By Shalendra Sharma
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Extra info for The Asian Financial Crisis: New International Financial Architecture: Crisis, Reform and Recovery
The US dollar appreciation Before the crisis, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines all adopted a currency basket system. However, the fact that the US dollar had a high weight in the basket meant that all had de facto pegged their currencies’ nominal exchange rates to the US dollar. One of the beneﬁts of such ﬁxed but adjustable exchange rate regimes was to provide macroeconomic discipline by maintaining the prices of tradable goods in line with foreign prices.
Thus, the Janus-faced capital ﬂows have the capacity to both improve and to destabilize an economy. Till recently, most Asian economies kept their ﬁnancial systems relatively closed. Foreign borrowing was limited and capital inﬂows controlled. The controls ensured that the ﬁnancial sectors remained generally immune from external shocks, despite their domestic fragility. Most importantly, the controls prevented domestic fragility from being translated into external 33 The Asian ﬁnancial crisis vulnerability in the form of short-term, unhedged foreign debt.
In what seemed like a permanent boom, stock market investors became accustomed to high rates of return. Until 1996, these expectations were self-perpetuating. When the market began to collapse in response to a realization that many ﬁrms could not generate earnings growth to justify stock values, many investors were literally shocked. As Corsetti, Pesenti and Roubini (1998) argue, these over-investment and overvaluation may have given the appearance of spectacular economic growth potential in Asia.