Over the past year or so, the high-level view of Asia’s funding markets would have revealed an alarming split. The debt capital markets are enjoying a breakthrough year, with international bond sales from the region running at an all-time high and companies locking in ever-lower interest rates. However, a lack of confidence in global economic growth has ravaged equity financing. Companies have been forced to shelve countless attempted listings, and bankers’ jobs are at risk.
Looking back at this publication 12 months ago, it’s striking how little has changed. This time last year, concerns over China’s slowing economic growth were pushing investors to the sidelines. Analysts were worried that a hard landing for the economy would roil global markets, wiping out trillions of dollars of equity and wreaking havoc on currencies and commodities with close ties to the People’s Republic.
Manila is a familiar setting for most ADB staff. Even those accustomed to fighting the city’s traffic on the commute to the bank’s Ortigas base, however, are worried about the strain this year’s annual meeting will place on Manila’s creaking transport infrastructure.
South-East Asia does not get as much spotlight as China and India do, but that is a basic injustice rather than a comment on the region’s performance. The region has demonstrated resilience even as the global economy has struggled and its capital markets boast an impressive growth story, one that shows few signs of slowing.