Asia's outlook still bright despite China's slowdown

(From Left) Mr Michael Milken, chairman of Milken Institute, Ms Haslinda Amin, news correspondent of  Bloomberg Television, Mr Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners and Mr Piyush Gupta, chief executive of DBS Bank, at t
(From Left) Mr Michael Milken, chairman of Milken Institute, Ms Haslinda Amin, news correspondent of Bloomberg Television, Mr Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners and Mr Piyush Gupta, chief executive of DBS Bank, at the opening plenary discussion of this year's Milken Institute Asia Summit. ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING
(From left) Mr Michael Milken, chairman of Milken Institute, Ms Haslinda Amin, news correspondent of  Bloomberg Television, Mr Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners and Mr Piyush Gupta, chief executive of DBS Bank, at t
(From left) Mr Michael Milken, chairman of Milken Institute, Ms Haslinda Amin, news correspondent of Bloomberg Television, Mr Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners and Mr Piyush Gupta, chief executive of DBS Bank, at the opening plenary discussion of this year's Milken Institute Asia Summit. ST PHOTO: CHONG KOH PING

SINGAPORE - China's slowdown and market volatility may knock 1 or 1.5 percentage points off Asia's growth in the next two years, but long term prospects are still bright, said experts at a forum on Thursday .

"The transition from a controlled economy to a market economy is not simple," said DBS Group Holdings chief executive Piyush Gupta, referring to China's moves to develop its capital markets.

So as China transitions, some volitality is to be expected, he said, adding that the rest of the year will be a "very choppy year for market investors".

But beyond the short-term "idiosyncratic risks" as China reforms economically and socio-politically, Mr Gupta is optimistic about the opportunities that these changes will bring to the region and the world five years from now.

He remains upbeat about the outlook for Asia.

The mega trends of a huge population, a growing middle class, as well as the demand for infrastructure development and investment driving growth are unlikely to change in the medium term, he pointed out.

The impact of China may slow Asia's growth to 5 per cent, down from the current levels of 6 to 6.5 per cent, but "that is still a lot of growth", he said.

Mr Gupta was speaking as a panellist at the 2015 Milken Institute Asia Summit's opening plenary session held at the Four Seasons hotel this morning.

The other panellists are Mr Michael Milken, chairman of the Milken Institue, and Mr Scott Minerd, global chief investment officer of investment and advisory firm Guggenheim Partner

Now in its second year, the two-day event brings together 400 chief executives, investors, and business leaders on pressing global challenges, with a focus on Asia. Panel topics include discussions on China, India, Indonesia and Japan.

kohping@sph.com.sg