SINGAPORE (May 13): The bad news on the global front does not seem to subside. US President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to impose additional tariffs on Chinese exports have aroused another bout of fear of a trade war. There have also been growing concerns over how much support global demand will lend to Asian exports as a result of the unexpected deceleration in growth in the later part of 2018. And, if that were not enough, the US’ actions against Iran — including the deployment of substantial additional naval forces to the Middle East — have stirred fears of a political shock in the region that could cause oil prices to spike to levels that could undermine global growth.

All the more important then that Asian nations find new domestic engines of growth that are impervious to global forces. This is where an infrastructure build-up comes in.

Recent developments give us more confidence that infrastructure development will indeed become a major energising force for economic growth. With many of the elections that were creating uncertainty either completed or out of the way soon, we expect a big further push to improve infrastructure. Moreover, China seems to be recalibrating its approach to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which we believe will lead to greater financial support for building roads, ports, airports and power stations in Asia and Africa — not just with help from China but also countries such as Japan and the US.

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