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Asian Stocks Slide on Fear for Global Economy
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In a statement released after a meeting in Dubai, the ministers said regional economic fundamentals "remain sound" in spite of the liquidity crisis, adding that there is little chance of a repeat of the 1997 financial crisis that crippled Southeast Asian economies.

"ASEAN today is lean and fit, in part reflective of the significant reforms undertaken over the decade since the 1997 financial crisis," the statement said. "ASEAN member states have strengthened fiscal sustainability, deepened capital markets, enhanced financial regulation and supervisory frameworks, reduced debt exposure and improved their reserve positions."

THE MAGIC BULLET?

After the closing of most of the stock markets in Asia-Pacific region on Wednesday, major central banks in the world launched a concerted effort to battle the global financial crisis, simultaneously slashing interest rates on three continents to bolster battered markets.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of England, and central banks in Canada, Sweden and Switzerland all cut interest rates by a half percentage point.

"Throughout the current financial crisis, central banks have engaged in continuous close consultation and have cooperated in unprecedented joint actions such as the provision of liquidity to reduce strains in financial markets," the banks said in a joint statement.

Australia had previously sliced its interest rates before the coordinated cut.

China's central bank on late Wednesday also announced its responding move, cutting both the interest rate and reserve- requirement ratio.

The deposit and lending rates would be lowered by 0.27 percentage points from Thursday and the reserve-requirement ratio would be down by 0.5 percentage points from Oct. 15, the People's Bank of China said.

"The deepening U.S.-originated credit crisis has impacted the psychology of Chinese and also the real economy," said Tang Min, deputy secretary of China Development Research Foundation.

The move was also a timely response to the rate cuts by other central banks and part of a coordinated effort to stem the global crisis, he said.

After the coordinated rate cuts, several major stock markets rose tentatively. The stock market in Saudi Arabia, the largest in the region, rebounded at the close and U.S. stock also managed a tentative advance in early trading Wednesday. The effect of the move for Asia-Pacific markets will be seen in the following day.


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