Magazine article Business Asia

How the Countries Rate

Magazine article Business Asia

How the Countries Rate

Article excerpt

Business Asia presents the following country profiles as a guide to Asia-Pacific nations' prospects in 1999. The tips on where to invest are self-explanatory, as are likely reforms countries may adopt. The country ratings are clearly subjective and, depending on what factors are considered, could be radically different. The rankings are merely designed to give a general forecast about a country's prospects in 1999. Remaining country profiles will appear in part two of "Asia: A New Era Dawns".

AUSTRALIA

8/10 1999 PROSPECTS

Steady as she goes

REFORMS: Unlike most Asia-Pacific nations, Australia draws strength from its sound banking system. Taxation changes will be a challenge.

WHERE TO INVEST: Smart industries such as telecommunications and e-commerce. Staple industries such as food will still be strong.

FORECAST: Continue to weather the crisis better than most. Coal and resource export sectors will be hardest hit in 1999.

`People were asking how Australia could avoid recession ... The answer is ... a falling currency.'

-- Dennis Mahoney, BNP Australia

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

HONG KONG

7/10 1999 PROSPECTS

Getting back on track

REFORMS: Much-criticised market intervention has had some success. Likely resumption of land sales program will boost budget revenue and make tax cuts possible.

WHERE TO INVEST: Keep using Hong Kong as the gateway to China. Property still a troubled sector.

FORECAST: The IMF says Hong Kong's economy will contract 5 per cent in 1998 and begin to recover in the second half of 1999. …

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