ADB cuts growth forecasts for China, developing Asia as trade war bites

The Asian Development Bank cut its growth estimates for China for this year and the next to 6.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Wednesday (Dec 11) it has lowered its growth forecasts for developing Asia this year and the next, as a weaker outlook for China and India indicated softer economic activity elsewhere in the region.

The bank trimmed its growth forecast for developing Asia to 5.2 per cent in 2019 and 2020, the Manila-based lender said in an updated annual outlook report, from 5.4 per cent and 5.5 per cent previously.

It cut its growth estimates for China for this year and the next to 6.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively, from the 6.2 per cent and 6.0 per cent forecasts announced in September, on the US-China trade tensions and as higher prices of pork cut into consumer spending.

"While growth rates are still solid in developing Asia, persistent trade tensions have taken a toll on the region and are still the biggest risk to the longer-term economic outlook", ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada said. "Inflation, on the other hand, is ticking up on the back of higher food prices, as African swine fever has raised pork prices significantly", She added.

China's third-quarter economic growth slowed more than expected to 6 per cent year-on-year, marking its weakest pace in almost three decades, and at the bottom end of the government's full-year target range of between 6.0 per cent and 6.5 per cent.

The ADB also lowered its forecast for South Asia's largest economy India for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 to 5.1 per cent and 6.5 per cent, from its September estimates of 6.5 per cent and 7.2 per cent, due to liquidity strains on its non-banking finance companies and slow job growth.

South-east Asia's growth this year is expected to be slightly lower than previously expected, as trade reliant economies like Singapore and Thailand are hit hard by the trade war and broader global slowdown.

Developing Asia faces rising food costs, with 2019 and 2020 inflation seen at 2.8 per cent in 2019 and 3.1 per cent in 2020, up from the lender's previous estimate of 2.7 per cent for both the years.

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