Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Fresh Signs That Asia Is Falling Prey to Slowdown ; Asian Development Bank Says Growth Is Declining Faster Than Expected

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Fresh Signs That Asia Is Falling Prey to Slowdown ; Asian Development Bank Says Growth Is Declining Faster Than Expected

Article excerpt

"Growth is slowing down much more rapidly than expected," said the chief economist of the Asian Development Bank, which pared its economic forecasts for emerging nations in the region.

A diminished forecast from the Asian Development Bank and another weak economic number from China on Wednesday emphasized that the days of double-digit growth in Asia are a thing of the past as global economic turmoil and slowing momentum hobble the region's economies.

Emerging Asia -- which includes countries like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand, but not Japan -- is likely to grow 6.1 percent in 2012, little more than in 2009, when the world was still reeling from the global financial crisis, the development bank said in its latest economic update for the region. Next year, it said, growth is expected to edge up to 6.7 percent.

Both forecasts were sharply below the bank's previous forecasts, made in April, of 6.9 percent for 2012 and 7.3 percent for 2013, highlighting the deterioration in global conditions this year.

"Growth is slowing down much more rapidly than expected," the bank's chief economist, Changyong Rhee, said at a news conference in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the slowdown was particularly marked in the region's economic heavyweights, China and India, where growth is expected to reach 7.7 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, this year.

Again, both figures were well below both the Asian Development Bank's previous projections and the rates of expansion recorded last year.

China, which depends more on exports than India, has slowed rapidly during the past year, though policy makers appear comfortable with a growth rate of about 7.5 percent, rather than the double-digit jumps in the years before the financial crisis.

Data from the Chinese service sector Wednesday showed that it expanded at its weakest pace in many months in September: A purchasing managers' index released by the statistics office slumped to 53. …

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