Slow Contamination

May 1, 2002

It is not true that the collapse in Argentina has spared the financial markets in the rest of Latin America and beyond. The difference between this and previous international financial crises is that Argentina is suffering a slow, agonizing decline whereas previous crises ? in Mexico, Thailand and Russia ? came suddenly and without warning. Investors in Argentina had plenty of time to get away and international public opinion was prepared for disintegration when it finally came last December. Chile and Brazil suffered some initial turbulence but have since distanced themselves from their neighbor's troubles. Equity and bond markets around the world did not take much notice.

However, the wider financial system has taken note of the events in Argentina and to a...

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