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Asia-Pacific spurs global growth

UNITED NATIONS -- Despite the persistent economic headwinds which are expected to slow economic expansion this year, “growth in the Asia and the Pacific area remains better than in any other region; continuing as an anchor of stability and a new growth pole for the world economy.” That's the guardedly optimistic prognosis from the 2012 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific survey.

Produced by the U.N.'s Bangkok-based Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the annual survey concedes that the region continues to face a challenging external environment which will slow regional growth this year to 6.5 percent from last year's average of 7 percent.

The figure is still pretty impressive given global doldrums with the United States facing anemic economic growth, and Western Europe and Japan making lukewarm GDP gains.

And it's this global environment which has put the brakes on Asia's growth. With reduced demand in the regional traditional export markets “resulting from the Eurozone debt crisis and continued economic uncertainly in the United States of America, together with higher capital costs,” there's an expected slowdown.

Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, ESCAP's Executive Secretary states, “The recovery from the depths of the 2008 global financial crisis proved to be short-lived. The world economy enters the second stage of the crisis in 2011, due to the Eurozone debt crisis and continued uncertain economic outlook of the U.S. economy.”

Yet, the ESCAP report states, “The foremost risk is a scenario in which a disorderly sovereign debt default in Europe, or the breakup of the Euro common currency area results in a renewed global financial crisis.” Another threat remains the “sharp and sustained surge in the price of oil” due to non-economic factors such as political instability in major petroleum producing countries.

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