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A financial crisis swept like a bush fire through the tiger economies of South East Asia between June 1997 and January 1998 One country after another local stocks markets and currency imploded When the dust started to settle the stock markets in many of these countries had lost over 70 of their value Leaders of some these nations had to approach the International Monetary Fund IMF to beg for massive financial assistanceThe crisis in Asia has occurred after several decades of outstanding economic performance and growth Annual Gross Domestic Product GDP growth in the ASEAN- 5 Thailand Malaysia Singapore Indonesia and Philippines averaged closed to 8 in the last decade Per capital income levels also had increased tenfold in Korea fivefold in Thailand and fourfold in Malaysia Moreover per capital income levels in Hong Kong and Singapore now exceed those in some industrial countriesAlthough there were important differences between the individual countries a number of elements were common to most Export had long been the engine of economic growth in these countries A combination of inexpensive and relatively well educated labour export orientated economies falling barriers to international trades heavy investment by foreign companies had combined during the previous quarter of the century to transform many Asian states into export powerhouses The nature of these exports had also shifted in recent years from basic materials and products such as textiles to complex and increasingly high technology products such as automobiles semi-conductors and consumer electronicsThe wealth created by the export-led growth helped to fuel an investment boom in commercial and residential property industrial assets and infrastructure The value of commercial and residential real estate in cities such as Hong Kong and Bangkok started to soar This started a building boom all around the region Heavy borrowing from the banks financed much of this construction As for industrial assets the continued success of Asian exporters encouraged them to make even bolder investments This was exemplified most clearly
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