Saturday, June 16, 2012

A lesson for Southeast Asian economies

Asian economies are touted to grow at a faster rate than the US and Europe. Little wonder that these countries want a bigger say in global affairs. One idea being put forward is creating a more integrated regional economy. But given the problems that another integrated model is facing, notably the Eurozone, this may not be as easy as it seems. As of now South East Asian economies' plans include working towards lower trade barriers and streamlined customs procedures. Also on the anvil is closer integration of regional financial markets and freer flows of labor. The aim is to implement these and other steps by 2015. Some goals such as trade reforms have already been partially achieved. However, developing a common currency may not be such a good idea. And the Euro is a classic case in point. The Euro debt crisis, if anything, has proven how difficult it is to stick to a common currency. Especially, when different nations have different scale of problems. Further, when the Asian financial crisis struck in 1997, most Asian economies were able to get out of trouble simply because they allowed their currencies to devalue. This is proving to be a tough task for the Eurozone on account of a single currency. Not just that, there is wide ranging disparity across Asian countries as well. Thus, for the region to adopt a common currency would be too ambitious a goal in the current scenario.

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