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Despite headwinds, Asia’s developing economies are still set to grow ‘very steadily,’ ADB says

Despite rising headwinds and concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, Asia’s developing economies are still set to grow “in a very steady way,” the president of the Asian Development Bank said Thursday.

Speaking to CNBC at the ADB’s annual meeting in Fiji, Takehiko Nakao said discussions about a global economic slowdown “may be true especially for advanced economies — but, as far as Asia is concerned, it is still growing very steadily.”

According to the bank’s Asian Development Outlook 2019 report released in April, developing Asia — which comprises 45 nations ranging from China to Tuvalu — is projected to grow by 5.7 percent this year.

Nakao added that most of the momentum for the region’s growth comes from higher consumption and investment levels.

ADB’s report found that consumption’s contribution to growth rose from 3.4 percentage points in 2017 to 3.7 in 2018. Investment spurred growth in some countries like Indonesia and China — but dragged on growth in Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea due to a decline in private investment as the external environment weakened.

However, the growth outlook for developing Asia is expected to moderate to 5.6 percent in 2020, according to the report.

That is because persistent headwinds that dragged on growth in 2018 — such as the U.S.-China trade war and a slowdown in the Chinese economy — will continue to shape the region’s economic performance in 2019 and 2020, the report said.