Asia Economic Growth to Remain Strong in 2008

Growth will register 8%

Economic growth among the developing economies of East Asia will ease to a still robust 8% next year, but the downside risks are rising, the Asian Development Bank said Dec. 13.

The moderating factors are the projected slower expansion of key industrialized nations owing to volatile financial markets and rising oil prices, the Philippines-based lender said.

Risks are tilted more to the downside than before on expectations of a sharper slowdown in the U.S. economy, further tightening of global credit, an abrupt adjustment in exchange rates and a continued rise in oil and commodity prices, says the December issue of the bank's Asia Economic Monitor.

It said gross domestic product (GDP) growth in China, the regions growth engine, would slow to 10.5% in 2008 compared to a forecast 11.4% this year if government measures to cool the economy begin to take hold.

Growth in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) economies is expected to slightly moderate to 6.1% in 2008 from a forecast 6.3% in 2007, it added.

The report also warned that inflation is rising in many economies and price pressures are likely to remain in 2008. "Slower growth but rising inflationary pressures despite appreciating currencies pose major challenges for the regions policymakers," said Lee Jong-Wha, head of the bank's Office of Regional Economic Integration.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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