Over the next 45 pages we list the most innovative and ground-breaking deals signed in Asia and across the world in 2009.

The financial world seems to be putting their faith in the strength of the Asian economies to pull the rest of the world out of an economic malaise.

Whether these hopes are fulfilled is yet to be wholly confirmed, but if the results of GTR’s annual Best Deals of 2009 competition are anything to go by, Asia is certainly the place to be to succeed in trade, export and commodity finance.

The region seems to have escaped some of the negative press surrounding Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries in terms of non-performing loans and potential non-payment of trade assets. Similarly, the Middle East’s reputation has been dented during the last year by the potential impact of unpaid debts in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Even Europe continues to swim in rising debt, with Greece on the verge of default.

Asian economies, be it in China, India or even Indonesia, have escaped the crisis with their reputations relatively intact. As GTR goes to press, India’s finance ministry forecasts 8.8% economic growth in the coming fiscal year, whilst growth in 2010 is estimated at 7.5%. This will bring the country back in line with pre-crisis estimates.

A report on Asean countries (members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) released by Moody’s Economy.com in February reports that this region is also predicting high levels of growth in the fourth quarter of 2009. Such a recovery is being mainly viewed as export-led, with exports playing a far greater role in this crisis than in earlier Asian recessions in 1998-99 or 2001-02.

In particular, it is intra-Asian trade that is boosting volumes and making up for the lack of demand from US or European markets.
China and India are accelerating their demand for goods and natural resources to fuel their expanding economies. In line with this demand, Indonesia – a major commodity producer – is experiencing the strongest growth in exports in the region.

Other key economic indicators such as unemployment levels are positive. With rising employment, consumer demand will hopefully be maintained.

Yet, once the export catalyst to recovery subsides, private investment and consumption will be needed to maintain momentum, asserts the Moody’s economy.com report. To date, such investment has been weak, reflecting the lower levels of foreign direct investment in the region over the last year.

The sustainability of this Asian recovery is also reliant on policymakers to ensure their fiscal and monetary stimulus measures are kept in place until confidence is restored, and private investment returns. The world will be keeping its focus on the east for some time to come.