Asia-Pacific leading global recovery but uncertainties remain, says UN

While the Asia-Pacific region is leading the global economic recovery, with the growth rate in 2010 forecast at 6.3 per cent – the highest in the world – considerable uncertainties remain about the extent and durability of the recovery, says a key United Nations report.

The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009: Year-end Update , released today in Bangkok, states that recovery to pre-crisis levels in Asia and the Pacific is dependant to a large extent on developments that are outside the region. Recovery of consumption demand in developed countries will be key to the region’s exports.

At the same time, within the region, countries need to take advantage of the shift in global growth to Asia and the Pacific, the report says. Asian-Pacific countries need to guard against premature withdrawal of existing supportive policies and boost intra-regional cooperation in order to improve the ability to insulate themselves from, and better weather, crises in the future.

“The aftermath of the crisis has revealed the shifting axis of global growth to within the region and the need to devise regional supporting mechanisms through greater macroeconomic, trade and investment integration”, said Nagesh Kumar, Chief Economist of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) – the regional arm of the UN.

“Asia and the Pacific also must take a leading role commensurate with its importance in the global economy in discussions on reforming the international institutional and regulatory architecture,” Dr. Kumar added.

The report examines the progress in and changes to the region’s economic performance since the launch of the Survey – ESCAP’s flagship publication – in March 2009 .

Amongst major economies of the region, China is forecast to experience the fastest growth in 2010, of 9 per cent, driven by public and private investment. The domestic-demand led economies of India and Indonesia are also forecast to grow fast, at 7.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, driven by domestic consumption and investment.

Major export-led economies are expected to experience substantial growth recovery next year, although not to the levels seen before the crisis: Singapore (3.5 per cent), the Philippines (3.5 per cent), Taiwan Province of China (3.5 per cent), Thailand (3.0 per cent), and Malaysia (2.5 per cent).

The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009: Year-end Update is available online at: http://www.unescap.org/pdd/publications/yearend2009/yearend2009.pdf