Asia to grow as expected in 2018 and 2019 though trade war poses downside risks: ADB

The ADB also kept its 6.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent growth projections for China for both years.
The ADB also kept its 6.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent growth projections for China for both years.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (REUTERS) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) expects developing Asia to meet its growth forecasts for this year and next on strong domestic demand and easing inflation pressures, though it warned of downside risks from a rising tide of trade protectionism.

The Manila-based institution, which released an update of its Asian Development Outlook on Wednesday (Dec 12), maintained its 2018 and 2019 economic growth estimates for the region at 6 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively.

The ADB also kept its 6.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent growth projections for China as well as its 7.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent growth expectations for India for both years.

Early this month, United States President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce on further tariffs as they try to negotiate a deal. But while the truce was a welcome development, ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada said "the unresolved conflict remains to be the downside risk to economic prospects in the region".

The 2019 growth outlook for Central Asia was raised to 4.3 per cent, from the September projection of 4.2 per cent, the ADB said, but the forecasts for South-east Asia and South Asia for next year were lowered to 5.1 per cent and 7.1 per cent, respectively.

Easing commodity prices and central bank policy actions could cause the pace of inflation in developing Asia to settle at 2.6 per cent this year and to 2.7 per cent in 2019, the ADB said, down from its 2.8 per cent forecast in September for both years.