US cuts unlikely to cause Asia crisis

Updated: 2013-08-22 13:36


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Emerging markets in Asia have responded with sinking stocks to the predicted US stimulus cut, but a 1997-like Asian financial crisis is unlikely and China is expected to remain resilient against the impact.

Worries about the tightening of US Federal Reserve's $85 billion monthly bond-buying program sent Asia's emerging markets tumbling for the fourth straight day on Tuesday, where fear of capital outflows simmer.

Export-oriented Indonesia and Thailand need cheap dollars to finance account deficits, and saw their stock markets fall 3.21 and 1.97 percent respectively on Tuesday, as their currencies continued to subside.

Japan's Nikkei slumped too, falling 2.63 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 2.20 percent on Tuesday.

The general malaise continued on Wednesday as Thailand saw its stock market down 0.17 percent and Japan's Nikkei opened 0.8 percent lower. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat after four straight losing streaks had taken it to the lowest since July 9.

Facing weak growth and structural problems, emerging markets are expected to suffer as capital flow favors stable and profitable markets.

Despite current woes, another Asian financial crisis is unlikely as most Asian countries now have less foreign debt and more foreign exchange reserves,thus reducing the risk, said Peter Elston, Head of Asia Pacific Strategy & Asset Allocation, Aberdeen Asset Management.

No extensive financial crisis will break out as long as proper measures are taken to regulate markets, according to the research by Standard Charted Bank.

China's A-share market proved rather resilient to the cut's impact with only slight fluctuations thanks to recent support measures and active growth stocks.

Liquidity injection continued as China's central bank conducted a 36 billion yuan ($5.84 billion) seven-day reverse-purchase operation on Tuesday, signaling its resolve to stabilize the money market.

Growth stocks such as transportation, information and service sectors continued their growth thanks to China's recent economic restructuring including the reform of the railway investment and financing system, and support for broadband development.

China was steady amid the paralysis which swept Asia in 1997 through effective macro-economic policies such as controlling credit expansion, checking over investment and improving the international balance of payments.

Facing new challenges, China has committed to restructure its economy by shifting the growth focus to stimulate domestic consumption and reduce reliance on export and investment, which are prone to international financial turmoil.

Meanwhile, a series of deleveraging measures have been taken to control bubbles and reduce risk.

Despite an economic growth slowdown, China reported stronger than expected indicators in July, highlighted by fixed asset investment, industrial production and export growth.

Although the US stimulus tapering will pose many challenges, China has the capability to withstand any financial crisis with stable economic growth and progressive restructuring.