Greenspan Says Hong Kong’s Yam Was Right to Buy Stocks in 1998

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 1998 criticized Hong Kong’s central bank for purchasing $15 billion in stocks during the Asian financial crisis, now calls it a savvy move. “It turned out that his timing was exquisite,” Greenspan said, referring to Joseph Yam, who plans to retire Oct. 1 after 16 years as chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

“It was a risky action, but he pulled it off,” as share prices rose for several years, the former Fed chief said in a telephone interview today. “I wouldn’t recommend that as a general rule for central banks.” Yam, 60, bought the shares 11 years ago in a successful effort to defend Hong Kong’s dollar. Greenspan told the House Banking Committee in September 1998 that the strategy would fail and erode “some of the extraordinary credibility” of the HKMA.

read more: Bloomberg



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