Euro crisis, Asian woe?

Written by Sam Gibbins on Monday June 11, 2012

It seems not to matter anymore which source of media you use for your regular burst of fun filled global news, as so much of it carriers the same sentiment; the Eurozone is in crisis. The BBC news site, from the UK, has a whole section dedicated to this topic, much like a special section on the Olympics or the US Election. The Business Times website, the online version of the Singaporean daily, has also recently seen an increase in its coverage of European news, mostly centred on Greece, Spain and Germany.

Wherever you look you can see stories of market jitters, political manoeuvring, and of course Facebook’s share price continuing to sink faster than a brick in a swimming pool.

But the impression on the ground can often be very different to that on the airwaves or online. On a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur I have seen first-hand, although not for the first time, the feeling that ‘what happens in Europe stays in Europe’. It is pertinent to remind my Asian friends that they may not be so lucky.

I am sure you will have experienced the same thought process among many people: ‘We are in Asia and so what is happening in Europe will only have a limited impact on us here’.  The reality is that it will have an impact, whether you like it or not, irrespective of your personal or professional level of preparation.

Frequently I speak with clients who assume that because the Basle principals were formulated in Europe they are a solely European issue. Likewise, one of the major pieces of legislation from the UK last year, the UK Bribery Act, has major global ramifications, but because of the ‘UK’ in the name, there is anassumption that this does not apply outside of that lone jurisdiction.

What is often true, as can be seen in the above examples, is that it is very hard to quantify the level of impact. At the moment it is impossible to judge the potential consequences of the Eurozone crisis; events are evolving on a daily basis and with such a wide range of issues coming to the fore, it can be hard to know which areas a business should prioritise when assessing its risk.

This, however, is no reason not to start analysing the issues at hand and how these might affect you. It is essential that businesses, as well as individuals, look at the potential issues coming out of Europe and start to assess the potential impact and what these changes might mean.

Do we know how the Eurozone crisis will unfold and spread? No, and only time will tell. But those prepared for a variety of eventualities will be those who weather the storm and come out the other side. For those of you who are unprepared, start getting your rain jacket ready.


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