Dan Steinbock says the real test of the so-called Asian Century will be whether living standards in the region’s emerging economies can continue to improve, whatever the GDP numbers.
As Asia-Pacific continues to experience slower than anticipated GDP growth, analysts have been nudging down forecasts for much of the region. US-led boost can no longer fuel growth in Asia. Rather, the Fed’s impending rate hikes could destabilize growth drivers in the region.
In Europe and Japan, diminished growth prospects are the new reality. In China, growth deceleration is the new normal, even though the transition to consumption will involve new opportunities in the medium-term.
While industrialization and urbanization continue to have great potential in several large Asian economies (e.g., India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia), great growth leaps are behind.
From India and Myanmar to the Philippines, emerging Asia’s demographics remain favorable. But if youthful populations do not go hand in hand with adequate job-creation, “growth miracles” may be replaced by urban slums, as in the postwar Latin America, or by instability, as in the contemporary Middle East.
In 1997, Asia was able to surpass the financial crisis relatively fast because the advanced economies could still absorb Asian exports. Today, it’s a different world.
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Dr Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognized expert of the multipolar world. He focuses on international business, international relations, investment and risk among the major advanced economies (G7) and large emerging economies (BRICS and beyond). Altogether, he monitors some 40 major world economies and a dozen strategic nations, including all major nations in Asia.
Dr Steinbock has advised international organizations, government agencies, financial institutions, multinational companies, SMEs and family enterprises, competitiveness institutes and NGOs. He serves on media advisory boards (Fortune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, McKinsey, etc). He gives economic and policy briefs for trade associations, government agencies and international think-tanks, chambers of commerce and financial intermediaries across the world.
He cooperates with think-tanks, and leading universities in the US, EU, China and India, ASEAN, the Gulf, Americas and Africa. He divides his time between the U.S. (New York), Asia (Shanghai), ASEAN nations, and occasionally Europe. He has been interviewed for Global Trends 2030 by the U.S. National Intelligence Council.