In the aftermath of the Asian financial crises in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, many Asian emerging market economies started rapidly increasing their international reserve holdings. This column assesses the East Asian economies’ openness to cross-border capital flows and exchange rate arrangements over the past decades. Financial globalisation has made asset prices and interest rates in these economies more vulnerable to global movements of capital, and to US monetary policy. If China succeeds in efforts to internationalise its currency, the dynamics between the US and Asia will most likely change. For now, however, the Asian region’s international finance continues to be dollar-centric.
Joshua Aizenman, Hiro Ito, 23 June 2016
Hyunbae Chun, Tsutomu Miyagawa, Hak Pyo, Konomi Tonogi, 09 October 2015
Economists increasingly stress the importance of investment in intangibles such as human and knowledge capital as a way to stimulate economic growth. This column examines how intangibles contribute to economic growth in Japan and Korea. Though intangible investment has increased in both countries in recent decades, the amount of tangible investment has been greater. This is different from what is observed in western advanced economies, which can be explained by the less developed financial markets in eastern Asia.
Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Donghyun Park, 14 February 2015
The Global Crisis put to the fore the possibility that the relationship between financial development and output growth may be non-linear. This column presents new evidence on the issue using data on output growth of ten sectors from Latin America and East Asia. The authors find large differences between the two regions in terms of the impact of financial depth on sectoral growth, and validate the negative impact of financial deepening on output growth in several sectors. The results confirm that the impact of financial development on sectoral growth may indeed be non-linear – i.e. it may promote growth only up to a point.
Matthias Helble, Boon-Loong Ngiang, 08 September 2014
Over the past two decades East Asia has been highly successful in building up and joining global supply chains, and has been described as Factory Asia. This column argues that East Asia, apart from being the centre of global manufacturing, is now also emerging as one of the world's leading final markets for consumption goods.
Ayako Saiki, Sunghyun Kim, 02 February 2014
Before the introduction of the euro, it was hoped that by promoting increased intra-regional trade it would increase business-cycle synchronisation within the Eurozone, and thus help it to fulfil the criteria for an optimum currency area. This column presents recent research that compares the evolution of business-cycle synchronisation in the Eurozone and east Asia. While the euro has had some impact on business-cycle synchronisation in the Eurozone, it has done so not through increased intra-regional trade intensity, but rather through some other channel – most likely financial integration.
Philipp Hühne, Birgit Meyer, Peter Nunnenkamp, 31 July 2013
One of the few areas where multilateral trade talks are making progress is the so-called Aid-for-Trade Initiative designed to remove frictional barriers to trade such as in transportation, communication and energy infrastructure. This column discusses research suggesting that both donors and recipients benefit from the aid. Aid-for-Trade, however, seems to best promote the exports of middle-income countries rather than, for instance, sub-Saharan African ones.
Pradumna Rana, Chia Wai Mun, 01 April 2013
The global economy was once dominated by north-north relations, with some limited concern for north-south relations. This column argues that south-south economic relations now matter and explains what new ‘look east’ policies that are being implemented in south Asia mean for the global south and the global economy.
Ganeshan Wignaraja, 21 February 2013
Until 2012, the past decade saw Indonesia’s growth maintain a respectable momentum. This column argues that recent hints of political dirigisme presents Indonesia with a stark development choice. Policymakers can continue their tightening of political control – staving off the trade effects of a global crisis in the run up to elections next year – or they can orient the economy outward, with complementary policies to sustain long-term growth.
Alicia García-Herrero, Tuuli Koivu, 16 April 2010
If China’s currency does appreciate, what impact will it have? This column argues that while Chinese exports will fall, so will Chinese imports, because China imports components from other East Asian countries that are then processed before being exported to western markets. A 10% rise in the renminbi would reduce imports of components by 6%.
Joshua Aizenman, 30 November 2009
The spectacular increase in hoarding of international reserves by emerging markets since the East Asian crisis has been one of the defining features of global imbalances. This column explores lessons from the crisis regarding alternatives to massive hoarding. It says that the crisis validates the need for external debt management policy and that the presence of fire-sale externalities associated with deleveraging, optimal external borrowing-tax cum international reserves hoarding-subsidy reduces the cost and the scale of hoarding international reserves.
Masahiro Kawai, Ganeshan Wignaraja, 15 September 2009
East Asian economies adopted numerous preferential trade agreements over the last decade. This column summarises the results of a survey of firms in the region examining the effects of those trade deals. The region’s exporting manufacturers largely view trade preferences positively, though further policy action is needed to maximise the potential benefits.
Peter Drysdale, Hadi Soesastro, 07 April 2009
This column says the G20 summit was a remarkable event as leaders crafted a coherent set of strategies to address the crisis. The Asian participants emerged as a constructive force, agreeing to expand their role in IMF funding and governance, ease the trade credit bottleneck, and advocate the standstill on trade barriers.
Hadi Soesastro, 10 March 2009
The G20 has stepped up to provide political guidance to global economic governance. This column argues that East Asian members should embrace a pro-active role aimed not only at securing their role in global economic governance but also at increasing East Asia’s effectiveness in projecting the region’s strategic efforts towards global economic recovery.