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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Asia Eyes Common Currency

TOKYO -- The Asian Development Bank said on Monday it would soon launch a theoretical currency unit comprising a basket of Asian currencies -- akin to Europe's Ecu, which evolved into the euro -- to promote regional cooperation.

Masahiro Kawai, head of the ADB's office of regional economic integration, said the Manila-based institution was studying how the basket should be compiled, including how the weighting of each currency should be set, and would unveil it early next year.

"I don't know if we will end up calling it ACU [Asia Currency Unit], but we plan to come up with a currency unit using a basket of currencies from the ASEAN+3 countries," Kawai said in an interview.

"By looking at the index, we hope to analyze how ASEAN+3 currencies as a whole are moving against the dollar or the euro and how each currency in the ASEAN+3 countries is moving compared with the average level of ASEAN+3 currencies," he said.

ASEAN+3 comprises ASEAN's 10 member countries plus China, Japan and South Korea. ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Kawai, also special adviser to ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda, said the unit could help promote regional financial cooperation in Asia, similar to Europe's experience.