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Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Asia economies to rebound soon, but fears remain: ADB

AFP , BANGKOK

Asian economies will likely bounce back from the global economic slump next year, but fears remain over the sustainability of growth if there is no wider recovery, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday.

The bank’s chief economist Lee Jong-wha said the outlook for East Asia this year remained “pessimistic,” but foresaw a V-shaped recovery led by China if countries continue to focus on stimulating domestic demand.

“We are optimistic for developing Asia for a V-shape recovery ... But the big question is whether it will be sustainable growth — in that part we are rather pessimistic without a full global recovery,” Lee told reporters ahead of the launch of the ADB’s biannual Asia Economic Monitor in Bangkok. “It will be very difficult to return to the pre-crisis trend of growth.”

Despite an increasing proportion of export demand coming from within Asia, notably China, countries in the region continue to rely on markets in the US, EU and Japan for 60 percent of final goods exports, Lee said.

Those markets are less likely to recover from the global financial crisis so quickly, he said.

The ADB report recommended a continued focus on loose monetary and fiscal policies to stimulate domestic demand, with support for small enterprises and stimulus packages that must be fast and efficient.

The report showed that the pace of capital outflows from Asia had slowed in the first quarter of this year, and Lee urged large Asian investors to focus more of their capital spending within the region. While China’s recovery has “gained traction” and the more closed smaller economies like Indonesia are on course to stronger growth levels, Lee said concern remained for more export-­dependent small regional economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

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