Executive Briefings

Easing Freight Transportation in ASEAN Requires Major Investment

Emerging Southeast Asian nations need to pour $300bn into transport links to help ease freight bottlenecks. That just got harder as the prospect of reduced Federal Reserve monetary stimulus pushes up borrowing costs.

Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines require $128bn of investment in roads, $119bn for rail, $33bn in ports and $16bn for airports through 2020, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates. At the same time, their government bond yields have surged since May as concern the Fed could taper cash injections sparked outflows of foreign capital.

The four nations plan about $1tr in development spending, partly to improve goods transport performance that declined in all except the Philippines since 2007, based on World Bank rankings. The expenditure is needed to keep up a pace of expansion that averaged more than 6 percent in 2012, closing in on China and beating India for the first time in a decade.

"The region has to improve infrastructure, including transport links, to sustain higher growth rates," Sanchita Basu Das, an economist and fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said in an interview. "It can't rely on cheap funds from abroad as America looks to suck liquidity out of financial markets."

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Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines require $128bn of investment in roads, $119bn for rail, $33bn in ports and $16bn for airports through 2020, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates. At the same time, their government bond yields have surged since May as concern the Fed could taper cash injections sparked outflows of foreign capital.

The four nations plan about $1tr in development spending, partly to improve goods transport performance that declined in all except the Philippines since 2007, based on World Bank rankings. The expenditure is needed to keep up a pace of expansion that averaged more than 6 percent in 2012, closing in on China and beating India for the first time in a decade.

"The region has to improve infrastructure, including transport links, to sustain higher growth rates," Sanchita Basu Das, an economist and fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said in an interview. "It can't rely on cheap funds from abroad as America looks to suck liquidity out of financial markets."

Read Full Article