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Video Roundup: A Decade After the Asian Financial Crisis


The Asian financial crisis came as a huge shock to the Asian economies. The "Tigers" as they were then known, ushered 1997 with much optimism -- growth was strong, asset prices were rising and many were a hot-bed for foreign capital inflows.

Even for countries like Malaysia, the prospect of overpowering growth was a cause for concern. But in July 1997, the picture changed. The Thai baht collapsed, sparking a wave of panic across the region, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

The following videos summarize the events that took place ten years ago and outline the lessons learnt by all concerned. 

Indonesia: 10 Years After the Crisis

Rupiah Rumble

Investors pulled out of the Indonesian currency, forcing the central bank to abandon its trading band for the rupiah.

Companies that had borrowed funds in U.S.dollars were hit with spiraling costs as the domestic currency tumbled.

Asian Financial Crisis: Malaysia

Biting The Bullet

Malaysia was also suffered severe attacks on its currency, the ringgit. The central bank's efforts to uphold the currency for a week was futile and by July 14, Bank Negara was finally forced to float the ringgit

It fell to an all-time low of 4.88 to the U.S. dollar, losing almost 48% of its value in six months. In tandem, stocks on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange nosedived, and the economy succumbed.

By the third quarter, the economy was in a tailspin, badly needing an unorthodox fix. The government introduced a currency peg to insulate the economy, holding the ringgit at 3.8 to the dollar. It provided a temporary respite from external volatility and created the basis for an economic recovery.

Chaebols & the Crisis

Chaebols Exposed

The crisis also brought down the key pillars of South Korea's economy. Large family-run business groups called 'chaebols' suffered big blows as the crisis called into question their management competencies.

"The biggest lesson that we learnt is that we must focus on business management that goes the right course," Jong-Yong Yun, CEO, Samsung Electronics told CNBC.

Reckless expansion led to severe losses and the South Korean government was forced to spend 30 trillion won to rescue troubled banks and companies by implementing heavy reforms.

Transportation in Thailand

A Decade Later

Most Asian economies have come a long way since the dark days of the financial crisis back in 1997.

Thailand has repaid its 17 billion dollars in loans owed under the International Monetary Fund's post-crash stabilization plan and has also put mechanisms and policies in place that are designed to prevent a repeat of 1997, and those efforts have resulted in better corporate governance and financial supervision.

Even though Thailand's economic fundamentals have improved, the recent coup put a temporary dent in the country's progress. But the government's new plans to stimulate the economy has been a boon to foreign direct investment.

IMF: Lessons Learned

"In the first quarter of this year, if you look at the board of investment promotions that was applied for, it was bigger than the beginning of last year. Foriegn investors, I think, (take) a medium term view of the situation," said Thailand's Minister of Finance, Chalongphob Sussangkarn in an interview on CNBC.

Many agree that most Asian economies are all in pretty good shape.

"Quite a number of them I think have increased the transparency of their economic systems they provide a lot more data accurate enough today," said David Burton, Asia-Pacific director, IMF.

Thailand's stock market hit a 10 year high this week while its currency also touched levels unseen since the crisis. Sentiment has certainly improved all round and Asia's tigers could come roaring back once more.