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The Asian Liquidity Crisis

  • Roberto Chang
  • Andres Velasco

A country's financial system is internationally illiquid if its potential short term obligations in foreign currency exceed the amount of foreign currency it can have access to in short notice. This condition may be crucial for the existence of financial crises and/or exchange rate collapses (Chang and Velasco 1998a, b). In this paper we argue that the 1997-98 crises in Asia were in fact a consequence of international illiquidity. This follows from an analysis of empirical indicators of illiquidity as well as other macroeconomic statistics. We trace the emergence of illiquidity to financial liberalization, the shortening of the foreign debt structure, and the currency denomination of assets versus liabilities. We explain how financial crises became exchange rate collapses due to a government policy of both fixing exchange rates and acting as lender of last resort. Finally, we outline the policy implications of our view for both preventing crises and dealing with them.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6796.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6796
Note: IFM
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  1. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 1998. "Financial crises in emerging markets: a canonical model," Working Paper 98-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  2. Sachs, Jeffrey & Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andres, 1996. "The Mexican peso crisis: Sudden death or death foretold?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 265-283, November.
  3. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti & Nouriel Roubini, 1998. "What Caused the Asian Currency and Financial Crisis? Part II: The Policy Debate," NBER Working Papers 6834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Mendoza, Enrique G., 1996. "Mexico's balance-of-payments crisis: a chronicle of a death foretold," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 235-264, November.
  5. Jeffrey J. Frankel and Andrew K. Rose., 1996. "Currency Crashes in Emerging Markets: Empirical Indicators," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-062, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo O. Valdés, 1997. "Capital Flows and the Twin Crises : The Role of Liquidity," IMF Working Papers 97/87, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Velasco, Andres, 1987. "Financial crises and balance of payments crises : A simple model of the southern cone experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 263-283, October.
  9. George A. Akerlof & Paul M. Romer, 1993. "Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 1-74.
  10. Menzie D. Chinn, 1998. "Before the Fall: Were East Asian Currencies Overvalued?," NBER Working Papers 6491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Corsetti, G. & Pesenti, P. & Roubini, N., 1998. "What Caused the Asian Currency and Financial Crisis?," Papers 343, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  12. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann, 1996. "The Roots of Banking Crises: The Macroeconomic Context," Research Department Publications 4026, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  13. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  14. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: An empirical treatment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 351-366, November.
  15. Douglas W. Diamond, . "Liquidity, Banks and Markets," CRSP working papers 326, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  16. Steven Radelet & Jeffrey Sachs, 1998. "The Onset of the East Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 6680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
  18. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti & Nouriel Roubini, 1998. "What Caused the Asian Currency and Financial Crisis? Part I: A Macroeconomic Overview," NBER Working Papers 6833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 1998. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 6606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Rudger Dornbusch & Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo O. Valdés, 1995. "Currency Crises and Collapses," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 219-294.
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