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Crisis to Crisis: What Asia Learned From the Financial Chaos of 1997

Since Thailand devalued the baht in July 1997, triggering the Asian Financial Crisis, the world has endured two more global economic shocks. Are we ready for the next one?

Customers wait on line to withdraw money from a Bank Central Asia branch in Jakarta on May 29, 1998.

Customers wait on line to withdraw money from a Bank Central Asia branch in Jakarta on May 29, 1998.

Photographer: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago this month marked the beginning of economic, political and financial market turmoil that would become known as the Asian Financial Crisis. Currencies and stock markets tumbled. Governments were overthrown. Poverty rates soared.

The crisis raised serious doubts about the Asian miracle, a period of rapid growth that saw the Tiger economies become the envy of the world. The firestorm was triggered by Thailand’s decision to devalue the baht on July 2, a shockwave that soon reverberated across the region’s emerging markets and beyond as the fallout stretched into 1998.