ADB: Asian growth seen steady, US policy uncertainty a risk

In this March 15, 2017 file photo, a man pushes a stroller past a magazine advertisement featuring U.S. President Donald Trump at a news stand in Shanghai, China. Asia's developing economies will see steady growth this year and the next, though the evolving policies of President Donald Trump's administration are a major uncertainty, according to the Asian Development Bank's latest report released Thursday, April 6, 2017. (AP)
Updated 06 April 2017

ADB: Asian growth seen steady, US policy uncertainty a risk

HONG KONG: Asia’s developing economies will see steady growth this year and the next, though the evolving policies of President Donald Trump’s administration are a major uncertainty, the Asian Development Bank said in a report Thursday.
The Manila, Philippines-based lender forecast growth in developing Asia at 5.7 percent in 2017 — unchanged from its previous forecast — and said that pace would continue into 2018.
It said 30 of the 45 countries covered in the report will see sustained growth that will help offset the gradual slowdown in China, Asia’s biggest economy.
However, the risks include unexpected changes to US government policies in areas such as interest rates. The ADB said the uncertainty could undermine the outlook for the region, which accounts for 60 percent of global economic growth.
The US Federal Reserve, which raised its benchmark interest rate in March for the second time in three months, plans to gradually raise rates over the next three years as the economy improves.
If those rate increases come more rapidly because of stronger than expected US economic growth, the “sharper than expected monetary tightening could have further consequences for developing Asia,” the ADB said in its Asian Development Outlook .
Economies with high corporate or household debt in particular would be most vulnerable to the shock of higher interest rates, the report said.
It said that “possible shifts in trade and tax policies, especially policy changes being discussed in the US, could create uncertainty for business, investment and export growth in developing Asia.”
The report did not mention Trump by name.
Trump accused China of unfair trade practices, such as manipulating its currency. He has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on imports from China. Trade is likely to be a big part of the agenda during meetings between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida on Thursday and Friday.
If the US does introduce stiffer taxes and tariffs, they wouldn’t take effect until mid-2018 at the earliest, the report said. The more immediate risk is that the tough US talk encourages other advanced economies to consider similar policies, which would end up squelching international trade, it said.
The ADB forecast that China’s economic growth will slow to 6.5 percent this year and 6.2 percent in 2018 from last year’s 6.7 percent, a 30-year low.
China is due to release its first quarter GDP figures on April 17.
In India, growth will accelerate to 7.4 percent in 2017 and 7.6 percent in 2018, from 7.1 percent last year, as the country rebounds from a one-off demonetization of its highest-value currency bills that “temporarily stymied commerce,” the report said. 


Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

Updated 43 min 12 sec ago

Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

  • Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October

LONDON: More than 200 British retail investors have lost nearly 10 million pounds ($13.4 million) in total to sophisticated investment scams since a government lockdown in March to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a trade body said on Saturday.
Fraudsters cloned genuine investment management firms’ websites and documentation, and advertised fake products on sham price comparison websites and on social media, the Investment Association said.
Greater financial uncertainty and more time spent online have likely contributed to the increase in scams, industry sources say.
Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October, the IA said, based on information it got from member firms which had been cloned.
“In a year clouded in uncertainty, organized criminals have sought opportunity in misfortune by attempting to con investors out of their hard-earned savings,” Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association said.
The investment management industry was working closely with police and regulators to stop the scams, he added.
Britain’s Action Fraud warned earlier this month that total reported losses from all types of investment fraud came to 657 million pounds between September 2019 and September 2020, a rise of 28% from a year ago. Reports spiked between May and September, following Britain’s first national lockdown, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting center added.