ADB raises growth estimate for developing Asia to 6% this year, but warns of trade risks

The Asian Development Bank expects China’s economy to grow 6.6 percent this year, faster than the bank’s prior estimate of 6.4 percent made in December. (Reuters)
Updated 11 April 2018

ADB raises growth estimate for developing Asia to 6% this year, but warns of trade risks

MANILA: The Asian Development Bank raised its 2018 economic growth estimate for developing Asia to 6.0 percent from 5.8 percent, citing solid export demand, but said US protectionist measures and any retaliation against them could undermine trade.
Growth in developing Asia would only ease slightly to 5.9 percent in 2019, the bank said in its 2018 Asian Development Outlook released on Wednesday.
Strong external and domestic demand helped economies in the region expand by an average 6.1 percent last year.
While protectionist trade measures by the US so far this year have yet to dent trade flows to and from Asia, the risks are there, the Manila-based institution said.
“Further actions and retaliation against them could undermine the business and consumer optimism that underlies the regional outlook,” the ADB said.
China has blamed the US for trade frictions amid escalating threats of tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods between the world’s two biggest economies, sparked by US frustration with China’s trade and intellectual property policies.
Another risk to Asia’s growth, the ADB said, is “diminishing capital inflows if the US Federal Reserve needs to raise interest rates faster than markets expect.” The Fed last raised rates in March and policymakers signaled two or three more hikes this year.
The ADB now expects China’s economy to grow 6.6 percent this year, faster than the bank’s prior estimate of 6.4 percent made in December, and by 6.4 percent in 2019.
China has set a growth target of around 6.5 percent this year, the same as last year, which it handily beat with an expansion of 6.9 percent.
China’s growth will moderate “as economic policy leans further toward financial stability and a more sustainable growth trajectory,” ADB said.
By region, South Asia will remain the fastest growing in Asia Pacific, with the ADB pegging expansion this year at 7.0 percent and 7.2 percent in 2019.
Despite growth easing to 6.6 percent in 2017, India’s economy is projected to bounce back to 7.3 percent in 2018 and to 7.6 percent in 2019 as the country’s new tax regime improves productivity, the ADB said.
Banking reform and corporate deleveraging are also taking hold, which could reverse a downtrend in investment, the bank said.
Growth in Southeast Asia is forecast at 5.2 percent for this year and next, the same pace as 2017, while Central Asia is projected to slow to 4 percent in 2018 before picking up to 4.2 percent next year.


Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

Updated 28 November 2020

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.