Soros warns of Asian `wildfire' as markets rally

Asia's battered financial markets started their slow journey along the road to recovery yesterday as hopes grew that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would not suspend its pounds 43bn aid package to Indonesia. The only fly in the ointment was a grim warning by George Soros, the financier, that the crisis could spread outside Asia.

George Soros, the billionaire investor who last year criticised the way South-east Asian governments ran their economies, yesterday warned that the region's financial crisis was "a wildfire that has not yet been tamed".

"Developments in Asia have the power to destroy the system of world trade," he said, adding that a spill-over of the crisis to China and Latin America could not be ruled out.

Mr Soros, in an interview with a German newspaper, said the crisis showed there was a need for tighter regulation of the provision of credit.

His warning did little to dampen sentiments in the region as shares and currencies rallied for a second day on optimism that the financial crisis might be bottoming out. Indonesian markets led the gains, with the stock index surging as much as 9 per cent and the currency strengthening 16 per cent.

Meetings between President Suharto, a US presidential envoy and IMF officials allayed concern that the IMF might suspend more than $43bn of aid to encourage the government to cut spending and deregulate the economy.

Michel Camdessus, the IMF's managing director, said it would seek a "dramatic acceleration" of reforms in Indonesia, raising hopes for a more stringent timetable to restore confidence in the economy. He is drafting a new letter of intent on reform to be signed in Jakarta, after increased spending in Indonesia's budget last week sparked concerns that the country was not serious about reform.

Markets that slumped on Monday extended their rally after gains in US stocks on Tuesday night. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rallied 2 per cent, Hong Kong's benchmark stock index rose 5 per cent, Singapore's jumped more than 7 per cent and Malaysia's gained almost 8 per cent.

Meanwhile, a confidential study by the IMF acknowledged that an important element of its rescue strategy for Indonesia backfired, causing a bank panic that helped set off financial market declines in much of Asia, according to a report in the New York Times. Instead of inspiring confidence as hoped, bank closures helped bring Indonesia's banking system to the brink of collapse.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing