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359.3404

Speeches

Governor's Statement

by Joseph Yam, Alternative Governor, Hong Kong, China

(Speech at the 32nd Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting, 30 Apr - 2 May 1999, Manila)

1 May 1999

  1. The past year has been very difficult for most of Asia. What happened has been so well documented that there is no need for me to spend time describing how the region has suffered under financial turmoil. But I must record Hong Kong's appreciation of the significant part the Asian Development Bank has played in helping economies in the region to cope with the most difficult financial and economic circumstances that we have seen for many years. There is of course still much to do before the region is firmly on the path to recovery again. I am sure the Bank will continue to play a vital role in turning the Asian Mess back into the Asian Miracle that we used to know.
  2. I have three short suggestions for the Bank in its pursuit of this noble task. First, as we all know, international finance has outgrown the international financial architecture and this has been manifested in domestic financial systems of a number of Asian economies not being able to cope, resulting in financial meltdown. Financial restructuring and financial market development are of top priority if economies are to get out of their present difficulties and if the chances of financial turmoil recurring are to be reduced. The Bank knows Asia and is in a very good position to provide the necessary technical assistance. I would therefore like to call for more emphasis in this area of work and for close monitoring to ensure greater effectiveness.
  3. Second, the Bank should make more effective use of its limited resources through a higher degree and a greater variety of leveraging. I am not exactly suggesting that it should follow the footsteps of the highly leveraged institutions, such as LTCM. But there should be scope for some prudent increase in leverage, for example, through more equity participation and the provision of credit enhancement services for debt issues.
  4. Third, there is, I think, consensus in the international financial community that the timely disclosure of accurate financial information is crucial to the proper functioning of financial markets. Opaqueness undermines liquidity and breeds volatility. Transparency encourages confidence and attracts investment flows. The Bank should therefore aim at fostering this transparency in its lending operations and other forms of assistance.
  5. Mr. President, I am confident that the Bank, under your leadership, will play a leading role in helping Asia through this difficult period.
Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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