Outlook for east Asia growth cut by World Bank

THE WORLD Bank cut its GDP outlook for several countries in developing east-Asia yesterday, trimming previous forecasts for the world’s fastest growing region.

The emerging economies are expected to grow by 7.1 per cent this year and at the same rate next year, down 0.1 percentage points from the estimate in October 2013. According to the group, between 2009 and last year the average growth rate had been eight per cent.

The Chinese economy is now forecast to expand by around 7.6 per cent this year, down from the 7.7 per cent expected just five months ago, following a spate of less positive economic data from the world’s second largest economy.

Purchasing managers’ index figures from HSBC during the first quarter have suggested no expansion for manufacturing firms, a negative indicator for the economy.

However, the World Bank still expects Chinese growth to be above the 7.5 per cent government target.

Excluding China, the region is expected to grow by five per cent.

The Philippines’ growth forecast for the current year has also been cut by 0.1 percentage points, bringing expected growth to 6.6 per cent.

Thailand’s growth projection has been snipped back by the largest margin, down 1.5 percentage points to just three per cent in 2014. The forecast points “implementation delays and political uncertainties” as major contributors to the more pessimistic outlook.

The World Bank blamed “tighter global financial conditions and higher levels of household debt” for the deceleration in growth prospects in the region generally.

Mongolia is still expected to be the fastest-growing part of east Asia, with an 11.4 per cent boom for this year, following a spike in the country’s mining output. If World Bank forecasts for the years to 2016 prove correct, the Mongolian economy will have grown by more than 60 per cent between 2012 and 2016.