While bar charts, line graphs and simple numbers are hardly capable of providing the defining answer to many economic, social and political questions, they are certainly a good way of obtaining a general overview of any particular subject.
Each month the Business Supplement will look into a brace of statistical information and provide readers with what we consider to be the central elements of these figures.
Who’s doing big business in the region?
With more than 600 million people spread across the 11 nations which comprise Southeast Asia, it’s no wonder some of the biggest names in the world of business and finance are constantly looking to grow their reach and influence by way of mergers and acquisitions.
According to a source called Mergermarket, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been the biggest players in the mergers and acquisition marketplace across the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) in 2016 and 2017 with 129 deals between them last year. It is not known precisely how many of these were just in the Southeast Asian marketplace.
Other major players include UBS Investment Bank, JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the China International Capital Corporation (the highest-ranked on the list not based outside the region). These four conglomerates engaged in 171 merger and acquisition deals in 2017.
Malnutrition in Asean
According to data recently released by Asean, Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO), Thailand rates fairly well in comparison to some of its neighbours when it comes to what is defined as ‘stunting’ among children aged five years and under.
Stunting, or stunted growth, refers to ‘height for age’ which is more than two standard deviations below the WHO median. On this metric Thailand has 16 percent, or some 637,719 children, who are classified as ‘stunted’. This compares with a massive 44 percent in Laos, 37 percent in Indonesia, 35 pecent in Myanmar, 32 percent in Cambodia and 30 percent in the Philippines.
Thailand does not rate well when it comes to what WHO refers to as ‘wasting’. This refers to ‘weight for height’ that is at least three standard deviations below the median.
In the wasting category Thailand is at seven percent, the same as Vietnam. This is marginally better than Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines, who are all on eight percent while Laos is six percent.
The WHO ranks anything at five percent or above as beyond the threshold of public health significance, so the likes of Indonesia at 12 percent and Cambodia at 10 percent are in serious trouble in the nutritional space.
Only Brunei, at three percent, is below the WHO threshold. No figures are available for Singapore.
According the data, around 15.5 percent of the Thai population suffers from food inadequacy, compared to just five percent in Brunei and 5.5 percent in Malaysia. Sadly, a massive 29.1 percent of the Laos population suffers food inadequacy, while Myanmar (23.5) and Cambodia (23 percent) are not far behind.