Pacific Exchanges

The Pacific Exchanges podcast takes a deep dive into the economic, policy, and banking issues of Asia Pacific countries from 2016-2019. Throughout its run, the SF Fed’s former Country Analysis Unit focused many thought-provoking topics including regulating fintech in Singapore, small business lending in Asia, and shadow banking China.

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In this episode of Rethinking Asia, we spoke with Chad Bown, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Chad is an expert on trade, having worked on the issue at the World Bank, the White House Council of Economic Advisors, and the World Trade Organization. We discussed the recent trade disagreement between South Korea and Japan. While, rooted in the countries’ deep historical, political, and social tensions dating back to the early 20th century, the attitudes and tactics adopted in the dispute reflect broader global tensions surrounding trade.
In this episode, we sat down with Nick Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Nick is one of the world’s most prominent analysts of China’s economic development and the role of its private sector in generating growth. We sat down to discuss Nick’s new book, The State Strikes Back: The End of Economic Reform in China? Nick walked us through some troubling statistics about the Chinese private sector’s diminishing role as measured from a number of data sources and qualitative indicators of slowing economic reform.
In this episode of Rethinking Asia, Brad Setser, a senior fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, discussed the evolution and recent trends in capital flows across Asia. In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, flows were driven by current account surplus countries. Recent divergence in global interest rates, economic developments, and a search for yield have spawned a complex web of flows across the Pacific.
We continued our series on fintech in Asia with Toshio Taki, the co-founder of Money Forward, a Japanese fintech firm, and director of an association that promotes open APIs in Japan. Toshio talked about the open banking and API landscapes in Japan, comparing Japan to global peers. Toshio is pushing for greater adoption and integration of financial technology services among Japanese clients, and looking to shift Japan from its reliance on cash.

In this episode, we continue our ongoing Rethinking Asia series with Louis Kuijs, the head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics. Louis’ career has focused on banking, macroeconomic, and policy issues in China. We spoke to Louis about the trade U.S.-China trade tiff. He shared his thoughts on economic and structural effects of evolving international trade patterns, China’s path to further integrating into the global financial system, and broader consequences for the U.S.-China relationship.

In this episode of our series Rethinking Asia, we spoke with Ken Hokugo, head of Corporate Governance and the director of Hedge Fund Investments at Japan’s Pension Fund Association, with more than $120 billion in assets under management. Ken is a strong advocate for Japanese corporate governance reform. Ken discussed the challenges Japan faces implementing corporate governance reform. Ken showed how cross-shareholdings and lack of independent directors are rooted in historic and structural factors and dampen enthusiasm for Japanese stocks.
In this next episode of our series Rethinking Asia, we pick up where we left off last episode looking at the role of debt in China’s economy. We spoke with Charlene Chu, a senior partner for China macro-financial research at Autonomous Research, an independent research firm. Well known for her analysis of China’s shadow banking industry, Charlene previously was a senior director covering Chinese financial institutions at Fitch Ratings.
In the next two episodes of our series Rethinking Asia, we look at the issue of China’s rising debt. In this first episode, we spoke with Yukon Huang, a senior fellow with the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Yukon walked us through the recent growth and composition of China’s debt, and why he is more worried about the structural issues behind the debt than the overall level.
In this episode of Rethinking Asia, we spoke with Frederic Neumann, Managing Director and Co-Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC. Our exchange began with the complex economic dynamics at play between China and ASEAN members. We learned why intra-Asian trade is expected to increase as more trade agreements are signed within Asia, and how Belt and Road investment can best help Southeast Asian economies.
In this episode of Rethinking Asia, we interviewed Kathy Matsui, vice chair of Goldman Sachs Japan. She is a prominent advocate for women in the workforce and serves as a policy commentator for Japan’s Cabinet Office. Kathy guided us through the factors that have led to the current gap between the high skill and education levels of Japanese women and, in many cases, their absence from full-time work.