Asia's Burden

Even by the buttoned-up standards of central bankers, Alan Greenspan is not an effusive man. But one economic phenomenon has driven the U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman to reach for the superlatives: in March, he marveled at the "extraordinary" efforts of China and Japan to prop up the dollar by pumping money into U.S. bonds. Japan's accumulation of U.S. securities, he declared, was "awesome." Indeed, in the first three months of this year, China and Hong Kong bought $167 billion of American securities (primarily U.S. treasuries and corporate bonds), while Japan bought $336 billion worth, according to the Asian Development Bank....

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