Asia has strong fundamentals in place for excellent growth: WEF

Thursday, Sep 13, 2018 08:29

Experts are upbeat about Asia’s economic prospects. - Photo

Asia has strong fundamentals for long-term growth despite trade tensions, dollar strengthening and demographic challenges casting a shadow on the outlook for strong global growth.

Speakers at the session discussing Asia economic outlook on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum on Asia which was taking place in Ha Noi said they were optimistic about the region’s future.

According to Judy Hsu, regional chief executive officer, ASEAN and South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank, this region had strong fundamentals such as dynamic workforce and high internet penetration.

“As a bank, we are confident in this region,” she said, adding short-term volatility was managed much better.

“There are opportunities for companies to shift on supply chain and manufacturing capacity,” she added. “I remain positive in the medium and long terms.”

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner, McKinsey & Company, agreed, adding that the region still had strong fundamentals in its favours.

However, there are challenges, he said, as he believes the ASEAN infrastructure was underinvested, he said. In addition, the education system needed to be improved.

Veerathai Santiprabhob, Governor, Bank of Thailand believes policy-makers should have a long-term view.

“Try to look through the growth circle in anticipation of the situations like what is happening now,” he said. “There are a lot of exciting opportunities but the risks are also rising.”

He stressed the co-ordination of monetary and fiscal policies were of significant importance, adding that central banks should work together and it was essential to enhance financial connectivity.

According to Veerathai, in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, three key words that public policies should focus on were productivity, inclusiveness and resilience to benefit from technology advances.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia, said the right policies would help cope with challenges.

Nazir Razak, chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Berhad, believes the US, China trade tension was a worry and policy makers should seek ways to continue maintaining growth momentum.

He stressed that Asian countries should also enhance co-operation for growth.

Speakers also said governments and businesses should keep a look on stronger dollars. — VNS

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