by Samuel Mathew, Regional Product Head – South East Asia, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered Bank
US slowdown and the Asia de-coupling theory
The extent of globalisation and the interdependence of the global financial markets are more evident today than ever before. One could have never imagined the impact of risky home loans in the US on the global equity markets and on the balance sheets of investment banks which invested in these risky assets in the secondary market.
When the first signs of trouble started surfacing early this year, the jury was divided on the resultant impact on Asia.
With capital troubles hitting the likes of Northern Rock, the demise of Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and Merrill Lynch being taken over etc., these underlying mortgage-backed assets were deemed worthless. Writing these off had huge capital implications for anybody holding them. The world markets watched in horror as banks such as Washington Mutual, and even countries such as Iceland, went bankrupt or were taken over.