Bleak

ING Barings positions itself as the ASEAN investment bank but their analysts see little reason for cheer.

To underscore its continuing commitment to the nations of South-East Asia, ING Barings trotted out four country research heads yesterday at the close of a two-week investor client conference in Hong Kong. The start of the year is the time when investment banks stake out their claims of expertise, and weve been hearing a lot about the interesting markets of North Asia. Barings chose instead to bring attention to Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

To the cynic, this is because the US have eaten Barings lunch in Greater China and Korea, leaving them with a South-East Asian deal pipeline that will require public massaging. To the sympathetic, ING Barings is a regional...

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