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Looser currency curbs get mixed reactions


Lee Hsien

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has further liberalized foreign exchange regulations. Although foreign banks welcome the changes, people disagree as to whether their significance is more symbolic than practical.

Speaking at Euromoney's Asia-Pacific Issuers and Investors forum in Singapore, MAS chairman, deputy prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, announced four changes to the non-internationalization policy, a cornerstone of the country's protection of its currency against speculators.

Individuals and non-financial entities, including corporate treasury centres, will immediately be exempt from the Singapore dollar-lending restrictions imposed as part of the policy. Says Lee: "This recognizes that such entities are not usually the prime drivers of destabilizing currency speculation."

The deputy prime minister also announced that restrictions on a number of financial activities would also be eased for those non-resident financial institutions that continue to be governed by the Singapore dollar policy.

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