Wednesday, 1 January 2014

ZeroHedge compares the Asian Financial crisis to the US dollar bloc.

My second post on this blog went over the Asian Financial crisis in detail and how it compared to the US dollar bloc over the last few decades. I still think this particular crisis does not get nearly enough coverage in these times.  But props to Tyler and ZeroHedge for mentioning it in a recent post.
Although I don't agree with the premise that Thailand is imploding now (its a creditor now and political crisis has been priced in for 30 years), they have it right about the 1997 crisis and the comparison. Here is the post.

The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of Asia beginning in July 1997, and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion.

The crisis started in Thailand with the financial collapse of the Thai baht after the Thai government was forced to float the baht due to lack of foreign currency to support its fixed exchange rate, cutting its peg to the US$, after exhaustive efforts to support it in the face of a severe financial overextension that was in part real estate driven. At the time, Thailand had acquired a burden of foreign debt that made the country effectively bankrupt even before the collapse of its currency. As the crisis spread, most of Southeast Asia and Japan saw slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and other asset prices, and a precipitous rise in private debt.

Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand were the countries most affected by the crisis.


The causes of the debacle are many and disputed. Thailand's economy developed into an economic bubble fueled by hot money. More and more was required as the size of the bubble grew. The same type of situation happened in Malaysia, and Indonesia, which had the added complication of what was called "crony capitalism". The short-term capital flow was expensive and often highly conditioned for quick profit. Development money went in a largely uncontrolled manner to certain people only, not particularly the best suited or most efficient, but those closest to the centers of power.

At the time of the mid-1990s, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea had large private current account deficits and the maintenance of fixed exchange rates encouraged external borrowing and led to excessive exposure to foreign exchange risk in both the financial and corporate sectors.

In the mid-1990s, a series of external shocks began to change the economic environment – the devaluation of the Chinese renminbi and the Japanese yen, raising of US interest rates which led to a strong U.S. dollar, the sharp decline in semiconductor prices; adversely affected their growth.


Many economists believe that the Asian crisis was created not by market psychology or technology, but by policies that distorted incentives within the lender–borrower relationship. The resulting large quantities of credit that became available generated a highly leveraged economic climate, and pushed up asset prices to an unsustainable level
 Just like the US dollar bloc. And it bares repeating that the AFC currencies lost 50% of their value with no QE and no money printing at all. 

This was my post on the subject: 


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