Posted at philSTAR on February 01, 2012 12:00 AM
SINGAPORE (Xinhua) – The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office was officially opened in Singapore on Tuesday as an independent macroeconomic surveillance unit of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) Agreement, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said.
The Chiang Mai Initiative is a currency swap agreement among the finance ministries and central banks of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states as well as China, Japan and South Korea, or ASEAN+3 countries.
Dubbed the Asian monetary fund, the currency swap arrangement draws from a foreign exchange reserve pool worth $120 billion and was launched on March 24, 2010 when the CMIM agreement took effect.
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, or AMRO, is responsible for monitoring the macroeconomic and financial situation of the ASEAN+3 region and the individual economies and identifying emerging vulnerabilities within them.
Wei Benhua, director of AMRO, said that the research unit is fully vigilant on developments in Europe and the world and their potential impact on the ASEAN+3 member states amid the extremely uncertain global economic and financial prospects.
“AMRO will play its role to help safeguard the ASEAN+3 countries from these global uncertainties and contribute to the stability, growth and prosperity of the region, together with international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB),” Wei said.
AMRO will produce reports on a quarterly basis, which will be tabled biannually for discussion at the economic review and policy dialogue session of the ASEAN+3 Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meetings.
It will also assume the role of providing an objective assessment in the event that the currency swap is activated, and later when the application is approved, monitoring the use and impact of the swap funds.
The establishment of a multilateral currency swap arrangement was first proposed in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2000 at a meeting of the finance ministers of the ASEAN+3 countries. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) Agreement was signed in 2009 and took effect on March 24, 2010, expanding the multilateral swap arrangement.
The AMRO was established in May 2010 and commenced operations in May 2011. It has since conducted a number of surveillance visits in the region. It presented its first set of Economic Review and Policy Dialogue reports at a meeting of ASEAN+3 Finance and Central Bank Deputies last month.