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Asia can learn from US subprime crisis
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Although on the whole, Asia was not seriously affected by the recent United States' subprime mortgage crisis, it is important for Asian countries to draw lessons from the crisis.


One lesson is that "the central bank regulatory agency has to be very careful at all these (financial derivatives)," said Juanita D. Amatong in an interview with Shanghai Daily. She was attending a program held by Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center at the Shanghai National Accounting Institute.


Amatong is former finance secretary of the Philippines. She said rating agencies should be cautious when rating financial instruments.


"One of the reasons why the crisis happened is that these rating agencies were rating highly the state of instruments without looking at the underlying assets," she said.


The New York Times reported last month that US rating agencies have earned huge sums in the past 10 years by offering opinions on the credit worthiness of an alphabet soup of mortgage-related securities created by over-eager banks.


As the market blossomed, so did the agencies' profits.


To prevent similar cases from happening in Asia, it is important that similar agencies be required to be more transparent.


(Shanghai Daily November 13, 2007)

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