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East Asia and Pacific economic update : sustaining resilience (Inglês)

Growth in developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) continues to be resilient and in line with previous expectations. Already robust domestic demand has been supported by some pickup in external demand and the gradual recovery in commodity prices. Fiscal deficits in the major regional economies widened in 2016, prompting some adjustment toward the end of the year in Indonesia and Malaysia. Monetary policies remained accommodative, and credit continued to grow rapidly in most major economies. Inflation is edging up and producer prices are rising quickly as commodity prices increase. Capital outflows intensified toward end-2016 leading to depreciation pressures, but financial markets have since recovered. The growth outlook for 2017–19 remains broadly positive across the region. China is expected to continue its gradual transition to lower, more sustainable growth. In the rest of the region, growth is projected to pick up moderately. Continued buoyancy in domestic demand, including public and increasingly private investment, will be supported by gradually strengthening external demand. Global growth and commodity prices are projected to continue recovering slowly, while global financial conditions tighten gradually. Inflationary pressures should remain contained. In the Pacific Island Countries, maintaining fiscal sustainability needs to remain a focus along with policy reforms in selected sectors, which could prove transformational over the medium term. For fiscal sustainability, efforts to shore up revenues, contain unproductive spending while boosting critical expenditures on health and education, and build up buffers against shocks need to be sustained. There are also opportunities to accelerate growth and boost employment over the longer term. On tourism, promising options include tapping into the Chinese and retiree market, increasing the number of luxury resorts, and encouraging cruise ships to base in the Pacific. Increases in labor mobility, through the expansion of existing agreements and the negotiation of new agreements, complemented by investments in workers’ human capital, could also generate substantial benefits. Higher mobile and internet penetration, complemented by a conducive business environment and the development of a skilled workforce could boost productivity. And income from fisheries could be significantly increased, without threatening the sustainability of the fisheries stock, by broadening participation in cooperative agreements to include East Asian countries with major fishing grounds, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, and ensuring compliance with robust catch limits.

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