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UNESCAP cuts growth outlook for Asia-Pacific to 5.6 percent

UNESCAP cuts growth outlook for Asia-Pacific to 5.6 percent

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Published : 2013-12-19 19:44
Updated : 2013-12-19 19:44

The U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific pared its growth expectations next year for the Asia-Pacific region to 5.6 percent on Thursday on the back of persistent slow recovery, policy uncertainty and protectionism in emerging markets.

In a year-end update to its yearly economic and social survey, UNESCAP forecast a moderate rebound in the regional economy next year compared with an expected 5.2 percent expansion in 2013. But the revised outlook reflects a 0.4 percentage point decrease from its earlier projection.

The figures mean that the Asia-Pacific economies would grow less than 6 percent annually for at least two decades, the report said.

The Bangkok-headquartered agency, which oversees the development process in its 62 member countries, presented its findings in the Thai capital.

“The economies of Asia and the Pacific are at a turning point,” UNESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer said in a statement.

“The manner in which the current transition is managed will have a long-term impact on the region’s inclusive and sustainable development path.”

The survey also picked rising inequality and other “domestic structural impediments” as potential hurdles for further growth.

A forthcoming cutback in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus policy announced on Wednesday could slash its forecasts for Malaysia, Russia, Thailand and the Philippines by up to 1.3 percent in 2014, the agency said.

The report calls for productive public spending to promote inclusive and sustainable development, acknowledging related efforts being made by countries including Korea, China and India such as an increase in their minimum wages and programs to enhance food security and social protection.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)

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