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Daily Dispatches – Asian growth momentum easing but ADB says there’s no cause for concern

South East Asia

The Wall Street Journal says that the Asian Development Bank has cut its growth forecasts for Asia because of slowing momentum in China and India and instability in regional financial markets caused by volatile capital flows.

Growth in developing Asia will slow to 6% in 2013 from 6.1% last year before picking up slightly to 6.2% in 2014.  Just six months ago it saw the region growing 6.6%.

But, says the Business Times, the ADB says that there is no need for panic. “Slower growth in Asia’s two giants hampers, but does not hobble growth across Asia,” the bank said. “With positive signs from advanced economies supporting regional prospects, developing Asia excluding China and India is expected to match its 4% growth performance of last year.

Philippines bucking the trend in Asia

Bloomberg reports that the island nation is expecting GDP growth of more than 7% this year – up from projections of 6-7% – while the Asian Development Bank is revising down its expectations of growth for the entire region.

The Philippines is well-placed to withstand any volatility (caused by the end of the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy), with its current-account surplus and high foreign exchange reserves, the Asian Development Bank said.

ANZ defends CEO’s AU$10 million package

ANZ chairman John Morschel has defended chief executive Mike Smith’s $10 million pay, making him Australia’s highest paid banking boss.

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Morschel said most shareholders and members of the public had no idea what was involved in running an organsiation with a market capitalisation of AU$70 billion, operations in 33 countries and 50,000 employees.

“ANZ doesn’t want to pay the chief executive any more than is absolutely necessary.”

Asia’s insurance potential gets another major player

Asia Insurance Review reports that Swiss Re International SE has set up a branch in Singapore and received an insurance licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The newly licensed entity, Swiss Re International SE Singapore Branch (SRISG), begins operations immediately.

SRISG will offer a broad range of direct insurance products to large and upper end middle market corporate clients, as well as to captives in Singapore and selected markets in Asia.

Singapore firms cutting back on corporate travel

The Singapore Business Review has carried the results of a new survey on corporate travel policies. According to the 2013 Abacus Corporate Travel Practices Survey, almost three quarters (73%) of companies are planning to reduce the number of business trips.

An overwhelming 97% of respondents revealed they have also received instructions to further tighten corporate travel policies, despite the favourable economic outlook.

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