Archive for July 28th, 2012

Malaysia and the Perfect Storm

By Thomas B. Pepinsky | July 27, 2012

Let’s say that you’re a pessimist about global growth prospects. If so, you’re not alone: Q2 GDP growth in the U.S. is weak, the U.K. is in a double-dip recession, and there’s no end to the Eurozone crisis in sight. Growth in China is softening too, and the rest of the BRICs aren’t registering the growth that we have come to expect over the past five years. If you also think that global financial markets remain fragile, then you’d be right to worry about a perfect storm in the global economy.

This is bad news all around for the big economies. But we should also pay attention to how global economic conditions will affect small open economies. By definition, these are economies that are dependent on trade and investment, and which therefore have harnessed themselves to the global economy as a basic engine for growth and development. This gives them access to markets for their exports and to investment, but by the same token, it makes them vulnerable to whatever ups and downs the global economy experiences.

Malaysia is a classic example of a small open economy. And a new report (unfortunately behind a paywall) from Roubini Global Economics argues that Malaysia is not only the Asian country whose economy is most vulnerable to a perfect storm, but also the country which is perhaps least able to do anything about it. Take note of the following: Read the rest of this entry »