Malaysia’s capital controls and “sterilisation”

Opting for Openness: Capital Mobility and Monetary Sterilisation in Malaysia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1257045) is a new article at JCA by Natasha Hamilton-Hart of the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland.

During the 1997-98 Asian Economic Crisis, Malaysia’s government introduced capital controls, causing considerable debate. In this article, Hamilton-Hart assesses how Malaysia’s policies have changed.natasha

The abstract states:

Malaysia gained attention for its use of capital controls in 1998, but since the early 2000s it has emphasised its commitment to an open capital account, despite experiencing volatile capital flows. As well as opting for financial openness, Malaysia chose to manage the value of its exchange rate after de-pegging from the US dollar in 2005. In a bid to escape the macroeconomic constraints that arise from capital mobility, Malaysia also chose to sterilise a large portion of capital inflows. It then made a further choice to use market-based sterilisation instruments more than regulatory sterilisation measures. These choices have carried costs and led to a build-up of economic risk. Three interrelated factors explain these choices: Malaysia’s strategy to manage the stigma arising from its imposition of controls in 1998, the increased level of financial integration that followed from this strategy, and the politically privileged position of groups that have benefitted from Malaysia’s commitment to capital openness.

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