BANGKOK, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017 Report released on Thursday (Jan 19) revealed that East and South Asia is set to become 2017's main engine for global growth as the world economy is still recovering from the Great Recession of 2009.
The year 2016 was also the slowest since 2009 as gross product grew by just 2.2 percent.
However, WESP said global growth is projected to see a moderate improvement to 2.7 percent in 2017 and 2.9 percent in 2018, with an emphasis on economic stabilization than a signal of a robust revival of global demand.
Against this backdrop, East and South Asia will continue to grow more rapidly than other regions.
Regional GDP is estimated to have expanded by 5.7 per cent in 2016. Supported by robust consumption, a moderate pickup in investment and accommodative macroeconomic policies, annual growth is set to reach 5.9 percent in 2017-18.
East Asia and South Asia's economy is estimated to have grown by 5.5 percent in 2016, with a marginal pickup to 5.6 percent projected for both 2017 and 2018.
Private consumption and public investment continue to drive growth.
However, the sub region's export growth remained exceptionally weak in 2016.
This has negatively affected consumer sentiment, resulting in weaker household spending in several economies. While overall fiscal balances have recently worsened in some countries, the relatively low public debt levels mean that there is still room for fiscal expansion. There are encouraging signs that the sub region will emerge from the two-year stretch of
Meanwhile, China's stable output growth in 2016 has alleviated near-term concerns of a sharp growth slowdown, on the back of favorable domestic demand and supportive fiscal measures, the WESP stated that the Chinese economy is projected to grow by 6.5 percent in 2017-2018, down slightly from the estimated 6.6 percent in 2016.
Jose Antonio Pedrosa-Garcia, the Economic Affairs Officer of the UNESCAP, attributed China's slowdown of growth to the government's "structural transformation scheme," leading to deceleration to suit domestic consumption at home.
"After the 2009 financial crisis, China began to accelerate its economic rebalancing by shifting the drivers of growth from manufacturing and exports toward goods and services for domestic consumption," said Jose, "the Chinese Government's main priority now is to meet growing domestic consumers' diverse demands, therefore the industries closely connected to those demands that are quickly expanding."
However, Jose also expressed optimism on China's economic potential recovery.
The WESP also stated that South Asia's growth is projected to remain vigorous, further accelerating to 6.9 percent in 2017 and 2018, from 6.7 percent in 2016.
India has positioned itself as one of the most dynamic emerging economies.
Growth is projected to reach 7.7 percent in 2017 and 7.6 percent in 2018. Amid strong private consumption, investment demand is expected to pick up slightly, supported by monetary easing, government efforts towards
infra-structure investments and public-private partnerships and domestic reforms.