ADB trims developing Asia's 2021 economic growth forecast to 7.2%

MANILA, July 20 (Reuters) - Developing Asia's economic growth this year will be slightly lower than previously projected, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday, citing the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in countries.

The ADB said recovery was underway in "developing Asia", referring to the bank's 46 members, including China and India, but growth was revised down to 7.2% from 7.3% projected in its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) report released in April.

The bloc's combined economy was projected to expand 5.4% next year, compared with the April forecast of 5.3%.

"Asia and the Pacific's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, although the path remains precarious amid renewed outbreaks, new virus variants, and an uneven vaccine rollout," ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said.

In its ADO supplement, the ADB maintained its growth forecasts for China at 8.1% this year and 5.5% next year.

But it revised growth forecasts for India to 10% this year and 7.5% next year, compared with the April projections of 11% and 7.0%, respectively.

In Southeast Asia, the ADB revised 2021 growth forecasts to 4.1% from 4.5% for Indonesia; 2.0% from 3.0% for Thailand; 5.5% from 6.0% for Malaysia; and 5.8% from 6.7% for Vietnam.

It raised Singapore's growth projection for this year to 6.3% from 6.0%, but kept the growth outlook for the Philippines at 4.5%.

For 2022, the ADB maintained its growth forecasts for most Southeast Asian economies: 5.0% for Indonesia, 5.7% for Malaysia, 5.5% for the Philippines, 4.1% for Singapore, and 7.0% for Vietnam.

But it raised the growth projection for Thailand to 4.9% for next year from 4.5%.

"On top of containment and vaccination measures, phased and strategic rejuvenation of economic activities - for instance, trade, manufacturing, and tourism - will be key to ensure that the recovery is green, inclusive, and resilient," Sawada said.

Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz Editing by Ed Davies

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