Asian Economies Less Vulenerable to Financial Crises Now - Lehman Bros

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SINGAPORE (DPA) Many Asian economies are less vulnerable to financial crises now than a year ago after strong recoveries, improved policies and a sharp increase in capital inflows, an investment banks index showed on Saturday.

Asia is the least vulnerable part of the worlds emerging markets, according to Lehman Brothers.

China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore are less vulnerable than 12 months ago, the findings said. Risk levels of Malaysia and Thailand are unchanged.

Lehman Brothers used its Damocles Financial Crisis Index to identify high-level risk. It is based on 10 macroeconomic and financial indicators such as foreign reserves, imports, external debt and domestic private quarter.

Investors should not treat the region as a homogeneous entity, said senior economist Rob Subbaraman. He cited pockets of risk, most notably in the Philippines.

Asias accumulation of foreign exchange reserves is also becoming excessive and could lead to monetary excess and higher inflation, he warned.

Singapores rating of 10 on the index for the first quarter of this year was unchanged from the end of last year, affirming a low level of crisis risk.

A score of 75 or more indicates a countrys economy is vulnerable to crisis while a reading above 100 indicates a crisis could erupt any time.

The bank warned Singapore must be aware of the risk of financial contagion from Indonesia or the Philippines, caused by potential instability arising from their respective presidential elections this year. …