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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Singapore’s Heng sees Asia growth story intact despite turmoil

SINGAPORE (Feb 19): Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said Asia’s “structural growth story” remains intact despite an increase in financial market turbulence that’s hit countries from China to Indonesia.

Many countries in the region are facing slower growth as they rebalance their economies toward domestic sources of demand, while commodity exporters are dealing with falling prices, Heng said in a speech in Singapore on Friday. Regulators and policy makers need to continue to focus on maintaining stability, rather than get caught up in the market “panic”, he said.

“We know that financial markets sometimes overshoot and over-react,” he said. “But it is important that regulators and policy makers do not do likewise.”

Heng was speaking at an Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office event at the central bank’s headquarters. He said the office will act to monitor financial risks in the region and support the group’s US$240 billion currency-swap program aimed at easing liquidity crises. The member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan.

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