News / Economy

UN Forecasts Slow Growth for Asia Pacific Amid Weak Global Economy

A pedestrian walks past an electronic board showing the Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, August 6, 2014.
A pedestrian walks past an electronic board showing the Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, August 6, 2014.
Ron Corben

A United Nations survey for Asia Pacific nations finds economic growth in the region remains subdued amid calls on governments to reform tax systems, reduce income inequities and boost employment, especially for the young unemployed. The U.N. says that although China and India are expected to experience steadier growth, the Russian Federation, faced with ongoing geopolitical conflict, is showing little growth.  

The report, released by the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), says sluggish growth in major industrialized economies is spilling over and holding back growth in the Asia Pacific region.

The U.N. says growth in the developing economies, including China and India, is also set to be hit by a tightening of U.S. monetary policy, as the program of quantitative easing meant to spur U.S. growth is tapered back. At the same time, restrictive trade policies in developed economies will undermine exports.

Shamshad Akhtar, UNESCAP executive secretary, said average forecast growth of 5.8 per cent is still below that seen before the 2008 financial crisis, and is not sufficient to ease high unemployment rates, especially among the young.

"There are some worries… for one, the growth is subpar when you compare it with the pre-crisis period where it was much higher. So it's a region that has a potential to deliver much higher growth and we obviously need much higher growth to solve job problems and other attended problems," said Akhtar.

Youth unemployment remains a key issue. The report says nearly 717 million of the region's population are young men and women aged 15 to 24 years. The report calls for "active labor market programs" linking education, training and skills development, and overcoming gender inequalities in education.

India's growth is forecast for 2014 at 5.5 per cent, marginally higher following the election of a pro-business government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Akhtar said to spur growth the government needs to ease investment restrictions and reduce bureaucratic red tape.

"India needs to open up as much as possible. India needs to welcome more foreign and domestic private investment. It needs to resolve the age-old practices of ineffective clearance mechanisms. Openness, transparency, predictability of the investment policies could be quite critical," said Akhtar.

In China, many have expressed worry that overinvestment in real estate and housing has created a dangerous economic bubble. The U.N. report forecasts growth at 7.7 percent for the year. Akhtar said China's outlook remains positive with the government controlling policy, but she raised concerns if growth further slowed.

"China has been able to intervene when required to stimulate the economy, either for domestic reasons or for keeping the global economy going. So I think it's a pretty reasonable process that's underway. [But] I think if growth got more compressed that there would be more worries because China is a large economy,” said Akhtar.

Of key concern is the economy of the Russian Federation, which is now in recession with growth forecast of less than one per cent in the year. The growth rate stands in sharp contrast to over 7 per cent prior to the 2008 financial crisis and 3.5 per cent two years ago.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.