Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Vietnam a warning for China? (and American policymakers?)

It apparently started with Vietnamese government resisting the rise of the dong. And then things got out of hand (Asia Times, via Paul Kedrosky):

The problems with Vietnam have only become worse, with the currency in free fall against the US dollar as foreigners are trying to get their investments out as quickly as possible. Averting this would require the authorities to increase interest rates sharply in order to maintain the attraction of the dong, but doing so will only increase bad debts at the local banks and in turn spark a surge in non-performing loans at state-controlled banks.
The article recognizes that there is one key difference between China and Vietnam with the former running a large current account surplus - that is to say that it sells a lot more than it buys on international markets. But otherwise, with that the collapse began in the financial services sector, and a similar weakness in China's financial services sector, the other similarities should not be ignored. What's worse is that the currency crisis in Vietnam appears to be spreading to Indonesia and Thailand.

No comments: