system (IMS) being buffetted without a single monetary authority, fiscal authority or regulatory authority.

We have moved from a unipolar world to a multipolar casino where no one is fully in charge.

The IMS fragility stems from the fact that its inherent trade and debt imbalances, swing periodically to excesses without a coherent or single mechanism to control or moderate them.

Remember, the IMF is not the world’s central bank – that power was assumed by the leading sovereign central banks, particularly the US Fed.

In 2005, then chairman Ben Bernanke complained that the Fed was losing monetary policy effectiveness because of excess savings by the surplus countries, notably China and Japan.

The United States can run ever larger trade deficits, because surplus countries are more than willing to hold dollars in their foreign exchange reserves.

The 2007/2009 crises erupted when the trade imbalances generated a second order imbalance with the United States and European banks expanding credit both off-balance sheet and off-shore in dollars and euro.

The complacency of their regulators allowed these banks to be excessively leveraged. Threats of raising interest rates caused a market reversal and illiquidity, leading to a crisis of confidence and collapse.

Seven years later, the advanced country central banks and regulators again crow that they have “fixed” the problems, but the markets are as fragile as ever.

They are held together because the central banks have emerged as not only lenders of last resort, but buyers of first resort at any sign of market tantrum.

The stark reality was that it was China’s massive reflation in 2009 that reduced its current account imbalances, increased commodity prices and pulled the world out of recession.

But that was at a cost of a huge internal credit binge. Now that China has taken a pause in growth and attempted to correct its internal imbalances, the rest of the world is taking fright.

When the underlying imbalances are correcting as is happening now, there are no excess savings and no excess credit – only the prospect of higher interest rates.

And higher interest rates mean the pricking of the global asset bubble.

In short, before 2007, the world was a four-engine jet, propelled by the United States, Europe, Japan and the emerging markets, led by China.

After 2009, when Europe and Japan slowed, it was a two-engine jet, with China helping the United States sustain growth and currency stability.

Since the United States and Japan are hesitant to want China to join the special drawing rights club, that second engine is being recaliberated.

The world is now flying on one engine, the United States and US dollar.

With a strong dollar and growing fiscal and trade deficits, small wonder that the markets are debating whether that engine is flying on empty.

And what is the Future of Asian Finance? Watch this space next.

Asia News Network
Andrew Sheng comments on global issues from an Asian perspective.

The writer, president of the Fung Global Institute, Hong Kong and the chief adviser to the China Banking Regulatory Commission, is a former chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.


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