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Groupe d'étude de marché

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Osip Aksenov
Osip Aksenov

The RelicMovie 1997

Another possible cause of the sudden risk shock may also be attributable to the handover of Hong Kong sovereignty on 1 July 1997. During the 1990s, hot money flew into the Southeast Asia region through financial hubs, especially Hong Kong. The investors were often ignorant of the actual fundamentals or risk profiles of the respective economies, and once the crisis gripped the region, the political uncertainty regarding the future of Hong Kong as an Asian financial centre led some investors to withdraw from Asia altogether. This shrink in investments only worsened the financial conditions in Asia[19] (subsequently leading to the depreciation of the Thai baht on 2 July 1997).[20]

The RelicMovie | 1997

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The foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries believed that the well co-ordinated manipulation of their currencies was a deliberate attempt to destabilize the ASEAN economies. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused George Soros of ruining Malaysia's economy with "massive currency speculation". Soros claims to have been a buyer of the ringgit during its fall, having sold it short in 1997.

At the 30th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, the foreign ministers issued a joint declaration on 25 July 1997 expressing serious concern and called for further intensification of ASEAN's cooperation to safeguard and promote ASEAN's interest in this regard.[27] Coincidentally, on that same day, the central bankers of most of the affected countries were at the EMEAP (Executive Meeting of East Asia Pacific) meeting in Shanghai, and they failed to make the "New Arrangement to Borrow" operational. A year earlier, the finance ministers of these same countries had attended the 3rd APEC finance ministers meeting in Kyoto, Japan, on 17 March 1996, and according to that joint declaration, they had been unable to double the amounts available under the "General Agreement to Borrow" and the "Emergency Finance Mechanism".

On 11 August 1997, the IMF unveiled a rescue package for Thailand with more than $17 billion, subject to conditions such as passing laws relating to bankruptcy (reorganizing and restructuring) procedures and establishing strong regulation frameworks for banks and other financial institutions. The IMF approved on 20 August 1997, another bailout package of $2.9 billion.

Following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, income in the northeast, the poorest part of the country, rose by 46 percent from 1998 to 2006.[41] Nationwide poverty fell from 21.3 to 11.3 percent.[42] Thailand's Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, fell from .525 in 2000 to .499 in 2004 (it had risen from 1996 to 2000) versus 1997 Asian financial crisis.[43]

In June 1997, Indonesia seemed far from crisis. Unlike Thailand, Indonesia had low inflation, a trade surplus of more than $900 million, huge foreign exchange reserves of more than $20 billion, and a good banking sector. However, a large number of Indonesian corporations had been borrowing in U.S. dollars. This practice had worked well for these corporations during the preceding years, as the rupiah had strengthened respective to the dollar; their effective levels of debt and financing costs had decreased as the local currency's value rose.

In July 1997, when Thailand floated the baht, Indonesia's monetary authorities widened the rupiah currency trading band from 8% to 12%. As a result, the rupiah suddenly came under severe attack in August. Therefore, on the 14th of the month, the managed floating exchange regime was replaced by a free-floating exchange rate arrangement. The rupiah dropped further due to the shift. The IMF came forward with a rescue package of $23 billion, but the rupiah was sinking further amid fears over corporate debts, massive selling of rupiah, and strong demand for dollars. The rupiah and the Jakarta Stock Exchange touched a historic low in September. Moody's eventually downgraded Indonesia's long-term debt to "junk bond".[44]

Amongst other stimuli, the crisis resulted in the bankruptcy of major Korean companies, provoking not only corporations, but also government officials towards corruption. The Hanbo scandal of early 1997 exposed South Koreas economic weaknesses and corruption problems to the international financial community.[47][48] Later that year, in July, South Korea's third-largest car maker, Kia Motors, asked for emergency loans.[49] The domino effect of collapsing large South Korean companies drove the interest rates up and international investors away.[50]

In the wake of the Asian market downturn, Moody's lowered the credit rating of South Korea from A1 to A3, on 28 November 1997, and downgraded again to B2 on 11 December. That contributed to a further decline in South Korean shares since stock markets were already bearish in November. The Seoul stock exchange fell by 4% on 7 November 1997. On 8 November, it plunged by 7%, its biggest one-day drop to that date. And on 24 November, stocks fell a further 7.2% on fears that the IMF would demand tough reforms. In 1998, Hyundai Motor Company took over Kia Motors. Samsung Motors' $5 billion venture was dissolved due to the crisis, and eventually Daewoo Motors was sold to the American company General Motors (GM).

In May 1997, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country's central bank, raised interest rates by 1.75 percentage points and again by 2 points on 19 June. Thailand triggered the crisis on 2 July and on 3 July, the Bangko Sentral intervened to defend the peso, raising the overnight rate from 15% to 32% at the onset of the Asian crisis in mid-July 1997. The peso dropped from 26 pesos per dollar at the start of the crisis to 46.50 pesos in early 1998 to 53 pesos as in July 2001.[55]

The Philippine GDP contracted by 0.6% during the worst part of the crisis, but grew by 3% by 2001, despite scandals of the administration of Joseph Estrada in 2001, most notably the "jueteng" scandal, causing the PSE Composite Index, the main index of the Philippine Stock Exchange, to fall to 1,000 points from a high of 3,448 points in 1997. The peso's value declined to around 55.75 pesos to the U.S. dollar. Later that year, Estrada was on the verge of impeachment but his allies in the senate voted against continuing the proceedings.

In October 1997, the Hong Kong dollar, which had been pegged at 7.8 to the U.S. dollar since 1983, came under speculative pressure because Hong Kong's inflation rate had been significantly higher than the United States' for years. Monetary authorities spent more than $1 billion to defend the local currency. Since Hong Kong had more than $80 billion in foreign reserves, which is equivalent to 700% of its M1 money supply and 45% of its M3 money supply, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (effectively the region's central bank) managed to maintain the peg.[60]

Stock markets became more and more volatile; between 20 and 23 October the Hang Seng Index dropped 23%. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority then promised to protect the currency. On 23 October 1997, it raised overnight interest rates from 8% to 23%, and at one point to '280%'.The HKMA had recognized that speculators were taking advantage of the city's unique currency-board system, in which overnight rates(HIBOR) automatically increase in proportion to large net sales of the local currency. The rate hike, however, increased downward pressure on the stock market, allowing speculators to profit by short selling shares. The HKMA started buying component shares of the Hang Seng Index in mid-August 1998.

In July 1997, within days of the Thai baht devaluation, the Malaysian ringgit was heavily traded by speculators. The overnight rate jumped from under 8% to over 40%. This led to rating downgrades and a general sell off on the stock and currency markets. By end of 1997, ratings had fallen many notches from investment grade to junk, the KLSE had lost more than 50% from above 1,200 to under 600, and the ringgit had lost 50% of its value, falling from above 2.50 to under 4.57 on (23 January 1998) to the dollar. The then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad imposed strict capital controls and introduced a 3.80 peg against the U.S. dollar.

Growth then settled at a slower but more sustainable pace. The massive current account deficit became a fairly substantial surplus. Banks were better capitalized and NPLs were realised in an orderly way. Small banks were bought out by strong ones. A large number of PLCs were unable to regulate their financial affairs and were delisted. Compared to the 1997 current account, by 2005, Malaysia was estimated to have a $14.06 billion surplus.[68] Asset values however, have not returned to their pre-crisis highs. Foreign investor confidence was still low, partially due to the lack of transparency shown in how the CLOB counters had been dealt with.[69][70]

The crisis had also put pressure on Japan, whose economy is particularly prominent in the region. Asian countries usually ran a trade deficit with Japan because its economy was more than twice the size of the rest of Asia together; about 40% of Japan's exports go to Asia. The Japanese yen fell to 147 as mass selling began, but Japan was the world's largest holder of currency reserves at the time, so it was easily defended, and quickly bounced back. A run on the banks was narrowly averted on 26 November 1997 when TV networks decided not to report on long queues that had formed outside banks, before the central bank had ordered that they be let in. The real GDP growth rate slowed dramatically in 1997, from 5% to 1.6%, and even sank into recession in 1998 due to intense competition from cheapened rivals; also in 1998 the government had to bail out several banks. The Asian financial crisis also led to more bankruptcies in Japan. In addition, with South Korea's devalued currency and China's steady gains, many companies complained outright that they could not compete.[73]

The U.S. Treasury was deeply involved with the IMF in finding solutions. The American markets were severely hit. On 27 October 1997, the Dow Jones industrial plunged 554 points or 7.2%, amid ongoing worries about the Asian economies. During the crisis, it fell 12%. The crisis led to a drop in consumer and spending confidence (see 27 October 1997 mini-crash). Nevertheless, the economy grew at a very robust 4.5% for the entire year, and did very well in 1998 as well.[75] 041b061a72

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