Short-term overseas debt was also very high in East Asia.
World Bank data says short-term foreign debt respective to official foreign exchange reserves was high at 204 per cent in June 1997 for Korea, Indonesia (170 per cent) and Thailand (145 per cent).
India is better off on this respect.
The short-term debt is about $172 billion, whereas reserves are at over $250 billion.
Balanced against this, the East Asians had trade surpluses.
Their overseas debt consisted mainly of borrowings to fuel investments in export-oriented manufacturing.
Cartoon: Satish Acharya