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Report: US Economic Rebound Should Help Asia


A new report indicates that the U.S. economic rebound will help developing economies in Asia grow faster this year than last.

The Asian Development Bank said exports will lead the recovery in much of Asia, as the key consumer markets in the United States, Japan and Europe rebound.

A new ADB report said developing Asian economies should grow by an average of 4.8 percent this year. That compares with an average of about 3.7 percent last year. The ADB said growth will be even higher next year, although it is not expected to come close to the robust gains in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s.

Jean-Pierre Verbiest, a senior ADB economist, said the growth levels will vary throughout the region. "The differences between the trend in East and Southeast Asia is very strong, particularly in Southeast Asia. [In] South Asia, you have countries like India and Bangladesh doing relatively better or at least as well as they did in the eighties and the nineties. But other countries such as Pakistan are doing much worse," he said.

The report predicts that region's most developed economies, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, will climb out of recession this year.

It said, however, that Hong Kong's painful economic restructuring means the city will not benefit directly from China's economic strength. China is expected to be the strongest economy in the region.

The ADB said weakening trade may cause China's growth to slow modestly this year, but heavy government spending and growing domestic demand should ensure stronger gains next year.

In the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, high levels of bad bank loans could inhibit growth. "In the case of Indonesia and the case of the Philippines and to some extent Thailand also, these economies have growth rates that are well below their potential, and I would say their sustainable potential," Mr. Verbiest said.

The report also noted that tourism, which sank after the September 11 terrorist attacks, is poised to rebound in the region next year. Tourism accounts for about nine percent of the region's economic output.

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