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Growth in developing East Asia and Pacific is strong but slowing

Tokyo, May 23, 2012 - Growth remains strong in developing East Asia and Pacific, although it has slowed from its post-crisis peaks. With the global slowdown expected to continue, the region needs to reduce its reliance on exports and find new sources of growth, says the World Bank in its latest East Asia and Pacific Economic Update released today.

According to the report, entitled “Capturing New Sources of Growth,” developing East Asia and Pacific grew by 8.2 percent in 2011 (4.3 percent excluding China), a sharp decline from the nearly 10 percent growth rate recorded in 2010 (7.0 percent excluding China). The region’s performance is still impressive on a global scale. In 2011, growth was about 2 percentage points higher than the developing country average world-wide, and poverty continues to fall.

“The number of people living on less than US$2 a day is expected to decrease in 2012 by 24 million. Overall the number of people living in poverty has been cut in half in the last decade in East Asia and Pacific,” said Pamela Cox, World Bank East Asia and Pacific Regional Vice President. “Despite this success, about one-third of the people in the region, roughly half a billion men, women and children still live in poverty. In an uncertain global environment, more needs to be done to create new sources of growth that provide opportunities for all.”

Slowing in 2011 was largely due to lower than expected growth in manufacturing exports as well as supply disruptions in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and severe flooding in Thailand. Domestic demand and investment were generally strong, aided by loosening of monetary policy in some countries.