Asia, Eastern Europe Flunk Y2K Test

Article excerpt

South East Asia and Eastern Europe are the emerging market regions most vulnerable to millennium bug disruption, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) says.

The investment bank also said its survey of 250 companies in 18 emerging market countries reinforced concern that fears about the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer glitch could lead to another credit scare for emerging markets.

"Aggregated data suggest that Eastern Europe and South East Asian markets are most at risk from critical system failure," it said in a report.

The millennium bug may cause some older computers to mistake 2000 for 1900 because of a programming shortcut, and tests show some systems may crash or cause errors at the turn of the year.

CSFB said Asia as a whole scored 24.5 out of a possible 35 points for Y2K preparedness, with Latin America close behind on 24.3 points and Eastern Europe lagging with only 18.3 points.

However, these totals masked significant differences within regions. While South Korea and Singapore came top with 31 and 30 points respectively, Thailand had the second-worst score of 13 and Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines scored 18 or less. …