World Bank raises Asia growth forecast, warns of NKorea risk - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

World Bank raises Asia growth forecast, warns of NKorea risk

By KELVIN CHAN
AP Business Writer

HONG KONG (AP) - The World Bank raised its growth forecast for the developing economies of East Asia and the Pacific on Wednesday but warned that risks included rising protectionism and escalating tensions over North Korea.

In an update to its annual economic outlook, the bank forecast economic growth of 6.4 percent for the region this year, then easing to 6.2 percent in 2018.

The World Bank said it tweaked its forecasts to reflect stronger than expected growth this year in China - Asia's biggest economy - before a gradual slowdown next year.

In its previous forecast in April, the Washington, D.C.-based lender projected a 6.2 percent expansion in 2017 and 6.1 percent for 2018. The report covers 15 countries including China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

While the outlook is broadly positive, the bank said growing protectionism could chill world trade, citing proposals for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement that would restrict or discourage imports and increasing uncertainty about access to the British market as Brexit talks get underway.

Furthermore, "geopolitical tensions in the region are rising and could escalate into armed conflict," the report said, referring to United Nations sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear and missile tests. Some world powers are urging even tougher measures, including possible military action, to stop Pyongyang from developing its nuclear capabilities, it said.

"Escalation of these disputes could have serious economic consequences," the World Bank said.

East Asia's crucial position in global shipping and manufacturing supply chains means flaring tensions could disrupt trade flows and economic activity, it said, adding that the tendency for global investors to pull their money during political crises could pressure exchange rates and raise world interest rates. Commodity prices could also spike because of worries about supply disruptions, the report said.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Philippine military pushes to defeat last Marawi fighters

    Philippine military pushes to defeat last Marawi fighters

    Tuesday, October 17 2017 3:20 AM EDT2017-10-17 07:20:28 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 7:12 AM EDT2017-10-17 11:12:27 GMT
    Gunfire rang out and explosions thudded as Philippine soldiers fought to gain control of the last pocket of Marawi controlled by Islamic militants as Duterte declared the city liberated.
    Gunfire rang out and explosions thudded as Philippine soldiers fought to gain control of the last pocket of Marawi controlled by Islamic militants as Duterte declared the city liberated.
  • Iraq: After losing Kirkuk, Kurdish forces pull out of Sinjar

    Iraq: After losing Kirkuk, Kurdish forces pull out of Sinjar

    Tuesday, October 17 2017 4:00 AM EDT2017-10-17 08:00:20 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 7:12 AM EDT2017-10-17 11:12:21 GMT
    Iraq's Kurdish fighters have lost more territory in Iraq, a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
    Iraq's Kurdish fighters have lost more territory in Iraq, a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
  • Russia pressures Serbia on status of controversial base

    Russia pressures Serbia on status of controversial base

    Tuesday, October 17 2017 7:00 AM EDT2017-10-17 11:00:25 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 7:12 AM EDT2017-10-17 11:12:18 GMT
    Russia is pressuring Serbia to grant diplomatic status to the Russian staff of a controversial facility that U.S. officials believe could become Kremlin's spy base in the Balkans.
    Russia is pressuring Serbia to grant diplomatic status to the Russian staff of a controversial facility that U.S. officials believe could become Kremlin's spy base in the Balkans.
Powered by Frankly