Speaking Of Asia

On the 25th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis, is once-saviour China the new worry?

While there is no call to panic, some wariness is warranted in South-east Asia. On the other hand, the longer-term prospects aren’t bad at all.

Beijing probably has the firepower, and the smarts, to tide over this difficult period. Nevertheless, a period of concern awaits, for China and Asia, says the writer. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Amid the preoccupations of pandemic-induced disruption, Asia this month marked the 25th anniversary of a different contagion - the financial crisis that swiftly enveloped the region after the dramatic devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997.

Millions of jobs were lost and much value in stocks and currencies wiped out in the months that followed, as reverberations from the collapse of the baht spread outwards from Thailand, and into Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and elsewhere. Singapore, too, did not escape contraction.

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