October 9, 2008, 5.02 pm (Singapore time)

Asia to fare better than rest of world: ADB chief

TOKYO - The global financial crisis will have 'considerable' effects on Asia but the region will fare well by world standards, Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday.

Developing Asia's economic growth rates will be 'comparatively high', said Mr Kuroda.

'The financial crisis that happened in the United States and Europe has not inflicted big damage on Asia's financial system, either directly or indirectly,' he said at an event in Tokyo.

'But the real economy in Japan, the United States and Europe is slowing down and in some countries the speed is rapid. Asia's economy cannot help but be affected considerably,' he said.

Asian share prices have fallen sharply this week as pessimism engulfs global markets. In Indonesia, the stock exchange shut down for two straight sessions.

But Mr Kuroda doubted a replay of the 1997-98 financial crisis in Asia, when the collapse of the Thai baht set off a chain reaction across the region with devastating consequences.

'I believe that the possibility of a currency crisis happening again in Asia is extremely small,' he said.

Experts note that Asian economies have built up large foreign currency reserves to shield themselves from a repeat of the regional financial crisis and enjoy low levels of foreign debt. -- AFP