Finance ministers from 13 East Asian countries agreed to expand the regional currency swap arrangement to up to USD 120 billion, according to a joint press statement released on Sunday.
China, Japan and South Korea will contribute 80 per cent of the amount, with the rest to be covered by the 10 ASEAN member countries, the statement said.
It said the main components of the fund will be finalised at an annual meeting of the finance ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their counterparts from Japan, China and South Korea to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in May.
“As an interim measure, the existing bilateral swap arrangement network should play its full role and be strengthened in terms of size and participants as necessary,” the statement said.
The web of bilateral swap deals was launched in 2000 as part of regional efforts to avert a financial crisis similar to the 1997-1998 turmoil in Asia.
The bilateral network, which does not cover all of the 13 ASEAN-plus-three countries, is worth around USD 80 billion.
Some officials earlier estimated that it would take a year before the new multilateral operating fund would be in place.
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have also agreed to equally provide larger contributions than the five other ASEAN members -- Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, according to Somchai, who is also the spokesman of the Thai Finance Ministry.