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Asean Affairs   6 April 2011

IMF moves on capital inflows

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     6 April 2011

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Capital inflows have been a major concern in Asean countries since 1997, when they played a significant role in the financial crisis at that time.

One can recall that as many Asean economies floundered during tat crisis and accepted funds from the International Monetary Fund IMF), one country, Malaysia, did not accept help but did enforce capital controls and survived the crisis quite well.

Asean Affairs has also reported the recent surge in capital inflows into Asean countries as investors shift to Asian countries for higher returns as western economies stagnate.

Today’s news is that the IMF has endorsed capital controls for the first time to manage capital inflows or “hot money” as it is sometimes called. The IMF looked at capital inflows in Brazil, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey. The IMF report also for the first time, recognizes that in certain instances capital controls can be justified.

France, the current chairman of the G20 major economies, called for the framework for capital controls.

"The variety of policy responses adopted - and their potential multilateral implications - suggests the importance of developing a broadly accepted framework for considering policies to deal with capital inflows," the IMF said.

The report, titled, "Recent Experiences in Managing Capital Inflows - Cross-Cutting Themes and Possible Policy Framework" is a significant step for the IMF.

The move will undoubtedly be warmly accepted by Asean countries as the acceptability of capital controls in certain circumstances will not risk a country using the controls to be labeled as an international economic pariah.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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