He expects intra-ASEAN trade to hit the US$1 trillion mark in 2020.
Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, United Overseas Bank, spoke at the ASEAN Day opening at SIBOS about “ASEAN as the next engine of global growth”.
Below are some of the insights he shared during his speech:
UOB remains confident of ASEAN’s prospects
“Overall, we remain confident of the region’s prospects. As an economic bloc, ASEAN is now the 7th largest country in the world and is expected to be the 4th largest by 2030. We all know ASEAN is strategically positioned in terms of geography and demographics. Geographically, ASEAN’s proximity to major markets such as China and India, reinforces its strategic role in the global value chain. Emerging markets, such as those in the Mekong basin, are viewed as new frontiers with untapped potential.”
“Asia and ASEAN’s fundamentals are a lot sounder and their economies stronger than before. Today, Asia clearly does not have the structural issues of 1998. While there are some concerns about consumer leverage, policy makers are responding proactively. From the standpoints of current account balances, foreign reserves, external debt or corporate leverage, the risks in Asia today are a lot more manageable.”
UOB reaffirms Asean will be the next global engine of growth
“With the economic struggles in the West and China’s self-engineered slowdown, the world is looking for the next global engine of growth. It could well be at our door-step. But it requires cooperation and collaboration across countries and cultures, corporates, banks and regulators, working together to realise the potential for all.”
“In our interconnected world, ASEAN’s potential extends beyond that of a regional association, integrated market or production base. It is a strategic hub and its role can be pivotal.”
“Structural trends are reinforcing ASEAN’s role in the global arena. With economic and regulatory changes, banking models are gravitating from, the West, to the East. Increasing connectivity and geopolitical dynamics are integrating markets, whether physically or digitally. Amid the conflicting forces of global inter-dependence and economic nationalism, there are moves to strengthen linkages among countries.”
UOB’s ASEAN presence
“UOB now has more than 500 branches across Asia, including our latest branch in Myanmar. We have the largest Southeast Asian network among Singapore banks.”
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