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Developing-country growth eased in 2013Q1 but remains solid

Among those developing countries that report quarterly GDP, data suggest an acceleration in activity during the fourth quarter of 2012—notably in East Asia & Pacific, where quarterly GDP expanded by 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter (for more regional detail, see box 2 and the regional annexes). In South Asia, however, growth continued to be weak, with GDP growing at only a 4.7 percent annualized pace in the final quarter of 2012. Industrial production data, which are available for a wider range of countries, display a clearer acceleration trend toward the end of 2012.

During the first several months of 2013, however, the pace of growth in developing countries appears to have slowed, particularly in East Asia, where quarterly growth in China, and Indonesia has eased, and actually turned negative in Malaysia and Thailand. Elsewhere signs are more mixed. Growth has slowed in Chile, Mexico, and South Africa, but strengthened in Philippines, Lithuania, Peru, Turkey, and Ukraine. First quarter GDP in India also disappointed, expanding only 4.8 percent y-o-y or about 5 percent q/q saar.

Available industrial production data confirm this mixed picture (figure 5), with activity rates slowing in East Asia & Pacific (to 8.6 percent saar), firming in Europe & Central Asia (at 2.4 percent), returning to positive territory in Latin America & the Caribbean (0.5 percent), and easing somewhat in South Asia at a robust 7.7 percent. Available data show that activity was contracting in Sub-Saharan Africa and rapidly in the Middle East & North Africa during the three months ending February 2013.

Figure 5
Regionally, output shows signs of slowing in East Asia & Pacific, and stability or strengthening elsewhere
Figure 5
Source: World Bank

Although there are some signs of acceleration, output in several large middle-income countries remains weak, compared with the pre-crisis boom period. Growth rates in Brazil, India, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and South Africa are all well below post-crisis rates, despite relatively easy policy stances and amid indications of overheating in some (see discussion page Weaker Growth).

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