Growth in Asia and the Pacific's developing economies for 2018 and 2019 will remain solid, as growth continues apace across the region despite rising tensions between the United States and its trading partners, said a new ADB report released on Thursday.
In a supplement to its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018 report, ADB said that the overall outlook for Asia and the Pacific's developing economies remains stable for 2018, adding that developing Asia "is largely on track to meet growth expectations as set out in April in ADO 2018."
The ADO supplement said that growth for Asia and the Pacific is at 6 percent for 2018 and 5.9 percent for 2019, in line with its previous projections.
Excluding Asia's newly industrialized economies, the report said growth is forecast at 6.5 percent in 2018 and 6.4 percent in 2019, also unchanged from April.
"Although rising trade tensions remain a concern for the region, protectionist trade measures implemented so far in 2018 have not significantly dented buoyant trade flows to and from developing Asia," said ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada.
"Prudent macroeconomic and fiscal policymaking will help economies across the region prepare to respond to external shocks, ensuring that growth in the region remains robust," he said.
In East Asia, the report said growth forecasts are unchanged for the subregion at 6 percent in 2018 and 5.8 percent in 2019.
South Asia, meanwhile, continues to be the fastest growing subregion, led by India, whose economy is on track to meet the fiscal year 2018 projected growth of 7.3 percent and further accelerating to 7.6 percent in 2019, as measures taken to strengthen the banking system and tax reform boost investment, the report said.
In both Pakistan and Bangladesh, the report said agriculture recorded notable improvement over the last year, surpassing expectations and driving growth.
In Southeast Asia, the report said growth projections for the subregion remain unchanged at 5.2 percent in both 2018 and 2019, as robust domestic demand continues to support economies in the region. Higher public investment boosted first-quarter growth in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, while private investment was strong in Vietnam.
The report said Central Asia is growing faster than expected, prompting an upward revision to forecasts from 4.0 percent to 4.2 percent in 2018 and from 4.2 percent to 4.3 percent in 2019. The rise in global commodity prices and the related recovery in Russia have boosted growth across much of the subregion, the report said.
In the Pacific, the report said growth is expected at 2.2 percent and 3.0 percent over the next two years as the region's largest economy, Papua New Guinea, continues to slow due to the impact of the February earthquakes on production and exports of liquefied natural gas and other export commodities.
The report now projects lower inflation for developing Asia at 2.8 percent for 2018 and 2.7 percent for 2019.
Despite rising international commodity prices, inflation projections for developing Asia are revised down from 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent for 2018 and from 2.9 percent to 2.7 percent for 2019 as domestic factors help contain inflationary pressures, the report predicted.
"Domestic factors, including central bank intervention to avoid sharp currency depreciation, and the reintroduction of food and fuel subsidies to contain the effects of rising commodity prices in some economies, helped contain inflationary pressures," the report said.
The ADB's economic publication Outlook provides a comprehensive analysis of macroeconomic issues in developing Asia.