The global economy is being pulled and pushed in different directions. Whether it is the US’ trade spat with China or the fragility of China’s economy or the geopolitical stresses in the Middle East that are raising oil prices, the ups and downs of the news flow make it hard to discern the net impact. However, a close study of recent developments shows two opposing trends — the region will be hit hard by cyclical forces, but the structural prospects over the longer term are improving to the point where a new development surge is likely in Asean.

Things can only get worse

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