May 4, 2009

Asian nations start emergency fund

Governments of Asia's three largest economies have agreed to contribute to a $120 billion fund to help struggling Asian nations, finance officials said.

China and Japan will each contribute $38.4 billion, while South Korea will toss in $19.2 billion, South Korean Minister of Finance Yoon Jeung-hyun said on the Indonesian island of Bali while attending an Asian Development Bank annual meeting.

Members of the Association of South East Asian Nations would also contribute funds to what is being called the Chiang Mai Initiative, the China Daily reported Monday.

Separately, Japan said it would help support Asian nations through the economic downturn with a $61.5 billion fund of its own.

Funded largely by the donations from Japan, the United States and European nations, the Asian Development Bank said it would increase lending to about $33 billion over the next two years, about 50 percent more than what it lent in 2007-2008.

The ASEAN nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Finance ministers started the funds to counteract a flight of capital which could occur during the global economic downturn.