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Derivatives and Global Capital Flows: Applications to Asia


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  • J. A. Kregel

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)


There are four factors involved in the current financial crisis in Asia that have caused surprise. Since the Latin American debt crisis was thought to have been aggravated by the dominance of syndicated private bank lending, borrowers were encouraged to increase private direct investment flows. The stability of capital flows to Asia was used as an example. Yet, the Asian crisis appears to have been precipitated by the reversal of short-term private bank lending. Second, the flows of capital to Asia have been used as example of the benefits of free international capital markets in directing resources to the most productive uses. Yet, in the aftermath of the crisis it appears that total returns on equity investments in Asia have in fact been lower than in most other regions throughout the 1 990s. Third, it appears that in a number of Asian countries, the majority of the international lending was between foreign and domestic banks. It has been suggested that the major cause of the crisis is unsafe lending practices by the Asian banks permitted by inadequate national prudential supervision. Yet, these economies were the most advanced on the road to market liberalisation. One of the cardinal principles of financial liberalisation, formed in the aftermath of the Chilean crisis, is that the creation of institutional structures ensuring the stability of the financial system should precede financial market liberalisation. Indeed, many countries were following this advice. It is interesting to note that the lending banks were generally large, global banks who employ highly sophisticated risk assessment procedures. Yet, they appear to have continued lending well after the increased risks in the region were generally apparent. This suggests that even the most sophisticated operators in global financial markets have difficulties in assessing risk, and that their regulators were no more successful in imposing prudent limits. Finally, private portfolio and direct investment flows were considered to be preferable to syndicated bank lending because they were thought to segregate the problem of foreign exchange instability from asset market instability. Syndicated lending was denominated in the currency of the lending bank, and the exchange rate risk was borne by the borrower; but direct equity investors purchase foreign financial assets denominated in foreign currency and thus bears the currency risk. It was suggested that in a crisis the foreign investor would suffer first from a fall in asset prices, and second from a decline in the exchange rate, which would discourage him from liquidating the investment and reduce selling pressure in the foreign exchange market. Yet, the linkage between the collapse in exchange rates and equity markets appears to have been even closer in Asia than in other experiences of financial crisis.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9809001.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 18 Aug 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9809001

Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 25; figures: included
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  1. Stephen Brown & William Goetzmann & James Park, 1998. "Hedge Funds and the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm84, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Apr 2008.
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Cited by:
  1. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1999. "Hedging and Financial Fragility in Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," NBER Working Papers 7143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kearney, Colm, 1999. "The Asian Financial Crisis," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 1999(1-Februar), pages 29-55.
  3. Leonardo Burlamaqui & Jan Kregel, 2003. "Towards a Political Economy of Competition in Finance and Development," Anais do XXXI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 31th Brazilian Economics Meeting] a49, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  4. Martin Mayer, 1998. "The Asian Disease: Plausible Diagnoses, Possible Remedies," Macroeconomics 9805015, EconWPA.
  5. Martin Mayer, 1998. "The Asian Disease: Plausible Diagnoses, Possible Remedies," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_232, Levy Economics Institute, The.
  6. Nahid Aslanbeigui & Gale Summerfield, 2000. "The Asian Crisis, Gender, and the International Financial Architecture," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 81-103.
  7. Ilene Grabel, 2003. "Predicting Financial Crisis in Developing Economies: Astronomy or Astrology?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 243-258, Spring.
  8. Machiko Nissanke & Howard Stein, 2003. "Financial Globalization and Economic Development: Toward an Institutional Foundation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 287-308, Spring.
  9. Leo F. Goodstadt, 2009. "The Global Crisis: Fatal Decisions - Four Case Studies in Financial Regulation," Working Papers 332009, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  10. Eric Tymoigne, 2010. "Detecting Ponzi Finance: An Evolutionary Approach to the Measure of Financial Fragility," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_605, Levy Economics Institute, The.
  11. Ilene GRABEL, 2004. "Trip Wires And Speed Bumps: Managing Financial Risks And Reducing The Potential For Financial Crises In Developing Economies," G-24 Discussion Papers 33, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


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