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Asean Affairs  14 January 2011

World Bank’s 2011 economic outlook

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     14 January 2011

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The East Asia and Pacific region led the global recovery from the deepest recession since the 1930s over 2009 and 2010. The recovery was led by robust 10 percent GDP gains in China, where fiscal and monetary support measures contributed almost a percentage point to growth. For the Asean countries, Vietnam, Cambodia and smaller island economies, growth picked up sharply from 1.5 percent in 2009 to 6.8 percent in 2010, partly reflecting strong stimulus-related import demand from China. Overall, GDP of the developing East Asia and Pacific region increased 9.3 percent in 2010 up from a resilient 7.4 percent pace in 2009.

Among ASEAN economies, Indonesia was least affected by the global financial crisis and recession, in part given earlier reforms to its financial system as well as an export mix (commodities) less affected than manufactures by the falloff in OECD demand. By the first half of 2010 growth patterns had largely normalized with GDP advancing a strong 6.2 percent in the second quarter (year-on-year), largely driven by household consumption, which benefited from low inflation and better consumer confidence; and by private investment associated with improved growth prospects. In Thailand, despite an escalation of political crisis and the onset of global recession, the manufacturing sector helped the economy consolidate recovery.

However, following robust 15 percent growth in the first quarter , GDP declined in both the second and third quarters, as the political turmoil of April and May adversely affected tourism arrivals and services exports. Nonetheless Thailand is likely to have registered 7.5 percent growth in 2010 on the strength of its initial rebound. And in Malaysia the recovery was smoother, with government- household- and investment spending driving the rebound, but with net trade continuing to disappoint. In response to rising demand pressures, the central bank raised policy interest rates 75 basis points between March and July.



“On the upside, strong developing-country domestic demand growth is leading the world economy, yet persistent financial sector problems in some high-income countries are still a threat to growth and require urgent policy actions,” said Justin Yifu Lin, the World Bank’s chief economist and senior vice president for development economics.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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