Bleak outlook for developing Asia, but region can cope with crisis, says ADB

Developing Asia’s economic growth will slow in 2009 to its most sluggish pace since the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says in a new major report. The Asian Development Outlook 2009 forecasts economic growth in developing Asia will slide to just 3.4% in 2009, down from 6.3% last year and 9.5% in 2007. If the global economy experiences a mild recovery next year, the outlook for the region will improve to 6% in 2010. Deteriorating economic prospects will hinder the efforts to reduce poverty. With the slow growth, more than 60 million people in 2009, and close to 100 million people in 2010, will remain trapped in poverty – living on less than US$1.25 a day – than would have been if growth had continued at its earlier pace. Despite the dismal outlook, the report says that the region is in a much better position to cope with this crisis than it was in 1997/98.