During the summer of 1997, the fabric of the Asian economic miracle began to unravel. The outlook for continued high rates of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which had averaged 7% to 10% for many countries in the region during the previous decade, turned abruptly less favorable. National currencies, most of which had been pegged to the U.S. dollar (or a basket of currencies heavily weighted toward the dollar), depreciated sharply. Financial markets and banking systems became severely stressed. Several of the Asian “tigers” of a few years ago were forced to appeal to the international community for financial assistance in order to meet shortterm international debt obligations.