Japan's recovery central to Asian growth
Japan's hesitant economic recovery must take off to help East Asia stay on track as it emerges from financial crisis, the World Bank said Monday.
The Asian recovery was now firmly established, but the Japanese economy, high oil prices, a US slowdown and domestic banking and corporate weakness were all risk factors, the bank's regional chief economist Masahiro Kawai said.
"I think the Japanese economy is on a recovery path but unless it takes place smoothly and growth takes off, that again could pose a risk for East Asian countries," he told a news conference in Tokyo.
Kawai was unveiling a semi-annual World Bank report covering China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
"The outlook for Japan, despite the Sogo (department store) bankruptcy and subsequent policy vacillation, looks ever brighter," the report's regional overview said.
Corporate profits and investment were picking up strongly, and a long-awaited recovery in consumer sentiment was in hand, it said.
Japan could post gross domestic product (GDP) "approaching two percent in (calendar year) 2000 and somewhat higher in 2001," the report said.
The World Bank is formally forecasting growth in Japan this year of 1.9 percent and 2.0 percent next year.
Japan's government is targeting GDP growth of 1 percent in the fiscal year to March 2001, after the economy posted anaemic growth of 0.5 percent in the past financial year. — (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)