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Asia's Leading Economies to Return to Pre-Crisis Growth Levels in 2011: Rabobank
Source: channelnewsasia.com
Source Date: Thursday, September 09, 2010
Created: Sep 13, 2010

SINGAPORE: Rabobank expects Asia's leading economies outside of China and Japan to see growth returning to pre-crisis levels in 2011.

It said the so-called "Asia-Eight" - which comprise the economies of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines - could grow at 5.5 per cent on average.

That is above the market consensus of a 4.9 per cent growth trend next year.

Many Asian economies staged a strong comeback this year.

For instance, Singapore's gross domestic product grew by 18 per cent on-year in the first half, while Hong Kong's economy grew by 7.2 per cent in the same period.

Despite the strong performance, growth in Asia is widely expected to taper off.

But Rabobank said it will still hit pre-crisis levels next year, because Asia has the muscle to overcome some downside risks.

Adrian Foster, Rabobank's Head of Financial Markets Research for Asia Pacific, said: "While the US has a budget deficit about 10 per cent of GDP, if you look at some regional averages, it is around 5.5 per cent of GDP in the Asian region.

"So just in case some of the downside risks or fears are realised, I think there is a little bit of fuel in the tank in the fiscal environment in the region."

Asian currencies are also likely to be modestly stronger against the US dollar next year.

Meanwhile, Rabobank also downplayed concerns of a double-dip recession in the US, despite a warning by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that the global economic recovery is slowing at a faster-than-expected pace.

The OECD added that governments may need to pump more stimulus money into their economies to kickstart the fledgling recovery.

Rabobank also said Europe is in better shape than some believe.

Jan Lambregts, who is Rabobank's Global Head of Financial Markets Research, said: "There have been significant austerity measures implemented in several of the key weaker countries in the eurozone. These are significant and it also looks like the political stability is there to deliver these."

He added: "Our analysis of the past 30 years, looking at past debt crisis in many countries, suggests that the actual negative impact in terms of GDP growth lost is manageable."

On top of that, Rabobank said China's economic growth is likely to pick up next year, fuelling more optimism and opportunities for the region. - CNA/ms
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