Most financial watchers of the global scene nowadays focus on headlines, policies, and actions from the United States, Europe, Japan, and the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and especially China). Sometimes an observer offers a sideways glance at other nations, especially if their economic interest directly ties into with what’s occurring in or related to that land. As petroleum obviously is important to many, Saudi Arabia captures attention and attracts analysis from various commodity, stock, interest rate, and currency watchers. Or, some commodity traders monitor currency and equity levels and trends of and political situations within key commodity producing nations. They stare not only at Saudi Arabia (and other Middle Eastern states), Brazil, and Russia, but also at Australia, Canada, Chile, and South Africa.
Compared to China and Japan, other Asian countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia receive much less attention these days from those in international galleries. Yes, these four “other” Asian nations have smaller GDPs than China and Japan. Yet the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 involved these four “other” Asian nations. Mexico, though a major trading partner of America, receives rather little mainstream press outside of immigration issues and talk of its violent drug wars. But recall Mexico’s economic (“peso” devaluation) crisis of 1994-95. South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mexico then and now significantly interrelate- admittedly in varying fashions and degrees- with the rest of the global theater. So paying a bit of attention these days to these five countries identifies not only risks facing them, but also their economic performance relative to other key nations such as the United States. In addition, a survey of their equities and currencies offers perspectives on other stock marketplace and foreign exchange trends, and thus on the current worldwide financial situation.
However, America’s economic and political behavior and policies has helped to “create a situation for itself” that echoes the earlier crises in Asia and Mexico. Ironically, whereas once America helped to rescue the economic world, it now helps to endanger it. As an indication of this, compare the current and near-term United States situation with that of four Asian financial crisis nations and Mexico.
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