The new government in Myanmar has made a series of liberalising gestures over the past year, raising hopes that it is serious about meaningful political reform. Coming after national elections in November 2010, the release from house-arrest of the pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, and by-elections in 2012, many observers are concluding that Myanmar is finally embarking on a process of genuine democratisation. Aung San Suu Kyi is among those who have expressed optimism over future changes in the country, with her confidence bolstered by the release of hundreds of political prisoners in recent months. As ties with Western governments slowly thaw, there is now a high probability that sanctions and other restrictions on trade and investment will be lifted over the next year or so, and foreign investors are taking note of the opportunities that could soon present themselves.
Democratization, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, and Treaties and Agreements
Market size: Medical tourism is not new, but it is growing. Global shift: The flow of travel from developed to developing world. Marketing: How developing countries are targeting the industry. EIU ranking: Why some countries are better placed to benefit than others. US, Europe and Asia trends: The effect of healthcare reforms, budget cuts, and growing wealth. The barriers: The need to harmonise standards and regulations.
Leo Abruzzese, Editorial Director for North America, discusses the latest EIU forecast for the world. Forward-looking economic indicators have continued to improve in many countries in recent months, suggesting that the worst of the contraction in global GDP is over. The improvement has triggered hopes of an imminent and sustained global economic recovery. But does this signal the start of a genuine strong recovery, or is it a false dawn, to be followed by months—or even years—of anemic growth? What is the outlook for the US, Canada, and Asia, as well as the major emerging markets, over the next couple of years? And what are the downside risks to this outlook?
Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, and Financial Crisis
Global: Recoverology Bounce-back theory: "V". The sharper the contraction, the stronger the recovery Financial-impairment theory: "U", "L" Recoveries following financial crises are much slower than normal recoveries Borrowed-time theory: "W" Stimulus boosts economy at the cost of weakness later Armageddon theory: "Q" Too grim to talk about.
The Indian National Congress party, which heads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, is doing relatively well in the opinion polls and may be tempted to call an early general election within the next six months (the poll must take place by May 2009). However, the outcome of the election is likely to be another coalition government. Major reform-oriented policy changes are unlikely to be pushed through in the run-up to the election, particularly given the rift between the UPA and its leftist political allies. Monetary policy will be put on hold in 2008 while inflationary pressures abate. Real GDP growth is forecast to moderate slightly, to 7.9% in fiscal year 2008/09 (April-March) and 7.2% in 2009/10. Strong domestic demand will lead to a widening of the merchandise trade deficit over the forecast period, but surpluses on the services and transfers accounts will limit the current-account deficit to an annual average of 1.5% of GDP in 2008-09.