Presentation on theme: "Thailand 10 years after the crisis: Beyond finance, the exhaustion of a low-productivity growth regime? Bruno Jetin, Research Institute for Development."— Presentation transcript:
Thailand 10 years after the crisis: Beyond finance, the exhaustion of a low-productivity growth regime? Bruno Jetin, Research Institute for Development (IRD, France) and Center for Education and Labour Studies (CELS, Chiang Mai University, Thailand).
Since the crisis, ASEAN countries have entered a period of slow growth.
Even if private investment in equipment has slowly improved.
Has Thailand entered a new period of slow-growth? Source: R. P. Mallikamas, D. Rodpengsangkaha, Y. Thaicharoen (2003, p 3).
Analysing structural change Finance is powerful. But finance does not create value. The financial sphere is more autonomous, but not independant from the productive sphere. Understanding structural change in the productive sphere and in society is necessary to better understand the power of finance.
Conclusion regarding the production sphere The slow productivity-growth regime is not sustainable. Wage repression is not enough to restore competitiveness. Thailand must go beyond the assembly stage but how without industrial policy and protectionism? Incentive is not enough: Automobile versus electronics.
The surplus in manufactured products: Structural?
The financial sphere: back to 1997? Finance makes thing worse. Capital inflows and the present speculation on the baht is aggravating the decline in competitiveness due to rising unit labour cost. There are several common points between the present situation and the 1996-97 crisis. But there are also important differences.
Capital inflows are clearly speculative. At the Bangkok stock exchange (SET), foreign capital invest in banks, energy and real estate. They dont invest a lot in manufacturing and agriculture. There is still room for the buble. Price-to- earning of 11-12 times in the SET is still cheap compared with the 15 times valuation in Singapore market and higher valuation in Indonesia.
But there are also differences Former « crisis countries » have current account surpluses, not deficit. Forecast for 2007 are 11% in Malaysia, (9% in China), between 1 and 2% for Thailand, Indonesia and Korea (IMF, ADB). Central banks are not commited to defend a fixed peg. There is no downward pressure on forex but upward pressure.
Asian governments have not drawned the good lessons Based on the fact that Asian savings were far more higher than capital outflows in 1997, they have decided to promote « Asian bond markets ». (see ABMF1 and ABMF2 managed by the ADB and BIS). The (good) idea is that Asian savings should stay in Asia as a shield against massive financial outflows. It is inspired by the European experience of regional integration. The project is flawed by the fact that there is no serious institutional and monetary integration.
A project bound to fail No serious project of creating an « East-Asian monetary Unit » like the ECU before the euro, no serious project of creating an « East-Asian monetary system ». European experience shows that Financial integration without monetary integration is bound to fail.
Conclusion Instead of a regional financial integration there will be a direct integration in global markets which are far more efficient and competitive. As a consequence, Asian countries will be even more exposed to the whim of financial markets. The project in fact is to operate a shift from a bank-based system to a market based system in Asia that better suit global finance.
My proposal. Collective and coordinated capital controls at the regional level to support an « Asian monetary System ». This « Asian monetary system » would manage the float of an « Asian Currency Unit » (ACU). Band of fluctuations protected by Currency transaction tax and other capital controls. Governments could raise bonds denominated in « ACU » to finance long-term investment in infrastructure.