The establishment of a pan-Asian currency similar to euro, although feasible in the long term, would be fraught with problems, according to financial analysts. They said the difficulties would lie in the myriad of political systems and social disparities existing in countries throughout the region. Any formation of a uniform currency would initially come from a well-established bloc of countries, probably the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), they said. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been an outspoken critic of off-shore foreign exchange speculators, blaming them for bringing down currencies in the region. While not advocating a single Asean currency, he said early this year that local currencies should be used more in commerce, trade and finance within Asean. 'You only have to look at the problems it took to create and establish the euro in the first place to realise that the establishment of a uniform currency in the Asean would be a long way off, if a starter at all,' Carl Meerveld, managing director of Lipper Analytical Services, said. 'And that was beginning from a more uniform base than Asia. In Europe, all the countries involved in euro have liberal democratic governments and similar administrative systems. 'In Asean, you have governments from democracies to military dictatorships and everything in between. On this basis alone, agreements would be very hard, if not impossible, to reach.' A single currency basically required one regulatory body. The European Union (EU) had a parliament with elected officials. Any basis for a single Asean or other Asian currency would have to come out of the formation of a trade bloc, the major reason behind the formation of the EU. While Asean was tied together by certain ideals, concepts and regulations, inter-Asean trade was comparatively small, he said. 'It took more than 30 years from the formation of the European Union for it to come to an agreement on a single currency and still not all countries are involved,' Mr Meerveld said. Britain, for example, while a member of the EU and one of the strongest economies in Europe, was delaying its entry into a single currency system. 'To get Asean or other Asian countries, with all their social, wealth and political disparities, to sit down together and reach agreement on a trade bloc and then the formation of a single currency would be very difficult indeed,' he said.