Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 1981

image of Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 1981

This latest edition of the Survey analyzes current economic and social developments in the region against the background of events in the world economy. It also focuses on the serios problems of growth and transformation of the area's least developed and Pacific Island developing economies.



South-east Asia, Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea

The five ASEAN countries and Burma had strong rates of economic growth during the late 1970s, at least twice the average for advanced countries, and Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea had even stronger growth rates. In 1980 these rates were maintained or improved, except in the Philippines and Thailand where they nevertheless remained high, and in the Republic of Korea, where disastrous harvests and other troubles led to a decline of over 6 per cent in real GDP. Although world recession in 1981 reduced the average growth rate for advanced countries to less than 2 per cent, growth rates in these south-east and east Asian countries and areas ranged from 5 per cent in the Philippines to over 10 per cent in Hong Kong, despite falls in the prices of leading export commodities and greater difficulties in marketing exports of manufactures. Economic conditions also improved in Democratic Kampuchea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam. There were, however, some troubles over the balance of external payments in the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, and these last two countries had to devalue their currencies. Indonesia and Malaysia had reduced export surpluses, but not enough to cause serious trouble. Except in Burma, inflation was a problem with rates ranging, in 1980, from 7 to 9 per cent in Malaysia and Singapore to 29 per cent in the Republic of Korea. Nor was there much reduction of inflation in the first half of 1981. There were large increases of liquidity to fuel these inflations, although monetary restraint was being attempted in most of these countries during 1981, together with efforts to reduce large over-all fiscal deficits.


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