Thailand: the pitfalls of improved transparency

An unwelcome 29% increase in Thailand''s foreign debt burden shows the perils of increased transparency.

One cause of the Asian financial crisis was the paucity of reliable economic data. Inadequate information on the health of regional banking systems, and on the domestic and external leverage in AsiaÆs private sector meant that the market was unable to ôpriceö adverse trends into financial markets.

As a fuller picture of AsiaÆs fundamentals came to light in 1997 amid a wave of corporate bankruptcies and deteriorating external liquidity positions, markets were prone to overshooting as a welter of adverse news was belatedly and suddenly priced into financial markets.

Poor transparency meant that financial market trends were replaced with event shocks. One of the main benefits of the financial crisis, therefore, has been...

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