March 27, 2014 / 10:51 AM / in 4 years


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SINGAPORE, March 26 (Reuters) - Foreign investment has poured into Southeast Asia over the past five years, with companies and investors betting that the bloc of 10 countries has the potential to be one of the world’s biggest growth stories over the next decade.

With 625 million people, its population is bigger than that of the United States or the euro zone, while its young workforce means it has few of the demographic worries seen in developed economies.

However, the region is far from homogeneous, and many investors who put a blanket bet on the bloc last year will have had their fingers burnt. While the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is targeting economic integration by 2015, the countries that make it up vary from the developed financial centre of Singapore to the frontier markets of Myanmar and Laos.

Political turmoil in Thailand and upcoming elections in Indonesia, along with concerns about the impact of the Federal Reserve’s tapering, mean the short-term outlook is far from clear. Added to that are fears of a slowdown in the Singapore and Malaysian property markets and ethnic violence in Myanmar. > BlackRock hunts shares in Philippines, Indonesia > ASEAN bonds set for near-term jitters -State Street > Indonesia can be SE Asia’s top car market -Astra CEO > OCBC eyes expansion in Greater China over ASEAN > Thailand’s Siam Cement aims to boost ASEAN business > Myanmar developer Yoma sees long road to integration > Hard to integrate ASEAN by 2015 -Philippine fin min > Philippine government wants more revenue from mining

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