News / Economy

UN: Asia Pacific Economies Face 'Subpar' Growth

A man rests inside a stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 19, 2013.
A man rests inside a stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur, Dec. 19, 2013.
Ron Corben
A new United Nations report says Asia Pacific economies face subpar growth in 2014, fueled by international trade protectionism and against the backdrop of added uncertainties after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it is scaling back efforts to boost the American economy. While China remains a mainstay of the region's growth, protectionist measures by the European Union and United States have cost exporting nations more than $60 billion in lost trade over the past two years.

The report released Thursday by the UN's economic commission for Asia and the Pacific [UNESCAP] says regional growth remains below levels before 2008 amid a backdrop of uncertainties in the U.S. and European Union economies, as well as regional issues and growing economic inequalities.

China remains the linchpin in the regional economic fabric, with U.N. economists forecasting better than 7.0 per cent in 2014. Overall growth for the Asia Pacific developing region, though, is at a sub-par 6.0 per cent.

The U.S. Federal Reserve decision to taper off its massive stimulus program in 2014 is set to reduce funds making their way to regional investment markets. Economists say capital volatility may reduce economic growth in Malaysia, the Russian Federation, Philippines and Thailand.

UNESCAP economist, Anisuzzaman Chowdhury, said the weaker outlook will affect how governments address issues such as growing income inequalities and the environment.

"We are likely to continue to have sub-par growth and that will have implications for what we can do to address inequalities, to address the environmental issues, because you need growth and you need money to address those things. So that is why we said (the region) is at a tipping point. You need to really look at very hard how we conduct our business, our structural impediments," said Chowdhury.

The economies of China and India together account for over half of the gross domestic product, or GDP, of the developing Asia Pacific region and remain crucial drivers of economic growth.

Chowdhury said China's policy shift towards boosting domestic consumption is set to have wider implications for the region.
   
"China's economic growth has been driven so far by investment. Now it will be what the Chinese Government is doing consciously - re-orienting these policies to address various disparities - they will now look at raising wages. So there will be demand from China for consumer goods. For countries which are exporting consumer goods to China they will benefit. So that rebalancing is happening," said Chowdhury.

The U.N. says a key concern has been the rise of international trade protectionism, which has cost Asia Pacific developing economies more than $62 billion in lost export value in trade over 2012 and 2013 alone, especially affected by measures adopted in the European Union and United States.

The concerns over trade protectionism come despite the recent agreement on the World Trade Organization [WTO] Doha round negotiations. Protectionist policies have included anti-dumping measures, import tariffs, customs procedures, and other restrictions.

The U.N. says China's economy was the hardest hit with $13.5 billion worth of exports negatively affected over the past two years, along with Russia, South Korea, and exporters in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The report says Thailand and Malaysia have faced slowing growth and rising household debt, while policy uncertainties have led to sharp declines in the currencies of India and Indonesia.

The U.N. says the Asia Pacific is now facing the "new normal" of subpar growth and calls on governments to implement policies to better manage the volatility triggered by short term capital flows, as well as support small and medium sized enterprises.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9115
JPY
USD
123.92
GBP
USD
0.6554
CAD
USD
1.2443
INR
USD
63.800

Rates may not be current.