(Aug 7): It used to be that a buildup in foreign reserves was seen as a bulwark against currency shocks and swift turns in investor sentiment.

Those days seem far away -- and that defense less robust -- as the trade conflict between the US and China evolves into a full-blown currency war that’s threatening emerging markets globally. Reserves of central banks in developing Asian nations, which have risen to almost US$5 trillion ($6.9 trillion) this year, will now be put to the test as currencies slide.

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