04/12/2016, 09.48
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World Bank: Asia-Pacific economic growth slows

Reflecting a struggling China, regional growth will drop from + 6.5% to + 6.3% in next two years. Philippines and Vietnam lead development in Southeast Asia. Despite the slowdown, the eastern part of the region accounts for nearly two-fifths of global economic growth.

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The economic growth in the countries of the East Asia-Pacific region is projected to decrease in the next two years, weighed down by the difficulties of the Chinese market. This is according to a study conducted by the World Bank, based in Washington, which has revealed that regional growth in 2016 will amount to 6.3%, falling to 6.2% in 2017. In 2015 however, the increase was 6.5 %.

The study examines 14 countries with the exception of India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The Philippines and Vietnam have the fastest growing  economies of South-East,  with rates of 6.4% in 2016 (5.8% last year) and 6.5% (compared to 6.7% in 2015).

The nations of the area - including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea – are suffering the knock on effects of Beijing’s struggle to relaunch its exports. Forecasts for China speak of a + 6.7% in 2016 and + 6.5% in 2017, down from + 6.9% in 2015 (already below expectations). The numbers in the first months of the year do not bode well for Beijing, whose exports fell by 11.2% from last year. Imports fell by 18.8% annually, on estimates for a -0.8%.

According to the World Bank, the Chinese economy could be revived if it opened up sectors hitherto dominated by state-owned companies to private competition and to move public investment from infrastructure to public services such as education, healthcare and environmental protection.

Despite the slowdown, in 2015 the East Asia-Pacific "accounted for almost two-fifths of global economic growth, more than double that of all other developing regions combined”, according to Victor Kwakwa, vice president of the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific office.  He added that "support growth amid the global challenges will require continued progress and structural reforms".

According to Sudhir Shetty, an economist at the Bank, "the resilience of the growth of the economies of this region is striking, especially when you consider that it was achieved in a rather gloomy global scenario".

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