Economic and Strategic motivations for financial cooperation in East Asia
Published Online: Dec 31, 2003
The 1997-98 financial crisis has had a profound effect on how East Asian economies the role of the IMF and its strategic interests relative to those of the United States in the international financial regime. It has prompted them to create a regional mechanism for financial and monetary cooperation, ranging from deeper policy dialogue and surveillance, to a system of financial cooperation, and common exchange rate arrangements. This paper analyses the economic and strategic motivations behind this and outlines recent developments in financial cooperation in East Asia to provide possible directions for the future.
A network of bilateral swap arrangements under the Chiang Mai Initiative(CMI) needs stronger policy dialogue and surveillance to develop into a regional financing facility, a sort of East Asian IMF. The facility plays a role as an regional lender of last resort, providing short-term funds to a member country facing a temporary liquidity shortage and for market intervention to stabilize foreign exchange rate. East Asian countries need to achieve regional exchange rate stability. In the long run, the region may develop a common currency arrangement, but it cannot be expected in the very near future because there is no convergence of macroeconomic conditions, economic structure and systems. A realistic approach would be for East Asian developing countries to adopt a currency basket system to minimize the impact of dollar/yen exchange rate volatility on their economies. Strong political will and a vision for regional integration will be required to introduce it.