The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday called on countries in East Asia to take advantage of the delay in monetary policy normalization in the United States to strengthen their economies and financial systems.
"A delay in U.S. bond tapering gives (East Asia) a bit of extra time to make sure its economy and financial systems are resilient enough to face the likely market volatility ahead," said Iwan J. Azis, head of ADB's Office of Regional Economic Integration.
In its latest report titled "Asia Bond Monitor," ADB said East Asia remains vulnerable to a shift in investor sentiment when the United States eventually scales back its asset purchase program and as it tackles questions over its government debt ceiling.
The report also noted that volatile capital flows make it tougher for policymakers to manage the economies while looming tighter liquidity could push down asset prices, particularly in the property sector, and put at risk financial firms with large holdings.
Despite the market uncertainty, ADB said East Asia's local currency bond markets expanded 2.4 percent on a quarterly basis, with 7.1 trillion U.S. dollars in bonds outstanding at the end of September. The growth was led by Indonesia, whose bond market went up 3.9 percent; the Philippines, up 3.6 percent; and China, up 3 percent.
On an annual basis, the fastest growing markets were Vietnam which recorded an increase of 18.8 percent; Indonesia, 16.3 percent; China, 14.4 percent; the Philippines, 12.5 percent; and South Korea, 10.4 percent.