Friday, March 8, 2013


"...International Finance
But perhaps enough has already been said on that subject. Let me now move to the longer-term structural issues of concern to our monetary and financial systems. As I said earlier, we need to ensure that we come out of the crisis stronger rather than weaker. We need to identify structural defects, if any, and address ways of correcting them, not necessarily limiting ourselves to our own systems, given the globalisation of financial markets. You may be surprised to hear that we started a form of this exercise immediately after the tequila crisis in early 1995, well before the continuation of that crisis, now best described as the crisis of international finance, hit this region. While we were able to put together domestic contingency measures, some of which in the event had to be invoked, consideration of issues, involving as it did co-operation at the international and regional levels, took time. In any case, I must confess that none of us involved in this work, in Hong Kong and in the regional forums, were able to appreciate, let alone predict, when and how the crisis would hit us and how severe it would be. There was a lack of urgency and an abundance of scepticism about regional monetary co-operation. We have since pushed much harder in the international and regional forums, to the extent, I fear, that we might have become a little too noisy for the comfort of those who are, for one reason or another, in favour of maintaining the status quo in the international financial architecture. Indeed, of great concern to us is the inadequacy of the international financial architecture to cope with and harness the explosion of international finance. The size and volatility of global capital flows have grown tremendously relative to the global economy. Global output has grown by 26% between 1990 and 1997, before the financial crisis hit us. Global trade in goods has grown faster by 64%. But global finance, however measured, has grown much, much faster. Stock market capitalisation and turnover surged by 153% and 282% respectively. Foreign exchange turnover more than doubled during this period, and has now grown to roughly 70 times of merchandise trade. You have seen the consequences of this disproportionate growth of international finance in many parts of the world, in Latin America, in Asia, in Russia, in Central Europe, and in South Africa, where the associated volatility of capital flows posed serious problems. Even in the US, where the largest markets in the world operate in what must be the most favourable economic environment seen for many decades, the destabilising potential of international finance was brought home by LTCM..."


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