Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ASEAN not to use single currency: Thai Financial Minister

The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) refrain from using single currency in order to maintain resilience to the volatile world economy, Kittiratt Na Ranong, Minister of Finance of Thailand said today.

While many analysts speculate that ASEAN would adapt a single currency in light of the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, some argue that the bloc should cast away the move to avoid mistakes made by the Eurozone.

Responding to questions during the press briefing of the 10th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Finance Ministers' Meeting as the chair, Kittirat, who is also the deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, said he had looked into the discussions about having a single currency among ASEAN members and found that it had not reached the stage yet.

He said that as a lesson learnt from the economic crisis in 1997, many Asian countries had come to realize the importance of currency in maintaining economic and financial stability, "During the crisis, we (Thailand) dollarized ourselves and suffered from deficit in both trade and foreign account. After the crisis, we floated our currency and let the market to decide the exchange rate, then it skyrocketed," said the former chief of Thailand Stock Exchange (SET). "It was very important asset we have learnt; exchange rate is a very important factor of the economy. When our currency is determined by the market to be at the right level, it helps turn the economy from deficit to surplus," he added.

Thus, none of the ASEAN members wanted to use single currency at this stage because they needed their own currencies to play the role of adjusting the competitiveness of their economies to the volatile world situation, he said.-The Philippine Star (October 16, 2012 9:48PM)

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