However, it may be a sign of a much more troubling problem. China has some issues eerily similar to what other Asian countries had just prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. That event two decades ago has been analyzed in great detail. It was triggered by a debt default of two companies: Somprasong Land (a major Thai property developer) and Finance One (one of Thailand's largest finance companies). Currency traders began to short the Thai currency, and eventually it broke its peg to the U.S. dollar, resulting in a 40% collapse in value. This steep drop made paying back dollar-denominated loans impossible. Currency weakness spread to South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. All their currencies declined dramatically --between 34% and 83% against the dollar. Equity markets around the world, including the U.S., experienced significant declines
While the trigger was a debt default as financial conditions shifted, the underlying factors had long been in place – these were export-driven economies that had close government co-operation with preferred manufacturers, subsidies, favorable financial deals, massive debt-financed growth and a currency pegged to the U.S dollar. Sound familiar?