ADB trims Asia growth forecasts on China slowdown

Agence France-Presse
China's slowing economic growth is weakening momentum throughout the rest of Asia, the Asian Development Bank says as it revised down its forecasts for the region

LOWER FORECASTS. The Manila-based lender downgrades its growth forecast for the region. File photo by EPA

MANILA, Philippines – China’s slowing economic growth is weakening momentum throughout the rest of Asia, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday, July 16, as it revised down its forecasts for the region.

A day after Beijing released data showing its economy slowed for a second successive month in April-June, the Manila-based ADB trimmed its outlook for developing Asia this year to 6.3%, from 6.6%.

In the update to its annual Asian Development Outlook publication, first published in April, the bank also pared its 2014 forecast for developing Asia to 6.4%, from 6.7%.

The update is only a little better that what the bank described in the report as the region’s “relatively sluggish” growth pace of 6.1% last year.

“The drop in trade and scaling back of investment are part of a more balanced growth path for (China), and the knock-on effect of its slower pace is definitely a concern for the region,” the bank’s chief economist, Changyong Rhee, said in a statement.

“But we are also seeing more subdued activity across much of developing Asia,” Rhee added.

Developing Asia groups 45 nations or territories from Central Asia through to the Pacific islands, but excludes Japan.

The report cited a marginally better outlook for the advanced economies, particularly Japan.

However, this did not lead to stronger demand for Asian exports, and the first-half economic performance across the region was “unexpectedly subdued”, it added.

China said Monday, July 15, gross domestic product expanded 7.5% in the second quarter, following 7.7% in the previous 3 months and 7.9% in October-December.

The ADB said it now sees China’s economy growing 7.7% this year and 7.5% in 2014.

Both figures are lower than its April forecasts of 8.2% and 8%. The Asian economic giant grew 7.8% last year.

The ADB now expects Southeast Asia’s economies to expand 5.2% this year, down from 5.4%.

It also trimmed its forecast for South Asia to 5.6% this year, while maintaining its 6.2% projection for 2014.

On a positive note, the ADB said slower GDP growth was helping the region contain inflation., while expanded global natural gas production was also helping suppress energy prices.

The bank lowered its inflation forecasts for developing Asia to 3.5% this year and 3.7% in 2014, the latter on par with the 2012 rate. –

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