nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2007‒10‒20
four papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Sanguinity and aspiration toward South Asian Regional integration: a case study of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Agreement By KABIR, ASM
  2. Bank ownership and efficiency in China: what lies ahead in the world’s largest nation? By Berger , Allen N; Hasan , Iftekhar; Zhou, Mingming
  3. Testing for the Random Walk Hypothesis and Structural Breaks in International Stock Prices By Chancharat,Surachai; Valadkhani, Abbas
  4. The End of Textiles Quotas, dilemma and vision in the Garments Sector: A Case Study on Bangladesh. By ASM, KABIR

  1. By: KABIR, ASM
    Abstract: The expansion of regional economic cooperation was one of the major developments in the world political economy after the Second World War. Factors that thrust countries closer were both economic and political but economic factors prevailed; the classic example was the EU and ASEAN where economic dimension have brought long time foes in the same dais. The present international economic situation characterized by stagnant growth, recessionary conditions, and protectionist tendencies in the developed countries has seriously underpinned the economic growth in developing countries. The worsening terms of trade, acute balance of payment crisis and debt burden on developing countries have further crippled the potential economic growth of these countries. Therefore current world economic conditions call for a greater economic cooperation among the developing countries. Around 330 agreements are notified in World Trade Organization (WTO). Apart from Mongolia, all WTO members are involved in one or more regional trade agreements. Unsuccessful WTO talks in Cancun increased a world-wide trend towards regional cooperation and integration, such as EU, NAFTA, CAFTA, MERCOSUR, ASEAN, SAARC etc. The latest report by the World Bank, entitled Global Economic Prospects: Managing the Next Wave of Globalization predicts that in the next 25 years the growth in the global economy will be powered by the developing countries, whose share in global output will increase from about one-fifth of the global economy to nearly one-third. It means that some of the key drivers in the global economy will be China and some of the countries from South Asia. There are today six developing countries which have populations greater than 100 million and GDP of more than $100 billion. By 2030, there will be 10 countries that would have reached the twin 100s threshold, and four of them will be from the vicinity of South Asia. In addition to India and China, who have already reached that level, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also likely to be part of this dynamic group. Increased participation in global trade was an important determinant of economic growth of the catch-up economies. This is one reason why South Asia has lagged and has not been a catch-up economy. Could the decision of the 2004 SAARC summit change South Asia’s economic structure and move towards economic union? Can South Asia become a major player in the global economic and trading system? The following report aims to come across the answer of the above issue regarding SAFTA.
    JEL: F15 F14 F13
    Date: 2007–01–09
  2. By: Berger , Allen N (Federal Reserve Board); Hasan , Iftekhar (Lally School of Management,Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Bank of Finland Research); Zhou, Mingming
    Abstract: China is reforming its banking system, partially privatizing and permitting minority foreign ownership of three of the dominant ‘big four’ state-owned banks. This paper seeks to help predict the effects of this change by analysing the efficiency of virtually all Chinese banks in the years 1994–2003. Our findings suggest the big four banks are by far the least efficient and foreign banks the most efficient while minority foreign ownership is associated with significantly improved efficiency. We present corroborating robustness checks and offer several credible mechanisms through which minority foreign owners can increase Chinese bank efficiency. These findings suggest that minority foreign ownership of the big four is likely to significantly improve performance.
    Keywords: foreign banks; efficiency; foreign ownership
    JEL: F23 G21 G28 G34
    Date: 2007–10–10
  3. By: Chancharat,Surachai (University of Wollongong); Valadkhani, Abbas (University of Wollongong)
    Abstract: This paper examines whether stock prices for 16 countries are trend stationary or follow a random walk process using the (Zivot and Andrews, 1992) and (Lumsdaine and Papell, 1997) tests and monthly data (1987:12-2005:12). With one structural break, the ZA test results provide evidence in favour of random walk hypothesis in 14 countries. However, when two endogenously-determined structural breaks are considered, this hypothesis was rejected for only five countries, suggesting a robust conclusion regarding the non-stationarity of stock prices world wide. In addition, the dates of structural break in most cases point to the Asian crisis in the period 1996-1998.
    Keywords: stock market, random walk, structural break
    JEL: G14 G15 C22
    Date: 2007
  4. By: ASM, KABIR
    Abstract: Abstract: The phase-out of the quota is likely to have particular significance for the export of Bangladesh apparels to the US market. MFA’s impacts are not much related to a question of our $2 billion exports to the USA; or the $5 billion worth of exports made by Bangladesh globally. Rather, it is a question of how Bangladesh’s entire economy will be affected by the issue of quota phase out. RMG exports constitute about 75% of Bangladesh’s annual export and provide direct employment to 1.5 million females and indirectly an additional 8 to 10 million people. The global clothing trade is evolving on a continuous basis and that the phase out of quota restrictions and forming of trade blocs has become a reality. Moreover Bangladesh is convulsed by fierce class struggles, centred on the country’s garment industry. Many tens of thousands of workers have gone on strike, blocked roads, attacked factories and other buildings, demonstrated, fought the police and rioted in the streets. Every day comes news of fresh strikes in a variety of industries — mainly the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, but also mill workers, river transport workers, rail workers, journalists, lecturers and teachers. The revolt began on 20 May2006 with garment workers’ strikes in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka — beginning in a small number of factories over issues including the arrest of worker activists and non-payment of wages. By 23 May2006 this struggle had been generalised, with action at a much larger number of factories and demonstrations across the city. A massive army and police presence around garment factories, in some cases completely blockading and creating check points for entry to Export Processing Zones, temporarily calmed things; but strikes continued to take place at numerous factories, leading to solidarity strikes from nearby workplaces and semi-spontaneous demonstrations.
    Keywords: Preferential trade arrangements in South Asia: options for Bangladesh; wto; MFA Phase-Out: The Emerging Scenario Early signals and major competitors
    JEL: F13
    Date: 2007–01–09

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