Bank presents regional economic outlook

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Brunei hosted its Global Research Brief H2 2020 for their corporate clients where senior economists from its global network shared their outlook and insights on the year ahead. The webinar was hosted virtually for the first time and was attended by more than 100 corporate clients and stakeholders of the bank yesterday.

Permanent Secretary (Investment) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE) Haji Khairuddin bin Haji Abdul Hamid delivered a keynote address. During the webinar, Chief Economist ASEAN and South Asia, SCB Edward Lee and Head of ASA FX Research Strategist Divya Devesh presented views on the ‘The Aftershock’ and discussed the implications of recent market developments on ASEAN and Brunei outlook.

CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Brunei Pengiran Aki Ismasufian bin Pengiran Haji Ibrahim said, “I am proud and delighted to welcome everyone to our webinar. As an international bank, this is an attestation to the capabilities that we can leverage on for you to regularly share insights that are vital for your organisation. Earlier in February, we started the year with our Global Research Brief to share our outlook for 2020.

“And although we had already started to hear reports of the coronavirus becoming a serious situation in China, who would have thought that it would have escalated into this massive global pandemic disrupting global economic activity. While supply-side constraints have eased up, sluggish demand and fears of a second wave continue to hinder economic recovery. As countries around the world downgrade their gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasts, consumer confidence and trade sentiments have been relatively subdued.

“It has been an incredibly challenging first half of the year, but as more markets emerge from lockdown, we do see some green shoots and sentiment indicators suggest that recovery could be underway.”

Meanwhile, the permanent secretary said, “Our world is in a state of radical uncertainty.

Policymakers around the world have responded to the pandemic with unprecedented fiscal and monitoring coordination and while markets have certainly been comforted by such extreme policy support – it leaves us uncomfortably detached from economic fundamentals.

“Navigating these shifts well, and structuring portfolios to be immune to them will be critical to an investor’s success. We are witnessing a truly generational moment in terms of strategic asset allocation. In a zero-interest rate world, how do we achieve that diversification in a portfolio since nominal bonds can no longer play the balancing role that they have in the past?

“This changes the concept of flight to safety to a concept of flight to storehold of wealth. With so much fiat currency printing, perhaps gold, not cash will be the new king. These are the strategic questions that investors will have to grapple with.”