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Finance

Asian currency swap pool doubles to $240B

TOKYO -- An agreement doubling the size of an Asian currency swap framework went into effect Thursday, strengthening a regional financial safety net, Japan's finance ministry said.

     The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization grows to $240 billion, with each of the 13 participating countries doubling its contribution to the pool.

     Japan and China remain the biggest contributors, providing $76.8 billion each. Together with South Korea, they account for 80% of the total. The rest comes from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

     The portion of its borrowing limit that a country can access without International Monetary Fund involvement rises from 20% to 30%. The group is considering a further increase to 40%.

     The agreement both expands the scheme and makes it better suited for quick action. A new feature lets countries tap a predetermined amount from the pool immediately without requests to other contributors. The ministry did not reveal these amounts.

(Nikkei)

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