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Asian executives getting less optimistic

Diverging monetary policies, geopolitical tensions pose big risks
/ 11:30 PM January 19, 2015

HONG KONG—Executives from around Asia are less optimistic about 2015 than they were last year.

Delegates attending the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) here at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Center were polled as to their expectations about the new year.

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The results showed that only 29.8 percent of the delegates felt optimistic about economic prospects this year, down from 39.9 percent in 2014.

The number of pessimistic delegates rose to 23.5 percent in 2015 from just 10.8 percent last year.

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Those who said they were neither optimistic nor optimistic slipped to 46.7 percent this year from 49.3 percent in 2014.

Asked to rank the potential risks to Asia’s economies this year, volatility created by diverging monetary policies of the world’s biggest central banks topped the list with 23 percent.

This was followed by the increase in geopolitical tension (22.5 percent), collapse of energy and commodity prices (19.9 percent), hard landing of the Chinese economy (18.1 percent) and stagflation and/or deflation in the European community and/or Japan (16.5 percent).

Half or 49.3 percent of the participants also felt that the introduction by the G20 (group of developed economies) of many financial regulatory reforms such as the stringent accounting rules popularly referred to as Basel 3 has not done enough to make financial system more robust.

Worse, 52.4 percent of the respondents believed that the regulatory reforms introduced so far have “materially stifled credit to the private sector and economic growth.”

The AFF brings together some of the most influential members of the global financial and business community to discuss developments and trends in the dynamic markets of Asia.

It also provides an opportunity for delegates to build up contacts, gather the latest market intelligence, and explore business opportunities in the Chinese mainland and the rest of Asia.

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The seventh AFF, held in January 2014, attracted more than 2,400 participants and 500 journalists from 41 countries and regions around the world. They heard the latest opportunities and challenges in Asia from more than 100 leaders in government, financial and business sectors.

This year’s AFF, with the theme of “Asia: Sustainable Development in a World of Change,” is taking place until Jan. 20, with a one-day Asia Private Equity Forum to be held on Jan. 23.

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TAGS: Asian, executives, Finance, optimism, risks
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