Major ASEAN economies are likely to deliver higher-than-expected growth this year despite challenges. A stronger-than-expected global growth backdrop and a relatively slow monetary policy response to emerging inflation risks resulted in the region's 2008 first-half growth being higher than anticipated earlier.
Investment bankers Morgan Stanley raised its 2008 growth forecast for the larger ASEAN economies of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to 5.6 per cent from an earlier estimate of 5.5 per cent. However, its prediction for Singapore was cut from 5.1 per cent to 4.3 per cent.
Going forward, ASEAN economies will "face headwinds" from higher inflation and capital investment decisions, while export markets soften. Its 2009 GDP growth forecast for the region was cut nearly one point, to 5.1 per cent.
Singapore faces the least uncertainty in "terms of what could go wrong relative to market expectations," the economists said, noting it was the only country in the region with a "stable and predictable" political climate.
Source: Antara, 12 July, Major ASEAN economies likely to deliver higher-than-expected growth, http://www.antara.co.id/en/arc/2008/7/12/major-asean-economies-likely-to...,