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Bryson Baldwin

Sydney, Australia


Member since July 11, 2013


    MINISTER for Finance Michael Noonan was extremely cautious about Ireland's emergence from recession in the second quarter. However, a combination of strong jobs growth and rising retail sales could mean that we are about to endure the last of the hairshirt budgets. The Irish economy, as measured by GDP, grew by 0.4 per cent between April and June. While this might not seem like a lot, it came after three consecutive quarters during which GDP shrank and means that the Irish economy has technically emerged from recession.

    Coming less than four weeks before Budget day, the second-quarter GDP figures were good news for the Government. However, Finance Minister Michael Noonan moved quickly to dampen any outbreak of euphoria, warning that he would still have to deliver a tough Budget on October 15.

    "There is no reason to be throwing our hats in the air or anything like that," said Mr Noonan last Thursday.

    Mr Noonan is right to be cautious. While GDP, which includes multinational profits, rose by 0.4 per cent in the second quarter, GNP fell by a similar amount over the same period. As GNP excludes multinational profits, most economists regard it as being a more accurate measurement of the performance of the domestic economy.

    Last week's GNP figures from the CSO aren't the only indicator that the domestic economy is still bumping along the bottom. The value of non-motor retail sales fe...

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    Hong Kong and Singapore are former British colonies that rose to prominence as trading ports serving the region. Both are magnets for global talent and capital that developed into international financial centers. But they now have another similarity: Both have seen their growth rates fall in recent years. According to the World Bank, Hong Kong and Singapore grew by 1.5% and 1.3% in 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, their growth improved but they expanded at only 2.8% and 1.8%, amid rising costs and weak growth in key export markets.

    Slower growth is not necessarily a cause for concern. As economies in transition, Hong Kong and Singapore are currently adapting their growth models to the competition from neighboring countries. I spoke to Jack So, chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and Leo Yip, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, to discuss their strategies for continual growth and development.

    So and Yip say their economies are tied to the global shift of economic activity to the Asia-Pacific region. “Asia’s growth is not a short-term phenomenon,” says Yip, adding that “its scale and complexity provide momentum for decades to come.” A study by OECD predicts that China, India and Southeast Asia will grow by 7.4% per year over the next five years, largely driven by domestic consumption by a growing middle class. Given the growing ...