Eurozone headwinds challenge East Asia

Eurozone headwinds challenge East Asia

HONG KONG - Agence France-Presse
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday trimmed its 2012 growth forecast for emerging East Asian economies including China, as the eurozone turmoil threatens to drag the global economy back into crisis.

The Manila-based bank cut its gross domestic product growth forecast to 7.2 percent for the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, from 7.5 percent in September.

It also mapped out an “extreme scenario” of European and U.S. meltdown, which could shave 1.2 percent off growth next year in East Asia including Japan, from a forecast 5.4 percent to 4.2 percent, bank officials said.

“The worst-case scenario is for both the U.S. and eurozone to fall back into recession, pushing the global economy into a deep slump,” the ADB’s Emerging East Asia regional economic update said.

With headwinds blowing out of Europe, the bank said its “cautiously optimistic” outlook for the Emerging East Asia region excluding Japan was under a thickening black cloud compared to its September forecasts.

“The cautiously optimistic outlook for emerging East Asia is subject to much greater downside risks now than just a few months ago,” it said. “The global economic recovery could flounder if the eurozone and the U.S. fall back into recession, causing another global financial crisis.”

It said “major downside risks” included a deep recession in Europe and the United States, higher protectionism and persistent inflation.

The ADB said a defence against trouble in Western markets lay in “increasing intra-regional trade and financial integration, and expanding links with other emerging economies.”