20161213-asia-economic-growth-forecast-cut-by-adb

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed its 2016 economic growth forecast for Asia to reflect slower-than-expected expansion in India.

The lender now projects that a group of 45 countries which it calls Developing Asia will grow by 5.6% this year.

That is slightly lower than its previous forecast of 5.7%. However, the ADB left its growth projection for 2017 unchanged at 5.7%

It says Asia’s economic outlook remains stable despite global uncertainties.

“Structural reforms to boost productivity, improve the investment climate, and support domestic demand can help maintain growth momentum into the future,” said ADB deputy chief economist Juzhong Zhuang.

The bank blamed the slight slowdown in India, one of the biggest economies in the region, for this year’s downgrade.

The ADB cut India’s 2016 growth estimate to 7% from 7.4% due to weak investment, the agricultural slowdown and the lack of available cash following the government’s demonetisation programme.

It said small and medium scale businesses in cash based sectors could be affected.

However, it said the effects of the transition would be short-lived and it expected a rebound in India’s economic growth to 7.8% in 2017.

As for Asia’s other big economy – China – the ADB said it expected it to expand by 6.6% this year.

The bank has forecast that growth in the world’s second largest economy will fall slightly to 6.4% next year.