Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific

2412-0979 (online)
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The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific monitors regional progress, provides cutting-edge analyses and guides policy discussion on the current and emerging socio-economic issues and policy challenges to support inclusive and sustainable development in the region. Since 1957, the Survey has also contained a study or studies focusing on a significant aspect or challenge relevant to the economies of Asia and the Pacific region.
Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2000

Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2000

Economic and Financial Monitoring and Survillance You do not have access to this content

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04 Aug 2000
9789210598941 (PDF)

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This survey analyzes recent economic and social developments in the region with particular emphasis on economic and social policy issues and broad development strategies. An essential resource for every multinational corporation intending to expand their business into Asia or to invest in the region.

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  • Foreword

    Asia has made a remarkable recovery from the financial crisis of 1997-1998. Growth has resumed. The economies of the region have shown impressive staying power, and a new sen se of optimism is clearly visible. Nevertheless, there is no room for complacency. Sustained efforts will be required to resolve a host of lingering problems. Financial institutions have to be revamped. Corporate governance has to be improved. Social safety nets have to be strengthened and expanded. Asia’s poor have not yet regained lost ground, and the global community must do all it can to respond to their immediate suffering and longterm plight.

  • Explanatory notes

    The term “ESCAP region” is used in the present issue of the Survey to include Afghanistan; American Samoa; Armenia; Australia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Cook Islands; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Hong Kong, China; India; Indonesia; Iran (Islamic Republic of); Japan; Kazakhstan; Kiribati; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Macao, China; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Micronesia (Federated States of); Mongolia; Myanmar; Nauru; Nepal; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Pakistan; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Republic of Korea; Russian Federation; Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Tajikistan; Thailand; Tonga; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Uzbekistan; Vanuatu and Viet Nam. The term “developing ESCAP region” excludes Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

  • Abbreviations

    Asia’s economic recovery made great progress this past year. Most of the economies hit hardest by the 1997 crisis posted dramatic output gains, inflation remained low, and the signs of social distress that emerged after the crisis have visibly abated. Many countries have shared in this improved growth performance, and the region as a whole is well on its way to regaining the economic dynamism that has long been its hallmark. Still, victory cannot be declared. Economic reforms must continue. Social expenditures must rise to eliminate the blight of poverty and to extend social security coverage. And governments must strengthen their commitment to good governance.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Recent economic and social developments

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    • Global economic developments and implications for the ESCAP region

      The world economy exhibited several welcome developments in 1999. The United States of America managed to sustain a remarkable growth momentum, robust consumer demand and a tight labour market did not undermine domestic price stability, and the stock market avoided any major correction despite recent volatility. These positive developments in the United States coincided with the budding economic recovery in Japan, the maintenance of reasonably healthy growth in a large part of Asia, and positive trends in production and employment in several of the Asian economies hit by the crisis underpinned by falling interest rates, fiscal stimulus, higher export earnings and reserves, and improved investor and market confidence. All these developments combined to raise global growth estimates by almost one percentage point in real terms during the second half of 1999, compared to forecasts made at the beginning of 1999. The improvement in global economic performance and outlook expected for the year 2000 provides a sharp contrast to the relatively bleak prospects of the world economy as perceived by many at the beginning of 1999.

    • Macroeconomic performance, issues and policies

      The story of recent economic developments in the ESCAP region is one of resurgence of economic growth in an environment of substantially improved macroeconomic stability. Several factors contributed to stable consumer prices. Exchange rates appreciated considerably in the countries hit by the crisis by the early part of 1999 and then stabilized. Domestic supply conditions improved as a result of falling interest rates, the easing of the credit crunch and rising imports. In several countries, better weather conditions led to higher agricultural output. Private consumption demand tended to remain muted, and particularly so in the countries which had fallen victim to the 1997 crisis.

    • Social security and safety nets

      Social security and safety net programmes are crucial to ensure that various segments of the population have reasonable access to minimal income and basic social services in the event of diverse contingencies such as involuntary unemployment, old age or sudden economic crisis. Policy makers in the region have always considered it important that such programmes should be set up either directly by governments or by the private sector with the active encouragement and support of government. This concern has been reflected in a wide variety of programmes in many areas: medical care, unemployment, emergency relief and poverty alleviation. However, the coverage of these programmes has not been comprehensive and implementation modalities have varied considerably across countries and over time.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Economic and financial monitoring and surveillance

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    • Monitoring and surveillance: The theoretical underpinnings

      Economic and financial crises are not everyday phenomena, but when they come, they inflict untold economic and social costs. The severe economic contraction, widespread bankruptcies, large-scale unemployment, social and political discontent and continued vulnerability to speculative attacks entail a very great burden for any country to bear. As observed in the Asian crisis, the poorest sectors of society tend to be the ones that bear the brunt of the difficulties. The aftermath of the crisis is usually accompanied by intense soul-searching by all affected parties, creditors, debtors, the private sector and policy makers alike. Why did the crisis occur? What could we have done to manage it better? Why was it not spotted in advance? And, perhaps more wistfully, how can a recurrence be avoided?

    • Review of mechanisms

      Monitoring and surveillance activities are carried out at different levels (national, regional and global) and focus on different aspects (macroeconomic, financial and institutional), varying with the mandate of the specific body involved. Depending on their structure and objectives, monitoring mechanisms employ different methodologies and approaches. There are two general approaches to monitoring and crisis prevention.

    • Improving and complementing existing surveillance mechanisms

      The Asian crisis was remarkable for the severity, breadth and rapidity with which it spread. It is also widely held that the crisis caught the markets, global and regional institutions, national authorities and society unawares. The perception that the Asian crisis was largely unanticipated has highlighted the urgency of improving and complementing economic and financial surveillance mechanisms.

    • Recommendations

      The Asian crisis in 1997 and subsequent ones in Brazil and the Russian Federation highlighted the changed world economic and financial environment within which nation states and enterprises operate today and exposed the limitations of the existing international financial order. They demonstrated very clearly that financial integration, and more broadly, globalization, is a two-edged sword. Integration allows economic agents from economies with liberalized financial sectors to tap into the world’s savings; but it also exposes such economies, particularly if they have underdeveloped institutions (both markets and supervisory agencies), to the vagaries of market volatility, largely as a result of sudden shifts in investor expectations. Of course, the factors that lead to instability in financial markets are not all externally driven. Inappropriate policies, such as the maintenance of overvalued exchange rates and poor sequencing of the capital account liberalization, which are determined at the national level, also play an important role. In addition, poor corporate governance and inadequate financial system supervision can contribute to the build-up of vulnerabilities.

    • Source material for economic and financial monitoring and surveillance
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