Now in its third year, The Bellwether Series 2012 once again will return to these markets to examine critical opportunities and challenges in Asia-Pacific’s four key financial markets, including Australia on July 12th 2012.

The global financial crisis is still hobbling America and Europe. But it left a different legacy in Asia-Pacific. It was a blow to the region’s economies, but a boost to the region’s pride. Asia’s financial systems proved remarkably robust; its economic recovery admirably swift. Australia was no exception. Although its housing and credit boom mirrored Western excesses, its resilience during the crisis resembled its Asian neighbours'.

Many of Asia’s leaders, businesspeople and investors are now newly confident of an “Asian century” ahead. That confidence is reflected in bold economic projections about Asia's future weight in the world. It is also manifest in the strength of commodity prices--and the dramatic improvement in Australia's terms of trade.

But there is a danger in triumphalism. Asia-Pacific has its own vulnerabilities and challenges to overcome. Its diverse economies are variously threatened by middle-income traps and liquidity traps; the perils of inflation and deflation. In Australia, mining success has undermined manufacturing competitiveness. Like every other, it must constantly re-examine its place in a more elaborate international division of labour.

In many Asian countries, the economy has raced ahead of the financial system. The region’s share of global financial assets lags far behind its economic weight in the world, and its financial institutions sometimes struggle to keep up with more demanding savers and more ambitious firms.

Australia's financial system is highly sophisticated, but it is not without vulnerabilities of its own, including high household debt, secured against properties that may be overvalued. The recent slowdown in credit growth will help to preserve financial stability, but it will also hurt bank profitability. Some banks may venture overseas in search of richer pickings.

The Australia edition of the Bellwether Series will examine the state of the financial system at home and abroad. For Australia’s financial-services industry, what opportunities and risks does the shifting global landscape present? Are the woes of Europe's banks a threat to international liquidity or an opportunity for others to fill the gaps they leave behind? Will new international regulations on capital, and especially liquidity, hamper Australia's banks or clip the wings of their competitors? And what can the rest of the world learn from Australia's financial resilience? The Australia edition will offer a rigorous and global perspective on the country’s fascinating and evolving financial-services industry.


Dates of each Bellwether Series 2012 event:

Tokyo, Japan – May 16th 2012

Sydney, Australia – July 12th 2012

Seoul, South Korea – September 4th 2012

Beijing, China – November 16th 2012


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