India GDP growth seen at 6.5 % in 2012: ADB

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) cut its growth forecasts for developing Asia on Thursday, saying financial and economic problems in Europe and the United States had cut demand for exports, although Southeast Asia remained a bright spot.

In a revision to its April outlook, the development bank cut its forecast for developing Asia, which excludes Japan, to 6.6 per cent for 2012 from 6.9 per cent. It also cut its forecast for 2013 to 7.1 per cent from 7.3 per cent.

Earlier, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda told a conference in Bangkok there had been a significant slowdown in Asian economies and he now expected GDP growth of around 6.5 per cent this year.

China's economy was expected to grow 8.2 per cent in 2012 and India's 6.5 per cent, Kuroda said. That was down from 8.5 per cent and and 7 per cent respectively in the ADB's April forecasts.

But he remained fairly positive about Asia.

"Despite the negative (impact) already coming from the eurozone situation, we expect basically strong growth to continue this year and next, depending on each country," he said.

Thailand's economy was still expected to grow 5.5 per cent this year, Kuroda said, as it recovered from devastating floods in the final months of 2011 that cut annual growth to just 0.1 per cent.

However, the International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for Thailand this year to 5 per cent from 5.5 per cent, managing director Christine Lagarde told a Thai newspaper on Thursday. For 2013 it is now forecasting 7 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent.

But she said that still represented 'a sharp, V-shaped recovery',boosted by reconstruction work after the floods.

Releasing its revised forecasts in Bangkok, the ADB statement noted 'healthy growth' in the Philippines, growing consumer demand in Indonesia, along with Thailand's recovery, were combining to support the Southeast Asian region.

"Southeast Asia's economies are expected to post growth of 5.2 per cent in 2012 and 5.6 per cent in 2013, virtually unchanged from predictions made in April," it said.

Most governments in the region "have sufficient policy space to ease monetary policy and provide fiscal stimulus if needed," it added.

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