KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia has admitted losing about $80 million in a failed bid in 1981 and 1982 to corner the world tin market and prop up a vital export industry that later collapsed.
"Actions such as this to protect a country's national interest are not new or unique. Governments all over the world undertake market interventions . . . to further their countries' economic interests," Primary Industries Minister Lim Keng Yaik told Parliament in a surprise statement Monday night.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad disclosed in September that Malaysia had been the mysterious operator whose huge purchases had jacked up prices to record levels.
But he alleged that the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world's premier metals market, had stymied the plan by what he called cheating to protect its members when it changed futures trading rules to make defaulting on delivery only punishable by a fine, relieving traders of possible legal action.