ASEAN economic officials push for enhanced capital markets

MACTAN ISLAND-- Central bank and finance officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) further pushed for the utilization of savings in the region in a bid to enhance capital markets.

In a statement issued after the conclusion of the 3rd ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting (AFMGM) held here, finance and central bank officials vowed to pursue the creation of an interconnected, inclusive and resilient regional capital market through targeted capacity building, close collaboration with industry to develop market relevant initiatives, promoting good corporate governance practices, addressing tax issues of the ASEAN Collective Investment Schemes and advancing a new generation of stock exchange connectivity.

The over-all idea is to be able to use the savings generated by ASEAN within ASEAN, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said in a briefing Friday night.

The central bank chief said the region's savings rate was 33 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), higher than that of the other regions.

He, however, lamented that most of these savings do not benefit ASEAN as these were invested in other regions.

Thus, the implementation of measures such as development of greater capital market connectivity, particularly in terms of equities, to ensure that the funds are used for the development of the ASEAN.

Tetangco said the regional bloc already have the ASEAN trading link, which allows investors from six ASEAN countries to connect their respective bourses.

ASEAN Trading Link started operations in 2012 with the participation of the stock markets of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

The two stock exchanges of Vietnam as well as those of the Philippines and Indonesia are yet to be included.

It is something that we would like to expand to include additional members from the region, Tetangco said.

The trust is to improve connectivity across the region so there'll be greater access by investors in the markets of the other ASEAN countries, he added.

The statement said ASEAN leaders would continue to bid for a highly integrated and cohesive economy; that is competitive, innovative, and dynamic.

The group vowed to promote economic growth, financial integration, strengthen financial stability, implement appropriate monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policies in their jurisdictions, and intensify financial cooperation to further advance region's resilience.

We recognized that domestic demand will remain a key driver of our regional growth while structural reforms, public spending, and fiscal stimulus will support investment in ASEAN, it said.

The statement said officials of the economic bloc were encouraged by the continued expansion of the region's economy despite the protectionist policies and geopolitical developments in other areas.

We urged international financial institutions to be vigilant as guardians of the open multilateral system, it said.

The normalization of policy rates may also increase volatilities in our economies. Despite this, we remain committed to promoting closer trade and investment ties between our economies. We recognized the need to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared equitably among our people, it added.

The AFMGM was held during the five-day 12th ASEAN finance and central bank governors meetings and related meetings that started here Monday.

Source: Philippines News Agency