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Declining prices threaten Japan, Asian economies

Date Posted: 1998-08-07

Declining prices has become the newest worry to nation's financial managers. The weak demand is pressing prices and property values downward, which always leads to declining productivity and rising unemployment. Declining property values further cause problems in financial sector.

Another problem for Japan is the declining value of its currency. One dollar bought about 146 Tuesday morning, but yen's value rose a bit in the course of the day, one dollar costing about 145 at the end of the day. This level is only about one and a half yen less from the level when U.S. and Japanese treasures intervened and managed to push the value of the yen up about 10 vis-a-vis the dollar.

Many economists now say that should the yen weaken further to 150 to a dollar level and beyond, that would force China to devaluate its currency and possibly discontinue pegging Hong Kong dollar to the U.S. currency. If that happens, other Asian countries would have to devaluate their currencies which would greatly aggravate the current crisis in the region.

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