Business Trends“Countries in the Southeast Asian region are now gearing up for the upcoming 2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The recent positive business trends in some ASEAN countries indicate their readiness to merge. Some, though, still think that merging soon is not a good idea.”


For the longest time, Laos is considered as one of the poorest countries in the world but recent changes in its economic policies paved the way for its growth. With recent economic reforms, the country had an annual growth of 8.3% and inflation was reduced to 7.8%. Although it relies heavily on foreign aid, Lao PDR has already worked on tourism, agriculture and mining to boost its economy.


This country is one of the richest in the region. Its huge oil reserves keep its economy strong. However, the dwindling supply of oil as well as fluctuating prices in the world market has somehow affected the country’s economy. Malaysia has diversified and most businesses are concentrating on the increased demand for real estate properties, entertainment centers and many others.


It is one of the richest in terms of resources, but among the poorest in terms of economy mainly because of government controls and ineffective economic policies. Corruption is also cited as one of the main reasons for the continued decline of the country’s economy. However, with recent changes in government leadership as well as the influx of foreign and local investors the country has seen a slight increase in its GDP.


With the change of administration in the country in 2010, it has seen massive economic boost in recent years, with an economic growth of over 7% in the second quarter of 2013. The country is also hailed as the next tiger economy in Asia. Moreover, there is also a rise in the number of foreign investors in the country along with several businesses opening up recently. Sadly, devastating natural disasters still vastly affect the livelihood of the Filipinos and put a dent on the country’s economic progress.


It is the richest country in Southeast Asia and is considered as one of the most developed countries in the world. It also has a freedom score of 88 and is the 2nd freest in the 2013 index. The country’s openness to global trade and investment paved the way for it to become more globally competitive. Private sectors also contribute a lot in making the country’s economy more resilient. Public housing, public health and other government programs are also visible and well- implemented in Singapore.


At the end of 2012, the country has seen an 18.9% increase in its GDP compared with the previous year. Early in 2013 however, its GDP dropped by a few percent and recent studies reveal that Thailand is in recession. The increase in the country’s debts, devastating calamities and mistrust in the government all contributed to the decline of the country’s economy.


The country is one of the most stable in the region. It has a stable exchange rate and a moderate inflation of 6.7% last June. It saw an increase in foreign reserves and reduced sovereign risks as of Q1 2013. With a surge in business opportunities in Vietnam, it is predicted that it will be among the most competitive countries in the next few years. Seeing how some Southeast Asian countries continue catching up in terms of economic growth is indeed positive. This goes to show that the region is somehow ready as it moves towards an economic merging in 2015 through the ASEAN Economic Community



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