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If controls go, will confidence falter?

Malaysia seems to have recovered better from the Asian crisis than some other countries in the region, not least because of the currency control policies that were introduced. Confidence was shaken a little last month by the volatility in US markets, but the fundamentals still appear to be sound.

Kuala Lumpur stock exchange:
from 250 to over 1000 in

"If you're not positive, then you're in the wrong business," boomed veteran broker David Chua at the gaggle of nervous young traders as they waited for the lift in their Kuala Lumpur tower block. Fear of local carnage in the aftermath of Wall Street's bloodbath in mid-April was in the air. In an echo of three years ago, one dared to reply with an over-used Chinese mantra: "There's opportunity in crisis". But after an exhausting Monday watching the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange plummet 6%, he didn't sound convinced.

Wall Street's jitters could not have come at a worse time for Malaysia, and indeed the rest of Asia, as it begins to show the first tentative signs of recovery. As confidence returns, Kuala Lumpur's bankers are in reflective mood, but some things do not quite add up.

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