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East Asia and Pacific Economic Update - October 2010



Developing East Asia’s growth has rebounded rapidly. Output has recovered to above pre-crisis levels throughout the region, expanding at near pre-crisis rates in some countries. Real GDP growth is estimated to rise 8.9% in 2010, up 0.2% from our previous forecast, and in line with the average growth rate during 2000-2008. China remains the regional leader with an expansion of 9.5%. For the first time in a decade, five other countries are projected to expand by 7 percent or more (Thailand, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, and PNG). Private sector investment is driving growth again, confidence is on the rise, and trade flows have returned to pre-crisis levels.

With output gaps closing and private investment recovering strongly, authorities in most East Asian countries are cautiously unwinding their stimulus measures. Fiscal deficits are likely to remain higher than before the crisis, at least for a while. Their gradual reduction over time allows the authorities to address infrastructure gaps made more urgent by the crisis and maintain social safety nets to protect the poor, and provides an appropriate defense against subdued prospects for advanced economies.


Capital inflows have risen sharply this year, driven by abundant global liquidity in search of yield, combined with expectations of stronger growth in the region than abroad. Larger inflows have helped exchange rates appreciate substantially despite exchange market interventions by central banks. Inflows have also contributed to large increases in asset prices. If inflows remain strong, especially against a background of weak global growth, authorities will be faced with the challenge of balancing the need for large capital inflows - especially foreign direct investment - with ensuring competitiveness, financial sector stability and low inflation.

Now that the recovery is on a firmer footing, many countries are also turning their attention to addressing medium term growth challenges. Increasingly, the need for China to rebalance the economy by altering the pattern of growth and investment is becoming critical for sustainability. Commodity exporters such as Mongolia, Timor Leste, PNG and Lao PDR must ensure a transparent framework to use resource-related revenues for development. The middle-income countries of the region, excluding China, need to raise investment in physical and human capital and encourage innovation if they are to eventually attain high-income status.

Download the Executive Summary (60kb pdf)

Download the Full Report (3.67mb pdf)

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Chapter 1: The Continued Recovery (255kb pdf)

Chapter 2: Emerging Risks (199kb pdf)

Chapter 3: Escaping The Middle-Income Trap (284kb pdf)

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Country Sections with Key Indicators:

Key Country Indicators (150 kb pdf | 289kb xls)
Appendices (112kb pdf)

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Download the report
All files updated 11-10-10
Full report (3.67mb pdf)
 Executive Summary
kb pdf)
 Chapters 1-3
 Country sections
Key Country Indicators 
(150 kb pdf | 289kb xls)
Appendices (112kb pdf)

 eBook version
Speak Out
Vikram Nehru, Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific region, and Ivailo Izvorski, Lead Economist for the region, answered your questions about the East Asia and Pacific Economic Update. Read the transcript
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