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PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 December, 1998, 12:00am

'This idea was called laissez-faire in the 19th century, but it may not be such a good name today because it is a French word and most of the people who believe in the magic of the marketplace do not speak French.' International financier George Soros in his book The Crisis Of Global Capitalism.

'Mr Soros gorged on chopped philosophy, mashed economics and facts and figures swimming in grease. It was too much. Before he knew what was happening out rushed this book.' The Economist.

'It's boring.' Celestial Asia Securities research chief Josephine Hui Suet-ming on market activity.

'Let us present an optimistic picture because that is very necessary . . . If the top man gets depressed everyone gets depressed. The [Indian] economy now is in a mentally very depressed state, I won't say physically.' International Monetary Fund executive director M.R. Sivaraman.

'They would have either needed a miracle or highly imprudent banking practices.' An anonymous banking analyst on the Malaysian Government's abandonment of what was widely regarded as an unrealistic target to boost lending 8 per cent this year.

'They are willing to kill. When I entered the commodities business, I was not prepared for this.' Indonesian grain trader Deepak on the threat to his shipments posed by looters and gangs of the hungry unemployed.

'It is the group's belief that the retail trade in Asia has unfortunately entered a period where professionalism has become secondary to financial capability.' Dickson Concepts chairman Dickson Poon.

'Deposit growth is exceeding loans growth - banks are collecting more money than they know what to do with.' Quah Hong Chye, a strategist at Bayerische HypoVereinsbank, after Singapore's benchmark interbank rate fell to its lowest point in three months.

'This [link with China] has my personal attention, interest and engagement.' British Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson. And on doing business in the mainland: 'It is not the market for the fast buck and the quick exit.' 'Given the country's dire economic problems, who in God's green Earth is going to put US$20 billion into Indonesia right now?' Merrill Lynch banking specialist Lynn Exton.

'We have got a lot of reserves at the moment. There is stuff in the kitty for rainy days.' Airport Authority spokesman Chris Donnolley on how the authority would make up any shortfall if it reduced retail rents at Chek Lap Kok.

'There is a considerable risk that the out-turn for growth will be considerably worse than Bank of England and Treasury believe. The UK economy is likely to flirt with recession in the next few quarters.' Goldman Sachs economist David Walton.