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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Asia was not immune to the effects of the recent global economic slowdown, but there are some indications that the region’s emerging market economies are beginning to recover. In a speech to the Eleventh Asia Business Conference at the Harvard Business School on February 2, Wanda S. Tseng, Deputy Director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, said that these countries now need to move forcefully on the unfinished structural reform agenda—particularly in the banking and corporate sectors—to ensure sustained growth and resilience against external shocks. She focused on the progress Asian countries have made to date in financial sector and corporate restructuring. But what more needs to be done to cement the progress already made? Following is an edited version of her remarks.

William P. Mako

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Mr. Mark R. Stone
This paper summarizes the objectives, tasks, and modalities of large-scale, post-crisis corporate restructuring based on nine recent episodes with a view to organizing the policy choices and drawing some general conclusions. These episodes suggest that government-led restructuring efforts should integrate corporate and bank restructuring in a holistic and transparent strategy based on clearly defined objective and including sunset provisions.
Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau and Mr. Toni Gravelle
This paper describes a corporate sector vulnerability indicator, the expected number of defaults (END), based on the joint occurrence of defaults among a number of firms and/or institutions. The END indicator is general enough to assess systemic risk in the corporate and financial sectors, as well as systemic sovereign risk; and is also forward looking as it is constructed using information implied by financial securities prices. Using equity prices and balance-sheet data, we calculate the END to assess systemic risk in the corporate sector in Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. We also discuss how the END systemic risk indicator overcomes some of the shortcomings of other vulnerability indicators.
Mr. Joong S Kang
We trace Japanese firms’ behavior over the last decades using aggregate corporate balance sheet data. Financial health of Japanese corporate sector has improved and firms paid back significant amount of debt and rebuilt their liquidity buffers. They also expanded abroad while the pace of corporate investment moderated. Regarding the latter, model estimates on aggregate corporate investment over the post bubble period show that expectation about future profitability, in particular medium-term demand outlook, has been the major driver, implying that a successful implementation of structural reforms could have positive impact even in the near term by improving the medium-term demand outlook.
Ms. Yingbin Xiao, Mr. Dale F Gray, Cheng Hoon Lim, and Michael T. Gapen
In this paper, we examine the ability of the contingent claims approach (CCA) to identify corporate sector and economy-wide vulnerabilities. We apply the Moody's MfRisk model, which uses aggregated CCA principles, to assess vulnerabilities retroactively in two historical country cases. The results indicate that the method may prove helpful in identifying corporate sector vulnerabilities and estimating the associated value of risk transfer across interrelated balance sheets of the corporate, financial, and public sectors.
International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper takes stock of the progress made in meeting the objectives under Indonesia’s Extended Arrangements (1998–2003) program. The paper addresses progress in achieving the programs’ core macroeconomic objectives, with an emphasis on how Indonesia’s economic recovery compares with those of the other major Asian “crisis” countries. A major conclusion of the paper is that, while significant progress has been made against many of the key objectives of the arrangements, Indonesia’s overall economic performance has lagged behind others in the region.