Is credit the new king for Asian corporates?

Asian companies are once again borrowing more, but it’s not yet time to worry.

Asian companies have earned a reputation as cautious users of credit in recent years. From 2002 to 2007, leverage among non-financial corporates in Asia fell by a quarter, according to Morgan Stanley.

This wasn't voluntary. After businesses spent the 1990s going crazy with their credit cards, the Asian financial crisis put a stop to unrestrained corporate borrowing and forced banks to tighten their lending policies. As a result, many Asian companies learned how to grow using, of all things, cash.

The trauma of being shut out of credit markets when it was most needed changed companies' views, wrote Viktor Hjort, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, in a report on the credit strategy of...

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