UN Says Asian Economies Probably Able to Face 2008 Uncertainties

Heda Bayron

The United Nations predicts Asia-Pacific economies will continue to see robust growth in 2008, although a recession in the United States could cause problems for the region. Heda Bayron reports from VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong.

The United Nations issued a generally upbeat forecast for the Asia-Pacific region Wednesday, despite concerns that the region's major export market, the United States, is weakening, and even though regional currencies continue to appreciate.

The U.S. economy is expected to slow as it confronts a combination of the effects of last year's home mortgage crisis and rising oil costs, and demand for Asia-made products is expected to slow with it. But the report by UNESCAP says domestic demand can cushion Asian economies from a fall in export revenues.

Shamika Sirimanne, a senior U.N. economist and a co-author of the report, says so far the U.S. sub-prime mortgage problem - which has caused billions of dollars of losses by large banks - has not affected the Asia-Pacific significantly.

However, Sirimanne says that if the U.S. economy goes all the way into recession, Asia would feel the pinch.

"This region is very much an external-oriented region. For example, I think according to our calculations Taiwan, Korea and Singapore are most vulnerable if there is a recession in the United States," said Sirimanne.

The report says China and India's growth rates will continue to remain high and will lead the region. It says China's growth rate is expected to see a moderate decrease this year as Beijing tries to cool its fast-growing economy and as export markets weaken.

"Even though there will be a moderate slowdown in the United States, we still have China growing very, very fast - around 10.8 percent in 2008, India to grow around 9 percent this year. So this will generate an enormous amount of energy in this region," said Sirimanne.

South Korea's economy is forecast to see steady growth although Japan's - the world's second largest economy - is forecast to fall in response to U.S. economic weakness.

The report says developing economies in the region are expected to grow 7.8 percent this year, slightly lower than last year. Indonesia is expected to see strong investment because of lower interest rates and government infrastructure spending.

The report, released Wednesday in Bangkok, raises concerns over rising inflation in China and India, and the environmental degradation it says is undermining the region's growth.

The report says air pollution in major Chinese cities has led to higher incidences of lung disease, including cancer and respiratory problems. An increasing loss of arable land in China - as much as eight million hectares over the past decade surrendered to manufacturing and construction - threatens China's water supply and food security.

The report calls on governments to address environmental problems to ensure longer-term growth.


This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs