Asian economies more resilient during global crisis than expected: ADB

     Asia has shown more resilience than initially expected to the global financial crisis, with major economies posting solid growth, even as demand for exports from the US and Europe slumped, says a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010, ADB's flagship annual statistical publication, says while gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates were broadly lower across the region in 2009, larger economies such as the People's Republic of China (PRC) and India still managed to post healthy economic expansions, supported by government stimulus spending that helped offset export declines. In 2009, when the worst effects of the crisis were flowing through the global economy, PRC's GDP grew 9.1 percent and India 's 7.4 percent other strong performers include Bangladesh with growth of 5.7 percent, Vietnam with 5.3 percent, and Indonesia with 4.5 percent. The latest edition of Key Indicators contains wide ranging economic statistics that closely track the impact of the global crisis through the second half of 2008 and into 2009, and enable clear comparisons with the pre-crisis years up to 2007. "Data comparisons show that the crisis did not have as serious an impact on Asia and the Pacific as had been initially feared in 2008, but it did interrupt the strong growth trends seen before 2007 and its cost can be measured in the gains foregone in the slowdown," said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda in the report's foreword. The data notes that private consumption as a percentage of GDP in developing Asia remains relatively low compared to developed countries, while household savings rates are generally high, suggesting that governments in the region have scope to promote more social protection schemes that can encourage domestic spending and reduce dependence on exports, helping to rebalance growth. The statistics also show that the Asia and Pacific region has the largest share of global GDP measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms at around 33%, with Europe accounting for 28%, and North America 24 percent, while six of the world's top 20 economies, in GDP at PPP terms, come from Asia . At the same time, the data shows that output in the region is dominated by just three countries-PRC, India , and Japan -which collectively produce 70% of the total. In terms of capital formation, PRC and India lead the way, and in the long run this should see them continuing to grow at faster rates than other large economies in the region. ADB, based in Manila , is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2009, it approved a total of 16.1 billion dollars in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation program, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. ADB also mobilized cofinancing amounting to 3.2 billion dollars.

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