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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

THE ASIAWEEK FINANCIAL 500

BANKING IN ASIA: A STATISTICAL GUIDE


BANKING IS A NUMBERS game, and the numbers say the financial sectors of several Southeast Asian nations could face big losses in coming years. Robust economic growth this decade stimulated a large demand for loans, and banks zealously responded. Investment helped drive GDP increases, but a high proportion was sunk into property. That resulted in an unhealthy concentration of real estate loans on the books of banks throughout the region. History suggests this is a formula for disaster. In Japan, Korea and Taiwan, property bubbles burst in the early 1990s following periods of escalating property prices and overdevelopment. When borrowers couldn't pay off loans, bankers got stuck with overwhelming losses that they are still writing off. Banks in other Asian countries appear unprepared. They've been setting aside less money to offset potential defaults.

Sources: Thomson BankWatch Asia, Jardine Fleming Research, central banks

Chart at top of this page and tables on countries contain information for domestic commercial banks. All data was current as of June 30 , 1997, with the following exceptions: India -- March 31, 1996; Japan -- May 31, 1997; Malaysia -- March 31, 1997; Philippines -- March 31, 1997; South Korea -- Dec. 31, 1996; Taiwan -- March 31, 1997. All banks may not be accounted for in the statistics, due to differences in financial reporting practices among countries.


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

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