Summary: Economies in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region have generally remained resilient in 2012 amidst a lackluster and, at times, volatile external environment. In 2012, the region's economy is projected to grow by 7.5 percent, lower than the 8.3 percent growth recorded in 2011, but set to recover to 7.9 percent in 2013. Growth in EAP is still the highest of any developing region and constitutes almost 40 percent of global growth. With the weakness in global demand for exports, domestic demand has remained the main driver of growth for most economies. In 2012, aside from weak external demand, the region's growth slowdown resulted from China's economic performance, which is projected to reach 7.9 percent in 2012, 1.4 percentage points lower than 2011 and the lowest annual growth rate since 1999. This decline is mainly due to lower domestic demand growth in the first part of 2012, driven by stabilization measures implemented in 2011. East Asia excluding China is expected to grow by 5.6 percent in 2012, one percentage point higher than in 2011. The rebound in economic activity in Thailand following the floods of 2011, strong growth in the Philippines, and relatively mild slowdowns in Indonesia and Vietnam contributed to this increase. Fiscal and monetary policies were generally supporting growth in 2012. More recently, monetary policy rates have rightly been held steady, as most economies now operate at or close to full capacity. For 2013, the authors expect the region to benefit from continued strong domestic demand and a mild global recovery that would nudge the contribution of net exports to growth back into positive territory, a trend projected to continue into 2014. For China, the authors expect this year's monetary easing, local fiscal stimulus and more rapid approval of large investment projects to boost growth to about 8.4 percent. By 2014, China is projected to be growing at around 8 percent, which is in line with the country's potential growth rate. This rate is gradually declining as productivity and labor force growth are tailing off. This edition of the East Asia half-yearly update introduces two new sections one that looks at selected emerging issues in the region, including Myanmar, covered for the first time in this update. The section on the medium term regional development agenda focuses on jobs and disaster risk management.
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