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Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2009
 
16. Economic growth

Following extraordinary GDP growth rates in recent decades, the Asia-Pacific region has, since 2006, become the world’s second largest aggregated economy – accounting for 29% of global GDP.

Between 1990 and 2008, the region’s aggregate GDP nearly doubled – to $17.7 trillion, and is now not far behind that of the largest region, Europe, at $19.7 trillion. In 2008, the real GDP of Asia and the Pacific grew at 3.8%, faster than the world average of 2.2%. Other fast growing regions included Africa (5.9%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (4.3%).

The picture changes somewhat when considering GDP per capita. Of the global regions, Africa had the highest population growth rate, which reduced its GDP per capita growth rate in 2008 to 3.5%, compared with Latin America and the Caribbean’s 3.2%, and Asia and the Pacific’s 2.7%. The remaining two regions were some way behind in this regard – Europe at 0.6% and North America at 0.1%.

Figure 16.1 - Index of change in GDP, world regions, 1990-2008

Figure 16.2 - Index of change in GDP per capita, world regions, 1990-2008

Within Asia and the Pacific, the highest growth rates in 2008 were achieved by the group of middle-income economies, at 6.9%. The low-income economies reached 5.7%, while the high-income economies only managed a modest 0.8% increase. This pattern reflects the fact that the middle-income economies have been the best performers since the early 1990s – some having graduated to the higher group from among low-income economies. Since the Asian crisis in 1997, the high-income economies have had the slowest growth.

China has been one of the fastest growers, averaging 11.2% annually in the period 2005-2008. In 2008, however, mainly due to decreased export demand and declining real estate investment, China’s GDP growth sank to 9.0% – its lowest rate since 2002. Other fast-growing economies included Macao, China (13.2%) and Azerbaijan (10.8%).

At the other end of the scale, the economy of the small Pacific island of Nauru contracted by 12.1% in 2008, as consumer demand decreased and private-sector investment slackened. Negative economic growth was also recorded for the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand.

Figure 16.3 - Index of change in GDP, by income groupings of Asia-Pacific countries, 1990-2008

Among the subregions, North and Central Asia had the highest GDP growth in 2008, 5.7%. Azerbaijan, thanks to its booming construction sector, held the subregion’s top position for a fourth consecutive year. Nevertheless, between 2007 and 2008 its growth decreased from 25.1 to 10.8%. Growth in the Russian Federation reached 5.6% of GDP – a consequence of rising agricultural production, growing retail turnover and investment in fixed capital.

In the Pacific, aggregate GDP growth slowed significantly between 2007 and 2008, from 3.8 to 0.9%, giving it the slowest growth rate of all the subregions. This was mostly due to slowdowns in the region’s two main economies, Australia and New Zealand, with the latter facing negative growth in 2008.

Among the South and South-West Asian countries, only Nepal saw its GDP growth rate increasing in 2008. Most economies still grew by more than 5%. India’s growth, of 7.3%, was aided by increases in investment and consumer demand, as well as by robust exports.

East and North-East Asia’s aggregate rate fell between 2007 and 2008 from 5.9% to 3.4%. This was mainly attributable to the slower growth rate of the Japanese economy, at only 0.4% in 2008, which was not sufficiently offset by strong GDP growth in Macao, China at 13.2%, China at 9.0%, and Mongolia at 8.9%.

Figure 16.4 - GDP growth rate, Asia and the Pacific, 2008

In South-East Asia, aggregate GDP growth fell from 6.3% in 2007 to 4.6% in 2008, as all the region’s economies slowed down. Brunei Darussalam performed the worst: having had positive growth of 0.6% in 2007, it experienced negative growth of 1.5% in 2008.

Figure 16.5 - GDP growth rate of Asia-Pacific subregions, 2007-2008

The Asia-Pacific region has high rates of gross domestic investment – which is gross fixed capital formation as a proportion of GDP. For many years its rates were the highest of the world regions. In 2008, it pulled even further ahead, increasing the rate to 32.1% from 30.1% in 2007. Meanwhile the rates dropped in Europe, North America and Africa.

Within Asia and the Pacific, growth in aggregate investment differed substantially between groups of countries. While in 2008 Central Asia and the landlocked developing countries decreased investment by 18.2% and 16.9% respectively, the ASEAN countries increased their aggregate investment by 7.6%.

In 2008, with 15.9% growth, Chinese investment grew faster than that of any other major economy, and was a main contributor to the aggregate investment growth of 6.9% in the Asia-Pacific economies.

Figure 16.6 - Gross domestic investment, world regions, 1990-2008

Generally the level of GDP per capita is connected to the structure of the economy, and particularly to the shares of agriculture and services. Africa, with the lowest GDP per capita, has the largest percentage of agricultural value added. Similarly, North America, with the highest GDP per capita, has the lowest share of agricultural value added. The contribution of the service sector to total value added follows the reverse pattern.

The Asia-Pacific region has seen a long-term decrease in the contribution of agriculture to total value added. Between 2007 and 2008, however, it increased somewhat, from 7.0 to 7.3%. The share of the service sector peaked in 2002, subsequently falling to 57.9% in 2008, while the contribution of the industrial sector increased. In 2008, the growth of value added in the agricultural sector amounted to 9.7%, while growth in both the industrial and service sectors were pegged at 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively.

Figure 16.7 - Value added by sector, the regions of the world, 2008

It is important to remember, however, that although in Asia and the Pacific agriculture is less than 8% of value added, the sector still employs around 40% of the working population. Details can be found in Chapter 17 on employment.

Gross Domestic Product (Million 1990 US dollars; Million US dollars)

Gross domestic product (GDP) (million 1990 United States dollars): The total market value of all final goods and services produced within a country's borders in a given period of time, expressed in millions of constant 1990 United States dollars. Gross domestic product (GDP) (Million US dollars) is the GDP prices of the current reporting period. Also known as nominal GDP. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP as the sum of individual country values. Source: UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

Average annual GDP (1990 US dollars) growth rate (% per annum)

Annual growth rates are calculated as an annual average on the basis of GDP at 1990 constant price. See Statistical methods for the growth rates calculation. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP as the average annual rate of change of the regional sums. Source: Calculated by ESCAP using data from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

GDP per capita (1990 US dollars; 2005 PPP dollars)

GDP per head calculated as the aggregate of production (GDP) divided by the population size, expressed in constant 1990 US dollars and in 2005 international PPP dollars. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP using the total population figures (from the World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision Population Database) as weight. Source: UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

Average annual GDP per capita (1990 US dollars) growth rate (% per annum)

Annual growth rates of per capita GDP are calculated as an annual average using constant 1990 prices. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP as the average annual rate of change of the regional sums. Source: Calculated by ESCAP using data from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

Gross domestic investment rate (% of GDP)

The ratio of gross domestic investment to GDP is calculated as the sum of gross fixed capital formation and changes in stocks divided by the total GDP. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP using the GDP in current US dollars (from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database) as weight. Source: Calculated by ESCAP using data from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

Average annual gross domestic investment growth rate (% per annum)

The gross domestic investment average annual rate of change is calculated using GDP in national currencies. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP as the average annual rate of change of the regional sums. Source: Calculated by ESCAP using data from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

GDP by sector: agriculture, industry, and services (% of total value added)

Describes the generation of gross value added by industrial classification of economic activities according to the International Standard Industrial Classification. Agriculture covers: agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing; Industry: construction, mining, manufacturing and utilities; and Services: transport, storage and communication; wholesale, retail, restaurant, hotels and other activities. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP using GDP in constant 1990 United States dollars (from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database) as weight. Source: UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

Average annual growth rate of value added: agriculture, industry and services (% per annum)

The average annual rates of change of the total value added by agriculture, industry, and services are calculated on the basis of constant 1990 United States dollars. Aggregates: Calculated by ESCAP as the average annual rate of change of the regional sums. Source: Calculated by ESCAP using data from UNSD, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database. Online database accessed on 22 October 2009.

 
 
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Table 16.1 Gross domestic product

Table 16.2 Gross domestic product per capita
Table 16.3 Domestic investment
Table 16.4 Value added by sector
Table 16.5 Change in value added by sector
Figures gif format
Figure 16.1 - Index of change in GDP, world regions, 1990-2008
Figure 16.1 - Index of change in GDP, world regions, 1990-2008
Figure 16.2 - Index of change in GDP per capita, world regions, 1990-2008
Figure 16.2 - Index of change in GDP per capita, world regions, 1990-2008
Figure 16.3 - Index of change in GDP, by income groupings of Asia-Pacific countries, 1990-2008
Figure 16.3 - Index of change in GDP, by income groupings of Asia-Pacific countries, 1990-2008
Figure 16.4 - GDP growth rate, Asia and the Pacific, 2008
Figure 16.4 - GDP growth rate, Asia and the Pacific, 2008
Figure 16.5 - GDP growth rate of Asia-Pacific subregions, 2007-2008
Figure 16.5 - GDP growth rate of Asia-Pacific subregions, 2007-2008
Figure 16.6 - Gross domestic investment, world regions, 1990-2008
Figure 16.6 - Gross domestic investment, world regions, 1990-2008
Figure 16.7 - Value added by sector, the regions of the world, 2008
Figure 16.7 - Value added by sector, the regions of the world, 2008
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