When the global financial crisis struck in 2008, the impact reverberated far beyond the traditional financial centres of the West. Initial speculation was that Asia would be relatively well insulated from the crisis due to the growing financial independence of the region. Instead, the effects hit at a speed and depth that surpassed all expectations. Under fire, financial institutions sought to reduce their exposure to the region, resulting in a steep decline in the value of currency and equity markets, at a time when the price and volume of exports was plummeting.
The immediate impact of the crisis gave way to an equally brisk recovery, bolstered by strong domestic demand in China and Indonesia preventing both economies from falling into recession. But while sophisticated financial centres were swift in their regulatory response to the crisis, particularly where reform to over-the-counter financial products and transparency were concerned, much of Asia has lagged behind.