December 14, 2001 | News Releases on Asia
WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2001-Asia's economic strength may be ebbing, but it remains the world's fastest-growing region, says the editor of The Heritage Foundation's 2001-2002 "U.S. and Asia Statistical Handbook."
The "Handbook" is a compendium of key social, political, economic and military statistics on the United States and 33 countries and territories in East and South Asia. Now in its 16th edition, the "Handbook" has become a standard reference for reporters and analysts who specialize in Asia. In addition to updated facts and figures, the new edition contains an economic forecast for Asia by editor Paolo Pasicolan.
Growth rates among the economic powerhouses of the region-China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan-should fall from 8.3 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent in 2001, Pasicolan says. India, which projected growth rates of nearly 9 percent this year, will settle for about 6 percent. In Southeast Asia, growth will reach 4.4 percent this year, after climbing to 5.8 percent in 2000.
The external forces that enabled Asia to have such an unexpectedly productive 2000 are absent in 2001, Pasicolan says. Asia exported its way out of its 1997 financial crisis. This likely won't happen again because of the recession in the United States, which consumes 30 percent of Japan's exports and a fourth of China's and India's as well.
Particularly hard hit will be developing countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia, that depend on exports of computer chips. The price of the industry-standard 64-megabyte chip has plummeted 60 percent since the end of 1999, and U.S. demand for information technology products will grow just 10 percent this year, as opposed to 25 percent last year.
But thanks to low inflation, fewer debts, more exports and greater currency flexibility, a return to the financial crisis of 1997 is unlikely, Pasicolan says.