Vietnam in a soup

Vietnam in a soup
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First Published: Fri, Jun 13 2008. 12 24 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jun 13 2008. 12 24 AM IST
Thailand was at the very epicentre of the quake that rattled Asian economies in the middle of 1997. Nearly 11 years later, Vietnam shows some of the same symptoms that Thailand did before it imploded.
Vietnam has been a tiger economy, boasting of high growth rates. Massive waves of foreign capital have come into that country. Inflation has gone up. The trade gap is scary. And the currency is overvalued. Thailand in 1997 too shared most of these characteristics.
Look at what has been happening in Vietnam. The stock market has lost two-thirds of its value this year. It has not had a single up day since April. Vietnam could be moving towards a financial crisis.
But it is unlikely that other Asian economies will topple over like dominoes, as they did in 1997. They have less short-term foreign debt and a pile of dollar reserves.
That said, it would still be a good idea to keep an eye on Vietnam. A collapse there could be another blow to market confidence in Asia. And India.
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First Published: Fri, Jun 13 2008. 12 24 AM IST