Thai unrest, typhoon hammer growth

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday lowered its growth forecast for Southeast Asia amid the political turmoil in Thailand and the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

In an update to its annual Asian Development Outlook report, the Manila-based bank raised the outlook for China's growth by 0.1 percentage points to 7.7% in 2013 and 7.5% in 2014.

The report said the revision, which was attributed to rising infrastructure investment, also boosted growth forecast for East Asia by the same magnitude to 6.7% in 2013 and 2014.

Southeast Asia's economy, however, was expected to grow slower, by 0.1 percentage points to 4.8% in 2013 and 5.2% in 2014, the report said.

"The moderation stems from the impact of tensions in Thailand on consumption and tourism," the bank said.

"The devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan is tempering the Philippines' 2013 growth, but reconstruction is expected to boost growth as it ramps up in 2014," it added.

Despite the sub-regional changes, the growth outlook for developing Asia's 45 countries was steady at 6% in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014 amid an improving growth outlook in Japan and the United States and China's stronger-than-expected performance.

"Despite uncertainties in the global economic environment, developing Asian economies remain resilient," the bank's chief economist Changyong Rhee said.

"The region has performed well in 2013 and is not poised to benefit from the further signs of growth momentum in the advanced economies," he added.

The bank said the economies of the US, euro area and Japan are on track to meet the forecast of 0.9% growth in 2013. It expects growth in the three economies to pick up to 1.9% in 2014, up 0.1 percentage points from an earlier forecast.

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