Thailand and Malaysia seek pan Asian infrastructure fund

The joint-ASEAN fund would use Asian countries’ excess foreign reserves to invest in infrastructure networks.

Thailand and Malaysia are looking to set up a joint infrastructure fund for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to Thailand’s finance minister Korn Chatikavanij.

The fund “can utilise the excess foreign reserves the Asian economies and central banks hold in order for that excess reserve to be put to use in developing infrastructure networks,” Chatikavanij told Bloomberg.

Slowing Asian economies are boosting infrastructure spending to stimulate growth. The Asian Development Bank will invest up to $140 million in the government-backed Indonesian Infrastructure Financing Facility, which provides financial assistance to infrastructure projects in the country.

In March, the Malaysian government unveiled a MYR60 billion ($16.5 billion; €12.5 billion) stimulus plan, on the back of a MYR7 billion stimulus package announced in November 2008.

In the same month, the Thai government announced plans to spend THB1.4 trillion ($39.5 billion; €30 billion) in infrastructure sectors such as education, transportation and public heath.

Singapore, which slid into recession in the last quarter of 2008, disclosed that it will invest between S$15 billion ($9.9 billion; €7.5 billon) and S$17 million annually in infrastructure projects in both 2010 and 2011.

ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.