Almost twenty years later

The Asian crisis was in 1997-98. We are in 2015. Not quite 20. But, the signs are there. As a friend put it, if some one went to sleep in 1998 after the crisis and woke up now, they would not know what has changed, if at all. One needs to follow the political developments in Malaysia, for example. Post-2008 crisis, dollar debt taken on by emerging economies, particularly by those in Asia (led by China) have increased significantly. Again, what has changed?

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) publishes ‘Global Liquidity Indicators’ twice a year. The August 2015 edition is overdue. The last one from February 2015 is still available. These statements caught my attention:

At end-September 2014, credit in US dollars to non-bank borrowers outside the United States totalled $9.2 trillion, an increase of 9.2% over a year earlier. This represents an increase of over 50% since end-2009. The total comprised $4.2 trillion of debt securities and $4.9 trillion of bank loans.” [Link]

Not saying all of it went to Asia. But, a good chunk did. With China having embarked on getting back exchange rate competitiveness (not that it would do much to alleviate its problems), Asian countries just have a fresh headache on their hands and a big one. They have a few big ones to contend with, already.



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