Slower growth seen in East Asia, Pacific

Oct. 8, 2012 at 1:50 AM
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SINGAPORE, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Growth in East Asia-Pacific could drop to 7.2 percent this year from 8.2 percent in 2011 before rising to 7.6 percent in 2013, the World Bank said Monday.

The bank's regional economic data monitor, released in Singapore, said growth in developed countries in the region will remain modest, with recovery in the entire region to be driven by strong domestic demand in developing countries.

The report said GDP growth in China, the world's second-largest economy after the United States, will come down to 7.7 percent this year because of weak exports and lower investment growth, from 9.3 percent in 2011. The forecast for 2102 was revised down from an earlier one of 8.2 percent.

However, China's growth in 2013 was expected to rebound to 8.1 percent with the country's stimulus measures and improvement in global trade.

"The East Asia and Pacific region's share in the global economy has tripled in the last two decades, from 6 percent to almost 18 percent today, which underscores the critical importance of this region's continued growth for the rest of the world," said the bank's new president, Jim Yong Kim.

Despite difficult global circumstances, Pamela Cox, the bank's regional vice president, said poverty in the East Asia-Pacific region will continue to decline. She said the percentage of those living on $2 a day in the region is expected to go down to 24.5 percent next year from 28.8 percent in 2010.

The report said demand in the region is being boosted by such factors as reconstruction in Thailand after last year's floods and higher government and private sector spending in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The report, however, warned that if conditions in Europe deteriorate sharply, they could affect developing economies in the region.

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