IT recovery to push Asian growth in 2002 says JETRO

IT recovery to push Asian growth in 2002 says JETRO

Contraction of the global IT market pushed down economic growth in most East Asian nations in 2001 but an expected rebound in the market is predicted to help boost growth in 2002, a Japanese government-affiliated think-tank said Tuesday.

Growth across 10 East Asian economies in 2001 is expected to be 3.7 per cent, roughly half of the 7.8 per cent growth recorded in 2000, said the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE), a unit of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). The survey covers China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Most of the growth recorded during the year was driven by China and Vietnam, JETRO said in a statement. With those countries removed from the survey, regional economic growth would be much lower at 0.9 per cent. The group cited two main reasons for the lower growth: the IT slump in developed nations, which reduced exports, and the September 11 attacks in the US.

A year ago, when the group presented its predictions for 2001, it said events in the high-tech sector, which were at that time only characterised as a "slowdown," would push growth down to 6.8 per cent for the year.

In making its predictions for 2002, JETRO is basing much of its estimate on events in the IT sector. An anticipated economic recovery in developed nations, largely in their IT sectors, is expected to propel regional economic growth to 5 per cent in 2002, with much of that occurring during the second half of the year, JETRO said.

China, a new member of the World Trade Organization, will see economic growth of 7.2 per cent and again be responsible for a large chunk of the growth in East Asia, said JETRO. Without China and Vietnam, which will also see healthy growth, the remaining eight nations in the survey will witness economic growth of around 3.1 per cent, the organisation said.

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