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IMF lowers 2014 growth projection for Asean-5

Five Asean countries, so-called Asean-5, are expected to show 4.6 per cent in economic growth this year and 5.6 per cent in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook report.

The 2014 forecast shows a 0.4 percentage point decrease from the previous projection announced in April. Meanwhile, the 2015 forecast is 0.2 percentage point above the previous projection.

Asean-5 consist of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the report, overall, global growth is projected to rise to 3.4 per cent in 2014 and 4 per cent in 2015.

Among major advanced economies, the US growth is projected at 1.7 per cent for 2014, before rising to 3 per cent in 2015.

Growth in the euro area is expected to strengthen to 1.1 per cent in 2014 and 1.5 per cent in 2015 but to remain uneven across the region, reflecting continued financial fragmentation, impaired private and public sector balance sheets, and high unemployment in some economies. In Japan, with a stronger than expected performance in the first quarter, growth in 2014 is now projected to be higher at 1.6 per cent, decelerating to 1.1 per cent in 2015, mostly due to the planned unwinding of fiscal stimulus.

The downside risks remain a concern, the report shows.

"Geopolitical risks have risen relative to April: risks of an oil price spike are higher due to recent developments in the Middle East while those related to Ukraine are still present. In global financial markets, there is a risk of a renewed rise in longer-term interest rates, particularly if US long-term rates increase more sharply and rapidly than expected as monetary policy normalisation proceeds, and of a reversal in risk sentiment and risk premium compression."

Emerging market economies-particularly those with domestic weaknesses and external vulnerabilities-may face a sudden worsening of financial conditions and a reversal in capital flows in the event of a shift in financial market sentiment. Many of these economies also face the risk that the factors underpinning the weakening of growth will persist into the medium term.


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