Commentaries, Speeches, etc.
[This page was last revised on March 13, 2000.]
|Click to get information about a conference on the Asian crisis,
January 4-5, 2000, Seattle, U. S. A..
Asia Recovery Information Center: useful site with a lot of updated information
This is an incomplete list of articles, commentaries, speeches by economists that are related to the Asian crisis. If you know of others that are not covered below, I would appreciate your letting me know. Please click here. Note that viewing articles in New York Times and Wall Street Journal may require registration.
See also articles related to foreign trade of the United States.
The following articles are arranged chronologically. Some of them are also arranged by country or issue:
| China | Hong Kong | Indonesia
| International Monetary Fund |
| Japan | Malaysia | South Korea | Taiwan | Thailand | United States |
Back to the Asian Crisis home page or go to the WTO home page.
Oct 12, 1999. "China Will Achieve 7% Growth This Year, Top Official Predicts," Dow Jones Newswires
"China's retail prices in August fell 2.6% from a year earlier, the 23rd consecutive month of deflation. However, it is a considerable improvement from a decline of 3.5% in May.
"Year-to-year growth in China's gross domestic product slowed to 7.1% in the second quarter of 1999, from 8.3% in the first, causing officials to worry that the full-year growth target of 7% might be unreachable.
"But Beijing has adopted a raft of measures in recent months to spur spending and revive economic expansion. Mr. Zeng said the stimulative policies, which include increases in civil-service pay and state investment, will enable the mainland to attain that goal this year.
"His comments follow a similarly optimistic prediction by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The state-run think tank forecast last week that GDP growth this year will be about 7.6%, and that growth in 2000 will be between 7.5% and 8%."
Oct 12, 1999. S. KARENE WITCHER. "Hong Kong's Job Market Is Improving, Survey Says," Asian Wall Street Journal.
Oct 11, 1999. Arthur B. Laffer. "Japan Rise Again," Wall Street Journal.
"In April the Japanese government cut the highest marginal tax rate on personal income (federal and local) to 47% from 63%. They did this simply by lopping off the highest tax bracket. The lower bracket tax rates weren't changed at all. The highest corporate tax rate was also cut by almost 10 percentage points to a smidgen over 40%. Small business tax rates were cut to 27% from about 34%. There were no phase-ins, no exceptions, no ties to deficit reduction, nor any of the other gimmicks so popular in continental Europe and the U.S. This was pure supply-side economics.
Sept 30, 1999. Yonghao Pu. "Devaluation Fallacies," Wall Street Journal.
Sept 29, 1999. "Malaysia's Mustapa Eyes 1999 Econ Growth Upgrade," Wall Street Journal.
"Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Mustapa Mohamad Wednesday said the government likely will revise up an economic-growth projection of 1% for 1999 when it issues the budget for 2000 next month.
"An upgrade is expected as the economy posted growth of 4.1% year-on-year in the second quarter and expanded 1.4% in the 1999 first half against the year-earlier period.
"The International Monetary Fund expects 2.4% growth in 1999, rising to 6.5% in 2000 - a figure he described as "overly optimistic."
"In a wide-ranging speech on the economy and Malaysia's financial and banking systems, the minister reaffirmed the government's commitment to keeping the ringgit peg to the U.S. dollar at its current level of MYR3.80."
Sept 23, 1999. Martin Feldstein. "Japan's Yen for a Weak Currency," Wall Street Journal.
"But why would investors expect the yen to keep rising? For two related reasons. First, Japan has an enormous current-account surplus (3% of GDP) while the U.S. has an even more oversized current-account deficit (3.5% of GDP). This year, that deficit has forced foreign investors to accumulate dollar investments at a rate of about $250 billion, adding to the accumulated net foreign investment in the U.S. that now exceeds $1.5 trillion. The reluctance of global investors to go on accumulating dollar investments at such a pace, with the associated exchange-rate risk, means that the dollar must continue to fall if American goods are to be more
competitive in world markets, slowing the rise of U.S. imports and increasing exports.
"Second, inflation in Japan is now negative and particularly so for the products Japan exports. The yen must rise if those goods are not to become even more competitive and Japan's trade surplus is not to widen further.
"There are some constructive things Japan could do to stimulate domestic spending. Substantial reforms of land-use rules could encourage more house building. A shift from government infrastructure spending to personal tax cuts would also help. Sadly, there seems little prospect for such changes now.
"Instead, attention in Tokyo is shifting to yen policy and net exports. Major Japanese industries say they need an exchange rate of 115 yen to the dollar in order to remain viable in global markets. The Japanese government has been intervening in the foreign-exchange market, selling yen in the hope of stopping its rise. Not surprisingly, such interventions have been overwhelmed by private transactions, leaving the underlying market trends unchanged."
July 9, 1999. Joceleyn Gecker. "High-tech `Cyberjaya' rises in Malaysian jungle," Associted Press, printed in Seattle Times
"Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad unveiled phase one of the futuristic city named Cyberjaya - a project expected to eventually cost $5.3 billion and usher Malaysia into the information age.
"In step with Mahathir's dream, Malaysia is today the world's largest exporter of microchips. So far, 225 companies have applied to set up shop in the Super Corridor. Among them are 78 foreign companies including giants like Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and Fujitsu.
"But amid the grand opening, Cyberjaya faces uncertainty. While officials say the essentials are in place and hail its opening six
months ahead of schedule, many are not rushing in just yet.
"A railway line to Kuala Lumpur has been stalled until 2001 and a network of three expressways is still under construction.
"Aside from Cyberjaya's headquarters - a few dozen neat two-story office chalets and manicured gardens - much of the 7,100-acre high-tech valley is unfinished."
July 3, 1999. Thomas Wagner. "Asia's markets roar back to life," Associted Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"South Korea, the largest Asian economy to require an IMF bailout, saw its gross domestic product grow by 4.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. Singapore's GDP grew by 1.2 percent."
June 22, 1999. "IMF 1, Democracy 0," World Street Journal.
"Making the rounds in Jakarta this weekend, Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer announced that any deviation from the IMF's prescription will be punished by a delay in the disbursement of bailout funds. No matter that the $42.3 billion deal was made with a banished dictator; the albatross just landed on a new neck."
May 19, 1999. JAMES T. AREDDY. "OECD Is More Upbeat on Asian Growth But Has Concerns About China's Reforms," World Street Journal. Preliminary OECD Economic Outlook No. 65.
April 28, 1999. MARTIN CRUTSINGER. "IMF has no answer to currency crises," Associted Press, reprinted in Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
"The International Monetary Fund failed yesterday to find agreement on how to prevent or at least better manage future Asian-style currency crises."
April 26, 1999. BRUCE RAMSEY. "Asian bank economist sees growth, more challenges," Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
"South Korea, his home country, is making the fastest comeback. Its economy, which shrank 5.5 percent last year, should grow by 2 percent this year.
"Hong Kong's economy shrank by 5.1 percent in 1998 as its property prices, the highest in the region, plunged. Yields are still low, and the bank's "Outlook 1999" says prices may have further to fall. Hong Kong's economy is forecast to decline 0.5 percent this year.
"Malaysia, down 6.2 percent last year, is forecast to rise 0.7 percent, Lee said, "if the political situation does not deteriorate."
"China grew at 7.8 percent last year and is forecast to grow another 7 percent. The growth will be entirely internal, Lee said; exports and imports are both falling."
April 22, 1999. A WTO report on world trade.
"In 1998, US's share of export in the world was 12.7 percent, a drop of 1 percent, while its share of import was 17.0 percent, a rise of 5 percent."
April 20, 1999. Martin Crutsinger. "IMF: World economy may rebound in 2000," Associated Press, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"The IMF said it expects the global economy will expand by 2.3 percent this year, just 0.1 percentage point higher than a forecast it made four months ago. That still would make this year the weakest since the last global recession in 199."
Mar 23, 1999. Patrick Harrington. "Asia slump, projects decrease earnings at Port of Seattle," Seattle Times.
Mar 23, 1999. THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN. "Thailand's situation stable after crisis forced needed changes," New York Times, reprinted in Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
"Thailand is still not out of the woods financially, but the situation has stabilized and the country is on a growth path again. What is most striking, though, is the degree to which Thai political reformers, who were hit hard by the economic crisis, now view it as an enormously useful turning point for their country."
Mar 19, 1999. Patrick Harrington. "Japan's economic woes translate into software sales for local firms," Seattle Times.
"The company is Encompass Globalization. It translates and modifies U.S.-made software to be sold in Japan and other Asian countries. Its 1998 sales rose 133 percent to $2.8 million from $1.2 million in 1997. If sales for 1999 continue at the current rate, they will reach $3.6 million by year's end.
"Encompass' boom times are fueled by Japanese companies struggling to cut costs by becoming more efficient. In many cases, companies are laying off workers and replacing them with computers and software."
Mar 9, 1999. Dirk Beveridge. "Sony to lay off thousands in Japanese retrenchment," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Japanese corporate stalwart Sony, in a move that effectively defines a strategy for Japan to recover from its long recession, announced a broad retrenchment today that calls for the elimination of 17,000 jobs."
Feb 23, 1999. Dirk Beveridge. "Economic crisis easing in Asia, but unemployment is still high," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"Paul Schulte, chief Asian investment strategist for ING Baring Securities (Hong Kong), says, "We're looking at a very, very mild recovery in 1999" - except for Japan.
J"apan, the world's second-largest economy, is stuck in its worst recession since World War II and has been unable to help pull neighboring economies out of their gloom.
"Japan's jobless rate hit a post-World War II high of 4.4 percent in November, easing only to 4.3 percent in December."
Feb 21, 1999. Tony Czuczka. "Economic warnings to be strengthened," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"The world's richest nations pledged yesterday to strengthen their early-warning system for financial crises like those that have rocked Asia, Russia and Brazil. However, the United States rejected regulation of currency exchange rates requested by Germany and Japan."
Feb 19, 1999. Stephen H. Dunphy. "Trade talks in Seattle will feature Clinton, Gore visits," Seattle Times.
"However, the region has continued to put itself on the trade map in recent years, starting with the APEC meeting in 1993. A WTO meeting of four of its major members - the Quad Meeting - was held here in 1995. The Asian Development Bank in Manila will hold its annual meeting here next year.
"The importance of trade was highlighted by the fact that Boeing and Microsoft chairmen are the co-chairs of the Seattle Host Organization. Boeing's international role is well-known, but Ellwanger said 70 percent of Microsoft's nearly $14.5 billion in revenue for 1998 came from trade beyond U.S. borders.
"Up to 5,000 delegates are expected at the meeting. In addition, Chabert said, delegations from 34 observer nations would attend as well as officials of nongovernmental organizations attached to trade.
"The meeting is expected to attract as many as 2,000 journalists from around the world."
Feb 17, 1999. "Japanese deny dumping steel in U.S. markets," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"Yesterday, major U.S. steelmakers and the United Steelworkers Union filed complaints accusing Japan and seven other countries of selling steel in the U.S. market at below production cost and home market prices.
"Bethlehem Steel, Gulf States Steel, IPSCO Steel, Tuscaloosa Steel, USX and the union said eight countries were responsible for pushing down prices that forced U.S. factories to significantly cut back production.
"Japan's exports of steel-plate products to the United States skyrocketed more than 5,800 percent to 278,180 tons in the first 11 months of last year, according to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
"The U.S. International Trade Commission has 45 days and the Commerce Department 160 days to make a preliminary determination of injury that could lead to new tariffs."
Feb 17, 1999. Martin Fackler. "Ailing Japanese banks attempt to stay afloat by improving service" Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"Sumitomo's newfound attention to service is part of a wave of restructuring, bad-loan write-offs and mergers that many here are hailing as the beginning of the end for Japan's 7-year-old banking crisis.
"Critics, however, say the reforms fail to get to the core of the banking industry's problems, which include a chronic lack of profitability, unwise lending policies and a severely tarnished
Feb 12, 1999. Michael White. "World Bank criticizes itself over Indonesia" Washington Post, printed in Seattle Times.
"The report concludes that bank officials overlooked warning signs of Indonesia's impending financial crisis because they were blinded by the rapid growth the country achieved during Suharto's 33-year reign."
Feb 9, 1999. Michael White. "Asian investors selling U.S. properties" Los Angeles Times, printed in Seattle Times.
"More than a decade after trophy-hunting Japanese launched a $100 billion buying spree of landmark U.S. buildings, investors from recession-battered Asia are now unloading properties in what appears to be the final chapter of the Asian real-estate invasion.
"The reason is twofold: Some companies, such as Arco Towers owner Shuwa Investments of Japan, need cash after having been squeezed by recession at home, analysts said. Also, healthier companies are looking for cash to re-invest in commercial property that is being sold at bargain-basement prices in Japan, Korea and other Asian countries."
Feb 2, 1999. "Indicators show U.S. will outrun Asian slump" Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"The Conference Board, a private research group, reported today that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.3 percent in December, signaling above-average economic growth in the months to come. The index rose from a revised level of 106.2 in November."
Jan 30, 1999. Stephen H. Dunphy . "Envoy: South Korea's on mend" Seattle Times.
"South Korea, one of the hardest-hit countries in the Asian financial crisis, may be one of the first to show signs of revival after almost a year and a half of problems.
"Lee Hong-koo, Korean ambassador to the U.S., told a meeting of the World Affairs Council in Seattle that growth in Korea could be between 1 percent and 2 percent this year.
Jan 29, 1999. LOUIS UCHITELLE. "Crash Course: Just What's Driving the Crisis in Emerging Markets?" New York Times.
Jan 28, 1999. "Talking trade: The Seattle Round," Seattle Times.
Jan 26, 1999. James V. Grimaldi and Stephen H. Dunphy. "Seattle will host WTO talks," Seattle Times.
Jan 25, 1999. James V. Grimaldi. "Next round of global trade talks to be held in Seattle," Seattle Times.
Jan 21, 1999. "Trade Deficit Sets All-Time High," Associated Press, New York Times.
"American manufacturers and farmers continued to be battered by the global financial crisis as the trade deficit surged to $15.5 billion in November. Exports of everything from passenger jets to soybeans declined.
"With one month still to be counted, the Commerce Department reported Thursday that the deficit for 1998 has already hit an all-time high of $153.9 billion, surpassing the previous mark of $153.4 billion set in 1987."
Jan 14, 1999. Merrill Goozner. "Economic crisis hits hard in Brazil," Chicago Tribune, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Brazil's deteriorating economy, which received a $41 billion International Monetary Fund bailout package just last month, has sent world financial markets a rude reminder that the global financial crisis hasn't ended.
"Brazil's monetary authorities unexpectedly devalued the country's currency 8.6 percent against the dollar yesterday and its central bank president resigned after a week of political turmoil. The third-largest state in Latin America's largest country defaulted on its debt last week after the Brazilian Congress failed to cut its huge budget deficit."
Jan 11, 1999. Renee Schoof. "Key Chinese investment firm files for bankruptcy," Associated Press, Seattle Times.
Jan 3, 1999. Michele Matassa Flores. "Asia's downturn lashes many Puget Sound area businesses," Seattle Times.
"In the first nine months of 1998, exports (excluding Boeing jets) from Washington state to Asia dropped 33 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to state figures. Especially hard-hit were agricultural crops, down 48 percent; lumber, down 42 percent; and fishing, down 35 percent.
"With Boeing's sales included, total exports dropped only 6 percent; but Asian airlines have been canceling jet orders, and the outlook for 1999 is dim."
Dec 21, 1998. Martin Crutsinger. "Threat of worldwide recession diminishes, IMF says," Associated Press, Seattle Times.
Dec 16, 1998. David Thurber. "Japan pledges $5.1 billion to aid Asian economies," Associated Press, Seattle Times.
"Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi today announced $5.1 billion in new low-interest loans to help troubled Asian countries rebuild their devastated economies.
"The loans, for projects such as roads, bridges, power stations and airports, also will help Japan's sagging economy because the contractors must be Japanese companies."
Dec 3, 1998. Yuri Kageyama. "Japan's economy continues shrinking," Associated Press, Seattle Times.
"Japan's gross domestic product, the measure of all goods and services produced in the country, declined 0.7 percent in the three months from July through September, compared with the previous quarter, the Economic Planning Agency said.
"The economy contracted at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, the agency said."
Dec 1, 1998. Martin Crutsinger. "U.S. steel industry first to demand tariffs," Associated Press, Seattle Times.
"The U.S. economy is steaming ahead despite the global economic crisis, but that's small comfort to steel workers in Pittsburgh or apple growers in Washington state."
Nov 28, 1998. Seattle Times news services. "Dollar rises to seven-week high against Japan's yen," Seattle Times.
Nov 28, 1998. Tara Suilen Duffy. "Economy still dim, but Asian stocks rally," Associated Press, Seattle Times.
Nov 27, 1998. Tim Smart. "Asian crisis takes toll on U.S. arms industry," The Washington Post, reprinted in Seattle Times.
Nov 26, 1998. Valerie Reitman. "South Korea's `love rice': A few grains feed many," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Since the crumbling of the economy late last year, hundreds of South Korean businesses have gone bust, leaving tens of thousands of people without jobs. City park benches and train stations now hold thousands who have been left homeless. Some parents have left their children at orphanages because they can no longer afford to feed them."
Nov 16, 1998. "U.S., Japan Propose $10 Billion For Asia's Continued Recovery," Associated Press, Wall Street Journal.
"The U.S. and Japan announced proposals Monday to pump an additional $10 billion into troubled Asian economies to help lift the region out of its worst economic crisis in decades.
"The package of new proposals would include $5 billion in new support offered by the U.S., and the creation of a $5 billion joint initiative supported by the U.S., Japan, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank."
Nov 15, 1998. Stephen H. Dunphy. "Japan on the edge: Economic crisis in Asia's powerhouse," Seattle Times.
"Japan has slashed its own economic outlook for the year ending in March, predicting gross domestic product will have shrunk 1.8 percent instead of grown 1.9 percent as earlier forecast.
"Coming on the heels of a 0.7 percent decline in 1997-98, the expected fall will mark the first time in the postwar era that Japan's economy has shrunk for two consecutive years. Yamasawa believes the economic slide will last well into the next century."
Nov 14, 1998. "U.S. and Japan tangle over tariffs," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"Over two days of negotiations, Japanese officials have adamantly argued they are in no position to cut border taxes in two sensitive areas - forestry products and fish - when their economy is in recession."
Oct 25, 1998. Stephen Dunphy. "Struggling Asian airlines mean a bumpy ride for Boeing," Seattle Times.
-- Japan Airlines', fiscal 1998 loss: $462 million. Forecast for fiscal 1999: $26 million loss.
-- Korean Air's fiscal 1997 loss: $753 million. Forecast for fiscal 1998: $139 million loss.
-- Thai Airways International's fiscal 1997 profit: $50 million. Forecast for fiscal 1998: $250 million loss.
Oct 23, 1998. Martin Fackler. "Japan to nationalize troubled major bank," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"In announcing the first nationalization of a Japanese bank since World War II, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said he approved the takeover of the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (LTCB), , whose recent troubles had shaken world confidence in Japan's banking system and prompted heated debate about a taxpayer bailout."
Oct 20, 1998. Martin Crutsinger. "Trade deficit at all-time high," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"The Commerce Department said the deficit for August was 15.3 percent higher than a revised $14.5 billion gap in July as exports of U.S. goods and services dipped 0.3 percent while imports rose by 2.2 percent. The deficit with China hit an all-time high of $5.9 billion.
"So far this year, the deficit in goods and services is running at an annual rate of $165 billion, 50 percent above last year's $109.9 billion imbalance."
Oct 18, 1998. Stephen Dunphy. "Economic memo: Liquidity is a solid problem in Asia," Seattle Times.
"In 1996, more than $100 billion flowed into Southeast Asia and South Korea in the form of bonds, loans and stock equity. In the first quarter of this year, that had slowed to a trickle, only $2.4 billion.
"In Japan, banks have a huge overhang of bad loans, perhaps totaling as much as $1 trillion. Because of that, banks have been reluctant to take on new loans no matter how good the customer. A severe credit crunch has developed in Japan, especially among small and midsize companies."
Oct 13, 1998. "Japan's lower house approves bank bailout," Bloomberg News, printed in Seattle Times.
"Japan's lower house passed legislation today allowing the government to spend up to $510 billion to recapitalize its debt-burdened banking system and help pull the economy out of recession."
Oct 12, 1998. "Japan close to finalizing $574 billion bailout plan," Bloomberg News, printed in Seattle Times.
"Japanese politicians are meeting today to hammer out details of a bank-bailout plan worth $573.7 billion, more than double earlier proposals and about 13 percent of the nation's gross domestic product."
Oct 8, 1998. Thomas S. Mulligan and James Flanigan. "Yen's surge suggests Asia is improving," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Responding to evidence that Japan at long last is nearing a political deal to rescue its tottering banking system, the yen surged, and the dollar tumbled by 8.7 percent yesterday - its biggest one-day loss against the Japanese currency in 25 years. The dollar continued its plunge today, dropping by as much as 8 percent.
"The explosive moves, which brought the dollar as low as 111.58 yen today from 130.29 Tuesday, immediately brightens the economic picture for hard-pressed nations across Asia. The changes ease pressure on Asia's beleaguered currencies and make their goods more competitive against those from Japan."
Oct 7, 1998. "The IMF's Response to the Asian Crisis."
Oct 5, 1998. Steven Mufson. "Economic crisis: How to contain the contagion?" Washington Post, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Forget about the Asian miracle, the Latin America revival, the Russian transformation, the mighty American economy and the triumph of free markets. The annual meeting this week of central bankers, finance ministers and private financiers at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank is about holding the line and forestalling global economic disaster."
Oct 4, 1998. Robert A. Rankin. "Economic summit leaves big questions unanswered," Knight Ridder Newspapers, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Clinton's effort to lead the world is weakened however, by the refusal of the U.S. House of Representatives to go along with his request to give the IMF $18 billion in new credits. The Senate approved the request on a 90-3 vote, but House Majority Leader Richard Armey, R-Texas, leads opponents in demanding an overhaul of the IMF before granting it more money.
"Meanwhile, G-7 officials are working with the IMF to assemble a special fund of approximately $30 billion to have ready for Brazil, perhaps as soon as this week, should the need arise."
Oct 3, 1998. Stanley Fischer. "REFORMING WORLD FINANCE: Lessons from a Crisis," Economist.
The IMF has been attacked for its handling of the world's economic and financial troubles. Here its deputy managing director, Stanley Fischer, responds.
Oct 1, 1998. Duncan Hughes. "IMF does U-turn on HK growth forecast," South China Morning Post.
"An IMF forecast said the economy was projected to contract 5 per cent this year, compared with estimates of 3 per cent growth, and will show no growth next year.
"That compares with the Government's revised estimate of a 4 per cent contraction in real terms this year."
Sept 30, 1998. "Japan plans $232b aid package to boost region," South China Morning Post.
"Tokyo plans to unveil a US$30 billion (HK$232 billion) rescue package for Southeast Asia at Saturday's Group of Seven meeting in Washington, Japanese Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa said on Wednesday."
Sept 29, 1998. Keith B. Richburg. "Will Malaysia be next to fall?" Washington Post, reprinted in Seattle Times.
Sept 28, 1998. Jim Rohwer. "China: The Real Economic Wild Card," Fortune.
"In the war of nerves between bulls and bears, China is the key. If it stays strong, another round of currency collapses can be avoided. But that's an increasingly risky bet.
"BCA China Analyst, a Montreal-based monthly, reckons that a fall in GDP growth to 6% this year would help push the unemployment rate to as much as 12%--which would mean 70 million people without work or unemployment benefits."
Sept 28, 1998. Jim Rohwer. "Hong Kong: Another Free-Market Casualty," Fortune.
"If anyplace in Asia over the years symbolized laissez-faire capitalism, it was Hong Kong. No longer. In August, Hong Kong spent $14 billion of its $95 billion of foreign-exchange reserves to buy stocks on its exchange--all in a failed attempt to stop a speculative run on its markets. Some traders say the city-state spent as much again in the money markets to drive down the high interest rates that were depressing its economy. Both gambits failed: Whenever the government stops intervening, stocks fall and interest rates rise."
Sept 28, 1998. Daniel Yergin and Thane Gustafson. "Don't Write Off Russia--Yet," Fortune.
"There's still time to save Russia's market economy from the dustbin of history. But it will take leadership and money--two scarce commodities."
Sept 28, 1998. Edward A. Robinson. "Brazil: Hanging by a Thread," Fortune.
"For the answer, watch Brazil. Brazil generates a third of its region's economic output and is also a major consumer of its exports. Brazil's GDP is twice the size of Russia's and two-thirds larger than Southeast Asia's and Hong Kong's put together. Lured by a hot economy, American companies have stampeded into the region. In 1998, Brazil expects to receive $12 billion in American direct investment, a 50% increase over last year, from companies like Ford, GM, Coca-Cola, and Xerox.
"In Brazil, where short-term rates already stand at about 20% and economic growth is now just 1.5%, the result would surely be recession. Argentina, which does 30% of its trade with Brazil, would lose steam. So, in turn, would next-door Chile and the rest of South America."
Sept 28, 1998. Todd Zaun. "Big Japan lender goes bankrupt," Seattle Times.
"A leasing company saddled with more than $16 billion in debt announced today it has filed for protection in Japan's biggest bankruptcy.
"Instead of starting a market meltdown, however, stocks in Japan rose 1.35 percent and analysts said the failure actually might be good for Japan's ailing banking sector."
Sept 27, 1998. Sheryl WuDunn. "Japanese parties settle on plan to revive nation's banking system," New York Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"With yesterday's agreement, a set of long-awaited financial laws could be passed by the Parliament by Oct. 7, when the current Parliament session ends. The new laws would set up a mechanism for strengthening Japan's banks, dealing with large bank failures and confronting the problem of bad loans that are at the heart of Japan's economic crisis."
Sept 23, 1998. Marc R. Crowe and Dominic Diongson. "Philippine officials aim to prevent airline closure," Bloomberg News, printed in Seattle Times.
"The biggest corporate collapse in the Philippines since the onset of the Asian currency crisis in July 1997 has left the government scrambling to ease the impact on an economy that's sliding into recession.
"It would add 9,000 people to the unemployment lines and also increase strains on a financial system that already has seen bad loans rise to about 10 percent of the industry total."
Sept 21, 1998. Nicholeas D. Kristof. "Japan Sees Itself as Scapegoat of Washington in Asia Crisis," New York Times.
"Japan was the first major country to pay attention to the crisis unfolding in Thailand in the summer of 1997, and then-Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto tried to get world leaders to discuss the economic instability in Asia at the Denver summit meeting, two weeks before the crisis exploded into the public eye. But no other leader wanted to discuss what then seemed like an obscure topic.
"Then just this month, Obuchi proposed that leaders of the industrialized countries meet to consult on the Russian crisis and global economic risks. Washington killed that idea, too. But a few days ago, as the crisis became more serious, Clinton summoned finance ministers and central bankers from the same countries to discuss the problems.
"Yosano noted that Japan has contributed $43 billion to rescue packages in Asia, compared to $12 billion from the United States and $7 billion from Europe."
Sept 17, 1998. Martin Crutsinger. "U.S. trade deficit grows to $13.9 billion in July," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
Sept 10, 1998. David Lamb. "Southeast Asia hammered by political unrest," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
Sept 7, 1998. Paul Krugman, "Saving Asia," Fortune.
Sept 6, 1998. "Global economic crisis spreads; so does call for G-7 action," Seattle Times.
"With international financial markets in turmoil and the risk of a global slump mounting, where is the world's economic leadership?
"Mostly out of sight."
Sept 6, 1998. David E. Sanger. "U.S. and Japanese Officials Split on Seriousness of Economic Crisis," New York Times.
"But in a sign of the growing split between Tokyo and Washington, Japanese officials bristled at the mounting American pressure and suggested that they were being made scapegoats for problems that are unrelated to Tokyo's seven years of economic mismanagement."
Sept 2, 1998. "Foreign brokers halt Malaysian trading amid confusion," South China Morning Post.
Sept 1, 1998. Paul Krugman, "An Open Letter to Prime Minister Mahathir," Fortune.
Sept 1, 1998. "Malaysia restricts currency conversion," South China Morning Post.
"Dr Mahathir said there would be no value attached to the ringgit outside Malaysia after October 1. All Malaysian currency in banks overseas will have to be brought back to the country by then.
"The ringgit has lost its value by nearly 40 per cent against the US dollar since the Asian contagion broke out in July 1997."
Sept 1, 1998. "The IMF's Response to the Asian Crisis."
Sept 1, 1998. Steve Holland. "Clinton offers Russia backing but no bailout to ease crisis," Seattle Times.
August 31, 1998. "World financial markets spooked," Seattle Times.
"Markets were hit harder in Asia. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 7.1 percent, its steepest plunge since January, as the government drew back from a $12.5 billion equity-buying binge."
August 30, 1998. Richard C. Paddock. "Russian economic crisis eases," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Even if funds were available, additional influxes of international money alone may not be the solution for Russia. Russia's economic and political turmoil persists despite the IMF's $22.6 billion assistance package in mid-July. The crisis underscores the fact that the United States and its rich allies are rapidly running out of solutions to halt the deepening global economic crisis."
August 26, 1998. "Russian money crisis deepens," Seattle Times.
"Central Bank support for the currency faltered today, forcing the suspension of trading at the interbank exchange for a second day in a row. The ruble weakened by more than 5 percent, trading at 8.26 rubles to the dollar in contrast to 7.86 rubles yesterday."
August 19, 1998. Sally Jacobsen. "Russia's ruble devaluation: what it means," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"On Monday, the central bank widened the trading range, saying it would not step in until the ruble fell as low as 9.5 to the dollar, from the previous lower limit of 7.13. That means it will tolerate a 33 percent drop in the ruble's buying power. One ruble, which was worth about 15 cents on Friday, is now worth about 10 cents.
"In addition, Russia also postponed payment on government treasury bills and imposed a 90-day moratorium on payments of foreign debt."
August 19, 1998. "Russian aftershocks: Stocks, ruble fall," Reuters, printed in Seattle Times.
August 18, 1998. Bloomberg News. "Hong Kong buys stock to hold line," printed in Seattle Times.
August 18, 1998. Martin Crutsinger. "Sick ruble is the latest challenge for global economy," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
Russia's ruble devaluation, just a month after promises of a $22.6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), dramatically underscores the fact that the United States and its rich allies are rapidly running out of solutions to halt a deepening global economic crisis.
Russia's economy hit more turmoil yesterday when the government of President Boris Yeltsin, after spending billions of dollars in recent months to prop up the weak ruble, announced it was letting the currency's value drop by one-third and would impose a 90-day moratorium on repaying some short-term debt to ease a cash crunch.
August 14, 1998. Bloomberg News. "Hong Kong government buys stocks, futures for first time," printed in Seattle Times.
August 11, 1998. Bloomberg News. "Dow sinks amid global stock slide," printed in Seattle Times.
August 10, 1998. Martin Fackler. "Japanese foes blast Obuchi over economy," Associated Press, reprinted in Seattle Times.
Obuchi has promised quick action to revive a recession-bound economy that threatens to throw the rest of Asia into a new round of economic chaos.
He is seeking to stimulate consumption with more than $41 billion worth of tax cuts and $69 billion in public spending.
August 9, 1998. Sue Zeidler. "Japanese bailing out of U.S. real estate," Reuters, printed in Seattle Times.
Japanese investors owned $10 billion in Southern California properties at the height of the real-estate boom, only to suffer steep paper losses through the 1990s.
According to Ernst & Young Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group, the Japanese are expected to unload between $3 billion and $5 billion nationwide in U.S. real-estate assets each year through the end of the decade.
August 6, 1998. Thomas Wagner. "Economists in Asia worry about Wall Street tumble," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
In Hong Kong, the key Hang Seng index shed another 212 points, or 2.8 percent, to close at 7,254, its lowest level since January 1995. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index closed down almost 116 points, or 0.72 percent, at 15,876.
Although the U.S. Federal Reserve survey said Asia's difficulties are cutting American exports and depressing farm prices, it noted strong consumer spending and a booming housing market are helping to keep the economy on track.
July 31, 1998. "Dollar hits 6-week high against yen," Seattle Times.
Japan's economy remains in the doldrums. The economy contracted 0.7 percent in the year ended March 31, its worst performance in 50 years. Japan announced today the jobless rate rose to a postwar record-high 4.3 percent in June.
July 28, 1998. Sharon LaFraniere. "Despite huge aid package, Russian market is slipping," Washington Post, printed in Seattle Times.
The stock market dropped 9 percent yesterday, the largest one-day decline since June. Buyers of Russian treasury bills are demanding as much as 74 percent interest, an unbearably high rate for the cash-starved government. Analysts said they sense renewed fear that the government will be forced into the drastic step of devaluing the country's currency, the ruble.
July 28, 1998. Eiichiro Tokumoto. "Experienced hand to guide Japan's finances," Reuters, printed in Seattle Times.
July 27, 1998. Hiroshi Ohta. "How to Revitalize Japan: An Economist's Manifesto," Japan Times.
July 21, 1998. "IMF approves $11.2 billion for Russia," Associated Press and Reuters, printed in Seattle Times.
July 13, 1998. Eric Talmadge. "Japan's prime minister quits," Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
July 11 1998. Stephen Dunphy. "Economist: Weak yen could spark new Asia woes," Seattle Times.
"At its present level of about 140 yen to the dollar, the Japanese currency remains weak enough to make Japanese products so competitive in the world markets that it could force another round of devaluations in the currencies of other Asian countries."
July 8, 1998. Martin Crutsinger. "Asia crisis to reduce world trade, bankers say," Associated Press, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Economic Asian troubles will result in a $35 billion increase in America's trade deficit and depress growth around the world, according to a new assessment of the year-old crisis.
"In the most detailed analysis yet of the cumulative effects of the crisis, the Institute of International Finance yesterday forecast a $115 billion hit in trade for industrial countries and a $46 billion trade loss for developing countries."
July 2, 1998. "Japan OKs rescue for failing banks," Associated Press, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Japan's government approved an ambitious plan today to assume control over failed banks and gradually shut them down, a step considered crucial to pulling the country out of its worst recession since World War II.
"Japan's financial institutions are saddled with a staggering $535 billion in bad loans left from the collapse in the early 1990s of the "bubble" economy created by rampant stock and real-estate speculation.
"In the first stage of the rescue plan, Japan would dispatch government accountants and lawyers to manage banks that go bust while looking for a buyer.
"The second stage calls for transforming the most troubled institutions from state-run enterprises to state-owned enterprises operating under a public-bank holding company. The entire plan should take no more than five years."
June 28, 1998. Sonni Efron, "Japanese shrug off economic 'crisis'," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"The prevailing attitude is that the country is not in any serious trouble, and that Japan hardly needs the Americans to tell it what to do.
"Unemployment, at a record 4.1 percent, is a huge concern. But Japan, with some $220 billion in foreign reserves and the highest savings rate in the world, is psychologically far removed from the homeless on the streets of South Korea and from the riots that brought down the government in Indonesia."
June 23, 1998. Keith B. Richburg, "Hong Kong aims to boost economy," Washington Post, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Conceding that the Asian economic crisis has had a more severe impact here than first expected, Hong Kong's leaders said the territory was heading into a recession, and they unveiled a stimulus package aimed at reviving the economy and stemming a huge downward slide in property prices.
"Hong Kong once was thought to be an island of financial stability amid the regional turmoil. Its currency is firmly pegged to the U.S. dollar, so the territory avoided the round of devaluations that swept through Asia last year. Its banks generally are considered healthier than elsewhere. And its now-departed British colonialists left behind an effective legal system and a professional civil service that largely have spared Hong Kong from the problems of corruption and nepotism that are common across the region.
"Yesterday, however, Tung conceded that some of the current problems "can also be attributed to the internal factors in our own economy." He said the spiraling land prices, high wages and high inflation of recent years had created a "bubble economy."
June 19, 1998. Maggie Farley, "China trumped Japan in crisis over currency," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"This week, China quietly used its clout to push the U.S. and Japan to take radical measures to shore up Japan's currency, say economists who met with China's top officials. In the process, China strengthened its regional role at Japan's expense."
June 18, 1998. Martin Crutsinger, "U.S. trade deficit hits record," Asociated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"The U.S. trade deficit soared to a record $14.5 billion in April as the Asian financial crisis battered American exporters, pushing down sales of everything from commercial aircraft to farm products.
"While imports declined a slight 0.9 percent in April after hitting an all-time high the month before, U.S. exports fell even more sharply, dropping 2.6 percent as the deepening recessions in many Asian markets cut into U.S. sales."
June 18, 1998. Seattle Times staff and news services, "Why U.S. boosted the Japanese yen," Seattle Times.
"The United States caught world markets by surprise yesterday by intervening in foreign-exchange markets for the first time in three years. That arcane and somewhat secretive process was used in an effort to halt the long-running decline in the Japanese yen's value."
June 17, 1998. Bloomberg News, "Dollar falls sharply after Fed sale to strengthen yen," Seattle Times.
"The dollar fell 3.5 percent today against the yen after the Federal Reserve sold dollars for the Japanese currency, a move traders interpreted as an attempt to prevent countries in Asia from slumping deeper into recession.
"The dollar fell as low as 138.25 yen, down from an eight-year high of 146.78 set yesterday."
June 16, 1998. Stephen H. Dunphy, "Hong Kong leader: MFN for China would steady Asia," Seattle Times.
"The vote on most-favored-nation status for China is more important this year than in the past because a favorable vote would help stabilize the Asian economic crisis, Hong Kong's No. 2 official told a conference in Seattle.
"Chan said a loss of the status for China - it is actually a normal trading status; only a half-dozen countries in the world are without it - would mean a loss of between $3.2 billion and $4.5 billion in business and job losses of between 61,000 and 87,000.
"It also would cut gross-domestic-product growth by 2 percentage points at a time when Hong Kong already is experiencing an economic contraction."
June 12, 1998. Martin Fackler, "It's official: Japan in severe recession," Associated Press, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"In announcing its first year of economic contraction in more than two decades, Japan confirmed today that it is in a severe recession, and fears deepened that its woes would worsen Asia's financial crisis.
"The Economic Planning Agency said Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal year that ended in March shrank by 0.7 percent, the first full year of economic contraction since 1974.
"To make matters worse, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto embarked on a program to raise taxes and balance Japan's budget just as its economy was showing its first sign of recovery since 1990. The tax increase squelched consumer spending."
May 31, 1998. Barbara Crossette, "Weathering the Storm: Southeast Asia Did Some Things Right," New York Times.
"Jean-Michel Severino, the World Bank's vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, cites three major achievements. The most obvious is "the good macroeconomic management that prevailed in the region for 20, 30 years -- tight monetary policy, no fiscal deficits, a kind of caution in the way public affairs were run," he said. "Unlike the Latin American countries, this will be the cushion that will allow them to absorb better the costs of financial restructuring."
"Second was the "outward looking" character of many of the region's economies, which took to the export trade with alacrity. Even though trade within Asia has crashed for now, they do not need to learn how to live in a global market.
"Finally, Severino cited "the tremendous investment they have made in education" and the quality of economic, business and government management it has produced."
May 28, 1998. David E. Sanger. "Analysis: Washington Sees Russia Crisis as Next Phase of Asia Crisis," New York Times.
"The financial panic that struck Russia Wednesday had distinctly Russian causes: the government cannot collect taxes, it suffers from an economy that is nearly moribund, and it has a well-regarded but untested new economic team. But in Washington, the Russian crisis looks very much like the next phase of the Asian crisis.
"In fact, the two are related. In recent days, as President Suharto was being toppled in Indonesia, the yen was falling in Tokyo and workers were striking in South Korea against long-delayed layoffs, investors began to fear that Asia's troubles are far from over and could easily spread to other emerging markets.
Apr 25, 1998. Sheryl WuDunn. "Japan Unveils $128 Billion Stimulus Program," New York Times.
"Officials from the United States and elsewhere around the world have been watching the slumbering Japanese economy with increasing alarm. Japan's $600 billion in bad and doubtful debt has dragged down economic growth since 1991 and the Japanese appetite for imports has diminished, posing a threat to other economically troubled countries in Asia.
"The amount of spending will be $92 billion, about the size of the economy of Poland, and almost all of it will be rushed into the economy within 12 months. Indeed, the spending portion of the package has been creeping up as criticism from around the world kept pouring in and investors kept battering the markets here. Now, the government says the package could add 2 percent to growth, though private economists are less optimistic."
Apr 21, 1998. Niholas D. Kristof. "Shops Closing, Japan Still Asks `What Crisis?'" New York Times.
"The lack of a crisis mentality means that Japan cannot summon the political will to lay off surplus workers, to extinguish insolvent banks, to snuff out the hopes of the kindly old ladies who run rice shops and futon stores. It means that there is little public pressure on Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to push for the sweeping deregulation and huge stimulus measures that the United States is urging."
Apr 16, 1998. Joseph Kahn. "Thai Business Dynasty Humbled by Asian Financial Woes" New York Times.
"The Thai government is determined to change the system, clearing a path for Western banks in this long-cloistered market. The International Monetary Fund has made an overhaul a central condition of its $17.2 billion bailout package.
"The changes are already striking. The central bank nationalized four banks earlier this year, wiping out founding-family shares. Two other banks have fallen into foreign hands, one to the Dutch banking giant ABN-Amro, and the other to the Singapore Development Bank. The rest are scrambling to raise funds in a way that insures long-term family control, but few see that as a realistic possibility for more than one or two of them."
April, 1998. World Economic Outlook, International Monetary Fund, May 1998.
Apr 13, 1998. Michael Mussa, Counsellor and Director, Research Department, International Monetary Fund, press conference on the publication of the World Economic Outlook, 1998.
"The growth forecast for the ASEAN-4 and Korea has been knocked down by another 4 percent on average for those five countries, and the growth forecasts for Japan as of the published version of the WEO has been knocked to a flat zero. Given recent data for Japan, it now looks as if zero may be a little bit difficult to materialize, but the fiscal stimulus package announced by the Prime Minister, I think, does offer some reasonable hope that in the second half of the year, at least, we will see some resumption of positive growth, though the first half continues to look weak."
Mar 19, 1998. Ray Young. "Asia: from blight to bright," Seattle Times editorial.
"Big businesses are usually the flagships of a country's economic fleets, and they usually determine the course of productivity for small and medium-sized companies. But in Asia, these conglomerates were defective at birth - they were the products of governments' economic housekeeping (especially in the banking industry), rather than the result of market forces at work. They were meant to do good - to launch the post-war Japanese and Korean economies onto the orbit of fast growth through relentless exporting. In China, high export strategies are intended to save the troubled government industries.
"As Japan, Korea, Indonesia and other Asian economies slump, China, India, Taiwan and Burma have taken a different path. This points to an interesting theory that maybe there is a business cycle going around Asia, uplifting some economies while dragging others down. That means Asia is too economically and culturally diverse to be one. And, because of that, we will never be able to count Asia out."
Mar 8, 1998. Elaine Kurtenbach. "China easing bank curbs to deal with Asian crisis," The Associated Press, printed in Seattle Times.
"To overcome Asia's financial upheavals, China is stepping up investment, easing controls on banks and getting its finances in order, the country's top banker said yesterday.
"Central-bank governor Dai Xianglong said China would tap its underdeveloped market of 1.3 billion people to weather the Asian crisis, while avoiding moves - such as a depreciation of its currency - that might worsen the situation elsewhere."
Mar 5, 1998. David Lamb. "Asian crisis leaves Malaysia's plans for growth on hold," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Western and Asian economists say they believe Malaysia is in a better position than Thailand or Indonesia to begin the process of economic recovery. Malaysia has not suffered from a serious foreign-exchange shortage, and in the last quarter it recorded a trade surplus."
Mar 5, 1998. Seth Mydans. "Indonesia Chief Falls Short on Promised Economic Reforms," New York Times.
"As a decision nears over whether to infuse billions of dollars in international aid to Indonesia, a close look at the performance of President Suharto shows a pattern of evasions and half-measures on the economic reforms he agreed to six weeks ago.
"From cars to cloves to banks to plywood, the painful austerity measures Suharto promised in return for the aid made brief appearances here. But many have disappeared again in a haze of missed deadlines, quick name changes and fiscal shuffling, according to Indonesian and foreign businessmen and economists."
Mar 3, 1998. Andrew Pollack. "Asian Financial Crisis Deals Body Blow to U.S. Operations of Asian Companies," New York Times.
"The American operations, for instance, have been a lifeline for Kia Motors Corp., a South Korean automaker that fell into bankruptcy last year. The American subsidiary was asked to accept shipments of extra cars, said Greg Warner, executive vice president of Kia Motors America. U.S. sales were up 65 percent last year and in January were nearly triple the level of a year earlier, because of the devaluation of the won and because new dealers have opened. But dealers are having trouble getting financing, Warner said.
"According to Commerce Department figures for 1995, the latest available, there were 109 nonbank affiliates of South Korean companies operating in the United States, with sales of $23.8 billion and 22,900 employees. Few Korean companies have set up United States factories in the way that Japanese companies like Honda and Sony have. So many of the most recent cutbacks since then have been in sales and administrative personnel and have tended to be small.
"South Korean banks are closing their American branches and selling loan portfolios. Korean banks collectively had 26 branches and seven subsidiaries in the United States with total assets of $21.2 billion at the end of 1996, according to the Bank of Korea."
Mar 2, 1998. Paul Krugman, "Asia: What Went Wrong," Fortune.
Mar 1, 1998. Stanley Holmes, "Singapore: an economic oasis," Seattle Times.
"For American visitors, this prosperous city-state seems a paradox in paradise.
"Singapore escapes the worst of the financial crisis by producing the one commodity key to its survival - efficiency. Its obsession with being the best, creating the climate and the infrastructure to support business ventures, has turned it into Southeast Asia's most orderly and regulated city.
"One of the most important factors insulating Singapore from the wider Asian crisis was a campaign begun years ago to free Singapore of corruption - an underlying cause of the economic collapse in neighboring countries such as Indonesia."
Feb 25, 1998. Art Pine, "Greenspan signals a wait-and-see approach on interest rates," Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan signaled yesterday that the Fed would probably hold interest rates steady for several more months - at least until it becomes more certain about the Asian economic slump's impact on the U.S. economy."
Feb 24, 1998. Stephen H. Dunphy, "Asian `tigers': Financial crisis overwhelms region, but base is there for eventual recovery," Seattle Times. [Discussion about the Thai and Korean debt problems.]
Feb 17, 1998. "Bailout is failing, Indonesia tells U.S.," Seattle Times.
"Despite a $43 billion international bailout, Indonesia's crisis has failed to abate. The nation's currency, the rupiah, has remained severely depressed. The rupiah fell another 14 percent yesterday against the U.S. dollar, closing at 9,800 rupiah per dollar. At that level, few Indonesian companies can afford to import the raw materials they need to continue operating, and most are technically bankrupt because they can't afford to repay the dollars they borrowed previously.
"The Indonesian president, having evidently concluded that his country is gaining little from the conventional market-oriented reforms prescribed by the IMF, is pushing ahead with a proposal to establish a "currency board" that would rigidly fix the exchange rate for the rupiah at about 5,000 per dollar."
Feb 16, 1998. Jim Rohwer, with Tony Paul and Neel Chowdhury reporting. "Asia's Meltdown: The Risks Are Rising," Fortune.
"Economists scramble every couple of weeks to downgrade their estimates of East Asian GDP growth for 1998. Many now expect severe contractions in Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea--declines of anywhere from 4% to 8%--and no better than zero growth in Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines, with slight expansions in Hong Kong and Singapore. Only China and Taiwan should remain fairly robust."
Feb 10, 1998. Stephanie Strom. "In Korea, Domestic Loans Said to Be Serious Problem," New York Times. [Graph: Total debt as a percentage of its GDP]
"South Korean banks owe their foreign counterparts some $153 billion, about $23.4 billion of which was short-term debt until it was restructured last month. That total pales beside domestic debt, the money South Korean companies owe South Korean financial institutions, which at current exchange rates is somewhat more than $300 billion, according to analysts.
"Between 50 percent and 75 percent of domestic debt is short term, much of it in the form of "oum" notes that come due in three to six months. A Korean tradition, the use of "oum," or promissory, notes, is pervasive in South Korean business.
"Analysts estimate that at least 20 percent of the domestic loan portfolio, or somewhere between $60 billion and $65 billion, is probably already in default, and other estimates range as high as 30 percent or 40 percent."
Feb 9, 1998. Evelyn Iritani. "Cheap imports? Where?" Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
"The long-predicted flood of imports from Asia has yet to materialize, but U.S. sales to most of that region have taken a serious hit because of Asia's economic crisis and the strong dollar, the latest trade data show."
Feb 4, 1998. C. Fred Bergsten, "The Trade Implications of the Asian Financial Crisis," testimony given before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate.
Feb 2, 1998. James K. Galibraith. "Bracing for the Asian Shock Wave," New York Times.
"Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, predicted last week that the economy, hindered by increased competition from Asian imports and declining exports, would begin to slow by June. My colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington research group, estimate that the drop in exports to Asia will cost more than a million American jobs next year. Falling Asian currencies also mean a rising dollar, which will hit the pay of those Americans -- like garment and electronics workers -- who compete directly with their Asian counterparts."
Jan 30, 1998. Alan Greenspan. Testimony Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives.
Jan 30, 1998. "Left, right unite against IMF Asia bailout," - Reactions of some people in the U. S. to the IMF Asian bailout. Seattle Times.
Jan 28, 1998. Timothy L. O'Brien. "Banks Were Slow to See Warning Signs in Asia," New York Times.
Jan 22, 1998. Stanley Fischer. "The Asian Crisis: A View from the IMF," a speech given at the Midwinter Conference of the Bankers' Association for Foreign Trade.
"The key domestic factors that led to the present difficulties appear to have been: first, the failure to dampen overheating pressures that had become increasingly evident in Thailand and many other countries in the region and were manifested in large external deficits and property and stock market bubbles; second, the maintenance of pegged exchange rate regimes for too long, which encouraged external borrowing and led to excessive exposure to foreign exchange risk in both the financial and corporate sectors; and third, lax prudential rules and financial oversight, which led to a sharp deterioration in the quality of banks' loan portfolios. As the crises unfolded, political uncertainties and doubts about the authorities' commitment and ability to implement the necessary adjustment and reforms exacerbated pressures on currencies and stock markets. Reluctance to tighten monetary conditions and to close insolvent financial institutions has clearly added to the turbulence in financial markets."
Jan 19, 1998. Sreenath Sreenivasan. "Tracking the Asian Economic Crisis," New York Times. - It has links to many home pages of the Asian crisis.
Jan 15, 1998. Seth Faison. "Chinese Economic Leaders Read a Warning in Asian Crisis," New York Times.
Jan 13, 1998. Edward A. Gargan, "Hong Kong's Peregrine Soared Like a Falcon, Sank Like a Reckless Bank," New York Times.
Jan 12, 1998. Rudi Dornbusch, "What's the Weakest Link in the World Economy? Japan," Business Week.
Jan 8, 1998. Louis Uchitelle. "Economists Blame Short-Term Loans for Asian Crisis," New York Times.
"In more than a dozen interviews at the three-day conference of the American Economic Association this week, a common theme emerged: that rules should be developed to discourage the sort of short-term borrowing that can suddenly leave a country like South Korea overindebted to the industrial nations.
"The Asian crisis stems in part from a lending syndrome that appears periodically, when interest rates vary markedly from country to country. The opportunity arises for a Japanese or European or U.S. bank to borrow yen or dollars at low interest rates, and relend the money at significantly higher rates for short periods to banks in, say, Korea or Thailand, which then relend the money for long periods at still higher rates to local companies.
"The foreign banks roll over the yen or dollar loans as they expire, until the borrower's currency, such as the Korean won or the Thai baht, loses value. The foreign loans suddenly become more expensive to repay. The lenders, alarmed, refuse to roll over the short-term debt. The borrowers cannot repay fast enough, and a crisis erupts."
Jan 7, 1998. David E. Sanger, "Aid Programs for Thailand, Indonesia Show Signs of Faltering," New York Times.
"As the United States has focused on rescuing South Korea, the emergency programs to stabilize Thailand and Indonesia have begun to unravel, raising new fears about the effectiveness of the International Monetary Fund's prescriptions for stabilizing large regions of Asia.
"At the end of December, the IMF sent President Suharto, Asia's longest-serving leader, a strongly worded letter urging his government to carry out economic changes. Members of the Suharto family and close friends of the president, who hold huge financial stakes in the country's most lucrative businesses, have sought to dilute or evade such reforms.
Jan 4, 1998. Seth Faison. "One Korean Certainty: No More Business as Usual," New York Times.
"South Korea's financial crisis, so much worse than anyone had predicted, is forcing business executives, government officials and ordinary people to thoroughly rethink the way they have done things for decades. Financial methods and practices left over from a simpler era are abruptly clashing with the demands of a more modern society, like accountability and openness, and it is as true for big conglomerates as it is for housewives like Mrs. Kim.
"The current crisis emerged from a tight collusion between big companies and government that meant that credit was allocated using political, and not financial, criteria. Only when several of South Korea's enormous conglomerates started going bankrupt did the extent of the problem emerge."
Jan 2, 1998. "Taking China's pulse with the Hong Kong flu," Seattle Times editorial.
"The central government in Beijing surprised the Hong Kong banking and investment community by suggesting Hong Kong itself was best able to gauge its own response to the regional economic tremors.
"Mainland officials also pledged to back the Hong Kong dollar with huge cash reserves to fend off currency speculators."
Dec 20, 1997. Richard W. Stevenson and David E. Sanger. "Asian Crisis Could Wreak Havoc on Balance of Trade," New York Times.
"After years in which the strong economy has dampened confrontations over international trade, the issue is set to flare again against a backdrop of turmoil in Asia as imports surge and exporters find it more difficult to sell their goods abroad."
Dec 10, 1997. Jonathan Fuerbringer. "How Asian Currencies Tumbled So Quickly," New York Times.
Nov 28, 1997. Art Pine, "Close-Up: U.S. response to economic crisis in Asia - too little, too late?" Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Seattle Times.
Nov 28, 1997. Mary Jordon, "As its neighbors reel, Japan turns away from leadership role," Washington Post. Reprinted in Seattle Times.
Nov 24, 1997. Jim Rohwer. "The Dollar Rules," New York Times.
"Rampant devaluations across Asia. Hong Kong's battle to retain its fixed currency link with the U.S. Dollar. They all signal that a new global monetary order is dawning--dominated by America"
Nov 24, 1997. Neel Chowdhury and Anthony Paul. "Where Asia Goes From Here," Fortune.
"The great Asian stock market crash--over $400 billion in losses so far this year--has had little effect on politicians from Tokyo to Jakarta. Are they dreaming?
Are there any quick-fix solutions to the current slump? In a limited way, yes. At least three countries reeling from the economic meltdown--Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand--are blessed with oil and other natural resources that can be easily converted into exports. Thanks to the currency devaluations, these products now look like real bargains. Tourism, a great way to generate cash even in hard times, is another critical industry that's automatically bolstered by softer currencies."
Nov 24, 1997. Edward W. Desmond. "Japan: A Model for What Not to Do," Fortune.
"Even with those risks, many economists question whether Japan can afford to apply any new Keynesian or supply-side tonics, given the size of its budget deficit and the huge burden it faces in caring for the world's most rapidly aging population. "Japan's policymakers are adopting a fatalistic approach," says Peter Tasker, a strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson. "They managed to prevent heavy unemployment and bankruptcies of major corporations in the 1990s. Now they feel the economy may just have to take its lumps."
"If the setbacks roiling the rest of Asia make it impossible to dodge a contraction, Japan can only hope that its coming slump will at least force it to deregulate and restructure the way it should have ten years ago. That, of course, is a lesson its neighbors would do well to ponder too."
Oct 27, 1997. Ronald Henkoff. "ASIA: Why Business Is Still Bullish," Fortune.
"Despite the turmoil rocking the region, big Western companies continue to see Asia as the market of the future and are betting big to prove it."
Oct 13, 1997. James C. Cooper, "An Island of Calm Amid Currency Turmoil," Business Week.
Sept 15, 1997. Rudi Dornbusch, "An Achilles' Heel that Could Cripple China," Business Week.
Jul 14, 1997. Rudi Dornbusch, "The Asian Juggernaut Isn't Slowing Down," Business Week.
Nov 1994. Paul Krugman, "The Myth of Asia's Miracle," Foreign Affairs.
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