In the final episode of our series on the Asian financial crisis, we take a look back at key themes and takeaways from our conversations. We also discuss Nick’s recent research paper on Asian bond market developments since the crisis.
Some of the key themes we review:
- Most of our guests focused on the role of fixed exchange rates, foreign currency debt, and capital control liberalization.
- Still, 20 years later, there remain differing views on the importance of failed Asian corporate governance versus speculative foreign capital inflows in driving excessive risk taking ahead of the crisis.
- The region’s reaction to the crisis—notably a movement towards more flexible exchange rates and a build-up in foreign exchange reserves—led to a sea change in global capital flows, a shift some analysts consider as a contributor to the 2008 global financial crisis a decade later.
- Many problems previously considered distinct to emerging markets in the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis now appear to be universal.
- China faces a number of challenges similar to those of emerging Asian economies in the 1990s, including a rapid build-up in credit and currency management in the face of volatile capital flows.
- Asia’s bond markets have grown significantly over the past two decades and represent a growing alternative to the banking system. Whether these markets can provide a “spare tire” in time of crisis remains debatable, however.