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ASEAN+3 economies to post strong growth in 2006: ADB chief

Written by: Staff
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Hyderabad, May 4 (UNI) Expressing concern over avian flu outbreak, soaring energy prices, hike in interest rates and widening global payments imbalance, Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda today expressed confidence the ASEAN+3 economies will prove resilient and post another year of strong growth in 2006.

Addressing the IX ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers' meeting here, Mr Kuroda said the aggregate 2006 economic growth for the ASEAN+3 nations would be more than 4.5 per cent for the third consecutive year, better than the 3.1 per cent average for 1999-2003.

''With oil prices approaching 75 USD a barrel in late April, the threat of ever-increasing energy costs driving up inflation up and GDP growth down still looms,'' he warned.

A rapid and unexpected climb in long-term rates in the US could abruptly alter capital flows, perhaps reversing flows from some emerging markets, he said adding the financial sector and public finances in the region had become generally less vulnerable than in the past to such sudden adjustments.

While US indebtedness was growing so was the risk that investor confidence in US dollar assets would erode and a loss of confidence could trigger dollar depreciation and disrupt capital inflows and seriously impoact on export-reliant ASEAN+3 economies.

Informing that ADB was developing a new regional cooperation and integration strategy, he said the bank would intensify support for investment in regional networks in transportation, energy, water systems and communications, undertake research, provide training and support dialogue among economic and trade officials to facilitate trade and investment cooperation.

It would also intensify its support for economic review and policy research and dialogue process, Asian bond market development and aid provision of regional public goods such as communicable disease containment, natural disaster management and transnational crime control.

UNI SM GM SBJ RN2127

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