Growth in developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) continues to be resilient and the outlook for 2017-2019 remains broadly positive across the region.
Driven by robust domestic demand and a gradual recovery in the global economy and commodity prices, the economies of developing EAP are projected to expand at 6.2% in 2017 and 6.1% in 2018. China's growth is projected to continue easing steadily, to 6.5% in 2017 and 6.3% in 2018-19. Aggregate growth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) economies is expected to pick up slightly to 5% in 2017 and 5.1% in 2018, up from 4.9% in 2016.
Over the last two decades, poverty has decreased dramatically across most of developing East Asia. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people in the region living in extreme poverty fell by over 920 million. The rapid growth in labor incomes among the poor, along with low unemployment, public transfers (such as pensions, cash transfers, and unemployment insurance, among others), structural transformations, and public investments contributed to the decline.
Nevertheless, challenges remain. In countries such as Lao PDR and Myanmar, a significant percentage of the population remains poor, and in Mongolia and Papua New Guinea, recent economic setbacks may have reversed gains. In many countries the public perception is that inequality is high and rising.
EAP is the epicenter of the double burden of stunting and obesity—both forms of malnutrition. Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam are among a group of 34 countries accounting for 90% of the global burden of stunting, while China and Indonesia are among the 10 countries that account for more than 50% of the global burden of obesity. Stunting significantly reduces the physical and mental capabilities of children, imposing enormous human and economic costs. In Indonesia, for example, where 37% of children are stunted, economic losses associated with stunting are estimated at 2-3% of GDP.
The region includes 13 of the 30 countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. It also bears the brunt of 70% of the world’s natural disasters, which have affected more than 1.6 billion people in the region since 2000. The Pacific Island countries, where the rising sea level is threatening coastal areas and atoll islands, have been hit hard.
EAP is also the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for one-third of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and 60% of its coal consumption. The region plays a critical role in advancing the global climate change agenda. The Bank is working with governments, the private sector, and other development partners on a range of innovative solutions to support greener and cleaner energy policies, including carbon pricing.
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2017