With stock prices rising more than 30% since the year began, global investors have begun to delve back into Asian markets, according to Singapore’s deputy prime minister.

Speaking to Business Times Asia, Lee Hsien Loong, who also serves as Finance Minister and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said, "Despite its problems, Asia is the world’s fastest growing region, and the fastest growing wealth management market."

He pointed to striking numbers, like the $14 billion (US) dollars China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have raised over 2003’s first eight months compared to the less than $10 billion raised during all of 2002, as his evidence.

Offering reasons for the upswing, Loong said "Asia now faces a more favorable external environment with the end of the Iraq war, the abatement of the SARS and budding recovery in the G3 (Europe, the United States and Japan) economies, particularly the United States and Japan."

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