Putting Asia's finance ministers to the test

FinanceAsia is again ranking the finance ministers from 12 leading Asian economies. We will name them from top to bottom, ending in the Finance Minister of the Year.

It was undoubtedly a difficult year to be a finance minister in Asia. Political shifts not only caused short-term bouts of volatility, but also led to questions about global trade. Private investment remains weak in many countries. Export demand was disappointing.

But it is during the tough times that finance ministers prove their ability. 

FinanceAsia weighed up the best finance ministers in major economies across the region, looking at those who have made the best contribution to growth, helped balance their countries’ budgets, pushed for much-needed reforms or helped their nations appeal to international investors.

There can be no cast-iron method of deciding the best, or indeed the worst, finance minister. Different countries face vastly different challenges. Institutional frameworks differ drastically, giving finance ministers more or less leeway to push through policy changes.

But those men and women near the top of our list impressed our judges by their commitment to reform. Our winner, who will be revealed later, perhaps best personifies the reformist spirit that so impressed us. It's a new name at the top of the leaderboard after a change of Philippine government saw Cesar Purisima stand down undefeated, having topped the list last year and in the inaugural ranking in  2015.

There were few seismic shifts in policy this year. Most finance ministers opted for the slow and steady approach. For some countries, that was the right thing. But in a difficult year, those who were willing to act boldly stood out from the crowd. 

We will reveal the next minister on our list below, every day. Click on the pictures for the full story.

1

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia 

2

Arun Jaitley, India 

3

Yoo Il-ho, South Korea 

4

Carlos 'Sonny' Dominguez, The Philippines 

5

Lou Jiwei, China

6

Heng Swee Keat, Singapore

7

Sheu Yu-jer, Taiwan

8

John Tsang, Hong Kong

9

Scott Morrison, Australia

10

Najib Razak, Malaysia

11

Taro Aso, Japan

12

Apisak Tantivorawong, 
Thailand

 

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