Southeast Asia & The Obama factor

Updated On: Nov 10, 2008
Barrack Obama has won the US presidential elections, expectations are piling high on his presidency. 
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Wednesday congratulated Barack Obama and hoped the new president will take leadership in tiding the world over global financial crisis. President Yudhoyono also hoped that Obama would continue to boost the economy. 
Indonesia is particularly hopeful of Obama’s leadership as the crisis has affected Indonesia's export and the rupiah has depreciated sharply against the U.S. dollar. Some indications of incoming Obama’s leadership is already on display. He made telephone calls to leaders of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea to discuss the crisis.
However, the world, including East Asia, would just have to wait a little longer before Obama’s hand can be visible in managing the global economic crisis as he has promised not to interfere with the Bush administration’s decision and power during the transitional period. 
This is discernible from the fact that, even though the IMF chief supported the need for inputs from President-elect Obama in the G20 Summit’s working groups, Obama's spokeswoman announced on 7 November 2008 that he would not attend the Summit.
The transitional and adjustment periods for the incoming administration might be a little bit too long for comfort for some East Asian countries that are facing imminent challenges in the current crisis. Thus, some of them have taken decisive actions to cope with the effects of the current crisis. 
For example, South Korea announced on 3 November 2008 a US$11 billion package to boost the economy. The Philippine central bank cut bank reserve requirements by 2 percentage points unexpectedly move on 7 November 2008 Friday to pump more liquidity into its banking system.
AFP, “G20 summit will not yield Bretton Woods II, IMF chief tells paper” dated 8 November 2008 in the AFP/Yahoo website [downloaded on 9 November 2008], available at http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20081108/tts-finance-economy-imf-summit-c1b2fc3.html
Deng, Shasha, “Indonesia congratulates Obama, expects him to take lead in tiding over financial rout” dated 5 November 2008 in Xinhuanet/Chinaview [downloaded on 9 November 2008], available at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-11/05/content_10311649.htm
Francisco, Rosemarie, “Philippines surprises with bank reserve cut” dated 7 November 2008 in the Guardian/reuters website [downloaded on 9 November 2008], available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/7993935

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