Launch of Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2016: Year-end Update

1 Dec 2016
Bangkok, Thailand

Launch of Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific Year-end Update 2016 will take place on Thursday, 1 December 2016 from 13.30 to 14.30 p.m. in Conference Room 4 of the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok.

The Year-end Update of ESCAP’s annual flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific presents the latest macroeconomic trends, identifies emerging risks and challenges, and takes stock of fiscal, monetary and structural policy developments in the Asia-Pacific region, providing recommendations for policymakers, civil society and academia.

Economic conditions have stabilized in the Asia-Pacific region in the second half of 2016. Thanks to resilient domestic demand and policy support, the region’s developing economies are growing at a steady pace of 4.9 per cent despite a sluggish global economy and weak trade. The region’s high and steady growth, led by China and India, has been an anchor of stability for the world’s economy.

For 2017, the outlook is broadly positive but there are risks that should not be underestimated. Bouts of financial volatility can re-emerge given the external environment, including policy uncertainty in the wake of a new administration in the United States of America, and negotiations in Europe following the “Brexit” decision of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Monetary authorities in the Asia-Pacific region have adopted accommodative monetary stances, but prudence is required given the partial recovery in oil prices, high levels of private debt, especially corporate debt and banks’ balance sheets, and currency exposure in some economies. To propel investment, improve the allocative efficiency of investments and ensure financial stability, banking supervision and regulation along with macroprudential frameworks should be strengthened further.

Fiscal policy can and should play a proactive role in supporting domestic demand and meeting long-term development priorities. While ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, there has to be greater emphasis on the quality and composition of public expenditures. Tax policy can be particularly effective in nurturing a balanced society and reducing extreme inequalities. To undertake progressive tax reforms, structural transformations and move towards a sustainable development path, effective governance is fundamental; it enhances investment, promotes productivity and innovation, and mitigates inequality.