The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The abruptness and virulence of the 1997 Asian crises have led many to claim that these crises are of a new breed and were thus unforecastable. This paper examines 102 financial crises in 20 countries and concludes that the Asian crises are not of a new variety. Overall, the 1997 Asian crises, as well as previous crises elsewhere, occur when economies are in distress, making the degree of fragility of the economy a useful indicator of future crises. Based on this idea, the paper proposes different composite leading indicators of crises, evaluated in terms of accuracy both in-sample and out-of-sample.