Asia leading global recovery, doubts remain: UN survey

BANGKOK: Asia and the Pacific are leading the global economic recovery after the financial crisis but major uncertainties remain about the extent and durability of the resurgence, a UN survey said yesterday.The report forecast robust growth of 6.3 per cent in 2010 across the region, which contains around half the world’s population, but said its countries still depended on recovery in US and European markets to boost vital exports.

Governments must increase regional cooperation to protect against future crises and not withdraw stimulus packages prematurely, said the year-end update on the UN Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009.

“Things do definitely look better than earlier this year,” Nagesh Kumar, chief economist of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said at the launch of the report in Bangkok.

But he added that the “aftermath of the (global economic) crisis has revealed the shifting axis of global growth to within the region and the need to devise regional support mechanisms.” Fears sparked by Dubai’s debt problems — which emerged after the report was written — highlighted the need for caution, the report’s authors said.

“It’s a timely reminder of the need for tempering excessive optimism,” Tiziana Bonapace, chief of the UN body’s macroeconomic policy and analysis section, told reporters.

Kumar said Asia-Pacific economies needed new engines for promoting and sustaining domestic growth to better weather shocks from outside the region.  — AFP

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