India, China leading Asia out of global downturn

October 21st, 2009 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Oct 21 (IANS) Led by China, India and Indonesia, Asia is emerging from the global economic crisis sooner and stronger than any other region, according to a top International Monetary Fund (IMF) official.

Measured from peak to trough, real GDP has fallen by nearly 4 percent in the United States, but it fell by more than 8 percent in Japan and by about 7 percent in emerging Asia, excluding China, India and Indonesia, the First Deputy Managing Director of IMF, John Lipsky noted Tuesday.

“Fortunately, the global economy has begun to pull out of recession, and Asia looks set to emerge from the downturn both sooner and stronger than any other region,” he said at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Conference in Santa Barbara.

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook forecasts global economic contraction of about one percent this year and expansion of around 3 percent next year.

At the same time, Asia is expected to grow by 2.75 percent this year and by 5.75 percent in 2010.

“Strikingly, the three fastest growing economies in the G-20 are all from Asia - China, India and Indonesia - with China projected to grow 8.5 percent, India 5.5 percent and Indonesia 4 percent this year,” Lipsky said.

Some Asian countries - particularly advanced and export-dependent economies that have experienced a relatively large cyclical weakening of their fiscal positions - are planning to withdraw fiscal stimulus over the course of 2010 in response to the signs of recovery, he said.

“However, these plans should proceed cautiously until the recovery seems assured,” Lipsky suggested.

At the same time, fiscal credibility could be enhanced by announcing concrete medium-term consolidation plans. Such plans will be particularly relevant for those countries starting from relatively high debt levels, including Japan, India, and Malaysia, he said.

With the recovery still tentative, inflation risks currently low, and limited asset price increases so far, a near-term tightening of monetary policy would be premature for most countries, Lipsky said.

But there are a few exceptions where action may be appropriate sooner then elsewhere, Lipsky said noting that in India, core inflation and inflation expectations are rising as industrial production has recovered rapidly.

And in China, growth is accelerating and the extraordinary pace of loan growth in the first half of 2009 raises the risk of future loan quality problems.

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