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Asia will weather financial storm: Asean

Asia will weather financial storm: Asean

SINGAPORE - Asean's finance ministers reaffirmed the region's economic and financial resilience on Wednesday - the same day as Asian stock markets plummeted to levels not seen in years.

"We expressed full confidence in Asean member states' economic and financial resilience, and their ability to weather the current difficulties in global financial markets," the 10-member bloc said in a statement received in Singapore, which held the group's rotating chair until earlier this year.

Trading on the stock market in Indonesia, an Asean member, was suspended due to "irregularities" Wednesday after the main index plummeted more than 10 percent in midmorning trade, officials said.

In Singapore the local bourse was down more than six percent and shares in Asean member Thailand fell more than eight percent.

The Asean ministers said the region's economic fundamentals remained sound and significant reforms have been undertaken since the 1997-98 financial crisis hit the region.

"The strong capitalisation of banking and financial institutions in the Asean region ... and their limited direct exposure to the deterioration in the US and other affected credit markets, constitute important strengths," the ministers said.

Asean said a Macroeconomic and Finance Surveillance Office would be established to help boost regional financial stability and accelerate regional integration. AFP

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