ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ADB forecasts higher growth
The Manila-based development bank said Tuesday it now expects developing Asia to grow 8.2 percent this year compared with a projection of 7.5 percent growth issued in April. The forecast, which doesn't include Japan, covers 44 developing and newly industrialized nations in Asia.
"Overall, developing Asia's recovery seems to have taken firm hold," the ADB said. Increased consumer and business spending as a result of government stimulus also played its part in the recovery from the financial crisis, it said.
The Philippine economy was expected to jump 6.2 percent - up from an earlier prediction of 3.8 percent. Singapore is forecast to surge 14 percent - more than double the previous figure of 6.3 percent. Thailand's outlook improved from 4 percent growth to 7 percent.
But the bank warned about possible weakness in the U.S., Europe and Japan, highlighting sluggishness in the American housing market and the risk of sovereign debt defaults in Europe. The gradual appreciation of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar - 1.5 percent from the start of the year to mid-September - won't have a major impact on trade in the short term, the bank said.
The report also noted the Chinese government is increasing housing supply, tightening credit requirements and pulling state-owned companies from the housing market to cool the sharp hike in real-estate prices in major cities.
Surprisingly strong growth in Singapore in the first half prompted the ADB to drastically upgrade its outlook for the year. The city-state was helped by demand for chemicals, electronics and drugs, as well as financial and tourism services. The booming Chinese market was a big booster, accounting for 40 percent of first-half exports.
Thailand's prospects were also raised on the strength of 10.6 percent growth in the first half despite violent anti-government protests in April and May that spooked tourists. Domestic demand help prop up the expansion.
The ADB was also more bullish about the Philippines because of a strong recovery in trade and investment. Electronics manufacturing, construction and mine production were ramped up in the first half.
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