The Asian Century needs better financial foundations

The conditions that supported Asia's rise in recent decades are no longer sustainable

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Asia's growing wealth has been accompanied by rising economic, cultural and political influence, prompting predictions that the region will come to dominate the 21st century. Investors have tended to focus most heavily on China, but the region is far larger than China alone.

Numerous other Asian nations are huge economies in their own right, and many have far more favourable demographics and higher long-term growth prospects. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic and intensifying Sino-US geopolitical tensions have radically transformed their operating environments. Without drastic changes to the underpinnings of their financial and economic systems, not only may the Asian Century never materialise, but underlying imbalances could also precipitate social and economic turmoil.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline The Asian Century needs better financial foundations. Subscribe