Growth in Central Asia to reach 4% in 2018 — ADB report

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Growth picked up across most of the economies in developing Asia, supported by continued high demand for exports and rapidly expanding domestic demand, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

In its new Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018, ADB forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Asia and the Pacific to reach 6.0% in 2018 and 5.9% in 2019, a slight deceleration from the 6.1% registered in 2017. ADO is ADB’s flagship annual economic publication.

Average growth in the subregion rose to 4.3% from 2.7% a year earlier as recession ended in Azerbaijan and expansion accelerated in six other economies, particularly in predominant Kazakhstan. Growth slowed only in Uzbekistan, where sharp currency devaluation to unify the exchange rate and other economic reform forfeited some expansion last year for future growth. Following a strong pickup in growth last year, Kazakhstan is projected to slow to 3.2% in 2018 but bounce back to 3.5% in 2019 as investment quickens. Growth in Central Asia is expected to reach 4.0% in 2018 and 4.2% in 2019, on the back of rising commodity prices. A more stable exchange rate almost halved inflation in Kazakhstan, trimming average inflation in the subregion to 9.2% in 2017 from 10.6% in 2016, even though inflation accelerated in the other seven economies, particularly in Uzbekistan. Inflation in the subregion is projected to settle at 8.5% in 2018 and 7.9% in 2019. In Kazakhstan, inflation is projected to slow to 6.8% in 2018 and 6.2% in 2019, assuming a stable exchange rate.

Sergey Kwan

TCA