Recent developments in monetary and financial integration in Asia
Asia’s share of world trade has expanded constantly over the last two decades. This increase reflects, inter alia, the considerable strengthening of trade links between the countries of the region, fostered by the vertical specialisation of the Asian economies. In the 1980s, the most advanced economies in the region, e.g. Japan, relocated the most labour-intensive stages of their production processes to the newly-industrialised Asian economies like South Korea and Singapore and then, in the 1990s, to emerging Asia, i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. The emergence of China has also given signifi cant impetus to regional trade integration. Surging intra-regional direct investment fl ows have accompanied and shored up trade fl ows, however, portfolio investment fl ows and cross-border bank loans have remained limited. Given that production processes within the region are complementary and that the final destination for exports is outside the region, the lack of a regional exchange rate arrangement in Asia does not appear to be a concern in the short term. Indeed, the regional integration initiatives adopted in Asia in the aftermath of the 1997-1998 financial crisis aim to build further resilience to fi nancial market turbulence. Firstly, deeper and more liquid local bond markets should make it possible to reduce the double financial mismatch, i.e. the currency mismatch and maturity mismatch, which largely sustained the crisis. In this regard, the ASEAN+3 Asian Bond Market Initiative examines the supply-side issues while the Asian Bond Funds initiative of the Executives’ Meeting of East Asia-Pacifi c Central Banks (EMEAP) deals with demand-side issues via the pooling of resources to buy bonds issued by member countries. Secondly, the Chiang Mai Initiative, which consists in a network of currency swap arrangements between the central banks of the ASEAN+3 member states, provides these countries with a regional fi nancial assistance mechanism in the event of a liquidity crisis. The Asian vertical model of production appears to have reached its limit and is evolving towards a more “horizontal” model in terms of both production (substitutability of production processes as a result of the shift towards higher value-added activities) and consumption (expansion of the regional market linked to the growth potential of domestic Chinese demand). Regional monetary co-operation could therefore aim in the future at curbing intra-regional exchange rate fl uctuations in order to promote trade and investment within the region.
Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): 8 (May)
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