The Future of Asia 2012

ADB Economist Optimistic About Asia Growth

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Juzhong Zhuang, deputy chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, expressed optimism about the growth prospects for Asia at an international forum here Thursday.

Speaking at the annual Future of Asia conference, Zhuang said the greatest threats to the region's economy continue to be related to the euro-zone crisis, but acknowledged that, "The probability of an Asian economic crisis because of the euro zone is low."

According to the ADB, the economic growth rate for Asia will pick up to 7.3% in 2013, up from the more moderate 6.9% expansion this year.

Despite a weak external environment, the bank expects developing Asian economies to "remain robust" over the long term. A recent ADB study concluded that developing countries in Asia have the potential to grow 7.0-7.5% annually over the decade through 2020 and 6% over the 10 years through 2030. Asia's share of global GDP could increase from 27% in 2010 to 44% by 2030.

Looking beyond just growth, Zhuang also emphasized that "there is a need to eliminate poverty and increase equality throughout the region." In addition, he cited the need to continuously improve productivity and achieve environmentally sustainable growth.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.