Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific

Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific

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Most Asian and Pacific economies showed surprising strength in 2002, despitecontinued weaknesses in the world economy. Surging intraregional trade, combined with fiscal stimulus and monetary easing, lifted regional production by approximately 5 percent, 2 points higher than the 2001 rate, and more than 3 points higher than the expansion of global output in 2002. This has raised hopes that the region would experience a modest uplift in economic growth in 2003. Still, the rate of economic expansion was several percentage points below that which prevailed before the crisis of 1997-1998, resulting in lower levels of job creation and new pressures on government budgets, including fiscal allocations for basic social services and poverty reduction.This edition of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific includes an in-depth look at the efforts of the public sector in education and health, in particular to reach women, the poor, people living in rural and remote areas and others to whom greater attention must be paid. Given the large resources required for this, the responsibility for funding cannot be that of the public sector alone but as the Survey indicates, channels that involve civil society and the private sector have to be tapped.The Survey also focuses on environmental degradation, which often accompanies rapid economic growth and adversely affects the lives of the poor in a disproportionate manner. In recognition of these tensions, the Survey examines the links between the environment and poverty as well as the policy options available for improving the environment while reducing poverty. It recommends actions that will help to ensure property rights for the poor, improve access to affordable, environmentally clean technologies and reduce vulnerability to natural disasters through better disaster-management planning.However, the need for fiscal consolidation may dampen prospects for greater fiscal stimulus to offset weakness in demand. Some of the ... Malaysia expects an increase in GDP growth to 6-6.5 per cent but the weakening global outlook and slowing exports may be a constraining factor. ... In addition, regulations on the issuance of credit cards have again been tightened after having been relaxed in 2002.

Title:Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific
Publisher:United Nations Publications - 2003-01-01


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