By Simon Black at Sovereign Man
In late June 1997, eighteen years ago, this part of the world felt pretty normal.
People had jobs. Inflation was fairly low. The economy was growing. Confidence was high. Life was great.
For years, most of the economies across Asia had seen meteoric, credit-fueled growth. Capital was pouring in from all corners of the globe, feeding a construction boom and stock frenzy.
Property prices soared. Stock prices soared. It was a classic bubble.
My friends who have been living in the region for decades tell me stories about how people bought property with the expectation to flip it and make a 50% return in no time.
Or they’d invest in the stock market without the slightest bit of analysis, simply because ‘stocks go up.’
That was the prevailing attitude in Asia back then– this time is different, and the good times will last forever.
But it all unraveled, practically overnight.
Thailand was hit first when a nasty currency swing caused the economy to practically grind to a halt. And the pain quickly spread to the rest of the region.
The local currency here in Indonesia, the rupiah, plunged 83% from its pre-crisis levels.
Dozens of banks went under, credit dried up, and many depositors got