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ASEAN plus 3 discuss global, regional economic difficulty, outlook
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13:44, April 03, 2008

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Finance and banking senior officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its three partners China, Japan and South Korea are meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam Thursday to tackle the economic issues, among others, the degrading global economy and increasing Asian inflation rates.

During the two-day formal ASEAN + 3 Finance and Central Bank Deputies' Meeting (formal AFDM + 3), slated for completion on Thursday afternoon, the officials are seeking ways to foster financial and monetary policy coordination and the region's financial systems, and further probing into the issues discussed by the informal AFDM + 3 on April 2 in Vietnam's central Da Nang city.

At the one-day informal meeting, finance and central bank deputies shared views that the ASEAN + 3 economies will be influenced by significant developments in the context of trade liberalization and foreign investment, and that inflation in the region is increasing in the face of surging world prices of such fuels and commodities as oil and food

However, they assumed that the price tension seems to lessen, and prices to decline by the end of this year, and that ASEAN + 3 are expected to maintain reasonably high economic growth rate of 4.7 percent in the year, down from 5.4 percent last year. The weaker demand for exports will be partly offset by the stable rising domestic demand.

They also stated that the global economic outlook is unclear because of the complexity of recovery from the subprime mortgage turmoil and solutions for related financial accounts in the United States. The global economic growth is estimated at 3.7 percent in 2008, compared with 4.9 percent in 2007.

The formal and informal AFDM + 3 are one of the preparation meetings for the 12th ASEAN Finance Ministers' Meeting slated for April 4 in Da Nang.

ASEAN comprises of Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. After the regional financial crisis in 1997, they were more aware of the importance of beefing up their cooperation with key East Asian partners, including China, Japan and South Korea.


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