United Kingdom: Business optimism highest for 22 years
According to the BBC News, business sentiment in the UK sits at its highest level in 22 years, a survey by business consultants BDO has found. According to BDO, the improvement was backed by declining unemployment and the existing productivity gap, which improves the outlook for economic growth in the long term.
Indonesia: Can This Man Save Asian Democracy?
Bloomberg offers a profile of Joko Widodo, current governor of Jakarta and overwhelming favorite for Indonesia’s presidential election scheduled for July. Widodo is described as a political outsider and is known for confronting many of the nation’s top problems, including bureaucracy and graft, underdeveloped infrastructure, and largely inexistent social welfare programs.
Thailand: No grand bargain amid Thailand political crisis
BBC reports that at the snap the 2 February election, the majority of the valid votes were for the governing Pheu Thai Party. However, since the polls were disrupted, the country has to by-elections in order to fill the minimum of 95% of seats in parliament required by the constitution before a new government in formed. In addition, the governing party has to deal with the disaffected farmers who have not yet been paid for their last rice crop by the government.
China: PBC targets risky lending
According to The Global Times, at its quarterly report, the Central Bank vowed to tighten its supervision of risky lending in areas such as the property market, industries suffering from overcapacity and local government financing vehicles.
Venezuela: Venezuela Plans New Currency Swap Market Amid Dollar Shortage
Bloomberg reports that according to Economy Vice President Rafael Ramirez, the government will set a new “permute” (or swap) foreign exchange regime.