The Straits Times
Published on Nov 16, 2012

Straits Times seminar on 2013 economic outlook

This article first appeared in The Sunday Times on Nov 4.


No matter which way you look at it, the global economy is slowing.

Recovery in the United States seems fitful and could be hurt as the No. 1 economy approaches the “fiscal cliff”, beyond which tax breaks end and spending curbs kick in.

Meanwhile, in China, the second biggest economy, the talk is of an L-shaped improvement in gross domestic product, even as a new set of rulers take charge and pick up the ropes of government.

It does not help that China has been having testy ties with Japan and its Asean neighbours lately. The go-go days of double-digit growth are clearly over for the mainland.

At no time have politics and economics been so intertwined. The stakes are high for Asia, whose exports, asset values and tourism flows depend a great deal on what happens inside these giant economies.

But making sense of the vast changes afoot is not always easy and expert advice could be useful here.

With this in mind, The Straits Times and Standard Chartered Bank are bringing together their on-the-ground experts and best analytical minds for a half-day seminar on Nov 23 under the theme “The World and Singapore in 2013”.

“Big leadership changes are taking place in China, and possibly the US and Japan. We in Singapore, and Asia, will have to navigate some choppy waters in the year ahead,” said Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times editor since February.

“In such a fast-moving world, people will value the news as well as the ability to discuss the news to gain insight,” he said. “This is why we are organising this forum and drawing on our extensive network of correspondents, which we have been building for decades.”

The seminar, to be held at the Mandarin Orchard Hotel, will feature a keynote address by Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh and is moderated by Nominated MP Nicholas Fang.

It will bring together Mr Chua Chin Hon, Mr Peh Shing Huei and Mr Jonathan Eyal – the senior hands who cover the US, China and Europe respectively, for this newspaper. They will be joined by The Straits Times’ news editor and supervising editor for Money, Mr Ignatius Low.

Standard Chartered Bank will present Mr Stephen Green, the head of Greater China research. He will be joined by Mr Steve Brice, chief investment strategist of the bank’s wealth management division.

Mr Low, who will discuss the Singapore economic outlook in 2013, said: “Slower growth and high inflation in Singapore have been attributed, in part, by some economists to policy changes that were the result of political pressure.”

Seminar participants will get opportunities to pose questions to the participants at the question-and-answer sessions as well as mingle with them informally.

“No two organisations are so uniquely placed to offer expert insights to readers and clients,” said Straits Times foreign editor Ravi Velloor.

“At a time when newspapers all over the world are cutting back on foreign coverage, The Straits Times has an ever-growing footprint of bureaus across the world. Stanchart knows Asia intimately because this is the region where it makes most of its profits.”