A Citigroup report makes an interesting point. It says while corporate leverage is perhaps at at an all-time low, that does not mean that Asian markets are less vulnerable to global credit crisis, now compared to say 1998.
A key reason it says, is that investor profile is now quite different. Leverage has shifted from corporate to the investor. Hedge funds have proliferated, and since most of them are leveraged, they have limited capacity to take loss. Markets can thus still be extremely volatile, if rising credit costs force hedge funds to unwind positions.